Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chicanonautica: NeoAztecs Among Us

Once upon a time, before the Internet, I was turning in episodes of Brainpan Fallout on a floppy disc (remember them?) in a Mexican restaurant. I was careful not to get salsa on them. “This is like one of your stories,” someone said.

As a science fiction writer, I don’t try to predict the future. I just have a feeling for changes I see  happening and wonder What If, and If This Goes On. When I first started projecting Aztec and other preColumbian cultures into the future, it was seen as far-out and esoteric. Cortez on Jupiter, High Aztech, and Smoking Mirror Blues weren’t considered to be very bloody likely.

Now, in Silgo XXI, people keep telling me that the news seems like my stories, especially when things preColumbian manifest. 

This was from a news story from 2008:

Officials in Mexico City's governing body estimate that a decade ago there were about 50 Aztec revivalist groups in the capital. Today there are closer to 300, all part of a movement calling itself La Mexhicanidad, one of the fastest-growing urban subcultures around.
Also from the same year:
Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard wants all city employees, from hospital workers to bus drivers, to learn the Aztec language Nahuatl in an effort to revive the ancient tongue, the city government said.

And more recently, in a piece that compared the Aztecs to the Nazis, and criticized multiculturalism:
Imagine an alternative history where the Aztecs sail across the Atlantic Ocean to set up their pyramids of sacrifice in Paris.
And there are those who have given the Aztecs a New Age makeover, convinced that they were all really peaceful vegetarians, and all that talk about war and human sacrifice is just racist propaganda. You can see them climbing Teotihuacán and Mayan pyramids to recharge their energy on the Equinox.
More akin to my NeoAztecs and Aztecans is the Mexica Movement. Mexica being what the Aztecs called themselves.
Their website is interesting, going beyond the Chicano Movement’s visions of Aztlán. All the native peoples of the Américas including the mestizos (a word they don’t like) are one people, the Nican Tlaca, and their nation is Anahuac.
The United States of Anahuac . . . hmm . . .
Other words they reject are Hispanic and Latino, which they consider racist nods to European cultures.
I’d quote from them, but their homepage warns, in bigger letter than these:
They also have a page to help those who want adopt Nahuatl names.
I remember how thirty years ago, I was excited at meeting girls named Xochitl. These days I run into a lot of Nahuatl and Mayan names on Twitter and Facebook. Welcome to my world.
Meanwhile, our culture here in Anahuac is going Aztecan. Young people are being sacrificed, by each other, and by militarized law enforcement agencies. I wonder what gods they are being sacrificed to.
Ernest Hogan is addicted to getting published and to committing acts of creative blasphemy. He’s found people who think it's amusing, and who help him. He has made sacrifices over the years, and now there’s no stopping him.


Giora said...

It's not practical to go back to the past. And the Olmecs and Mayans dominated Mexico before the Aztecs. But reminding Mexicans about their origins and history is always good. One of the characters in my Mexican novel is named Xochitl and it's a beautiful name. There are projections that American Mexicans (or Latino Americans) will be the majority in California within a decade, and there are similar trends to South West ... so the cycle of history will make the European in many parts of North America a minority once again.


Yeah, I'm more interested in creating futures than reanimating the past, though cultural necromancy can be fun, especially when it scares certain people out of their mindsets. I wish I could get some accurate stats on the Latino majority thing. Some news stories say it's already happened, others still say it's in the future. Where does the present end and sci-fi begin?

Mario Acevedo said...

Great observations, as usual. I have a problem accepting that life was all peace and harmony in America (oh no, another European word!) before colonization. Malintzin didn't have any conflicts screwing the Aztecs considering what they had done to her people. And everybody was afraid of the Comanches.


Wars and conflicts go way back in the so-called New World. Funny how idealists like to put a utopian spin on undocumented history. Forensic evidence of wars and human sacrifice are there for all to see. Also, the truth comes out when you talk to native people -- I live in Arizona, where you run into Indians every day. I think the truth is always more interesting, and make material for richer fantasies. Peace and harmony make for dull fiction.

Anonymous said...

In my novels and short stories, I avoid peace and harmony, even striking out hints of them in any given sentence or word. I would sell very little if all my characters got along. Okay, I still sell very little but that's for a future comment where I can fit it in.


Good stories tend to be about people NOT getting along. Culture clashes are the stuff of drama.

Anonymous said...

Conflict is the cornerstone of fiction. That's why fiction rhymes with friction. Fiction is an animal born of and borne by friction.

What is one of the funniest "fictions" a guy (but not his wife or girlfriend) can enjoy and one of the most successful fictions ever—The 3 Stooges. Yet for all the nonsense and pure silliness, their success derives from friction. One of them is regularly pounding on one of the other two. Friction to the head.


It's all friction. And I consider myself to be an all-purpose stooge.

Anonymous said...

Literary ping pong with a master. I lay my paddle down and dissolve into a corner.