Fuck Coco

Anonymous asked:  How do you feel about the upcoming Mexican Pixar movie about the day of the dead?

Anonymous asked: How do you feel about the upcoming Mexican Pixar movie about the day of the dead?

Listen, Jorge Gutierrez was rejected by Disney Pixar and by basically every other major animation producer when he tried to make The Book Of Life. If Del Toro hadn’t come along and agreed to produce the movie himself, TBOL would have never seen the light of day. (source)

GUTIERREZ: I had this movie for 14 years. Ever since I was in film school, I wanted to make it. When I got out, I pitched it to every studio and everybody told me the same thing. “You’re just some dumb kid out of school, and no one’s interested in the subject matter, and there’s no audience for Hispanic movies.” It took a long time. Eventually, I pitched the movie to Guillermo’s people four times and he said, “No.”

DEL TORO: When I heard it was on the Day of the Dead, in the last 15 years I had heard many, many Day of the Dead pitches. I didn’t like it because they were all postcard, folkloric, or coldly calculated things and none of them felt personal. Finally, Cary Granat said, “You have to meet the guy and see some of the art. If you don’t relate to that, that’s it.” So I met with Jorge – he’ll tell you the story – but I immediately connected to it because it was personal to him. For me to produce, I am so busy. I don’t have a personal life. I am a ruin. I’m dedicated to projects that support my family that goes with me. They cannot integrate themselves into that life. But I said, “Do I want to do this?” When I met Jorge, I knew there was something that we could do beautifully together, but more important than anything, I wanted to protect the movie. One of the reasons I was interested is because the things that make the movie great now are the things I knew were going to get us a lot of “no’s” from the studios.

If TBOL hadn’t gotten as much critical acclaim as it did and gotten enough revenue for Fox to approve a sequel and possibly a third movie too, Coco would have never become a serious project.


[image: screencap of a tweet by Jorge R. Gutierrez (@mexopolis) that reads “Who wants to see this movie? Asking for a friend.” with the poster for “the Book of Life 2″]

On the one hand we have TBOL, which was imagined, written, produced and directed by Mexican artists. On the other hand we have Disney, who rejected Jorge Gutierrez’ proposal for a Mexican-based movie and who tried to trademark “Day of the Dead” to make money off it after TBOL was announced (source).

I mean, sure, the same cartoonist who said this:

“How could Disney allow such a blunder,” marveled Lalo Alcaraz, a Mexican-American editorial cartoonist and founder of Pocho.com. “I knew they weren’t copyrighting the holiday, but I couldn’t believe they would let someone in their legal department let this happen. On the surface, it looks like Disney is trying to copyright the holiday.”


[image: a cartoon of Mickey Mouse as a skeleton destroying a city, with the legend “Muerto Mouse: it’s coming to trademark your cultura!”]

Is also now working on the movie, (source)

Several years ago, when Disney tried to trademark the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was one of the most vocal critics. That’s why it came as a surprise to many when news broke this week that Pixar, which is owned by Disney, hired Alcaraz to work on its animated film “Coco” that’s centered on the Mexican holiday. (…) Several years ago, when Disney tried to trademark the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was one of the most vocal critics. That’s why it came as a surprise to many when news broke this week that Pixar, which is owned by Disney, hired Alcaraz to work on its animated film “Coco” that’s centered on the Mexican holiday.

But Disney’s intentions are still suspicious. I mean, their treatment of Elena of Avalor has already been more than questionable… For starters, the fact that the first Latina princess in Disney’s history gets a TV-show instead of a movie. (source)

TV is great, but all of the major Disney princesses appeared on film, first. So, what does is say when there’s no Latina princess with her own movie? (…) We could give Disney the benefit of the doubt since they may not be able to milk two new princesses at the same time, but that also means they decided Elena isn’t worthy of the big screen treatment. Despite that fact that in 2015 alone, Disney released 12 feature films.

Disney could’ve added Elena to its slate. It’s not too big of a burden for Disney to create a princess who represents 17% of the nation’s population — which is why I refuse to accept that the Latina community’s first Disney princess will not be in theaters.

