I was watching television, lazing away my Saturday morning, dog by my side — Tom Cruise in “Risky Business” 1983 — when I got a text from a friend who lives in Mexico asking me if I had heard about “Yo Soy 132”. I had not.
Yo Soy 132 appears to be a citizen’s initiative, based in Mexico City, that wants to impact the outcome of the upcoming Mexican presidential election and future of their country. Specifically, it refers to an incident earlier this month in which students protested the visit of a leading candidate, the telegenic Enrique Pena Nieto. His party claimed that the protests were fake, that political rivals planted the protests with agents acting as students. In response, 131 students posted their photos and names on the internet, essentially taking credit for the dissent, identifying with it, and perhaps putting themselves in harms way for their cause, to show their commitment. The term “Yo Soy 132” — “I am 132” refers to the rest of the crowd, the people, who stand with them in solidarity. It’s like the 6th man concept in college basketball (the crowd augments the five-man team).
I’ve only been following this for about two hours, so my account may be off or a little superficial.
I didn’t see anything about this movement in the newspapers.
But I noticed on a blog that someone said “Hey, America, turn off your tv and tune in to this!”
And then the famous Bob Seger – Tom Cruise bit came on and I felt a little foolish.
And worse: I forget which party in Mexico I think represents the best future. Frankly, I am a little intimidated by Mexico. I am not sure how widespread the corruption is, or how pervasive the violence is. Ok: someone said PRI is like the Soviet Politburo. Pena Nieto some say is a front for ex-president Salinas. I guess liberals should hope that despite the 20 point or more deficit the former Mayor Lopez Obrador will rally and seize the moment.
Meanwhile, and I hope this is not too superficial, I am trying to understand the Mexican culture better. For example, I am studying my Manuel Alvarez Bravo book. I have about 12 texts I am trying to freshen up with or by.
I could also add here, since I am an arts writer, that David Packard’s Stanford Theatre showed the 1934 Howard Hawks film “Viva Villa” about Pancho Villa last week. I missed it but my dad saw it. Written by Ben Hecht starring Wallace Beery.
There is an extensive wiki article on Enrique Pena Nieto. I do recall sometime in the last year or so noticing a mostly favorable article about a handsome candidate and his telenovela new wife. Not sure if I should venture to characterize him further. He’s an interesting contrast to Palo Alto’s Ron Kent who married a Oaxacan, runs Oaxacan Kitchen restaurants and farmers’ market booths, and who I shot last week chopping his own cabbage while his co-worker made tortillas from hand.
Let me mix metaphors: in Buddhist thought, a man who integrates his mind, his heart and his hands is a good man, has “right livelihood”. I would venture that Mr. Kent is a better example of this than either me or Mr. Pena Nieto.
Youtube has three videos that appear to be by the people who actualized this moment. I still don’t see it in The New York Times. Basically the students are saying that the major television network are pushing through a telegenic candidate who they assert is flawed.
Now I am also flashing to another Stanford Theatre movie, “Sergeant York” and its use of “render to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and also Bob Marley lyric I caught on my new XM: if the cap fit let him where it.
We live in interesting times. Cuidado mis queridos amigos y hermanos Mexicanos y Oaxaquenos.
Maybe Bob Marley can offer some insight here:
edita: here is Times from April, 2012:
But cynical commentators joke that the race is essentially a battle between the Pretty Boy, the Quinceañera Doll and the Tired Has-Been.
Enrique Peña Nieto, the telegenic front-runner sometimes called the Pretty Boy (or Gel Boy because of his styled hair), will need to persuade voters that he represents a new, corruption-free Institutional Revolutionary Party, or P.R.I., the party that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000.
Josefina Vázquez Mota, a former education secretary under the current president, has perhaps a greater challenge. She has been called the Quinceañera Doll because she is always smiling, but her party — the P.A.N., or National Action Party — has been in charge for 12 years, a time of rising violence and continued corruption.
And even for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a liberal former mayor of Mexico City who lost the last election in 2006 by 0.6 percentage points, the past and future compete. The oldest of the candidates, sometimes called the Tired Has-Been, he must answer the question of whether he has put aside the radical populism of his last campaign to govern as a moderate.
edita2, one post later: “Risky Business” is winding down — not sure how to tie it all in to this beyond the occasional out of context “wtf”, and I am missing the first couple innings of either Indians – White Sox or Giants-Marlins, but I went back to my original incoming text to add this link. The Mexican protests, also called “Mexican Spring” is linked to Occupy.
edit to add3: so, RB is done, and I am fact-checking, but I cannot resist, although it may Muddy the waters, in not a mannish-boy way, more mannish>boy I guess, but the media box rolled into a fake Chris Matthews Rick Santorum bit from 2003 in which Santorum suggests a tattoo on his back that says exit poll only.
edit to add, June 8: here is Pacific News Service about Yo Soy 132 in SF:
SF Protesters Support Mexican Student Movement #Yosoy132
Posted: Jun 07, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO — On Wednesday, protesters gathered outside the Univision headquarters in San Francisco to demonstrate their support for a student uprising taking place across Mexico. Mexican students there are calling for the democratization of Mexican news channels and a rejection of PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto. The Mexican student movement is nicknamed #Yosoy132, a reference to a recent protest by 131 university students against the PRI candidate. Univision announced during its evening news show that it would broadcast the Mexican presidential debate on Sunday, June 10, from Guadalajara.
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(the link is from New American Media, formerly known as Pacific New Service — they had an office off Civic Center Plaza in SF; I dated Carol Hegna in 1984 when she was at PNS and I was at Peninsula Times Tribune; pretty sure I met Sandy Close then; Close won a MacFound Genius award in 1995, and helped Jessica Yu produce “Breathing Lessons” in 1996.
(three years later: someone sussed “Carol” in my search function, which had me re-checking this: Pacific News Service v. Bay City News. Ooops. Our first date was a chicken farmer in Petaluma, she had featured).