History of Mexico, Intro.

Writing a history of Mexico is much like telling a never ending war story of defeat, heroism, romance and perseverance. It is ironic that many Mexican nationals constantly accuse the United States citizens of being violent and warmongering, since since its declaration of independence in 1810, the Estados Unidos Mexicanos has been in a constant state of war. Beginning with the Grito de Dolores in the early morning of September 16th 1810, through the institution of the First Mexican Empire, the emergence of a war torn Republic, a Second Empire and a violent civil war that ended with the restoration of the Republic, the history of Mexico has been bathed in blood. It is likewise amusing that the only period of civil peace and prosperity is the history of Mexico before the latter half of the 20th century is also the most hated by Mexican nationals: El Porfiriato. Naturally, not all of the wars fought by Mexicans have been civil, the Mexican nation has survived, by sheer luck, an American Invasion, a few short lived European interventions and a major French Intervention. Mexico’s last foreign armed conflict was World War II, and her contribution was purely aerial.

 

Part of the origin of this constant turmoil is perhaps the very nature of Mexico’s two faced populace: a strong group of Liberals who have always been ahead of their times, and a large group of Conservatives, who until the 1870’s, still advocated the restoration of a Monarchy. The Liberal policies of religious freedom, disenfranchisement of clergy members and the abolition of slavery led to devastating Christian Uprisings, Texan Secession and European Intervention. While the policies of the Conservatives led to violent secessionist movements, a perpetual state of indigenous uprisings, and brought in a short lived Second Mexican Empire.

 

This old political turmoil has bled into modern day society and politics, unfortunately, the liberalism of Mexico has become the watered down liberalism of the socialist left and the conservative movement has largely gravitated towards a Christian form of conservatism that begins to resemble the Right of the United States. However, two of the three main political parties of Mexico are largely centrist, with only hints of either Left or Right. Among this political arena, Mexico is also currently involved in a new civil war, one between the Government and the Drug Cartels, a civil war that only appears to intensify.

 

A history of Mexico in that country is traditionally a collection of veneration to men who died by firing squad and by sword, and a collection of boos to men who did likewise. Usually, the latter is reserved for the Conservatives. A Mexican history of Mexico serves only the purpose of glorifying and to stroke the Mexican Ego. I intend to cast a wider lens, to portray the Mexican War of Independence against the internal conflict of Spain, the Institution of the Second Mexican Empire as it impacted the Austrians and the French and how this ‘blemish’ ultimately served to reinforce and grant victory to the Liberals. This view will strike at much beloved Mexican traditions and beliefs, and the patriotic version of history that is popular and unquestioned in Mexico.

 

Ultimately, this is not as much a history of the people of Mexico, but of her wars and the political ideas that have managed to sustain a two hundred year old experiment of civil unrest and perplexing prosperity and progress.

An open letter to Naui Huitzilopochtli (and all those who may read it)

First off, I apologize for often presenting myself as an antagonizing force. This is something I try to avoid, but my principles often dictate to me be so,, I am apologizing only for the borderline inappropriate manner I sometimes present my arguments, not for having those arguments to begin with.

Secondly, this not a critique or an attack, or at least, I did not mean for it to be. This is an apology (from the Greek word, meaning explanation) of my beliefs and my opinions.

Thirdly, I apologize for writing this in English, as my Nahuatl is, sadly, very basic.

I am not a nationalist of any kind, furthermore, I am not a racist of any kind. This is to mean that I do not hold the Accident of someone’s Birth against them in any way, unless of course, they wish for me do so. In addition, I wish to convey, with that statement, that I do hold  any collectivist ideals, although often it is necessary for me to appear to have them. This is evident in my Vexillology, as seen in my flying several flags in my home, and sometimes as my profile picture on facebook.

In discussions I have had on your facebook wall, I have been caricatured as an imperialist, a murderer and a racist. This is to be expected. I do hold you accountable for this. This is one of the things I feel I must address, and obviously extend my sincerest apologies if I have done the same. This was not intentional.