As a Latina, I’m sick of being told to be grateful to have a princess when movie after movie features strong, usually white, heroines. And while I’m a light-toned Puerto Rican (that’s a whole other can of worms), I believe my culture deserves to be viewed by a national audience, not just households with kids 5 and under.

Latinas haven’t waited 79 years and fought for recognition to accept a supporting role.


[image: a promotional still of Elena of Avalor, holding a Spanish guitar and wearing a red dress inspired of traditional flamenco dresses.]

And then we have the fact that she… She isn’t even Latina. She’s a caricature. She represents no actual Latinx in the entire continent. (source)

Elena isn’t indigenous or Afro-Latina or from a specific Latin-American country. She is a thin, light-brown Latina princess from Avalor, a made up Latin-American-esque kingdom that exists in a pre-colonial, pre-Columbian world. This, by the way, is baffling: how does one understand their Latino identity without acknowledging colonialism? While the backdrop of Elena is influenced by Mayan culture and Chilean folklore, her race and ethnicity is otherwise based in Disney fantasy.

(For a better understanding of what is and isn’t Latinx, check this post.)

[image: a promotional still of Elena of Avalor, holding a Spanish guitar and wearing a red dress inspired of traditional flamenco dresses.]

To add to it, “Coco” sounds like a straight plagiarism from TBOL (source)

According to Entertainment Weekly, Miguel lives in a Mexican village and dreams of becoming a musician. The only problem? His family has sworn off music ever since Miguel’s great-great-grandfather abandoned his wife to pursue his own musical dreams.

While trying to emulate his musical hero, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), Miguel accidentally enters the Land of the Dead. There, he teams up with the aforementioned funny skeleton (voiced by Mozart in the Jungle’s Gael Garcia Bernal), meets his ancestors, and tries to track down his idol.

We have a hero who wants to make music but doesn’t have his family’s support (Miguel’s family has sworn off music, Manolo wants to be a musician but his family wants him to be a torero). We have a hero accidentally entering the Land Of The Dead and meeting his ancestors. Bet you $20 that Miguel becomes a “Day of the Dead”-styled skeleton during this trip to the Land of the Dead.

[image: Disney representatives speaking in front of a projection of the “Coco” title.]

Like “Moana” is an amalgam of Polynesian tradition and cultures created by white people first and foremost for white people’s consumption (check Fangirl Jeanne’s criticism of it), Elena of Avalor and now Coco are heading in the same direction, and the worst part is that we’re constantly being told by white fans that we should be grateful for whatever “representation” these major producers decide to throw at us.

Let’s just hope they don’t go around selling sugar-skull masks and make-up with the Disney trademark like they did with the brownface Polynesian-tattoo costume for Moana. (source)

[image: photos of a full body suit in the tone of brown skin and covered in traditional Polynesian tattoos, with a skirt made of leaves.]


Feminist/Queer reads in Spanish


[image: the cover of Devenir Perra, showing a woman in lingerie staring at herself in the mirror as a naked, feminine angel leans over her.]

  • Devenir Perra (To become a bitch), a queer/feminist book by Itziar Ziga, is amazing and you can read the author’s blogspot here.
  • ¿Así que sos lesbiana? (So, you’re a lesbian?) is not exactly a “queer blog” or a “feminist blog”, it’s one of those old-style auto-biographical blogspots that’s long been abandoned, but it’s written by one of the most talented women in my city and it’s beautiful.
  • Anfibia Magazine and Furias Magazine are online queer magazines!
  • La Revuelta is an online feminist/queer community.

[image: a photo of Maria Eva Rossi, smiling, with sunglasses on.]

Here is Despertando a Lilith (Waking Lilith) a documentary about the transition of Maria Eva Rossi, a teacher from my city who transitioned while on the job. 

[image: a black and white photo of two men in a stage-adaptation of Kiss of the Spider-Woman. one of them lies in the bed of the cell, while the other towels his hair.]

