Basura

New “trash” comics have taken over in Mexico, as discussed in this issue of The Imp (the cover gives you an idea of these comics’ subject matter). While arguably not as disturbing as certain JapThe Imp.pnganese manga, these comics still give an indication of a fairly unhealthy civic society (as if the drug murder epidemic wasn’t indication enough). This kinda dovetails with my notion that Mexico’s collapsing because the good Mexicans fled here, leaving the nacos behind to take over.

If you are on the street in Mexico City somewhere in your field of vision is at least one of these comics. They are racked at every newspaper stand, spread-eagled atop toilet tank lids, and peeking out of passersby’s pockets….It is tempting to name them after the type of guy who reads them. This guy is generally called a naco. Naco is a slur best translated as white trash mixed with a little bit of ni**er. It is not to be confused with mestizo. …If you have both Indian and European blood you are mestizo. You are “mixed.” …If you are mestizo you are probably poor and you are not alone. People like you make up 70 to 80 percent of the Mexican population. The mestizo is the quintessential Mexican, and being mestizo is something to be proud of. But a naco is not supposed to have pride. A naco is a new kind of mestizo, an urban mestizo who has no hope, no taste, and most important, no class. …The naco is imagined to be ugly, uneducated, and addicted to sniffing flammable solvents. He is supposed to rob you, rape your wife, and slit your throat just for hyena laughs. You will know him by his death metal tee shirt and his soccer rocker haircut. You will recognize him immediately because he is an Americanized Mexican, a hybrid both countries can hate equally.

…The lurking naco is the reason every middle-class home in Mexico City bristles with barbed wire and glass spikes. Nobody trusts the naco. If you are a naco, you are chingada. You are fucked. And because you’re already fucked, you figure, Fuck it. Fuck everybody. Fuck everything. Apparently, this is the naco philosophy …[and]… the philosophy behind these comics.

Don’t bother to read the whole thing, but skimming it’s well worth your time, if only for the wide variety of basura comics covers therein. Bolded emphasis in the quote above is mine.

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4 Responses to Basura

  1. Mollbot says:

    So I’m curious, does the prevalence of manga in Japan indicate a collapsing society?

    And when can we expect the murder epidemic in Japan? Cause, uh… I’m not seeing it.

  2. Davidwhitewolf says:

    No, but the sort of manga I’m talking about (see gurochan for examples) does indicate a particular attitude towards women that’s not so openly celebrated elsewhere. You know, like this: http://orz.gurochan.net/req/src/1179185661664.jpg

    Not saying Japanese men act on it, either, just as not everybody who reads basura comics in Mexico acts like those characters in real life — but I do think it’s an interesting indicator when popular culture starts depicting that sort of thing as more normal than not.

  3. Rivrdog says:

    Hmmm. I go to Mexico about once a year, to Puerto Vallarta, and spend a lot of time on the streets. Several years ago I spent 2 full days just walking the streets of Guadalajara. I saw none of this (most recent trip was about 11 months ago).

    Maybe I don’t walk in the “naco” parts of town.

    Also, re: Japan: the Japanese have a flourishing comics industry, as you note. There are branches of this industry, again as you note. If you search on the ‘Net for places which should cater to these tastes, real brick-and-mortar places, you don’t find very many.

    I would postulate the reverse of your hypothesis, that wide reading of supposedly-forbidden subjects makes one LESS likely to act on those fantasies. In fact, this hypothesis is the basis for the only known workable treatment of sexual perverts: they are encouraged to verbalize and/or write down their sexual fantasies, and are forbidden to internalize them.

    I should think one can make as good a case for basura comics under this viewpoint as against them, maybe a better case. After all, it hasn’t been many years that Mexico’s population was functionally illiterate. Anything that raises that level of reading comprehension is probably a good thing.

    BTW, note the price on that comic book: 20 Pesos. That is a LOT of money to a poor Mexican, who might only make twice or three times that for a day’s labor in unskilled work, and that is about the wage rate for skilled labor, so a comic book requiring an hour’s labor to buy is not going far. You may see them everywhere, but I’d bet that their circulation is not that big, and what circulation there is is limited to the upper-middle class.

  4. Mollbot says:

    Isn’t one of Mexico’s biggest problems (historically as well as currently) the fact that they have a tiny middle class?

    They have their elites, just like anyplace else does, but there’s not many people located between “elite” and “abject poverty” down there from what I’ve read.

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