The purpose of my antagonism is simple: I first and foremost, wish to understand what your views are, and what the view of the people who, for lack of a better term, side with you. In addition, I wish to understand the Nature and cause of these opinions. Despite being scorned, I proceed to ‘poke’ at your statements in order to deduce the underlying principles that yield your statements and convictions. I believe that like my own statements and convictions, they are based on something. I believe that in order to learn yours, I must first share mine, and they are as follows:

First, as I mentioned before, I do not believe in the inherent power of the accident of one’s birth. This obviously needs further explanation: I believe that we are all human. The phrase: “All men are created equal” is something that I hold very dearly. I believe this statement to be true. I likewise believe that all humans are worthy of the same dignities and the same respect. And I believe that nothing can strip these away, least of all someone’s race, economic status, heritage, religion or lack of, or anything that humans may use to group themselves, or group others under. It is because of this that I often appear to defend causes that are at the moment, or any other given moment, unpopular. My recent defense of the Confederacy is not, as it has been assumed to be, a defense of slavery or bigotry, it is merely a remembrance of the men who died in a brutal and senseless war.  While this war may have had the effect of freeing the slaves, this act alone cannot condone its bloodshed.  Likewise, any acts of violence made by white men, or any men, cannot condone hatred towards such men, or any men.

My refusal to hate them does not mean that I condone their actions. The slaveholder violated the natural rights of the slave, but it does not make him any less worthy of his own rights. It is a crime, yes, an unforgivable one, yes, but not one that should be used to hate them. But more importantly, the act of the slaveholder should not, cannot and must not be used to condone hatred or crimes towards his brothers and friends. His brothers and his friends are not him, and his crimes are not theirs.

To take that one step further: The acts of white men in the past should not, cannot and must not be paid upon their descendents. My ancestors may have committed a crime, but that crime is not mine.

To quote fiction, if I may: In the Lord of the Rings, Arwen tells Aragorn that “You are Isildur’s Heir, not Isildur himself” His reply is simple and true “The same blood that ran through his veins, runs through mine” Yet her own reply conveys a message that I myself happen to hold “You will face the same evil, and defeat it”

So, whereas the same blood that ran through the veins of the Conquistadors, the same blood that raped and burned, runs through my veins, I am not them. I too, can give in to a primal urge that all humans carry, and rape and burn, but I have not. The ability to commit a crime is not the same as having committed it. And I am not accountable for the crimes of m ancestors. Likewise, not all white men are guilty of the crimes of some of their ancestors.

This is not to say that crimes were not committed, and this is not to say that those crimes should be easily forgotten or forgiven.  They were unforgivable crimes, yes, but the men who committed them are long since dead. One cannot wage war against a dead enemy, and the descendents of such enemies are not the enemy themselves.

Secondly, a point I hope I have made clear: I am an Individualist. And because of this, I am a Capitalist. The principles of individualism are simple: All men are born equal,, and should be allowed to go as far as their own abilities permit them, or as far as other men help them to go. These are also the principles of capitalism, thus the only system thus far that has allowed men to be free to choose and free to fail at their volition is Capitalism.

I have asked, mostly indirectly, for you to show me a system of beliefs that better encapsulates men’s rights. (and I am using the term men in a gender neutral manner) Thus far, you have not, and I eagerly await your reply.

In the past, I have been told that Capitalism is a force that denies men’s basic rights, and the examples given forth are mostly non-sequiturs, or examples made through equivocation, namely the argument that because white men committed crimes against Native Americans (whom you call Nican Tlaca, more on that later) and other white men developed modern Capitalism (Namely Adam Smith and, to a certain extent John Locke and the British Rationalists and German Idealists) therefore all white men have committed these crimes and likewise Capitalism is responsible for these crimes. This simply does not follow. I fear that at this point, I made have made a reductionist assumption about your arguments, and I look forward to being corrected.

About the term Nican Tlaca. I do feel certain. . .apprehension at you use of the term, as I understand it, the term is simply the Nahua term for people who live on this continent prior to European Conquest. And I must say I find it terribly ironic that you would bestow the title of your people upon the rest of the Native American population, and yet outcry the term “Native American” because it is used by one people to refer to another.

This naturally leads me to a question: What exactly is the goal of your movement? I am going to assume that it is expatriation of all non Native American’s from this continent. I am likely wrong, but it appears to be thus far. Again, I look forward to learning more about the end goal of your endeavours. If however, the goal is education, then I applaud you. Education is one of my greatest concerns, and I support all men and movements who seek to educate. Likewise, I support all men who seek to discuss, trade, and promulgate ideas rationally. If this is the end goal, then I believe you have gained a convert. Although I admit I find your methodology to be ineffective.