Some essential queer readings in Spanish-speaking lit include:

  • El Beso de la Mujer Araña (Kiss of the Spider-Woman), by gay author Manuel Puig. About a man arrested for being gay during the last Argentinian Dictatorship and his cell-mate, a revolutionary.
  • Antes que anochezca (Before the night falls) by Reinaldo Arenas is an autobiographical book about what it was to be gay and a disident in Castro’s Cuba.
  • Loco afán: crónicas de sidario (Crazy toil: HIV cronicles) by Pedro Lemebel is a series of four scenes of the trans scene in Chile pre-Dictatorship.
  • Aristóteles y Dante Descubren Los Secretos Del Universo, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz; which you might have heard of via tumblr because it can be also found in English.
  • Federico García Lorca’s sexuality isn’t a secret, and he’s got a bunch of poems about men and being gay.

[image: a picture of Susy Shock speaking on a microphone, what looks like a pandereta next to her, lights shining from behind her.]

And it’s not just dudes writing…
  • My favorite poet is Jewish-Argentinian bisexual artist Alejandra Pizarnik, and many of her poems can be found online.
  • Cristina Peri Rossi, Uruguayan lesbian poet.
  • Rosa María Roffiel, Mexcian lesbian poet and novelist.
  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a 17th Century Mexican poet, isn’t Confirmed Gay™, but she’s got some very sapphic poems about her friend Countess María Luisa de Paredes.
  • Susy Shock, an Argentinian trans poet and singer. (Here is her blog!)

[image: promotional still from Para Vestir Santos, of the three sisters sitting together on a couch, all looking in the same direction with more or less distressed expressions.]

Also, if you want to watch some Gay Content™ in Spanish:

And I never miss a chance to insist that people listen to Kumbia Queers and Sara Hebe (x) (x), my favorite lesbians. You don’t truly know Spanish until you can listen to Sara’s rapping and understand it.

[image: black and white picture of a young Frida Kahlo and Chavela Vargas, laughing together while laying on the grass.]

Singer Chavela Vargas was Frida Kahlo’s lover, extremely talented and always unapologetic. Also, one of the singers from Eruca Sativa is bisexual!

Latinx LGBTQ Icons

  • Frida Kahlo, of course, who was openly bisexual.
  • Sara Hebe, a lesbian Argentinian rapper.
  • Flor de la V, a trans Argentinian celebrity (she’s messy but she’s been one of the most visible trans people in Lat Am since the 90′s when I was a kid, so I’ll always have a soft spot for her).
  • Kumbia Queers, a band of sapphic women that includes five Argentinian musicians and Mexican singer Ali Gua-Gua.
  • Alejandra Pizarnik, one of my favorite writers, was Jewish, bisexual and wrote a lot about her mental illness. I’ll be uploading translations of some of her poems in the next few days, because they’re hard to find.
  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a gay Mexican-American writer, and he’s the author of Aristóteles and Dante discover the secrets of the universe.
  • Amaranta Gomez Regalado, an Indigenous Mexican activist for the rights of people with HIV, is two-spirit and was the first transgender Mexican person to run for office.
  • Orlando Cruz lost this year, but the chance that he becomes the first openly gay boxing world champion in the future hasn’t gone yet.
  • Back to Argentina, Susy Shock is a trans musician and activist.
  • Vange Leonel Gandolfo was a Brazilian musician and activist, and an out lesbian.
  • Manuel Puig was a gay writer during the Argentinian military dictatorship, and his novel “The Spider Woman’s Kiss” is a retelling of his experiences in jail. It’s a beautiful book, though also very crude and painful. 
  • Argentinian writer Maria Elena Walsh was a lesbian, fact I sadly didn’t know about during my childhood.
  • Sylvia Rivera, one of the founders of the LGBT movement in the USA, was a Venezuelan-Puerto Rican trans woman who dedicated her life to the fight for trans and gay rights.
  • Of course, there’s Ricky Martin (who could forget Ricky?).
  • Michael Nava is a gay Mexican-American lawyer and author. (suggested by @sayitwithsarcophilus)
  • Gabby Rivera is a queer Puerto Rican comics writer who will soon be writing the America Chavez solo book.
  • Venezuelan supermodel Patricia Velásquez came out as gay recently.
  • Jesusa Rodríguez is a lesbian Mexican director, actress, playwright, performance artist, social activist. (suggested by @queersherlockian)
  • Mark Indelicato, who played Justin in Ugly Betty, isn’t straight. Raul Esparza (from Law and Order) is bisexual. And actresses Stephanie Beatriz, Sara Ramirez (who played Callie Torres in Grey’s) and Gina Rodriguez are all bisexual. Also, Lauren Jauregui, from Fifth Harmony, recently came out as bisexual too.

