Posts by :

    The end of popular culture?

    Comments Off on The end of popular culture?

    First off I just want to say that doing this reading was very to relate to since the subject was not just something I had heard about but already previously experienced. In this case I’m talking about Jennifer Lopez and more specifically her rise to fame and the impact of her body on our culture. Furthermore the sentiments projected in the Salsa in London article, I’ve witnessed many times in North America even if it wasn’t with Salsa. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading the article on the Marcos movement I had just never heard of it before. In fact I thought it was a very enthralling article shedding light on the level of performance that was involved to make the whole movement work. The costumes, props and masks were all key in creating intrigue, and uniting people who previously didn’t have a voice. To me the distinction between a uniform and a costume is very small. Why is that when its the military or government workers its a uniform but when its anyone else its a costume? They have the same purpose to make the group easily identifiable as part of their affiliation and let you know that you can come to them for help. I think by utilizing this manner of dress Sub Comandante Marcos did a very smart thing. They used what they needed to in order to get their message out, is it trickery that you planned a performance to do it. I think its not any worse than what any politician today does on the campaign trail. Going back to the Hollywood Latina body article, I thought it was interesting how the writer really focused on Jennifer Lopez’s acting career when for me I had no idea who she was until she came out with her first c.d. In my mind she was always a singer first and an actress second. This is of course largely influenced by the fact that when her first movies were coming out I was too young to be interested in seeing them however her music videos played on Mtv were quick and fun. Soon there after the media was saturated with talk and images of her backside. I can’t really remember how I felt about it at the time, but I think now that the acceptance of a fuller booty was a step in the right direction moving out to the waif image of the nineties. However she is still a very small woman, who although having some curves is not an icon for full figured women. On the other hand I do remember seeing some of her films after she had already become famous. Again I’ve never acknowledged her as a great actress but she doesn’t come across badly onscreen either. The idea that this one woman’s rear end has been talked about more than actually news is appalling but is indicative of our culture right now. All in all I think that this article made me realize that celebrities even if I’m not a fan, do impact my life more than I would care to admit.

    The LAST Blog

    Comments Off on The LAST Blog


    Firs of all sorry for the delay… again. We’ll I dont really know where to start with this blog. I took this blog because, as this is -hopefully- my last term at UBC, I wanted to study things that I am curious about. When I read the title of the course, I really really really wanted to see how we could cover an entire region of the world in 12 weeks. It was soon obvious that was not the case, that instead we were going to learn some general theories that could be applied to almost every latin american country one way or another.

    The first part of the course was really interesting for me, this is because I really enjoyed discussing this theories with the rest of the class. It was ‘cool’ to see how ‘outsiders’ would interpret a theory regarding the region. Also, I learned a bunch of theoretical stuff that I didnt even know exited. The mid-term project was also an eye-opener in the sense that it ‘forced’ me to look for infiltrations of popular latin american culture into the everyday Canadian life. Yet, this blog thing was by far the best for me. Though I had a hard time keeping up with it at the end, it was always good to write down a couple of thoughts and a great way to see what others were thinking about. In many other classes one only gets to know what the outspoken are thinking regarding the issue at hand, and this was not the case for LAST 201.

    In terms of the content, I really enjoyed the last second half of the course with all the examples and videos. It was cool to analyze things that just a few years ago where part of the ‘background’. Yet, even better was being able to connect this things to previous unknown theories or literary works.

    I hope you all enjoyed the course as much as I did. Thank you Jon

    I’m out… for good this time :)

    Ftubol y telenovelas

    Comments Off on Ftubol y telenovelas

    Siendo un fanatico del futbol, estaba esperando con ansias esta lectura. El futbol, para muchos latinoamericanos es mas que un deporte mas. Es una pasion; es parte de la vida de uno. Uno va al estadio y practicamente es como un jugador mas en la cancha. Esta ahi gritando y sudando la camiseta y mas que nada quiere que su equpio gane y salga campeon. Es cierto que el futbol genera pasiones y sentimientos muy fuertes, sin embargo esto aveces es llevado a extremos y se puede convertir en algo negativo. En Peru por ejemplo hay barrios en donde la mayoria, si es que no son todos, son hinchas de un equipo. Si uno va a ese barrio con la camiseta del equipo contrario practicamente se puede despedir del mundo. Esto es algo que genera esta pasion por el futbol. Crea hinchas de distinto equipos y estos van a defender la camiseta y el honor de su equpio no importa que.

    Me gusto la lectura ya que podemos ver que tan grande es la influencia del futbol en Brazil. Bellos utiliza el mundial de 1950 para ilustrar su punto. Este mundial resulto ser una gran sorpresa para todos ya que nadie penso que Uruguay iba a ganarle en Brazil y menos Brazil estando de local. El mundial resulto ser muy importante para Brazil ya que fue un evento el cual les servia para demostrarles al mundo quienes eran. La construccion del estadio maracana representaba un simbolo de progreso y orgullo para los brazileros en un momento en el cual estaban construyendo su identidad nacional. El perder la copa del mundo para los brazileros fue un golpe muy bajo y una decepcion muy grande. El hecho de haber terminado con una dictadura, ser anfitriones del mundial y construir un super estadio al parecer no tuvo el impacto que tuvo al comienso ya que todo se vino abajo cuando perdieron la copa.