For the time being, and under the circumstances, this is all I have to say on the matter and I await your reply eagerly.

Sincerely, Antonio I. Villalpando.

Another Gay Post

This is a second predecessor to what I hope will be a book later on. The first predecessor is a small essay named “The Fierce Arm of Coercion” And I do believe that that name will stay on as the title of the book. A subtitle would be something along the lines of “How Gay Rights Activists are Damaging the Quality of Life of Gay People in America” Or something equally . . . infuriating.

Now, this is more of a series of observations that I’ve made over time. Not exactly a research paper or anything of the kind. The main observation though, is that the liberal (If you permit the use of the word) more . . . progressive and open-minded people are actually far more homophobic than the Conservatives they oh so enjoy ripping on. Now, this is not baseless, and it is counter-intuitive.

But I do have examples. The first is of course, the reactions I get when I mention that I want to be POTUS. Out of every, say, 100 encounters, I get 40 of them asking me about my platform and saying that I have their support (and about half of them volunteer to help me out), 30 of them tell me that republicans will never vote for me, and that my platform doesn’t even matter (they also tell me that I am seriously wrong), and about 20 will tell me that they need to talk to me more, and 10 will say that my platform needs work. Here is the kicker:

The 40 consider themselves Conservatives, the 30 consider themselves Liberal, the 20 are Independents and the 10 are seriously undecided. Upon discovering that I’m gay, the Conservatives shrug and usually reply with a combination of “Hate the sin, not the sinner” or “Nobody is perfect”

Liberals ask how I can be so misguided and how can I possibly reconcile my economic ideology with the fact that I’m gay.

I do find this to be amusing. Vastly so. So, I have discovered that to Conservatives, even vastly religious ones, I am an intellectual, a politician and man who has a good life, but has made some questionable life choices. To Liberals, I am a gay who has no idea what’s going on in the real world. So, to recap:

A gay who is stupid vs. a brilliant man who happens to be gay . . . and people still think Liberals are gay friendly!? Someone please explain to me how that works!

So, now that I’ve given an overview of the more . . . political part of my observations, I do have to go to the everyday bullsh*t I have to go through. I am a proud man, and I refuse to be made ashamed by something like my skin color, heritage, sexual orientation or anything else that some liberal idiot has decided matters for some odd reason. But I have recently found myself being afraid of admitting that I’m gay. Why? Because I am going to be discriminated against. It’s that simple. However, it is not the Conservative Bloc I blame; it is not the religious communities. I blame the people who decided, for some odd reason, that the fact that I am gay is somehow important . . . it is defining of me somehow. Being gay has stopped being about who you date, who you sleep with, who you live with, its become about how you eat, how you live, how you vote, what you believe. Being gay somehow twists the world into a beast where more government control is good, where traditions of any kind are evil, where the correct is made evil, where life itself is wrong. Gay makes the world a different place. No longer women more natural nurturers, or men more athletic, the mere idea of this is evil. Immoral. Gay makes the world a place where natural law is good when I says that gay just happens, but wrong when it says that men enjoy sports more than women. It says that it’s ok for women to chose, but only if they chose as they will it, because clearly, no woman would want to be a mother.

All of these things, having no providence in the realm of romance, is now of crucial importance to the fact that I’m gay. So I have to ask, who high jacked my life and made it a target for people’s shooting practice?

The obvious answer is: The Religious Right. The truth? The Psychotic Left. This can easily be construed as a coincidence. After all, Correlation does not Imply Causation. SO, this brings me to the claim of my observations, the tying it all together, this is what is really going to get me angry replies and screams: Liberals are magnanimously more homophobic than Conservatives. And the claim that’s going to get me shot: Gays hate themselves. That’s it; no one hates them more than they hate themselves. The one thing that I refuse to do, the one thing that they do not understand, the simple fact that they’re groveling is nothing more than an act of self-loathing.

