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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

La increíble hazaña de ser mexicano (2010)

I read this book (whose title is equivalent to "the incredible feat of being Mexican) because I have always enjoyed Heriberto Yépez's writing. We've never met in person but have had friendly conversations on the internet. This book shows his habitual brilliance and is a classic example of exceptionalist / anti-exceptionalist thinking. In other words, the rejection of old versions of identity in favor of the "New Mexican" who will take inspiration from Vasconelos (raza cósmica). It has some psychoanalysis, psychohistory. Some acute cultural analysis. It does repeat the commonplaces from other writers on Mexican identity, in an effort at going beyond them.

His point about humor as repressive mechanism is very good. According to him, humor (like laughing at corrupt politicians) is not transgressive, but pretty much leaves things in their place.

I don't know enough to take issue with anything he writes here, not being a Mexicanist or even close. I don't even know enough to agree with him! Some points are more convincing than others, prima facie, but I will let people who know better sort that out.

I will use the book, though, as a classic example of many of the points I am making in "13 Ways of Looking at the Poetics of Cultural Exceptionalism." Especially my axiom that says: "exceptionalism draws strength from weakness." The devastating dissection of the classic Mexican character has, as its aim, the triumphant emergence of a new subject.

1 comment:

profacero said...

I have to read this and I am now promoting on Facebook.