    La segunda lectura la verdad que no me intereso ya que pienso que las telenovelas son de los mas estupido que hay y al intentar ver una ves una novela me quede dormido. Creo que si algun uso tienen es que si uno quiere dormir y no puede, mirar una telenovela ayudara en esto. Lo peor es que estan practicamente en todos los canales latinos y a casi todas las horas. Algo que tampoco me gusta de las telenovelas es que estas se situan en mundo ideal y la gente se cree esto. Como dijo Salavador, en la novelas el bien siempre gana, el pobre se convierte en rico, etc, etc. Tiene toda la razon y pienso lo mismo. Es una misrepresentacion de la vida real.


    Comments Off on Transculturacion

    La transculturacion es un proceso de cambio cultural inducido por la introduccion de elementos de otra cultura. El crea este termino, transculturacion y lo separa del termino aculturacion, el cual es un proceso de modificacion de una cultura de un grupo debido al contacto con otra. Para Ortiz, el termino transculturacion expresa mejor las diferentes fases del proceso de transicion de una cultura a otra porque esta no consiste en simplemente adquirir otra cultura, que es lo que la aculturacion realmente implica, pero el proceso tambien involucra la perdida de una cultura previa.

    En comparacion a las lecturas de Vasconcelos y Wade, Oritz reconoce que el proceso de transculturacion puede ser un Proceso dificil y doloroso. El concepto de transculturacion puede ser relevante hoy en dia ya que nosotros estamos siendo summations a un gran intercampus de ideas que vienen de practicamante todo el mundo. Todo esto gracias a los medios de comunicacion. Tambien, la teoria de mestizaje no abarca procesos sociales, politicos y economicos que permiten a algunos rasgos sociales estar por encima de otros a pesar de incluir una simple mescla de razas.

    En la lectura de Millington, la teoria de transculturacion tiene ventajas y desventajas. El sugiere que Ortiz tiene un sentido agudo del porque el termino transculturacion es necesitado en Latino America. El sentido historico y politico de Ortiz son importantes en recordarnos de la intensidad de ciertas realidades Latino Americanas las cuales han empujado a una transculturacion consiente y strategica al frente. Sin embargo, esta teoria tiene desventajas. Entre las desventajas, Millington dice que hay una falta de especificacion, por momentos de procesos culturales y por otro lado tampoco esta claro la conexion entre teoria y circunstancia.


    Comments Off on Mestizaje

    Desde el comienso de los tiempos han habido siempre una mescla de culturas y de gente. Pero nose porque siempre que uno habla de mestizaje lo primero que le viene a la mente cuando se habla de mestizaje (o al menos a mi y a gente que conosco es latino america). Es cierto que hablar de este tema es delicado en latino america y es cierto que hay mucho racismo en esta zona y una division de poderes visible.

    La primera lectura de Vasconcelos “The Cosmic Race”, seguro le ha caido mal a mucha gente de la clase. Sin embargo creo que podemos aprender mucho de la mentalidad que habia en esos tiempos y los esfuerzos que la gente trataba de hacer para decifrir o para definir una raza. En el ensayo encontramos muchas generalizaciones acerca de identidad racial y diferencias biologicas. Cosas que seguro en ese tiempo fueron muy controversiales y que ahora han sido desmentidas. Lo que me parecio mas interesante fue cuando dijo que los latinos obtuvieron la independencia de espagnoles y portugueses, pero sin embargo dependemos de los anglosajones.

    En general yo creo que en estos tiempos la gente no quiere hablar de racismo o algo que tenga que ver con razas. La verdad que no se porque. La gente tiene miedo de tocar el tema, sin embargo yo creo que es muy importante hablar de esto porque es un tema el cual es muy relevante aun hoy en dia.

    Cultura Folk

    Comments Off on Cultura Folk

    De las dos lecturas la que mas me gusto fue la de Jose Maria Arguedas. Esto porque me hace recordar al tipo de historias que son contadas por gente mayor (abuelos) a gente mas joven. Es una historia la cual nos muestra al pongo, el cual es constantemente maltratado por su patron. Al pongo no le queda otra mas que obedecer y hacer todo lo que su patron le dice. Esta claro que hay una division de poderes, en la cual el patron que es blanco se encuentra por encima del pongo que es nativo. En latino america podemos ver que tambien hay una division de poderes en la cual encontramos que la gente con mas poder o dinero son gente blanca o descedientes de europeos. Sin embargo, en la hisotria vemos que por un momento hay un cambio en esta division de poderes. El pongo termina situandose por encima del patron y esto haciendolo intelectualmente sin que el pongo tenga que resolver a la violencia. Esto dice mucho ya que mucha gente ve a los nativos como gente bruta o que no le gusta trabajar. En esta historia el pongo es brillante y contradice la imagen negativa que muchos en latino america y en otros lados tienen hacia los nativos.


    Comments Off on LAST LAST…

    Hello classmates and professor,
    I hope you had a little chuckle after reading my “hilarious” pun/title. But it’s true, last tuesday was our last LAST 201 class and it’s sorta hard to imagine that already its over. I am super happy/excited that MY first year at university is OVER!!!… almost.( I still have exams and a paper to write. ) But it was not like the year was not exciting nor happy, I just enjoy how time keeps moving forward. (means more adventures to take on!)
    Anyways, I would like to list some of the things I enjoyed most/ what I will take away with me and suggestions. First I would say that I liked writing blogs. It added a new medium to the class that was new for me. It would have been nice to include a little more of the blogs into the classroom discussions though. I would have liked to each week perhaps to read one of the blogs out loud in class and then discuss about it for a bit. But i know that some people are shy and don’t want people to read their blogs out loud..
    Another thing I enjoyed was the second part of the semester in our class. I am super appreciative Jon, that you took the time to listen to our criticisms and tried to incorporate some of our suggestions in the class. The beginning was a bit repetitive in terms of style, but later we had videos and learnt about your trip to Haiti that added a new dynamic to the class. I liked how you incorporated youtube into academia! But one suggestion I have is to have in class presentations instead of writing a review paper. Or we could present our review paper in any form of a presentation because I think that it would be interesting to hear about everybody’s experiences. After all sharing experiences is part of the fabric of culture right? One of the reasons why I wanted to take latin american studies was to meet latinos haha.. but also to meet other people who have travelled to south america or are just interested in the different cultures. So if we could have organized some social event/ field trip that would have been fun!
    What I will take away from this class is a broader knowledge on the topic of mixing theories and culture. I didn’t know there was so much debate in the cultural literary world. Doing the final paper was a really good way to tie everything together.