So, part one: Liberals are far more homophobic than the Conservatives, well, I already said this: A Gay vs. a Man with questionable choices, A Gay vs. a Man. That’s all. I do believe this explains why Liberals place so much emphasis on sexuality. They are terrified and disgusted by it. Their crusades are nothing more than a clever cover for their need to hate something. The same thing I would claim about feminists, they hate women.

The second part: Gays hate themselves. This is the only reason I can think of that would explain their sheer need to point out that they’re gay. Not just that they’re gay, but also explain their need to have this simple and secondary fact define their entire existence. So instead of owning up that they’re not normal, they flaunt it with such painful effectiveness that even other gay people feel disgusted. So this is why I have started to feel the need to hide the fact that I’m gay, not because of my fellow Conservatives, but because the Gay Rights Psychos will not be able to resist the urge to associate me with them and their flawed ideologies.

So there it is. A simple predecessor to a far more complex and researched project, one aimed not at securing more liberties for gays at the expense of everyone else, but one at securing everyone’s rights from the gay rights movement. One that states it clearly and simply: you’re not special, you’re just human, get over yourself. You get no special rights, and most especially not when it’s at the expense of the people you claim to help.

 

Sucker Punch (and further proof that Movie Critics have no idea what they’re saying. )

 

I was rather afraid that this blog would eventually turn into a movie review blog, and it appears that I may be right. 

However, I do feel that this post is necessary, for a few reasons. The people who know me personally are well aware that I treat movie critics with practically no respect. They say don’t go see something, I go and see it, they highly recommend something, I ignore it. Granted, there are always a few exceptions. My unusual taste in music, movies, literature and art leads me to have my doubts about many critics. 

So, Sucker Punch, the consensus of the critic community: Don’t bother, yes, it really is that absolutely terrible. Interestingly enough, I did not see this consensus before Jameson (a friend of mine) invited me to see it along with his sister. He had already seen it and had been majorly impressed. In retrospect I suspect that the impression was less to do with the film itself and more with the half naked women and the big guns. 

I went in, waited for the previews to pass, and proceeded to have my mind. . .essentially raped by the sheer beauty and mastery of the opening scene. A combination of extreme close-ups, sweeping pans and a impeccably timed soundtrack told me a story in just visuals and song. 

This sequence yielded background, covered all necessary exposition and provided conflict, as well as foreshadowed the importance of several aspects of the setting, and introduced me main antagonist. 

The first setting of the movie is in the Asylum, our main character is escorted though the bare and ugly halls of the Lennox House. The main antagonist then presents the protagonist and the audience with the the main and only obvious theme of the story: The Theatre.

The theatre is run by a heavily accented Polish psychotherapist, who uses music and the Theatre to attempt to heal her patients. Up to now, everything has been harsh, gross and dully painful. We have been in the realm of the Ego. 

The moment that we are fully on the stage, the scene and setting changes. The main character is now in a brothel run by a mobster, whose clients include the “High Roller” and the very Mayor of the City. Here, the protagonist “Babydoll” is instructed by the psychotherapist turned dance instructor to dance. It is her only means of survival in this world of lust, pain and anxiety. Welcome to Babydoll’s SuperEgo. 

Babydoll gets onto the dance floor, and does nothing. But the point is then made clear to her, dance, or die. She closes her eyes, the music changes, and we step deep inside her Id. The setting is once again different, the snowy, cold and unforgiving courtyard of a Japanese style temple. Here she meets an old man, who prepares her for her journey, and gives her two weapons, a sword and a gun, along with a list of things she will need to escape. An astute viewed can recognize the Animus. 

Here manifest both the greatest and most terrifying aspects of Babydoll’s mind. The Demonic Samurai warriors intent on killing her, but also her skill and power. 

Thus the film continues with its strong visuals and haunting soundtrack, leaping between the terrors of the SuperEgo in the brothel to the fantastical action packed missions in the id, all of them handed down by the Journey Man. 

At this point, the film has three points of tension, in the Asylum, the days before Babydoll is lobotomized is running out, in the brothel, the days before Babydoll is sold to the High Roller are likewise running out, and in the deepest part of her mind, the third setting, each scene is its own mini plot. 

In the end, we have the combination of the three parts of Babydoll’s mind, and with it the solution to the Wise Man’s Mystery “fifth part of the plan” to escape. 

