Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thoughts On Cinco De Mayo, I Guess

I could write something heavy about how this city's local bars and cocktail lounges celebrate Cinco De Mayo and what I call the 'Ricky Martin-izing' of this holiday for cheap, quick mass consumption the grand Corporate American tradition.

I could write something about how it rubs me the wrong way, as a fifth-generation Mexican American, that this seemingly unattainable victory of simple farmers, peasants (oppressed by wealthy land-owners) and Zapotec peoples over the French Army of 1862 isn't commemorated more respectfully, ..but, I won't. There's a truly exceptional article on CARLOS IN DC that says it all more eloquently than I ever could, this early in the morning.

I missed the whole thing, anyway.

Yesterday was a hot and busy day--got home late and way too exhausted to get my Cinco on. Put some hot sauce on a fish sandwich, last night, if that--but, that really doesn't count. Creo que no.

Consider this...we live in a magnificent city full of genuine opportunities to be students of and ambassadors to cultures from all over the World. In this age of SNUGGIES, hate-radio demagogues and reality TV, let us pursue substance, where we can.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Mel Dyer

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The 'G' Is For Gentrification, Folks!

[Reprinted from April 5, 2010]
This week, the CARLOS IN DC blog features a superb accounting of the gentrification issues troubling the Anacostia area of River East, written with refreshing authenticity by journalist, Northwest DC resident and self-affirmed Peruanista (and Facebook pal), Mr. Carlos A. Quiroz.

At the time the Anacostia area was incorporated as 'Uniontown' in 1854, people of white Irish [True!] or African descent were outlawed from owning or renting anywhere in that part of town. This ugly historical truth is an example of how stupid and arbitrary the demonization of any ethnic group can really be--one day, Mexicans, and tomorrow, it's Arabs! It forces the more sensible of us to scratch the surface of the classist tribalism 'crab barrel', to understand one another better and find effective solutions to problems that have been with us since before the American Civil War. Quiroz's article does all of that and more, and as an occasionally less-than-objective Penn Branch tribalist, my-damnself, I can appreciate that.

Anyone calling themselves a journalist in a city as diverse and (often) divided as Washington, D.C. will do well to follow Carlos In DC's lead--including me, should I ever (and, I don't) consider my own unapologetically tribalist blog, real journalism. This Brangler is a fan of Carlos A. Quiroz; this blogger-journalist's understanding and detailed reporting of complex East-of-the-River issues is truly inspired. Amidst so much routine criticism of the blogosphere by established journalists and politicians, if you are not reading Carlos In DC, you are missing a fine example of how consistently relevant weblogs can truly be.

Artista. Intelecto. Periodista guerrero. We need more young writers like this, my friends.

And Carlos quoted something I wrote. Big like, here.

Mel Dyer