Racialized Xenophobia vs. Racism

Ok, so,

Xenophobia: Fear, hatred, or mistrust of people perceived as foreign, from different countries/cultures.

Racism: Fear, hatred and systemic/institutional oppression towards non-white people in a white supremacist society.

Racialized Xenophobia: Fear, hatred and systemic/institutional oppression towards a particular foreign group that is perceived to be non-white in a white supremacist society.

Anti-Latinx Sentiment and Islamophobia, for example, are “racialized xenophobia”. That means, it is assumed that all Latinxs/Muslims are “foreign” and “don’t belong”, and it is also assumed that all Latinxs/Muslims are non-white. That doesn’t make white Latinxs/Muslims “non-white”, because, as white people, they still have privilege over non-white people in a white supremacist society.

Because Anti-Latinx Sentiment is racialized, many people who are perceived as “brown” or “Latinx” (due to a last name, a tan, an accent, etc.) might receive racist Anti-Latinx attacks despite not being Latinx or not being brown.

We all agree (I hope) that Olive Skinned White Italians™ being the target of Anti-Latinx hatred doesn’t magically make them brown Latinxs, so we should all agree that white Latinxs or even white Spaniards being the targets of racialized Anti-Latinx hatred doesn’t magically make them non-white.

Now, if someone calls a straight woman with short hair a lesbophobic slur, she isn’t suddenly a lesbian or oppressed by lesbophobia. A straight woman is straight, even if other straight people hate her . That’s clear, right? So what’s so confusing about the statement “white latinxs are white, even if white gringxs hate them”?

Anti-Latinx Sentiment is always a product of racism, because it works under the assumption that all Latinxs are non-white (which is a false assumption, but it justifies white gringxs in their othering of Latinxs). Why do Spaniards/French/Italians not face as much hatred? Because it is assumed that all Europeans are white (which is also false).

The reason it is important to recognize that white latinxs are white (and the reason why this “we’re all mixed” discourse is harmful) is that, even if white Latinxs are targeted by racialized xenophobia in the US/Canada/Europe; they are still white and they benefit from white supremacy in Latin America.

“We’re all mixed, we’re all Latinx!” is a tool of white supremacy created by the Criollxs/Spaniards to avoid discussions of anti-Indigenous racism and anti-blackness in Latin America. Acting like all Latin Americans were equally oppressed under European rule and no Latin American had the power to oppress another because “we’re all the same” allowed Criollxs to skirt actual discussions of their privilege, and that same discourse is still being used today.

Until we are able to acknowledge that white latinxs are just as complicit in white supremacy and just as privileged by their race as white non-Latinxs, a true healing of the wounds of colonization and white supremacy in Latin America cannot begin.

Rastas rubias, ponchos chic y la apropiación cultural en Argentina

 Una parte integral de nuestra identidad como argentinos y como latinoamericanos blancos (o que parecemos blancos) es la construcción del mestizaje, o lo que se llama “democracia racial” o “crisol de razas”.

Aunque la identidad del latino en calidad de mestizo (pero mestizo pálido), de mezcla irreconocible, de hijo y nieto de inmigrantes; es una fábula que se ha dado en toda Latinoamérica; en pocos lugares es tan marcada como en Argentina. La raza es un tema tabú en todo el continente, pero ningún país escasea tanto en estudios formales y discusiones abiertas sobre el tema como el nuestro.

Podríamos (…) pensar que en Buenos Aires las categorizaciones raciales ya no son importantes y que los porteños, salvo casos extremos, somos cromáticamente ciegos. Desgraciadamente, la “ceguera cromática” de los porteños sólo alcanza a los blancos, a aquellos quienes años atrás hubieran sido considerados pardos o a otros mestizos claros.