    Thanks everybody and hope to see you around!


    Comments Off on Fruit?

    Have you choose your fruit yet?? I think I earned a couple extra marks there… I made you and the whole class laugh… hahaha

    Mi Ultimo Blog

    Comments Off on Mi Ultimo Blog

    Well well well…
    We have reached the end! Hard to believe in a few weeks Summer will be here, long days at wreck beach and enjoying the Sun finally after 8 long months. All in all, this class was not entirely what I expected. It was harder, more theoretical and more academic than I had imagined it would be. I must admit, after reading many of the essays, I would put that packet down and have not much of an idea of anything I had just read. However, what I found interesting about this class, is even though I found the material challenging and confusing, after leaving the lectures, I felt that I really had come to many new understandings. I guess many of the readings just needed a bit of an explanation and once I caught on, my perspectives on many previously. For example, I was truly angry after reading that article about the Coral Reef, because I really couldn’t understand what the author was getting at. However, once it was explained to me in a way that made sense, this perspective has become really useful in understand culture in new ways. Things that should have been easy, like defining what culture even is (I am an anthropology student) proved to be difficult, but it was in overcoming that difficulty that I felt that I really learned a lot. I enjoyed learning about Murals in Mexico, and the U.S. Mexico border as a contested space that both brings cultures together, and also divides them. I enjoyed discussing things like Soap Operas and Futbol that seemed trivial at first, but came to represent much more about Latin American culture and society upon closer inspection. I really enjoyed discussing the element of performance in the case of the Zapatistas…but I must admit, I’m still a bit unsure about how I feel having discussed J-Lo’s butt in depth in class, never thought I would see that day. I like the idea that cultures do not merely come to exist out of a slow and natural process, but rather there is intension, power struggles, and strong social forces that have always and will continue to shape culture, as culture is fluid and easily maliable. Certain elements of this class pushed my comfort levels a bit, such as having a blog (never thought I would be the blogging type) and being called on randomly in class by Jon (that always freaks me out a bit).

    All in all, its been real. Have a good summer everyone!

    Last post…

    Comments Off on Last post…

    <!– @page { size: 21cm 29.7cm; margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –>

    I will confess that I have some difficulties to realize that we are at the end of the year. The end of the year also means for me the end of my exchange year and my return to France! I will definitely miss Vancouver and the way of learning in Canada. Indeed, in France the courses are more based on theoretical analysis. Actually, I really enjoy to explore concepts throughout the studies of different kind of texts (essays, speeches, narratives,..). I also found really interesting that we have to write a blog. Indeed, I think that it encourage the discussion. Similarly, I really like discussing about the readings in class in small group.

    However, even if I assume that all the texts were interesting, I think that some readings were a little too long. In fact, I have the impression that in course, we do not have enough time to discuss deeply all the concepts of the texts. Moreover, I would have enjoyed to have more background about the readings, because I guess that, contrary to many people in the class, I do not know a lot about the social and political history of Latin America.

    Anyway, I particularly enjoyed reading the text of Rowe William and Vivian Schelling because I assume that it deeply stresses the impact of modernization on the popular culture.

    Finally, I think that the course was really interested. Now, I feel like to learning more not only about popular culture in Latin America but also about history of Latin America.

    Anyway.. Happy holydays everyone and Good luck for you exams!


    Comments Off on byeee!!

    Wow!¡ Hoy es la última clase de este curso! La verdad tenía mucha curiosidad de cómo sería tener una clase de la cultura latinoamericana fuera de ella, por lo que no tenía idea de cómo iba a ser. En verdad me gustó esta clase porque tuve la oportunidad de ver cómo otra gente ve la cultura latinoamericana desde un punto de vista diferente al que la vemos en América Latina (en referencia a los análisis que hacíamos sobre determinadas lecturas y formas de expresión latinoamericana y lo que éstas reflejan). Además, cambié mi perspectiva de lo que yo creía que era cultura, pues si algo aprendí es que ésta es ordinaria y está en todos lados, en todas las cosas y acciones que realizamos.
    La forma en que se llevó la clase me gustó, porque fue interactiva, donde cada uno podía decir sus puntos de vista, ideas, los videos complementaban las discusiones y tuvimos una visión más amplia de lo que estábamos tratando. Quizá podrían incluirse un mayor número de lecturas que representaran cada uno de los temas, en vez de que fuesen pocas, pero largas.
    Durante estos meses fuera de mi país he extrañado muchas cosas de éste, la gente, la comida, etc. y esta clase me hacía recordar México; creo que ahora me voy con una visión más amplia de la cultura latinoamericana y con ganas de aprender más sobre ésta. El hecho de que esta haya sido una clase donde habíamos varios latinos de diversas regiones creo que contribuyó a la clase.
    ¡Suerte en los exámenes y disfruten el verano!

