reading a foreign language: yeah
writing in a foreign language: ok
listening to a foreign language: wait
speaking in a foreign language: fuck
I got pretty into Spanish-language (mainly Mexican) pop when I worked on a Spanish-language unit at a hospital in the early 90s. proper corridos were the bigger deal. I remember Vicente Fernandez selling out a big multiple-night stand at the Coliseum. My girlfriend back then was into cumbias and Norteño music but she hipped me to Juan Gabriel (we saw him live, he did “Siempre en mi Mente” of course, it was a moment) and so I got curious about Ana Gabriel and Mí Mexico was brand new at the time and that album, as everybody who’s heard it knows I think, is a straight-up all-time masterpiece. Ana Gabriel’s music has gotten me through thick and thin and I saw her live around the same time but she didn’t do “Es Demaciado Tarde” which is probably for the best because I would have collapsed.
I was into Los Tigres del Norte back then like everybody else though it was right around the time when they’d started making their songs more positive and less lawless. After I moved to Chicago in ‘95 I lost touch with Mexican pop but I still listen to Ana Gabriel a lot and go through phases where she’s all I want to listen to. If pressed I could probably still sing the chorus to “Tus Mentiras” by Los Bukis and I remember Los Yonics being a deal back then but that’s about all I really knew of the pop end. I dug Rocio Durcal. I think Chalino Sanchez was a major major talent and it sucks that he died so young. So the short answer is “yes, a long time ago, probably the stuff I’m into is what people’s dads are into.”
I threw families onto the street in Iraq only to come home and find families thrown onto the street in this country in this tragic and unnecessary foreclosure crisis. We need to wake up and realize that our real enemies are not in some distant land, and not people whose names we don’t know and cultures we don’t understand. The enemy is people we know very well and people we can identify. The enemy is a system that wages war when it’s profitable. The enemy is the CEOs who lay us off from our jobs when it’s profitable. It’s the insurance companies who deny us health care when it’s profitable. It’s the banks who take away our homes when it’s profitable. Our enemies are not 5,000 miles away, they are right here at home.
To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.
(Marius exclaimed)”…to conquer the world twice, by conquest and by dazzling, that is sublime: and what greater thing is there?”
“To be free,” said Combeferre.