Skip to main content

Si realmente quieres entender el "Cinco de mayo", pues...

The Storm that Swept Mexico is a wonderful documentary: informative, elegant, and deep. It includes interviews with men who fought with Emiliano Zapata, Zapata's grandson, author Elena Poniatowska, and many extremely well-informed scholars on Mexican history. For those of us who live in the United States, understanding Mexico is an important task. Learning its history is key to that understanding.  You can see the trailer for the documentary here.


Seeing and hearing the interviews with the Zapatista veterans was an amazing experience. The light that still burns in those men's eyes is hard to forget, once seen--and perhaps, as hard to understand. It is not all fire, that light. It is also liquid, a mobile mixture of chispa and sadness, of hope once lived in extremis and hope destroyed in extremis. The documentary also includes interviews with people present at the 1968 college demonstration in Mexico City, where Mexican federal police killed 300 people. This is live history, beautifully and faithfully told. Don't miss it.


The two-hour program has already aired on some PBS stations and will air on others on or around May 15th.  In the meantime, on this Cinco de mayo, visit your local jamaica, eat some great Mexican food and drink some suave Mexican cerveza--and remember that this country is our next-door neighbor ... para siempre.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

This post title includes a quote from Hermine Pinson's poem, "Four Sisters and the Dance." As you read, it will become clear why.

I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

We did not yet have a place to live. Our family of five, including our infant brother, camped out in the girls' dorm for several weeks. Our furniture was stored on the university theater stage while my parents searched for a home. I was riding in the car with my dad and a member of the university administration and overheard their conversation. My father wondered where he could find help …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:


The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your mother...you don't need to open it... you know tha…