Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chicanonautica: Pancho Villa Wants You to Drink Responsibly on a Different Frontier

by Ernest Hogan

I panicked for a moment. A story of mine was about to come out, soon, very soon, and I found a factual error. And it was too late to do anything about it.

I start my story Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus with Villa drinking tequila. The problem is, I had just found out that he didn’t drink.

It was only one line -- the first. I could easily change it in future editions . . . 

Meanwhile, We See a Different Frontier: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology is available. Buy it, read it, live it.

Then I remembered that Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus is an alternate universe spaghetti with a surreal, postcolonial agenda. The real Pancho Villa -- whose real name was José Doroteo Arango Arámbula -- never met Nikola Tesla, and didn’t have a death ray, or an airship. I had a wonderful time putting history through a wood-chipper. ¡Viva la deconstruction!

Hopefully, the readers will take it that way . . .

Yeah, some of them probably won’t, but I’ll worry about later.

Besides, I found out about Villa’s teeototalismo in a battered copy of Clifford Irving’s Tom Mix and Pancho Villa that I picked up in a used bookstore in Santa Fe. Irving is best known for his hoax biography of Howard Hughes. I wasn’t sure how realistic his rambunctious, entertaining book was.

My online fact-checking took me to a site that listed it among “Things you didn’t know about the Mexican Revolution’s most famous leader.”  Why is this a little known fact? Why don’t we see public service spots with Pancho telling young people to just say no?

Or in his words: El alcohol mata a los pobres y la educación los salva.

I probably don’t have to wander far from my house to find a bar where saying that Villa didn’t drink would cause a riot.

And this hasn’t stopped people from naming brands of tequila and bars after him.

He also didn’t discourage his soldiers from drinking, or smoking marijuana -- he’s credited with coining the word -- and the song La Cucaracha is said to be about a cannabis-indulging Villista. 

The myth figure conflicts with history. Like a superhero, there were things Doroteo did in private that Pancho didn’t do in public. So, maybe I’ll be forgiven for making him into postcolonial Obie-Wan Kenobi inspiring an airship to cross the border and head for Hollywood.

It’s all mythoteching on a different frontier.

Ernest Hogan’s story Pancho Villa’s Flying Circus is in new anthology of postcolonial science fiction, We See a Different Frontier. His recombocultural novel High Aztech is available for Kindle and other devices from Smashwords.


Adrian said...

lol...funny post, and good job pointing out the irony of Pancho not being a drinker. I saw that your book got one good review already, I downloaded the 20% sample. I got through the first 11 pages, and I can tell it's going to take me a long time to read. Lots of new words there. Seems interesting, and it's only 2.99, right in my price range! Thanks for making it so affordable, by the way. -Adrian


Thank you for giving my book a try --sounds like HIGH AZTECH. Take it slow, let the Españahuatl sink in. I actually wrote it, imagining that the reader would not know what any of them meant like a Chicano mad scientist messing with the linguistic landscape. Hope you decide to buy, if not, enjoy the sample.