    Final Blog

    Comments Off on Final Blog

    I truly did enjoy this class this term. It isnt entirely what I expected, but none the less I am leaving having learned quite a lot. i thought there was good variety in the readings from history to contemporary while covering many regions throughout Latin America. As I have said in blogs before, my experience with Latin America is quite limited besides several months of travel.  I am sure that my experience in the course was quite different from the many people who were from Latin America or had experience in arts courses. I really enjoyed the different learning format and learned a lot from everyone. The themes from each week built on each other quite effectively and having to blog about them really kept us all on top of the readings (well.. for the most part). Although there was some objection before, I thought it was really effective using a more controversial piece of “The Cosmic Race” to grasp global perceptions of what the products of “mixture” were. Following that up with another article and then two more rounds of “theories of mixture” was an interesting way of learning about the history of Latin America in a round about way. With everything we did learn, I thought it was interesting to have such a diverse group of learners contributing to class discussions.

    Final Blog

    Comments Off on Final Blog

    As a Latino I was very curios about this course. I wanted to take it to see how other cultures look at us and what they think. I have to admit that at first it was a little boring, we covered a lot of history about where our culture comes from, but I guess we need to know where we come from to see where we are going, so even if I didn’t like it I assume that we need it to hear it, maybe it was boring for me because I’ve already hear it quite a few times. After a while we started getting into more interesting subjects, like futbol and J.Lo, and honestly that was more what I expected from the course, to discuss more contemporary things. The first couple of classes were interesting too, because I learn things about Canadian culture. I think is always nice to see how people look at your culture from different perspectives, as we saw with both Peron’s readings, and how even if its “popular” culture it may vary with the class level you are in, so its not really popular at the end. Also things differ a lot from the eyes that are seeing it, we saw it I think more explicitly in the Pongo’s Dream where we saw how the little indian guy was abused by the “powerful” spanish guy. We also learned about the theories of mixture and how they have already helped to shape our culture, and finally we saw that our culture is endind. I don’t really think is ending, but at the end over a really long period of time what might happen due to globalization is that al cultures will fuze into one, but so far I feel that the differences are still there, and even if our culture is becoming “more globalize” is still latin and has very strong characteristics.

    The end of Popular Culture…

    Comments Off on The end of Popular Culture…

    The three readings this week were my favorite so far. The first one by Gomez-Pena illustrated the leader of the Zapatista movement, “Subcomandante” and his ‘performance’ as a leader, hero or perhaps a representation of popular culture. The Zapatistas as a “National Liberation Army” are known for their use of media and theatrical ways of getting what they want. Their war is a performance, and could be viewed as one of the first post modern liberation movements. Subcomandante is a major representative of the Zapatistas and could be viewed as “the latest pop hero in a noble tradition of performance activists..”(223). He and the Zapatistas are known for wearing black ski masks that hide their identities which in turn illustrate the planning, performance and symbolic intentions of the group. Subcomandante Maccos is a new age super hero, in some ways constructed by the people for the people.

    The second article is about Jennifer Lopez and her bum… As welll as the fact that she is a topic of discussion as a so called “crossover celebrity”. Jennifer Lopez is considered Latina from the Bronx(from Puerto Rican heritage) and has a stereotypically Latin female body. ‘Latin Body’ as in a curvy figure, like a guitar, with a nice sized bottom.. all of which has generated a sort of public obsession. The article aims to prove that J.Lo is one Latina working in Hollywood that has refused to conform to the “white” idea of what is beautiful. That she loves her booty and doesn’t feel that when a woman is wearing clothes it should look like it looks on the hanger. Her body conflicts with this mainstream pop-culture idea of what is desirable. Throughout the article, Beltran wants to portray the idea that, “it is possible to view Jennifer Lopez not as another victim constructed in a still-racist society as an ethnic sexual object…But as empowered and empowering through asserting qualities such as intelligence, assertiveness, and power-while also proudly displaying her non-normative body and declaring it beautiful”(82).
    The third article by Valesquez analyzes salsa, instruments and the performance of a Latin style and identity in London. The attempt to portray ‘Latinness’ through music and dance is not solely for people from Latin areas of the world. The talent, desire, and love of these art forms is not something that is only from ones roots. Valesquez analyzes the connections between music, bodies, and places and how they are less linked to your back ground than a lot of people think. (Or used to think?) It’s the idea that I’ve seen brought up in many anthro classes regarding the notion that ‘black people can run fast, or are good at dancing’. After hearing about these things in class its funny how I am aware of people in my daily life actually making reference to that. The thing this article says most is that there is a sort of tie between dance and Latin American people but the tie is not biological, and that its not only Latin American who know how to do it. There is latin American culture in many places around the world and other people living in those places are often inclined to join in and try out things they fine appealing within those cultures, and they will have just as good a chance as getting the dance steps as the next guy. A persons chances at getting the movements are specific to cultural practices and social meanings within their own life.

