A rogues' gallery of Mexican bandits, bombshells, lotharios, and thieves saturates American popular culture. Remember Speedy Gonzalez? "Mexican Spitfire" Lupe Vélez? The Frito Bandito? Familiar and reassuring—at least to Anglos—these Mexican stereotypes are not a people but a text, a carefully woven, articulated, and consumer-ready commodity. In this original, provocative, and highly entertaining book, William Anthony Nericcio deconstructs Tex[t]-Mexicans in films, television, advertising, comic books, toys, literature, and even critical theory, revealing them to be less flesh-and-blood than "seductive hallucinations," less reality than consumer products, a kind of "digital crack."
Nericcio engages in close readings of rogue/icons Rita Hayworth, Speedy Gonzalez, Lupe Vélez, and Frida Kahlo, as well as Orson Welles' film Touch of Evil and the comic artistry of Gilbert Hernandez. He playfully yet devastatingly discloses how American cultural creators have invented and used these and other Tex[t]-Mexicans since the Mexican Revolution of 1910, thereby exposing the stereotypes, agendas, phobias, and intellectual deceits that drive American popular culture. This sophisticated, innovative history of celebrity Latina/o mannequins in the American marketplace takes a quantum leap toward a constructive and deconstructive next-generation figuration/adoration of Latinos in America.
William Anthony Nericcio is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University in California, where he also serves on the faculty of the Center for Latin American Studies and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies.
Marvels! Rompecabezas! And cartoons that bite into the mind appear throughout this long-awaited book that promises to reshape and refocus how we see Mexicans in the Americas and how we are taught and seduced to mis/understand our human potentials for solidarity. This is the closest Latin@ studies has come to a revolutionary vision of how American culture works through its image machines, a vision that cuts through to the roots of the U.S. propaganda archive on Mexican, Tex-Mex, Latino, Chicano/a humanity. Nericcio exposes, deciphers, historicizes, and 'cuts-up' the postcards, movies, captions, poems, and adverts that plaster dehumanization (he calls them 'miscegenated semantic oddities') through our brains. For him, understanding the sweet and sour hallucinations is not enough. He wants the flashing waters of our critical education to become instruments of restoration. In this book, Walter Benjamin meets Italo Calvino and they morph into Nericcio. Orale!
Nonhallucinatory Prefatory Palabras...
Backstory: A Decidedly Odd Tale of What Happened When Hollywood Killed Vaudeville, Postcards Boomed, and the United States Invaded Mexico
Seductive Hallucination Gallery One | An Interstice. Being the First of Several Summary Interruptions of the Drearily Semantic in Favor of the Deliciously Semiotic, a Frontera of Sorts
Chapter One. Hallucinations of Miscegenation and Murder: Dancing along the Mestiza/o Borders of Proto-Chicana/o Cinema with Orson Welles's Touch of Evil
Chapter Two. When Electrolysis Proxies for the Existential: A Somewhat Sordid Meditation on What Might Occur if Frantz Fanon, Rosario Castellanos, Jacques Derrida, Gayatri Spivak, and Sandra Cisneros Asked Rita Hayworth Her Name at the Tex[t]-Mex Beauty Parlor
Chapter Three. Autopsy of a Rat: Sundry Parables of Warner Brothers Studios, Jewish American Animators, Speedy Gonzales, Freddy López, and Other Chicano/Latino Marionettes Prancing about Our First World Visual Emporium; Parable Cameos by Jacques Derrida; and, a Dirty Joke
Chapter Four. Lupe Vélez Regurgitated; or, Jesus's Kleenex: Cautionary, Indigestion-Inspiring Ruminations on "Mexicans" in "American" Toilets
Seductive Hallucination Gallery Two | An Interstice the Second. Being a Second Archive of Visual Pathogens
Chapter Five. XicanOsmosis: Frida Kahlo and Mexico in the Eyes of Gilbert Hernandez
Conclusion: (with apologies to Friedrich Nietzsche) "Have I Been Understood? XicanOsmosis versus the Tex[t]-Mex"
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