Comedian George Lopez debuted “Lopez Tonight” on Monday, November 9. A veteran of the stand-up stage, Lopez’s foray into late night does little to mess with the familiar format honed by Johnny Carson and tweaked by Leno and Letterman: it includes a monologue, video-taped comedy segment, celebrity interview, and musical guest.
The primary difference, as pushed by Lopez, is the “color” of the show. “¡Oralé!” he exclaimed as he walked out on stage. “The revolution begins right now!”
It’s an odd role for Lopez, the man who carved out his niche in prime time as a Mexican Bill Cosby. His eponymous sitcom featured a middle (maybe even upper-middle) class family struggling with the same kinds of life issues faced by any family. Its lack of depth and specificity relating to Latino life was deliberate. It didn’t evade “race,” but it rarely let it mean more than we’re slightly different but still the same. Continue reading →
After several months of a focused internet and social media campaign pressuring CNN to fire Lou Dobbs, the xenophobic pundit announced tonight he is leaving CNN effectively immediately.
BastaDobbs.org–the virtual Latino coalition which led the campaign against CNN–is claiming victory. “We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has this legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate,” said Roberto Lovato. Lovato, who is an accomplished writer, is also the founder of the Latino-advocacy group Presente.org, the lead organization behind the anti-Dobbs campaign. “The community is newly empowered and energized,” he continued, “and we are ready to fight for a respectful and civil media discourse when it comes to immigration coverage on mainstream news.”
I couldn’t be happier that Lou Dobbs’ uncritical voice of hate is off the air. I am a firm defender of anyone’s right to free speech, but I am also fiercely opposed to the notion that we are better as a society if we provide a platform for all speech. Television news–and cable news in particular–has moved into an era where providing a “safe space” for the voices from the political extreme has come to substitute for critical discourse and constructive debate. That isn’t the news and it isn’t “fair and balanced.” It’s petty, and it’s lazy, and it needs to evolve.
Reuters recently published a pieced entitled “Reggaeton fever shakes up Cuba’s culture” the article cites an now infamous (in reggaeton circles anyway) quote by Juventud Rebelde that calls reggaeton a “reflection of ‘neoliberal thinking’.”
I think the development and growth of reggaeton in Cuba has been fascinating (if you are interested check out Geoff Baker’s work) and illuminates much about the ways in which different musical forms/genres circulate as cultural and ideological commodities.
The idea of reggaeton being a product of neoliberalism is intriguing. Clearly the flows of neoliberal capital and its circuits facilitated the spread of technologies and people that enabled the different permutations of reggaeton within the Caribbean, the Americas, and globally.
More than anything else, I wonder what seeing reggaeton as a neoliberal commidity says about how Cuban authorities think about the neocolonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico and the forces of diaspora (not only between Puerto Rico and the U.S., but broadly speaking) in forging reggaeton, essentially outside of the Cuban nation (and well any nation really). Reggaeton is largely positioned as outside of the Cuban nation, seen as an import from the yanquis via Puerto Rico, which is why Cuban Culture Minister Abel Prieto is quoted in the Reuters piece as saying that reggaeton needs to be “pushed away.” Reggaeton is agringado, a corrupting influence on Cuba’s revolutionary ideals.
While reggaeton is (often mis)understood as a Puerto Rican, or even an American phenomenon, the more authorities and cultural brokers attempt to place reggaeton within some kind of national frame the more obvious it becomes that reggaeton exist in between and outside of national boundaries.
Maybe that is what makes reggaeton so threatening, what incites all these national panics? Well, besides sex and race, but of course those things are tied up within the nation too…
I have a lot of feelings watching this video, but not quite any thoughts yet. I have had some thoughts on Calle 13 in general recently though.
While I like Calle 13, there is something as of late that makes me completely uncomfortable with how Residente’s blanquito flow and his “art school/class clown attitude,” as Wayne Marshall aptly terms it, are being heralded by reggaeton supporters and detractors alike as shining example of where the genre should go. Calle 13 is being positioned by many as the great white hope that is going to resuscitate reggaeton from its supposed “death.” (pero no con mas gasolina, that’s for sure).
i think reggaeton’s gonna be around (and popular) for some time to come. we’ll see what it sounds like, though. and whether people still call “it” reggaeton (they did, after all, used to call “it” any number of names).
As I was getting myself ready to head down to the Puerto Rican Day Parade (or more accurately, its aftermath) I found myself dumbstruck by the profundity of what I was hearing and seeing.
Always the multi-tasker I was getting ready with the TV switched on to the Parade and Las Guanabanas’ new mixtape, “Regreso Al Underground” (Return to the Underground), blasting from the speakers in my bathroom. I stopped scurrying around my apartment long enough to watch the parade for a moment and paso una cosa rara (a queer thing happened). As Fox 5’s cameras cut from (post)reggaetonero Residente of Calle 13 to shots of flag waving boricuas watching the parade, the last song from “Regreso Al Underground” came on and announced to the world: “Yo soy bellaco, pa’ que tu lo sepas!” (I’m horny, just so you know!).
With the same cadence and enthusiasm that the crowds at the Puerto Rican Day Parade shout “Yo so Boricua, pa’ que tu lo sepa,” reggaetoneros Tommy Viera and Chantelly, announced and celebrated their hornyness. The theme of bellaqueo in reggaeton is not particularly surprising, however, this moment caught me completely off guard. Overlaid as they were, it seemed as if the two forces had synced and the crowd on the TV rather than announcing its Puertorriquenidad was announcing its desire to fuck. Right then and there, by pure happenstance, I had witnessed what Puerto Rican cultural nationalist must conjure in their worst fears about reggaeton – the excesses of the body and of sexuality and desire that resist the disciplining technologies of the nationalist project – and on this day of all days!
The management of sexuality – queer sexualities, racialized sexualities, and non-procreative sexualities – has always been at the center of any nationalist project. Yet, this accidental intrusion of bellaqueo into the quintessential spectacle of Puerto Rican cultural nationalism provides an interesting moment of disruption and illuminates the simultaneous absence and ubiquity of sexuality in nationalist discourse and imagery.
So I ask: what would it mean to put bellaqueo at the center of our studies of the Puerto Rican nation?