    theories of mixture 3: Hybridity

    Comments Off on theories of mixture 3: Hybridity

    In the reading about theories of mixture and hybridity, Canclini writes about popular culture and how it is an extremely complex idea. His main topics are in regards to Urban popular culture, the changes that happen in reaction to migration, atypical processes of youth as well as the underemployed who are ‘employed’ in informal markets.  His proposed hypothesis is as follows “that is makes little sense to study these ‘slighted’ processes under the aspect of popular cultures”(206).By analyzing communities and how they come to be incubators of ideas, power, and culture he is able address opposing ideas on humankind as a whole. He writes about his perhaps radical notion regarding whether we should use the term ‘popular’ at all when referring to pop culture as it is just far too broad. To him there seems little sense in using this term and instead he proposes that we use the term ‘hybrid culture’ instead. This hybrid culture he proposes is not purely popular, not purely elite and so on. To him, this is far more accurate and includes all manifestations. He goes on to point out the bond between urban and rural spaces and their relations to mass media. He also describes other areas of the more correctly termed hybrid culture such as national monuments to “reintroduce the question of the modern and postmodern uses of history”(212) We learn how monuments interact and what they represent within contemporary urban symbolism. He also looks at the arts and analyzes the fact that they are often only found in places of ‘high culture’ where much of the public is not able to enjoy it, and that the art that ends up in the public eye “facilitate the interaction of memory with change and the revitalization of heroes thanks to propaganda or transit” and basically where they are able to affect and influence to a greater extent.

    Throughout this article Conclini presents theories of hybridization. I found The idea of fragmentation really interesting when he discusses video cassette recorders , videos, photocopiers, video games… The idea that often things are ripped out of context and new versions created. I thought of records and how many musical artists wish for the album to be heard all at once. It’s the whole thing that is supposed to be heard and enjoyed. I thought specifically of the album “Another Side of Bob Dylan”. Its an amazing album, that Bob Dylan recorded in one sitting, without any retakes. Its meant to be heard all together and is really amazing when listened to that way. Not to say that its not good to hear the song ‘all I really wanna do’ on someones mixtape or ipod shuffle. Its just not the same. Anyways, I enjoyed this part of the article the most J

    the end of popular culture?

    Comments Off on the end of popular culture?

    I found the readings for this week to be some of the most interesting of the term. They were all concerned with the portrayal of Latin American culture in other areas of the world, and by the transitions which occur when (in this case) Latin American cultural expressions are adopted by foreign cultures.
    The first reading focused on the Zapatistas and Subcomandante Marcos, and the group’s use of the media to carry their message to the world. To some extent, they have turned into a cultural phenomenon and representation of their ideals. They use the media to their advantage, in essence marketing themselves, or as the author says, ‘performing’, to the world. Their most well known representative is Subcomandante Marcos, the masked enigma who is their spokesman. When I was reading the descriptions of the Zapatista movement and the Subcomandante in particular, I could not help but be reminded of Che Guevara and the following that he garnered.
    The second reading is about the differences in physical ideals between Latin American culture and ‘white’ culture. To illustrate this, the author discusses the specific example of Jennifer Lopez and her famous rear. One of the things which I found to be very interesting was the observation that Latin American culture and ‘white’ culture have extremely different ideas of what type of body is appealing; while in North America, the ‘perfect’ body is extremely thin, in Latin America it is considered to be more attractive to be voluptuous. Jennifer Lopez’s rise to Hollywood fame is significant because she not only broke out of the stereotypically “Latino actor” roles, but she did without conforming to the Hollywood idea of beauty.
    The third reading is about Salsa dancing and music in a European context, and about the adoption of a cultural characteristic by other countries. The author describes the shifting of Salsa to other countries, and also talks about some of the stereotypes which go with it. As well, the point is made that one does not have to belong to a culture in order to enjoy aspects of it.

    the end of the popular culture?

    Comments Off on the end of the popular culture?

    The last one…

    Las tres lecturas de esta semana fueron realmente interesantes y en general me gustaron, cada una describe algún evento, costumbre o idea de la cultura latinoamericana.

    Algo que me parece interesante y que se presenta principalmente en las dos primeras lecturas, de Guillermo Gómez-Peña y Mary C. Beltrán es el papel que han jugado los medios de comunicación en la formación de la cultura popular, al igual que los hemos visto en clase; por ejemplo Gómez- Peña habla sobre la habilidad del comandante Marcos para manejar los medios de comunicación, hablar de lo que ellos quieren escuchar y convertirse en el “héroe” de la época, sabía cuáles eran los medios de comunicación claves para difundir sus ideas no sólo en México, sino en el mundo y en poco tiempo se convirtió en el héroe popular, incluso, fue objeto de la mercadotecnia (hasta souvenirs se hacían con su cara o nombre) y su verdadera identidad era tema de conversación en todos lados. Creo que ni el mismo imaginó qué alcance podría llegar a tener su “lucha”. Por su parte, Mary C. Beltrán describe el estereotipo que se tiene de algunos aspectos de la cultura latina, poniendo como ejemplo a la artista puertorriqueña Jennifer López y su “admirado” cuerpo, en representación de esa parte sexy de la mujer latina. Definitivamente en ambos casos los medios de comunicación han influido de forma importante para la creación y difusión de estas ideas.

    En la lectura de Gómez- Peña fue mi favorita por la forma en que narra los hechos y los ve desde un punto de vista más cultural que creo que yo siendo de México nunca había analizado, pues siempre lo había abordado más como un problema o hecho político que aún hoy en día continúa en mi país (no con la misma fuerza obviamente, pero aún queda una parte de éste). Por ejemplo la parte en la que el autor describe la vestimenta del subcomandante Marcos como una mezcla perfectamente bien cuidada, haciendo como un collage entre los símbolos revolucionarios del siglo XX y las costumbres, además tomando los estilos de héroes como Zapata y el Che Guevara o incluso del famoso luchador mexicano “el Santo” al grado de que el New York Times lo considerara el líder guerrillero postmoderno. Por su parte, hablando de la otra lectura de Patria Román Velázquez me parece interesante la descripción que hace de la presencia de la salsa en Londres y cuán representativo es este género de la cultura latinoamericana, cosa que apoyo, pero no debe considerarse éste como la esencia de la cultura latina, ya que ésta comprende un mayor número de elementos, recordando que la cultura es ordinaria y todo lo que está en torno a ella forman parte de la misma.

