Monday, February 9, 2009

theories of mixture 1: metizaje

 This weeks topic of mestizaje was very interesting to read. I enjoyed both Jose Vasconcelos and Peter Wade's essays. The topic alone of mestizaje is one of emotion and strong opinion and thought for many people. In Vascolcelos paper i found the facts and historical information he provided to be very interesting in his referencing back to Eygpt and Greece centuries ago. His exploration of not only mestizaje but racial classification and acceptance as a whole found to be very interesting. As Vasconcelos continues, the relationship he provides between "Latinism and Anglo-Saxonism" proves not only to be relevant to centuries ago but also can still be seen to this day. I find it interesting how he compares Latinism who mixed with local residents to the English who kept to themselves and did not mix racially to the extent of Latinism.  Later on Vasconcelos comes to a conclusion of which i have personally thought of priorly to reading this paper. "The great civilizations began in the tropics and the final civilizations will return to the tropics. " (pg 23)This point personally in my mind to hold so true. One statement of which Vasconcelos makes of which i do not agree is near the end of the paper where he says "the people that Hispanic America is forming in a somewhat disorderly manner..." Although the manner of which they have formed has been different by no means should it be classified as disorderly. As for Wades paper, I found it be very interesting. From the paper, and after analysis i personally came to the conclusion that yes mestizaje is a mixture of two cultures two races but in this mixture a new culture or race has evolved and become one of its own. However there will always be racial hierarchies and racial stereotypes which attempt to destruct these positive reformations of the term mestizaje and what it entails. Like most things in this world however no simple answer can solve issues of such large scales and misunderstanding. In conclusion I found both papers to be informative e and an extremely important part in the understanding of popular culture in Latin America.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Popular Culture as Folk Culture.

 This week’s topic of popular culture as folk culture provided to very powerful and thought provoking essays. Although I am sure many will disagree with me, I personally do not enjoy  the style of Miguel Angel Asturias writing. I am not a big fan of mythical or surreal stories. However with this considered I was able to take away numerous underlying messages and symbols from the several stories provided. I found all the stories to represent greater or larger qualities and aspects of life. Dressing up  these underlying messages and symbols into a mythical setting, I believe was solely Austurias way of getting across important things but doing so creatively  in a different or "fun" manner. As much as I enjoyed Asturias essay to me it failed in comparison to that of Jose Maria Arguedas. I found Arguedas to be very powerful and enjoyed reading it. The "karma" or irony of which the essay evolves is dramatic and defiantly made me think deeply about situations of this sort in not only my life but also the lives of those around me. That over clich├ęd saying of "its what you are on the inside that matter" has great relevance to this story. That in the end we are not judged( *judged being a controversial term not intended to directly imply that of Christianity) by our wealth or power but rather our soul and the people that we are. I liked the stories twisted ending in which the reader is able to be 'joyous' in the events that occurred. Quite literally in the story the pongo treated the master like gold and in turn the master treated the pongo like "shit". In turn the Karma of the situation evolves in the pongos dream where he licks honey off the master and the master shot off the pongo. Both of these stories and folk culture as a whole play a large role in the creation and idealizations and standards of popular culture. Folk culture has a huge influence on this popular culture.  It is evident that even from Asturias paper of which myths and stories were believed thousands of years ago to more recently Arguedas paper that these mythical and outstanding stories have an undeniably large influence of culture to this day. Though as I said, I did not enjoy the writing style of Austurias but felt in the end that the messages and symbols that came from each story made up for my dislike in his style. As for Aguedas paper I completely immerged myself in it and extensively enjoyed it. Over I felt both were beneficial to me and feel as though I learned a lot through analyzing and reflecting upon these two essays.