Babydoll has integrated, although we do not see this onscreen, but when the plan is prepared, she, now a complete and fully realized person, willingly sacrifices herself to see the mission through and allow her companion to escape. As she is about to die in the SuperEgo (the Brothel World) we are ripped back to the real world where she is lobotomized. In that second of consciousness the doctor performing the “surgery” sees something in her eyes, her willingness and acceptance of her fate. 

It is not until after Babydoll is no longer a player in the story that we are then allowed to see that what happened in the SuperEgo manifested in the Ego as well. Her actions have transversed her own worlds. 

This is, of course, my own little philosopher/writer interpretation. Even without the background or interpretation, the cinematography, visuals, music, and the combination alone present a very nicely pieced and aesthetically pleasing film. 

 

Despicable Me

Many things about quite possibly my new favourite movie.
First off, the kid in the opening sequence (Justin) way too fat to actually run up the scaffolding of the pyramid, he is way too fat to outrun the Egyptian security, this is insanely amusing.

Another thing, The intro is perfect, Because it shows Gru as he is, he creates happiness, so he may take it away, a true Villain!

Then enter the Minions, hey are essentially highly trained children, with insane senses of humor. More about them later.
So, Miss Hatty, I totally called it! The moment I saw her, I knew that she was going to be a total bitch. Writer’s instinct I guess.

The Box of Shame is . . .incredible! I suppose that villains come in all sorts of forms, both those with Boxes of Shame and those with Shrink rays. . .

One thing that really put this movie together for me was the fact that we have hints at subplot form the very beginning, everything is foreshadowed at least once, and the characters actually have personalities, We see Edith’s annoyances from the beginning, as well as Agnes’ unicorn obsession and her willingness to see everything in a very positive light, unlike the aforementioned Edith tends to see the negative. The older sister, Margo, is caring and well rounded, although clearly vengeful.

The call from Gru’s mother also greatly helps the story, It sets up background info for later and also helps ground the story, in a world where Shrink Rays and Freeze rays exist, annoying mothers are also still a problem.
Of course, although Gru has a reason to be a villain, he is also villainous and evil because he can.His random acts of violence clearly portray this.

Enter Vector, Vector is a bored son of a Villain Banker. He is simply living up to expectations without even trying, able to actually do real villainy, he’s simply trying to impress someone. He is generally uncaring about the world, other than his image.

Of course, this makes the fight between them even better. After Gru and Dr. Nefario have their little disagreement, Gru decided to take on Vector for lying to him and kidnapping the girls.

Of course, the story follows a predictable pattern, Gru needs the girls, he grows to like them, they are taken from him, he recovers them, although in the process he also discovers his heroic side. A classic story, but it is the writing that makes it spectacular, particularly the dialogue.

In the end, all the strings are tied together, Vector is defeated, the mother is proud, Gru keeps the girls. and everyone is happy. Even the subplots with the floating minion is brought to a close in the end.

Gender Role Blurring In Dracula

As an Urban Fantasy writer, vampires are often on my mind, here is another blurb on the social implications and the meaning of Vampires and Vampirism, especially in Dracula (one of my favorite vampire novels of all times!!)

In Dracula, several characters are seen following roles and actions that are usually reserved for the opposite sex, these situations allow for the Victorian reader to understand that this is a special situation and that something is not right. In clearer terms, the switching and blurring of gender roles allows for a greater sense of strangeness and wrongness for the novel to continue successfully as horror fiction.

Jonathan Harker is the first character we see allowing himself to be feminized, firstly when he is captured by the Brides of Dracula and his reactions are entirely passive and feminine: “I lay quiet, looking out under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation” (Stoker, 32). Eventually he manages to escape them, only to end up in a bed, ill, not only physically from the Brides’ blood drinking, but also mentally as his reality is altered and he believes himself to be going insane: “. . . In his delirium his ravings have been dreadful; of wolves and poison and blood; of ghosts and demons.” Jonathan’s hallucinations and symptoms fit what physicians would attribute to hysteria, which is generally a woman’s ailment. (OED). His six weeks in bed allow him to regain himself and therefore bring him back into the normal boundaries of manhood, this rehabilitation is fully realized and sealed by his marriage to Mina.