    The end of popular culture?

    Comments Off on The end of popular culture?

    The reading of this week illustrated each an aspect of popular culture. The first one by Gomez-Pena showed how “el Sup” Marcos has been turned into a figure of pop culture, a super hero. The second one explained how Jennifer Lopez is a “crossover celebrity”. The last one showed insofar as Latinness could be recreated elsewhere than in Latin America. They showed new forms of popular culture, they displayed the revival of popular culture. They both present how Latin American culture (Indigenous leader, Puerto Rican body and salsa) could be mixed with modernity but also with the white culture.

    The first reading is a perfect example of mix between tradition and modernity. In order to make his claims be heard, el Sup Marcos turned himself into a character, a super hero. He created like a myth around his real identity. He is a “performance artist”. All this mythology around Marcos created a kind of industry, as the author says: “At one point it became hard to draw the line between radical politics and pop culture, between solidarity and revolutionary consumerism.”  Popular culture means that culture is made by people so Marco’s myth has been constructed by people through what they watched on TV, what they read (for instance comics). The Superhero Marcos is a construction of the 21th century. He is not the hero of a traditional legend but he is a modern one which means both a political leader but also a commercialized figure. Popular culture can’t be separated from commercialization and mass culture even if one could not reduce it to that.

    The second reading by Beltran dealt with the notion of “crossover” celebrity referring to the case of Jennifer Lopez. I would like to focus on two particular ideas: the tension between “Latinization and Latinidad” and the representation of coloured people of “evoking and denying race simultaneously”. Beltran aimed at showing that Jennifer Lopez was one of the only Latina to assume her body and refuse to conform to Hollywood standards. She wanted to erase the differences between the Latinos, the Blacks and the White just by being herself. She wanted to express her real “latinidad” instead of being the Puerto Rican girl who looks like a white that’s why Beltran speaks about a tension between “Latinization and Latinidad”. Latinization means how to represent Latinos inside the white culture so it means that Latinos have to fill the criteria of how being a good Latino according to the white audience which is not the expression of their real identity. It’s the same idea when Beltran quotes Judith Mayne: “African American characters in films often evoke and deny race simultaneously serving as projection of white anxieties about race”. In a sense, the dominant white culture shape the representation of “nonwhite ethnicity in US popular culture”. What Beltran wants to show that that Jennifer Lopez built her own publicity claiming her pride to be Latina. She tried to extract herself from the western standards.

    Finally, the last reading by Velasquez shows insofar as Latinness is conveyed through music. Latinness is a felling, a way of singing, of playing salsa. It is tied to the body but it doesn’t mean that only Latin American people know how to do, on contrary it is a way of behaving accessible to everybody. Latin American culture could be recreated everywhere in the world. However, Velasquez shows that people can’t prevent themselves from having cliché about Latin American culture. For instance, women playing salsa have to be sexy.

    It’s not the end of the Latin American popular culture but it is mixed with other cultures that is why it is precisely “popular”. People live in a global world. Borders are crossed all the times so people could pick their culture, they could reinvent it anytime.

    Popular culture as Mass culture

    Comments Off on Popular culture as Mass culture

    I really liked this weeks readings regarding the history of futbol and prominent futbol players in Latin America. The videos that we watched in class furthered my understanding as well. I believe this topic was so interesting to me because it was easily related to my own life and upbringing where pretty much everyone plays futbol in elementary school. After that the popularity somewhat wanes but many stick with it at least a recreational level throughout high school. Its almost impossible for me to imagine my childhood without the practices and games not to mention the after game snacks. The funny thing is that I was never really that crazy about it, but I am an only child and I think my parents really wanted me out of the house. In their defense I did go through a biting phase. Anyway back to the readings, I was amazed to learn about the long lasting effects of the world cup in 1950. I can’t imagine having an entire nation feeling that much sadness over something where no one person was physically hurt. A good point was made in the article though that really nothing that tragic had ever occurred in or to Brazil before. They do seem like fun-loving people and it hurts to see the film reels of so much silence and shock. On the other hand I also felt bad for the people in Uruguay who died of excitement!I suppose I would rather die at the happiest moment of my life than at the saddest Furthermore the level of recognition or remembrance that the Uruguayan players received was short lived. To this day on July 16th the Brazilian team gets calls while the Uruguayan team “lived in the moment” and when it was over so was their fame. Although . Again back to the reading I also loved learning about Garrincha, the angel with bent legs. What I found most intriguing was the comparison between Garrincha and Pele, with one being “adored” and the other “revered”. Pele was a business man he invested his money and new how to market himself. He got better because he trained hard and focused on his ultimate goal of fame, the fame his father never received. Garrincha did not want to play professionally he just loved the show, the spectacle. Like a futbol globe trotter he would pull stunts with his famous dribbling no matter what his coach had instructed him to do. To everyone’s surprise it worked, for him it was never about the money which he stored in “fruit bowls” but as a means to be a clown without having to wear the makeup. I believe that I too if I had been alive at that time would have liked Garrincha better without being able to explain why but in a way this big futbol player never really grew up something I also never wanted to do.

    J Lo, Salsa and Zapatista

    Comments Off on J Lo, Salsa and Zapatista

    I really enjoyed the readings we did this week. Despite knowing that all the stuff we covered earlier in the term was still prevalent to culture, I feel like the things that are talked about in this articles (Zapatista movement, Latina celebrity and salsa music) by Guillermo are closer the preconceived notions of culture I had thought of before this class when dealing with Latin America. Obviously after being through this course I know that these are not the only things that constitute culture, but instead a multitude of things can be considered cultural.

    It was humorous to read about Jennifer Lopez’s rear end in a scholarly situation. At times however, I felt like these articles only covered surfaces issues in popular culture, instead of getting into deeper social issues. When looking at the salsa music article argument, that salsa music crossed borders from Latin America to the UK, many social constructed were perpetuated through the songs. For instance many drew conclusions that Caucasian performers were musically talented, while stereotyping Latin performers as more rhythmic and therefore they must have played drums and percussion instruments.

    In the article that focused on JLO moving to North American main stream, the issue of stereotyping genders were highlighted. Jennifer Lopez’s success and sex symbol status in America challenged the thought that in order to be beutifle you had to be thin, as she is not that thing but more voluptuous. The fact that Jennifer Lopez was considered beautiful with her large butt challenged these views.

    What I gathered from all three articles was that culture is not easily defined but is easy to create, through social construction. The Zapatista movement leader formulated a character to present himself in public light and the movement was called a performance. JLO was successful because Hollywood constructing her image in the media. Salsa music is something that anyone can learn as long as they have instruction (or construction) from a trained individual, even then it does not necessarily mean that they are performing it right, and in many cases people can become better than their masters. It is even easier to how these movements can be consider popular culture, as they tend to cross many boarders, in Latin America, but more importantly the world. In the end does this mean that culture is becoming popular culture and the loss of individuality, I think not. Instead I think that certain items, performances and icons will always be considered Latin it is just a matter of the disperses that they get in the rest of the world.

    Bodies!! Get your bodies!! All different colors!! Get ‘em before they’re gone!

    Comments Off on Bodies!! Get your bodies!! All different colors!! Get ‘em before they’re gone!

    It seems clear to me that these last three articles, under the heading “the end of popular culture?” are directly dealing with issues of the embodied experience. The way that the body can naturally be sexualized, ethnically classified, hierarchically organized and gendered exists in all these articles. Part of this embodiment paradigm is the idea of theater which is explained well in both the Gómez-Peña piece and the Beltrán piece as well. Clearly how one uses their body dictates to some degree how theatrical they are, or how they are aware of the public domain as theatrical. It seems apparent that both Subcomandante Marcos and Jennifer Lopez have learned to use the media to their advantage, at least principally.
    I’m also beginning to wonder what role the media are playing in this pop culture arena. The Canclini article from last week posits them as part of the production of popular culture, but this weeks articles portray the media as a tool to be manipulated by those who are actually creating popular culture.
    I’m actually really surprised that a whole academic article has been written on Jennifer Lopez’ butt….Seriously. It seems strange. But if the body is the site of struggle as the title suggests, it’s worthy of some analysis. I was thinking about the production of culture as well, and how in the Jennifer Lopez article it seems to be a process of both her and the media, or her agent anyway. No longer is this production in the hands of white, male elites. A latina woman can be popular culture and can have the power through her body to alter conceptions of the popular and the beautiful.
    I was troubled to read that Román-Velazquez comments that salsa has become associated with a pan-Latin identity. I wonder how Latin people see that. I would argue that there are many things associated with this pan-identity, but that salsa is just that to some.

    I like big butts and I cannot lie…

    Comments Off on I like big butts and I cannot lie…

    Now, this I did not see coming… Though I am not going to say that I did not find the article interesting… I must admit I definitely did not expect to talk about JLo’s butt in this class. However, I think this article by Mary Beltran is a good continuation for the Hybridity topic. If you remember – if not you can read my past post – I was wondering if given the current levels of globalization it was possible to find “authentic” culture anymore? As I mentioned on my previous entry, I do believe that globalization makes hybridity an interesting concept to analyze. Thus, I think that the mobility of people play an important role on the whole mixing cultures together.

    Do I think JLo is a good example? No, I don’t think that a a second generation Puerto Rican – American can honestly represent Latin American Popular culture without being biased. I believe JLo was the creation of some very smart executive producers in Hollywood that realized that making a hot “Latina” famous, would attract the younger Latinos in the US to buy this “new product”. However, Beltran does not discusses this instead she tries to give JLo credit for creating an alternative ‘acceptable’ image of women. Well, no offense but I think that is just not true… because if anything young african-american artist would have been able to achieve this way before JLo. One example is the very famous show “Fresh Prince of Belair” where most of the women in the show are already “curvy”. This show was at is prime before JLo released her first single… Women with big butts were already becoming famous.

    Did JLo contribute to this movement? Most likely she did, however in Beltran’s article she is given way more credit than she deserves as JLo is definitely not what an average “Latina” looks, thus not relieving any social pressure from Women of this ethnic group, instead all she is doing is creating another false image of what a Latin Women should look like.

    As for weather the material presented this week really presents an “end of popular culture?” I think it may be too soon too tell. As we have seen popular culture has been constantly evolving. Furthermore, since we saw in the very begining of the course things move around and somethings move from high culture to pop culture and viceversa. Perhaps it is the end of popular culture as we know it, but if so this is definetly the begining of globalized popular culture.

    Is it odd that I liked reading about someone’s bottom?

    Comments Off on Is it odd that I liked reading about someone’s bottom?

    THANKS JON!!! This weeks readings were great! Especially Mary C. Beltran’s piece on Jennifer Lopez’s “Cross-over Butt”. I really enjoyed it because of how clearly Beltran articulated herself. She was so critical and yet so clear. It was definitely a welcome read for me, probably because the past few readings were kind of confusing to understand in their translated form. But to return to commending Beltran, she wrote an exceptionally interesting piece and highlighted some very interesting and valid points regarding the construction of beauty that currently exists in society.
    I found it intriguing to read about how Hollywood and mainstream media portray beauty. And how even though Jennifer Lopez is proud of her natural beauty and is figure that stands up to conventional beauty norms, loving her big ass and such , scholars still argue that aspects of her identity still remain confined and subjugated to a white primacy. Therefore we don’t really know whether or not our fascination with Jen’s butt is a progressive step that is breaking social constructions (or rather reconstructing them) or if it is perpetuating them. (Beltran highlights how Latina and African women have historically been eroticized and considered objects of sexuality noting how during slavery African women were “property”.) What came to my mind halfway through reading this was the question, what is beauty? And who decides? What I mean is, is what is beautiful decided by men who see beauty or is it decided by women who encompass or embody it, (literally)? I am assuming here that beauty applies to women only, however one could argue that that is not true. Or maybe it is a combination of both? Or maybe it isn’t even in the hands of individual women and men, rather it is political elites deciding what is beautiful for the purpose of efficient governance? I believe that beauty is defined on all these levels. We can see in magazines how mass media perceives beauty, read in government narratives (political art) to see what fits into the national body, ( historically women were considered responsible for reproducing the nation,) or write and receive love letters to see what the individual deems beautiful. All these sources shape beauty. Therefore I see beauty as a shared meaning, the kind developed through interactions of people and culture. Influenced and influences and is continuously evolving or being reflected upon. Beltran points this out nicely at the end of her piece, that even though Jennifer Lopez’s butt may not have necessarily had a deep impact on breaking beauty norms, it certainly evoked scholarly debate about its implications. This in itself has created change and new meaning for which I argue is reconstructing our interpretation of beauty. It is comforting and frightening to know that beauty is merely an invention of our imagination.

    I really enjoyed the first and last article as well but don’t blame me if I feel that Jen’s butt is more fascinating to write about.

    Marcos and J-Lo do the salsa

    Comments Off on Marcos and J-Lo do the salsa

    I really enjoyed the readings this week, especially the first two! I find that when some sort of story is being told, I have a much easier time following along. The first article is a short and concise essay about Marcos and the Zapatistas (indigenous rebels) from Mexico. This is a fascinating situation where a leader of a rebel army and potential future president of a nation, is thrust into an international spotlight largely due to the suspense of hiding his true identity behind a balaclava or ski-mask. “el Sup” as he came to be known, used the media like it was a stage to create a buzz throughout the entire world that grew into erotic and cult-like following. However, as time wore on, the love affair with Marcos and the Zapatistas faded away and they were never really true contenders to take control of the Mexican government, in fact, “the day President Zedillo disclosed Marcos’s identity on national television, no one even batted an eye” (Pg. 228). Interesting read, I would have never guessed that the world would have become so enamoured with a smooth talking masked man from Mexico but it happened and it is an interesting situation to reflect upon.
    The second article is about Jennifer Lopez’s voluptuous body so naturally it was not a difficult read for me. The author Mary Beltran argues that J-Lo’s attitude towards her body and how it was received in the United States created a new role for Latina crossover actresses. In the past, Latinas were typecast into certain roles that were rigid and secondary in regards to the plot. J-Lo bucked that trend by not only being a short curvy actress in a streamline world, but also by stepping into lead roles that Latinas had rarely ventured in the past. her success led to an almost obsession with her body and was “indicative of larger changes in the cultural landscape” (Pg. 83). There is no question that J-Lo’s “crossover butt” was a big deal in the late 90’s and was a huge influence on future notions of appearance in Hollywood.
    The last article by Patria Roman-Valazquez talks about how the performance of Salsa can provide a lot of insight into how Latin American pop culture is becoming blurred throughout the world. As more and more non-Latin people engage in traditional salsa practices, a new identity for the music is being born. One that has a unique touch on tradition salsa performances and shows that even if non-Latin people engage in this type of music, they can articulate the true meaning of Salsa through they way in which they move their body, not by where in the world the dance is taking place. In a globalized world, even certain dances are becoming transient and this article does a nice job of showing how salsa has made its way to London and is being enjoyed by people from all over the planet.

    LAST Popular Culture as Mass Culture

    Comments Off on LAST Popular Culture as Mass Culture

    I found Bellos’s paper on futebol to be very intersting. The represenation and meaning behind futebol in Latin America became very aparent to me and its outstanding powers on the public, the players, countries as a whole and invevitably the world in one way or another. Its clear that futebol is much much more then just the simple game of futebol in Latin America. For me this was hard to comprehend because personally a game to me is just a game and thats as far as i take it. Futebol as shown in this article however means everything to alot of people. It made me curiuos to why this is so… how such importance and prestige could be layed on such a simple game. It also made me question why this tendency for futebol to be ‘everything’ and be such a big part of everyday life was more consistent in Latin America rather than North America. It appears as though larger  political meanings are attached to futebol in Latin America or atleast are more evident than in North American leagues. An interesting aspect realating to this is the Olympics where the power of sports is truly showcased. However, this force that connects people through sports can also tear others apart and create grudges/hatred not only between individual players or athletes but on larger scales of countries or regions. At the end of the day it is clear that sports are an extremely strong force with unbelivaibly strong powers globally.

Next Page »

Spam prevention powered by Akismet