Thursday, January 17, 2019

Chicanonautica: Seduced, Hallucinating Tex(t) And/Or Mex

by Ernest Hogan

When William Anthony Nericcio gave me a copy of his Tex(t)-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the “Mexican” in America he struck out his name for the title page, the way Carlos Fuentes taught him to, and autographed it, and added a cartoon balloon that made Speedy Gonzales, with “not Chicano” on his sombrero say: For Ernest Hogan, whose trippy novel High Aztech blew my mind!

Which is the effect I intended my novel to have on the reader. I am happy to report that Tex(t)-Mex had a similar effect on me.

It's rare that I find ideas similar to mine in books. Tex(t)-Mex not only echoes my twisted reality, but provides material that I wasn't aware of. Nericcio must be more obsessed with this stuff than I am.

And just what is this “stuff?”

Why, the bizarre ways that “America” perceives “Mexicans,” of course!

And by “Mexicans” we mean all Latinoids, be they o/a, a/o, x, or whatever newfangled, unpronounceable suffix the current identity crisis spawns.

America” has trouble seeing us. We are distorted by a haze of stereotypes and prejudices. Tex(t)-Mex dives in and does rocking, rasquache riffs on some prime examples, Orson Welles’ border fantasy Touch of Evil, ethnic Frankenstein sex monster Rita Hayworth, cartoon mini-superhero Speedy Gonzales, vomiting suicide Lupe Vélez, and even feminist/hipster goddess Frida Kahlo as documented by Gilbert Hernandez.

Yes, even when “Latinos” depict their own, it gets seductive and hallucinatory.

The problem is that America has trouble seeing “Mexicans.” Hollywood always gets us wrong. Even recent popular movies have token Latinoid as comedy relief with funny accents. And if you show up in real life, and are too different from the stereotypes that the society holds dear, things get . . . weird.

I know. Back in the twentieth century, nobody seemed to have any use for a Sci-Fi Chicano. Publishers didn’t see any money in it--New York still treats me like an illegal alien. A lot of my fellow “Latinos” thought that I was being traitorous working in a genre that celebrates technology, that they all knew was a tool of the oppressors.

Why couldn’t I write about our reality?

Our reality is different from Anglo reality. Documentary accounts of our lives get called “magical” realism. My attempts at journalism--with a little tweaking--often can pass for science fiction.

Which is why Tex(t)-Mex was such a pleasure. See? It’s not just me. There’s a major culture disruption here that we all have to learn to navigate.

Tex(t)-Mex, in all its postmodern, seductive hallucinatory glory, with lots of visuals that could trigger bouts of post-McLuhan nostalgia, is valuable for both Anglos and Latinos in becoming educated for the upheaval to come.

Besides, political correctness is just creating new stereotypes. Just as seductive and hallucinatory as ever, still steering away from reality.

I wonder if they’ll ever be able to see us? Maybe if we take off the sombrero, and the mask, shave the moustache, peel off the face, crack open the skull, expose the brain. . .

Ernest Hogan is scanning the mutating landscape, writing, drawing, and otherwise attacking 2019.

1 comment:

Memo Nericcio said...

Gracias Ernest for the love! The feeling is mutual!