Nos vemos a nosotros mismos y nos presentamos ante los demás como un “país blanco”, y este mito está sostenido en dos de los genocidios más grandes de la historia post-colonial del continente: La cuasi-aniquilación de los esclavos y descendientes de esclavos negros en las guerras de la independencia y la guerra del Paraguay; y la masacre de los pueblos originarios durante la Conquista del Desierto.

Las comunidades nativas y afrodescendientes sobrevivieron a estos procesos de “limpieza étnica”, pero sobrevivieron diezmadas, ocultas, invisibilizadas: en comunidades cerradas (teniendo como ejemplo más claro y doloroso al Impenetrable en el Chaco) en las fronteras (donde se habla de los Umbanda como si fueran todos brasileros, cuando la comunidad afroargentina lleva más generaciones en este suelo que los hijos de italianos) o forzados a dejar de lado su herencia cultural en pos de una integración a la urbanidad porteña blanca.

Argentina no sólo ignora su herencia negra y nativa: ignora a los españoles e italianos de ascendencia árabe,  ignora a los refugiados judíos, ignora que somos el país con la diáspora asiática más grande de Sudamérica. Argentina se olvida de que antes que hijos de los barcos, sesenta por ciento de la población argentina es hija de esta tierra, con sangre aborigen en las venas; e ignora también que “hijo de los barcos” no es sólo el europeo blanco, sino también hijo de los barcos negreros.

Cuando se habla de nuestra naturaleza “mestiza” nos referimos a una bisabuela mapuche que no tiene nombre ni registro, a una familia que es mezcla de polaca y española, a una “mezcla” que siempre tiene que dar como resultado a un argentino blanco y cristiano.

Esta construcción tiene dos objetivos primordiales:

Primero, una construcción de identidad hacia fuera, para mostrarle al Europeo blanco, que aspiraba a mostrar a la Argentina post-independencia como un país unido y “civilizado”, tierra fértil para que los poderes económicos Europeos invirtieran su capital en proyectos agrícolas e industriales y alentar la inmigración de europeos blancos y apoderados.

Segundo, la fabricación de una historia e identidad en común que ignora la marginación y masacre de los pueblos en pos de un mito de unidad y acuerdo; en que los pueblos originarios cedieron su tierra voluntariamente y los esclavos africanos fueron a morir en las guerras patrias de buena fé, en que el mestizaje es tal que ya no es necesario aferrarse a las historias de opresión y a las herencias culturales individuales sino que lo único razonable es integrarse a la “nación Argentina”.

Este análisis no debería sorprender a nadie: desde la imagen del gaucho dócil hasta los niños blancos con las caras pintadas con carbón*, representando a esclavos felices de servir al criollo; sin olvidar que Roca –el peor genocida de nuestra historia- circula todavía en el billete de cien pesos y hay escuelas con el nombre “Conquista del Desierto”; la discusión de raza en nuestra concepción de la historia argentina es mínima o nula.

Si nos quedáramos con lo que se nos enseña en la escuela y lo que vemos en la televisión, realmente no cabría duda (especialmente para los nacidos y criados en Buenos Aires) de que Argentina es un “país blanco”.

Pero, si esta construcción es una falacia, una mentira, ¿por qué nos aferramos a ella? La respuesta más sencilla es: porque nos conviene. Porque, “es la posibilidad de apropiarse de un montón de herencias sin tener que hacerse cargo de ninguna, porque, justamente, la idea es construir una nueva, una distinta”.

Cuando reivindicamos la identidad argentina en calidad de revolucionaria, anti-colonial y latinoamericanista; nos olvidamos de que la independencia de España fue primeramente una estrategia económica de los criollos blancos que no querían pagar impuestos a la Corona por explotar las tierras colonizadas. Nos olvidamos de que el Estado Argentino estuvo detrás del diezmo de las poblaciones nativas y africanas mucho después de la colonización. Ignoramos que la misma colonización es un proceso que no terminó todavía: que los pueblos originarios siguen luchando con uñas y dientes para defender la poca tierra que les queda, y ahora la culpa no es de España sino nuestra.