However, the character who challenges traditional gender roles the most is Mina. She uses a typewriter, and is economically stable on her own. She is also able to act as one of the men, helping plan out situations and make sense of the chaos that Dracula brings to London. It is her notes and her work that ultimately lead to the death of Dracula. Her actions are reflective of a modern woman, as compared to a traditional Victorian woman; however she is still bound to her culture: “Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina! She has man’s brain-a brain that a man should have were he much gifted-and a woman’s heart. The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when He made that so good a combination” (Stoker, 201). In this case, Mina’s masculinity is acceptable because she is still a woman who plays by the rules that she is meant to follow, that is, she marries and is, unlike Lucy, controllable by her husband.

Dracula, on the flip side, cannot be controlled by anyone, and his own sexuality and gender roles are even more questionable than Jonathan’s or Mina’s. When Jonathan  find himself a victim to the Brides, it is the Count, a man, who comes to his rescue, but his intentions are not in order to save a fellow man (as a general protective motion towards masculinity itself) but because: “This man belongs to me! Beware how you meddle with him, or you’ll have to deal with me!” which brings his intentions into question, and further inquiring (or hinting at) about his sexuality as the narrative continues: “Then the Count turned, after looking at my face attentively and said in a soft whisper:- “Yes, I too can love;”(Stoker, 33). This is after Jonathan finds himself being served dinner by Dracula, rather than the brides, although he does not seem to find this behavior strange, which serves as a set up for the question of the Count’s own sexual roles, as later he goes on using deceptive techniques to seduce the women whose blood he drinks. In the Victorian society that the novel is set, it is women who use the deceptive techniques and the secrecy. Men like Quincy, use strength, and other men, like Van Helsing, use knowledge, but not cleverness or seduction.

Three main characters are portrayed in ways, or in situations where gender roles are reversed. The view of Mina as a modern woman, although with traditional aspects, is shown as she is considered to be at times, one of the group of men. Jonathan often finds himself a victim, in very weak and feminine situations, but it is the Count himself who pushes the lines of sexuality: in role, in taste and in  attitude.

Grendel and the Higgs Boson

I’ve just finished reading John Gardner’s Grendel and I had to write a short blurb about it. This is what I wrote, I intended to make it longer, but I had a page limit.

The Higgs Boson.

Grendel’s attitude and his behavior are highly elegant and philosophical. And as Ayn Rand once put it, “all work is an act of philosophy” and extending the assumption further, all existence is an act of philosophy as well, especially Grendel’s. It is because of this that Grendel is the only solid character and the only defining thing in the entire novel. The story is entirely defined and dependant on him.

If it were not obvious from the title of the novel, Grendel asserts himself as the stronger (and almost only) force in the work. Unlike in other works, where titular characters are unaware of their situation or their influences, Grendel is aware of his situation: “Nothing was changed, everything was changed, by my having seen the dragon (Gardner, 75)” He is aware of both the fact that for the world around, him, everything remains exactly the same, yet as for himself and the dragon, everything is different. Grendel is incredibly aware of the changes, or rather, the flux, of his existence and its ultimate meaninglessness. Grendel’s world is reduced to himself, although this discovery, this philosophy, does in no way stand against its opposing force: the importance of the self and the individual.  His voice then, characterized by short, descriptive clauses: “I blink. I stare in horror (Gardner, 5)” sets the tone for the further expression of his ego, and allows for the reader to understand that the world is reduced to Grendel because he considers himself to be the only thing worth noticing.

Grendel’s reductionist philosophy takes him down a nihilistic rabbit hole: “nihil ex nihilo (Gardner, 150)” Out of nothing, nothing exists, except for the observer, that is, both Grendel and the reader. This is exemplified and clearly pointed out in the one statement that defines him: “I understood that the world is nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly place our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or that I push against, blindly- as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink. (Gardner, 21-22)”

Each sentence containing the word ‘I’ is then set apart, not merely as a causality, but as a rigid, undeniable and unquestioning statement of Grendel’s unshakable sense of life. It is obvious, that Grendel Is. Like the Higgs Boson, Grendel gives existence to himself and it is only when he tricked by Beowulf that he shows any sign of losing his control, even then as he lies bleeding to death, his final words haunt and define the future of his destroyers: “So may you all (Gardner, 174)”