Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Truth is, I Never Left You

I’m sorry to all of those who were disappointed that I aggressively pushed my blog and then failed to write for six weeks.  I blame life-tumult, the holidays, and my trip to Argentina.  But don’t cry for me…

Argentina was beautiful, fun, and warm.  It was particularly special because I got to meet family members I’d never met, and spend time with family members I’d previously met only fleetingly.  It was also a productive trip in terms of the book.  But I don’t want this blog to be about all the awesome stuff I did.  Those blogs are kind of annoying.  So if you want to know about my trip, ask me.  I also put photos on Facebook.

Instead, I will clue you in on somethings I noticed about the Argentines and their fair country.  These are not intended to be either a) incisively accurate or b) offensively stereotypical.  Please consider them for entertainment purposes only.

1.  They hate crime, but love germs.

Argentines fear death and loss of property at the hands of ruffians.  You cannot talk to a native of the country without being warned about thievery, violence, and dangerous neighborhoods.  B.T.Dubs, most of said neighborhoods are probably safer than my own.  Argentines do not, however, fear death by illness.  They have no problems sharing mate (a tasty, psychotropic tea) gourds and straws, silverware, etc. quite generously.  Fortunately, I believe new germs strengthen my immune system, so I am now tougher than ever.  Also, they love dog poop.  Everywhere.

2.  New Year’s Eve is a family holiday.  Then, after you eat with your family, you go get drunk when bars open at 2am.  This is a good idea for family holidays in general and should be imported.

3.  Per capita, they eat more sweets than the people of any other nation.  John and I remarked several times on the quantity of pastries, ice cream, and sundry goodies that the Argentines seem to enjoy nonstop.  Then we learned that they are, in fact, the number one consumers of dessert in the universe.  Good job, Argentines!  Strangely, they aren’t as fat as Americans.  Maybe because they don’t eat a bazillion other processed foods.  But they also aren’t as thin as Europeans.  Probably because they smoke less.  Anyway, dulce de leche is awesome and I’m quite certain I could be a trillionaire if I learned to make it and sold it here.  Apparently it’s just sugar and milk.  Hopefully, I’ll perfect the recipe by the next time I see you.  Yes, that’s right, you.  And you alone.

4.  This one is about tourists in Argentina.  A lot of them are obsessed with Evita.  To a scary degree.  My own meager interest in Evita wore off even further when I learned it was the Peróns who thought inviting Nazis to Argentina would be sweet because they were white, rich, and really organized.  This didn’t stop me from singing, “Hello, Buenos Aires,” a lot, but it did stop me from doing so publicly, most of the time.  Anyway, tourists love Evita so much that they go to her museum, her musical, the other museum with a wax figure of her, and of course, her grave.  Her grave is housed in the cemetery in Recoleta, which is pretty cool because it contains a ton of ginormous mausoleums designed to fight death with the power of wealth or something like that.  Hint: in the end, death wins, as evidenced below:

Death Wins Again!

Dead Spider and Cobwebs on Mausoleum Window: Death Wins Again!

But try telling that to the tourists lined up to see Evita’s grave.  We hadn’t intended to see it, necessarily, but decided to go see what all the fuss was about when we saw a mob sprinting down one of the aisles.  We then joined a long, barely moving line.  What was the hold up?

Eva Peron's Grave, starring some carved stone, a corpse in a box in a blocked off room, and a bunch of quickly wilting flowers.

Tourists making the film their relatives at home can't wait to see: Eva Perón's Grave, starring some carved stone, a corpse in a box in a blocked off room, and a bunch of quickly wilting flowers.

That’s right, people were filming her grave.  Photos, I get.  You want to remember what it looked like, show it to people back home so they can feign interest.  But a film?  We call them motion pictures for a reason.  They’re supposed to move.  And graves don’t move at all.  It was the most incongruous and ironic thing I’ve ever seen: using a medium that’s supposed to mimic and reveal life to capture not even death, but a static memorial to it.  Personally, I’d rather watch an instructional video, starring Muckle, about how to avoid all the dog-doo in Buenos Aires.  And if you’re lucky, I’ll post that next time.

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I’m Black!

Hmm…Somehow that title doesn’t work as well.  What I wanted to say is that I’m back to blogging after an overly long hiatus.  Instead, I’ve told a lie about my race.  And made everyone uncomfortable.

This reminds me of what I found to be the MOST awkward moment of the eight or so hours of joyfully tearful inauguration coverage that I watched.  The inawkuration award, if you will.  ABC interviewed Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist, campaign manager for Al Gore, and all-around ass-kicker (although, to be frank, it might be a different world today if she’d kicked just a bit more ass in 2000.)  But we really can’t blame her.

Anyway, Donna was telling Diane and Charlie about how she’d swiped the official inaugural fleece blanket from Barack Obama’s chair because he’d left it behind.  In full-on yuck-it-up mode, Charlie said the legal staff would look into whether it was a felony or a misdemeanor.

“We have a black president now,” Brazile replied.  “So it’s neither.”  Wow, I thought. That’s awkward. Everyone laughed, and moments later, she backed off the comment, which Charlie pointed out and she admitted.

See the clip here: http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=6691517

Stupid annoying people on other blogs complained about how this was a double-standard, if a white person said it, blah blah blah.  Whatever.  It would be different if a white person said it.  ‘Nuff said.  But I actually think it’s sad that Brazile said it, that she made such a joke, suggestive of internalized racism, on that most significant day.   It’s a comment she made without thinking during a lighthearted interview; she probably was too happy to be thinking–I know I was.  And it was clear she wished she hadn’t said it.  Equally disconcerting Charlie and Diane’s uproarious laughter.  Surely they wanted to keep the tone of the interview and the day celebratory, rather than probing what such a comment really meant.  Still, the ease with which they giggled made me uneasy.  All of this behavior indicated the issues of racial perception and stereotypes that we still need to work on as a society.

Anyway, that’s why the awkward award of inauguration day goes to Donna Brazile, even though I like her a lot.  (Sorry to all those who were wishing for Cheney-on-Wheels.  Shame on you.  That’s mean.  Like I’d ever award him anything.)