En calidad de argentinos blancos y/o que parecemos tales, criados con la idea de que no podemos ser racistas porque todos los argentinos son mestizos y de que no podemos ser opresores porque somos nosotros los oprimidos por Europa, nos cegamos ante nuestras propias culpas y terminamos siendo parte del mismo síndrome colonizador que los españoles y los gringos. (No nos olvidemos que la Ley de Ciudadanía contempla que será argentino “todo aquel que nazca en las colonias que tenga o vaya a tener el Estado Argentino”.)

Nos excusamos en la mentira de que nosotros somos los que peor la estamos pasando para avasallar a los que están todavía más abajo en la pirámide social, y en el mestizaje, la globalización y la multiculturalidad para armar un ‘patchwork’ de nuestra identidad que ni nos corresponde ni nos representa.

Los argentinos blancos/mestizos usamos rastas porque escuchamos reggae, nos tatuamos guardas mapuches porque los tatuajes “tribales” nos parecen hermosos, nos ponemos “turbantes” para copiar a la estrella internacional de moda, nos hacemos diseños de Henna en las manos, nos copiamos de maquillaje mexica del “Día de los Muertos” para una fiesta de disfraces.

Los argentinos blancos/mestizos decimos “negros de mierda” a modo de insulto, nos reímos porque alguien torpe es “re indio”, hacemos chistes sobre “terroristas musulmanes”, hablamos de lo “oprimidas” que son las mujeres en la India, hacemos fiestas “mexicanas” para reírnos de lo machistas y alcohólicos que supuestamente son nuestros hermanos del norte.

La excusa del mestizaje nos permite robar elementos de todas las culturas (“¡igual somos todos mezcla!”) sin ningún riesgo de descubrirnos a nosotros mismos como racistas (“tengo una tatarabuela mulata, eh”). Cuando no alcanza, tenemos otro argumento, infalible: “¡Vivimos en un mundo globalizado! ¡Las culturas existen para ser compartidas!

Pero la realidad es otra. La realidad es que a los esclavos africanos que llegaron a la Argentina con las rodillas peladas y los huesos a flor de piel y el pelo en rastas de tanta sangre y tierra y sudor; los blancos los obligaron a afeitarse la cabeza. La realidad es que a los Qom les niegan atención en los hospitales porque no les quieren tocar la piel “sucia”, porque son “salvajes” que igual no entienden la medicina moderna.

La realidad es que los tatuajes culturales, sagrados, heredados por milenios; cuando están hechos sobre piel oscura son vistos como marca de barbarie y salvajismo; mientras que nosotros con la piel tan blanca nos podemos tatuar una svástica en el brazo y conseguir trabajo igual.

La realidad es que la rasta, como marca del movimiento Rastafari en Centroamérica, es un símbolo de los esclavos africanos rebeldes que reclamaron su libertad y su identidad en oposición al hombre blanco, esclavista y opresor. No tiene nada que ver con escuchar reggae, y fumar marihuana no te acerca para nada a “Jah” si tenés la piel blanca.

La “cultura compartida” sólo se puede dar con justicia, respeto y buena voluntad cuando hay igualdad social, institucional y económica. Porque “globalización” y “multiculturalidad” son conceptos muy hermosos, pero en la práctica sólo significan que la gente de color se tenga que adaptar al molde occidental blanco para poder vivir pero los blancos podamos robarles todas las cosas que hacen a su identidad y usarlas de accesorio sin ningún tipo de consecuencia.

Mientras que la gente de color se vea obligada a abandonar su herencia cultural y adoptar ropas, creencias, costumbres y lenguajes impuestos por el cristiano blanco; mientras que tengan que elegir entre ceder su identidad o perder la vida en manos de una pandilla de neonazis, un político corrupto o un policía; mientras que la igualdad más allá del color, la fé o la cultura sigan siendo sólo una teoría, nosotros con la piel tan pálida… no podemos usar rastas.

* En países donde la discusión sobre el racismo y, específicamente, el racismo anti-negro ya se ha dado más abiertamente, hay una conciencia general de que la práctica de pintarse la cara de negro para imitar a los africanos (conocida como “Blackface”) es terriblemente racista, denigrante y deshumanizante. El hecho de que esta práctica sea considerada como algo natural y válido que se le enseña a niños en la escuela primaria es otra señal de que nuestro país necesita una concientización sobre temas de raza.

Bibliografía para expandir: