martes, 9 de diciembre de 2014

Be Fucking Nice

I'm having a bad day. I go get the mail. Maybe there’s an ARC in there to brighten my day. There's a toddler with me. He’s about to turn two years old and stoked about the trees, the sun, the rocks, the birds. To him, everything is the best thing ever. It's hard to be too angry at life when you're in the presence of true wonder, of unfiltered amazement and unembarrassed curiosity.

There are two guys getting some boxes from the back of a truck. One of them says he left something upstairs and moves toward us. The toddler runs to him and says “Hi!” The dude kneels, says “What’s up, little buddy?” The kid lifts his right arm and says “Five!” The dude gives him a high five, tussles his hair, and moves on. The second guy is slowly walking toward the mailboxes. His thumbs are dancing on top of his phone’s screen, which he holds about three inches from his nose. The toddler goes to him, says “Hi!” The guy looks down, says nothing, looks back at his phone. The toddler looks at me. He’s confused. He looks at the guy again and says “Hi!” a lot louder and waiving his hand. Phone douche looks down again, says nothing. I grab some bills and walk to him. I get so close my chest is pressed against his right arm. In a low, calm voice I say “Listen, asshole, you’re gonna put the phone down and say hi to the kid or I’m gonna knock you the fuck out.” The guy looks at me, puts the phone away, bends down with his hands on his knees. He says hi to the kid. I grab the kid’s hand and walk away.

Two days later I’m getting on the bus after a hard day. The #5 bus hisses to a stop in front of us and a young lady gets on in front of me. The driver is a really tall black guy who always shoots the shit with me. He’s a nice man who says hello to everyone and deals with the crazies and the belligerent assholes with a smile on his face. He looks at the lady and says “How are you doing today?” The woman looks at him, says nothing, and walks to a seat. I look at him and loudly say: “Man, seems like some assholes were never taught to be nice to people!” He smiles. Seeing his lips curl up makes me feel better. You know, like not all of humanity is as worthless as a sick dog’s turd.  

Saturday finally rolls around. I’m walking to the bookstore. An old lady is pushing a cart with three big boxes filled with books on it. She tries to get it up on the sidewalk and the cart falls over, spilling her books on the floor and beneath her car. I stop and help her get them. I end up doing all the work because it’s clear that bending down is punishment on her joints. She thanks me a hundred times, tells me how nice I am a few dozen times, and gives me a hug. Four or five people walked by while I was retrieving books from under the car. No one stopped. Fuck them, they missed out on a good hug. 

Anyway, I told you three stories that happened within the same week to tell you this: be fucking nice. Yeah, I know, you have bills to pay and your boss is an asshole and traffic was terrible and you have a ton of stuff to do and the day is overcast and it’s too hot or too hold or too damn humid and your neighbor’s dog messed up your plants and you didn’t sleep well and you’re hungry and you need a drink and your bank account is depressing as fuck and life is horrible. I get it. My life’s the same. We usually don’t get as much love as we think we deserve and we can’t make a great bundle of money doing what we’re passionate about and maybe that guy or that girl will never look at you with a twinkle in his or her eye. We’re all in the same boat, but being an asshole to everyone won’t make your problems miraculously vanish. On the other hand, being nice to people might get you a smile, a great conversation or even a hug from a grandma. Both of mine are no longer around to hug me, so I really fucking appreciate every one of those I get.

Listen, I know you have stuff to deal with, but you should be nice to people because they’re not to blame for your issues. If they are, that’s a different story, but kids don’t need your jadedness, bus drivers don’t need your attitude, and old ladies need a little help once in a while. This is an ugly world, but being nice can make it a little better. I’m not saying you should be nice all the time, but try to be nice to those who deserve it until they stop deserving it or it’s simply time to tell some asshole to put the goddamn phone away. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s free: just fucking be nice. Cool? Hope you have a great day. Much love.  

miércoles, 26 de noviembre de 2014

The Literary Haters Ball: The Last Projector

The Last Projector by David James Keaton 
A review by: Hatebino Hateglesias 

You know those individuals who walk out of a bad movie and immediately start saying that the director should give them back the two hours they spent watching the awful film? Well, David James Keaton owes two weeks of reading time because that’s how long I wasted reading The Last Projector, a monstrously thick “novel” that starts out bad, gets incredibly confusing, and ends nowhere.

Since I’ve already wasted enough of my time on this abomination, I’ll just copy and paste the book description from Amazon. Here it is:

“In this hysterical fever dream of a novel, meet an unhinged paramedic turned porn director uprooted from an ever-shifting '80s fantasy. Discover a crime that circles back through time to a far-reaching cover-up in the back of an ambulance. Reveal a manic tattoo obsession and how it conspires to ruin the integrity of a film and corrupt identity itself. Unravel the mystery surrounding three generations of women and the one secret they share. And follow two amateur terrorists, whose unlikely love story rushes headlong toward a drive-in apocalypse.”

Let me break it down for you:

1. There’s nothing “hysterical” about this narrative unless you think rape, hardcore porn, madness, accidents, and an unhealthy obsession with dogs are hilarious things. Seriousy, half this thing is about dogs walking, dogs showing up, dogs that may or may not have attacked someone, tattoos of dog bites, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs…except poodles. Fuck poodles. And fuck people who own poodles and their pretentious asses. Anyway, I digress. Too many damn dogs in here.
Whoever edited this thing and left those canines in there was probably high.

2. The word “fantasy” in there should be in bold. It’s hard to explain, but this is about a guy who turns into another guy, and that doesn’t happen in real life. I was expecting a crime novel, and this isn’t one. There’s violence and bad things happening, but it’s pure crime. There are guns and bad guys doing bad things in Star Wars, but you wouldn’t call Star Wars a crime trilogy, right? Same thing here: this isn’t crime, it’s just weirdness pile up on top on undecipherable narratives that somehow are supposed to coalesce into a story.

3. The tattoo obsession is the only part of that description that’s accurate. The porn director is obsessed with tattoos. His fixation is entertaining for about three pages. After that, it becomes as annoying as the damn dogs. Also, they have a guy here with a breakfast tattooed on his head. Who does that? Or, more appropriate in this case, who the hell writes about things like that? At what point did the “editor” of this thing email the author and said “Yeah, bald guy with the breakfast on his dome? That dude’s totally staying in there.” 

4. Amateur terrorists? Whoever wrote this took an SEO course at his or her local community college and didn’t pass. There is no terrorism here. Lovers? Maybe. There are two weirdoes in there that kinda turn into a couple, but their story is lost in the rest of the nonsense.

Okay, so that should more or less give you an idea of what this thing is. You know when academics write poetry and try to impress each other with how many words they know? This is like that except Keaton possesses merely an acceptable handle on the English language. In other words, this novel is what you get when some cranked out loser locks himself up in cabin deep in the woods and jerks his noodle for months until he thinks he has created a novel that will impress his peers simply because it crosses the 500-page mark. Unfortunately, Keaton has no peers because what he’s done, which I’ve decided to call “incest-friendly, overcomplicated, pooch-obsessed porny shit,” is an assassination of a plethora of genres that no sane author would ever attempt. You should only purchase this unnecessarily convoluted jumble of words if you live in an area where bricks aren’t readily available and you want to crush someone’s skull with a heavy rectangular object. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and buy something else. I hear there’s a new Michael Connelly out, so it’s not like you don’t have options.

viernes, 17 de octubre de 2014

Fábrica

15 de octubre de 2014

Fábrica

Gabino Iglesias/ Estudiante doctoral
Desde pequeñas entrenan, se arreglan, aprenden y sueñan. Independientemente de su coeficiente intelectual, que no siempre es tan limitado como la mayoría piensa, todas sus quimeras van atadas al físico, a la simetría de una cara que recibe ayudas y desayudas de la genética y a un sinnúmero de variables que van desde la manera específica de enseñar los dientes, aun en obvia ausencia de humor, a la forma en que reinventan el poner un pie delante del otro. Son carne de juicio y viven para una gloria casi imposible de alcanzar. Son, en buen castellano, nuestras “mises”.

Las “mises” que llegan lejos son diosas terrenales que llenan el pecho de orgullo patrio y ponen, como dicen por ahí, el nombre de Puerto Rico en alto. Por desgracia, también son las menos. Detrás de cada “miss” memorable hay una larga línea de casi ganadoras que quedan en el olvido.

Y para aquéllas que logran el sueño, luego está el asunto de la vida después de la gloria. Ahí habitan las pesadillas de carreras que dan lástima, los matrimonios mal llevados, los tristes y desesperados intentos de retener un ápice de relevancia, los intentos fallidos de ser cantante, actriz o animadora.

La triste realidad es que los concursos de belleza cada vez parecen ser más una fábrica de muñecas caducas. Ser “miss algo” hoy es sólo útil para la que se lleva la corona, y eso sólo si sabe buscarse la vida con lo poco que la corona le deja una vez la entrega. El resto es un triste ejército de guapas delgadas (vamos, al menos en teoría) que tiene que enterrar el sueño muerto y buscarse la vida en una realidad en la que caminar y sonreír no valen para nada en un curriculum vitae.

A lo mejor es hora de dejar a un lado los concursos de belleza. A lo mejor son tan inservibles como una silla con dos patas. O no. A lo peor estoy agrio porque estudié frenología. 

jueves, 2 de octubre de 2014

The Literary Haters Ball: Fantastic Earth Destroyer Ultra Plus


Have you ever had to suffer though a crazy person’s monologue at the bus stop? You know, when they go something like “Yeah, I was eating some cigarettes with my cousin Tutankhamen and this crazy bitch showed up with a flamethrower and asked me to give her back all her Herbie Herbster and The Disinfecting Wipes 8-tracks because she was gonna hop on her flying bicycle and visit her momma in Saturn but I jumped outta my fuzzy leather chair and kicked her ass with some of my ninja moves and shit and she ran off and now I can listen to Herbie yodeling any damn time I want!” Well, if you’re looking for the literary/visual equivalent of that, and there’s no reason in the world why you would do it but this is a world where dudes insert things in their pee holes, then snag a copy of Cameron Pierce and Jim Agpalza’s Fantastic Earth Destroyer Ultra Plus.

FEDUP (I refuse to type all that nonsense again) is the kind of mess that makes me wonder what kinds of drugs editors are ingesting these days. The plot is not a plot, it's more like a series of acid nightmares sewn together by the same character. Here’s what these fucking nutcases came up with to fill in some space on the book’s Amazon page: “In the mining town of Itchy Zoo lives a boy with pumpkin flesh. His name is Tetsuo, and he'd like to tell you about the terrible things that brought ruin to his town. How he shot his brother, how the people of Itchy Zoo became puppets, how he fell in love for the first and last time, and how Satan watched it all go down.”

Yeah, that stuff kinda happens…to a clown who has a whale for a foot. What they failed to mention is that this thing is packed with sadness and violence, and not even the good kind. There’s an ocean inside the whale, all kinds of ugly sex, and more weird stuff that I refuse to discuss here because I respect my readers. Also, Tetsuo? Really? I hope Shinya Tsukamoto sues both of these “artists” into the oblivion they deserve.

Listen, I’m all for weird. In fact, I love stories about people doing drugs and going to the mall and the occasional smart narrative about a talking penis with a twisted sense of humor. This book, however, is just too damn weird to be called anything but awful and confusing. For example, why is Tetsuo always wearing a hat? Why isn’t Satan bigger and meaner? What kind of whale grows on a foot and doesn’t complain about being stepped on all day every day? This thing makes no sense, and I think Pierce, who “wrote” this crap, and Agpalza (is that even a real last name?), the guy who illustrated this fever dream, are both major league trolls.

I was pretty mad after reading this thing, so I went to Amazon to punish these guys with a scathing 1-star review. You know what I found there? These guys had the gall to compare this garbage to Uzumaki! First of all, the Uzumaki omnibus comes in at a hefty 648 pages and has a ton of words in it. This thing is about 25 pages and contains one short sentence per page. Oh, the chutzpah these fellows possess! You won’t find a James Patterson novel that comes in at under 200 pages because Patterson delivers the goods and doesn’t skimp on words. These two should take notes from the master.

So yeah, if a really short (non)story about pure strangeness that reminds you of toothless wackos babbling at the bus stop is your thing, then throw away your money on this bizarre that should never have been published in the first place.


lunes, 29 de septiembre de 2014

Four days



You've been sitting next to me
hacking up a lung
sucking on butterscotch candy
pushing your glasses
back up toward your skull
for four days

You've been wearing
the same clothes
for four days
spitting green globs
of nasty, pleghmy death
into innocent tissues
for four fucking days

I've only been
at this stupid job
for four days
and I'm already
ready to bust in here
with a shotgun
and blow everyone
away

And you're going first
with two to the face

You've been making
my life miserable
for four days
with your fat face
and salamander complexion
and sucking noises
and smell of wet dog
and throat clearing 
and passionate hacking 
and bathroom breaks 
and squeaky chair 
and perennial coughing
and excessive blinking 
and continuous snorting
and obvious stupidity

Four days
is all it took
for me to hate you
more than anyone
I've hated before

Maybe it's pheromones
or the fact that
I'm not cut out for this
but I'm pretty sure
it's the coughing
and your pastiness 
and your scratching
and your humming
and your foul body odor
and the way time
s t r e t c h e s
like a fresh
piece of gun
or an uninteresting article
or a visit to the dentist
during these 
infinite 
days

lunes, 1 de septiembre de 2014

A short thing on why The Fappening matters

Yay, boobs! Cool. Are we done? Great. The Fappening is one of those things that's easier to process using humor and hormones because it makes it hurt a little less. However, the second you stop using those silly coping mechanisms, you realize that putting naked pictures of people, famous or not, on the web without their consent is a violation of their privacy, and whenever you have violation and people, in this case a lot of women, on the same sentence, you have a big problem on your hands.

I know you have a lot to do and probably have read a ton about it already, so I'll get to the point quickly. Here's why The Fappening matters: 

1. We love to complain about the NSA peeping into our lives, but we're ready to click on any link that promises a little peek into the lives of the rich and famous...and the poor and infamous...and anybody who's not us. We want privacy because we do awful shit in private, but we want to know what everyone else is doing. It's kind of awful, but we all do it, so it's okay, right?  

2. Privacy is a thing of the past. It's dead. Deal with it. The existence of a right is not a guarantee of said right, and thinking otherwise is stupid and dangerous. Women who have breasts and cameras are free to do whatever they want with both, but they should do so knowing that privacy is only alive as a idyllic concept, not a reality. Every email and text you send can be read, everything you post on Facebook belongs to Facebook, and every action, picture, comment, work of art or whatever else you put in your computer, whether you share it or not, is something that someone can steal. It could be the NSA or your pervy neighbor, but it can, and probably will, happen. I'm not saying that these women are to blame, just that they were probably operating under the old idea that what's yours is actually yours and other people shouldn't put their filthy paws on it. That's normal. No one parks their car expecting it to be stolen, but thousands of cars are stolen every day. The same goes for all your vital digital data. Is that wrong? Hell yes! Sadly, denial doesn't make the problem go away. Listen, we are all equal, right? Ask any young black dude in this country if he feels as safe dealing with cops as a white dude and see what kind of response you get. See? Real life vs. the truth is always uncomfortable. What people fail to understand is that the way things should be is not the way things are, and the fact that they're not the way they should be affects all of us, especially if we decide to act in ways that ignore the dangers and put us at risk. If I have to walk past the cops, you bet your ass I'm taking my hands out of my pockets and keeping all sudden movements to a minimum. Likewise, when I send someone a dick pic, I know that image has the same odds of being immediately deleted that it has of going viral. Sadly, the same applies to that photo if I decide to save it somewhere "secret" or "private" that happens to be connected to the web. 

3. This country's stupid puritanism has created a society obsessed with nudity, and things like The Fappening demonstrate how ugly things can get when that backfires. Rights are violated time and again. Ethics are trampled. Morbidity takes over like a zombie virus in a bad horror movie. I grew up spending four months of each year in Spain, a country where a naked woman showering on television is just another body lotion or shampoo ad. Then I moved to the state and learned that The Nipple is public enemy number one. We can kill each other in the streets, but you won't see one a nipple on television, and if you do, someone's handing their ass over to the FCC. Usually, this country is fine with its put-that-shit-in-a-paper-bag culture and making fun of how "sick" the Japanese are, but then we get a chance to see some famous boobies and the internet explodes, no other piece of news matter, and folks start realizing that their favorite celebrities are not as "wholesome" as mass media moguls would like them to be.
 
There you have it, three reasons why this collection of naked celebrities is, more than a titillating trip to Tabooville, a cultural phenomenon that should be used to remind folks that the panopticon is a reality and we're all inside it. Sadly, you can be the peeper today and the victim tomorrow, so be careful about celebrating celebrititties too much. I'm sure we'll reinstate privacy as a real right the second we're done eradicating racism, sexism, and homophobia in this country...


lunes, 18 de agosto de 2014

First page?

I’m the backseat of a car that looks like a washing machine on wheels.
A borrowed woman cradles my head in her lap, her huge breasts hanging over my eyes like ripe promises.
It’s late. Really late. So late it’s early for most people. Everything is closed.
All of these wrongs add up to a right.
There’s a cassette in the old car’s stereo. Led Zeppelin. Recorded from vinyl. It sounds awful and perfect. The hiss feels like the universe is pouring itself into my brain, dragging in some of the grime from the sleeping sidewalks.
My silence is infinite.
The vehicle makes its way to the beach and I know that’s where the fireworks will go off inside each of us and something akin to love will wrap itself around our ignorance and enhance this high so damn precious it seems stolen.
When we get to the beach, something breaks.
A skinny man is kneeling near the ocean. He’s mumbling something about aliens and gems. We laugh. We keep walking. We look for dark places to hide and let the sand and twigs bite our skin, let the insects crawl over us like nothing matters.
The borrowed girlfriend has nipples like pancakes and smells like sweat, perfume, and glory.
I want to pull out of her and fuck the earth, make love to the beach, impregnate this moment so that a part of it will live on after it’s over.
Someone spills a glass of thick orange juice over the horizon and we all go back to the car.
There’s silence and smiles.

We go home, but a part of us stays there forever.   

domingo, 10 de agosto de 2014

Buscapié: Deidades

10 de agosto de 2014

Deidades

Por Gabino Iglesias / Estudiante doctoral
Son dos. Vienen en bicicleta. Van de traje y corbata, uno al lado del otro, los pies en perfecta armonía. Si uno no fuera más alto, parecería que es sólo uno de lado ante un espejo. De repente rompen la formación y se me acercan por ambos flancos. Yo, ciudadano de a pie y veterano de los peligros que van atados a la utilización de transporte público, me cuadro.

“Buenas, ¿tienes tiempo para hablar de Dios?”

La pregunta me hace desear que esto hubiese sido un inocente atraco. Bajo la cabeza y nadie me ha dejado un manual contra instintos confrontacionales. Respiro profundo y activo el mecanismo de defensa que me ayudado a sobrevivir tres décadas en este mundo: el humor. “¿Del dios de quién?”

El desencajamiento de caras es simultáneo. Las pupilas del de la derecha tratan en vano de enviar un mensaje a Houston o a su compañero: “We have a problema”. “Dios hay sólo uno”,  refuta el de la izquierda con la inmediatez de aquél que lleva el “chip” bien puesto.

“A lo peor en tu ceguera cultural sólo hay uno, pero yo conozco muchos que no le llaman así a su deidad favorita”. El silencio de ambos es elocuente. Espero diez segundos y relleno el vacío entre nosotros con la punta del iceberg de un discurso que recoge el daño que le ha hecho la religión al mundo en los últimos seis meses. Tragan. Me miran. “Si este es un mal momento para hablar del plan de Dios para ti, dinos cuándo es un buen momento."

Sonrío, los miro antes de contestar y después les abro mi puerta: "El lunes que viene a las cinco de la mañana”. Tartamudean, se ajustan la corbata, miran el reloj. Ellos a eso hora no trabajan.

“Ah, es muy temprano para su dios. Entiendo. Si ustedes no tienen tiempo para mí a esa hora, yo no tengo tiempo para ustedes ahora”.

Aguanté la risa casi hasta llegar a casa.

jueves, 7 de agosto de 2014

A short thing on plagiarism


No, this is not a post about the Nic Pizzolatto/Thomas Ligotti ordeal that everyone was talking about yesterday. Sorry. Instead, this is about the fact that I read about twenty long threads on that and repeatedly came across folks who claimed no one owns ideas. In a way, they’re right, but they’re also horribly wrong, and that worries me. You see, ideas are out there, floating in the ether since the beginning of time. They’re as hard to pin down and control as signifiers or coked up butterflies, but once those ideas take shape, mix with other ideas, and solidify in a previously unknown work of art, that particular combination belongs to someone.

Let me give you an example. I love Carlton Mellick’s The Haunted Vagina. I have to pitch my next book to Eraserhead Press, so I could send them a pitch for a novel in which a guy goes on a sexual spelunking trip and ends up trapped in his wife’s vagina, which just happens to be haunted by ghosts and populated by dancing skeletons. It’s not exactly the same as The Haunted Vagina (go to YouTube and look for Vanilla Ice’s ludicrous ding ding ding explanation to see what “not exactly the same” really means), but surely EHP would politely tell me to fuck off because they’ve already published that book. Carlton doesn’t own any of the words he used in that book and he doesn’t own the idea of skeletons, hauntings, being trapped or vaginas, but the exact combination he used in his book is all his, and anyone who thinks the whole concept in that unique incarnation is up for grabs is an idiot.

I spent two years in law school before I decided I’d much rather be a happy, broke journalist/teacher/writer than a depressed lawyer. During that time, my plan was to become a guy who helped artists get some moolah when some unoriginal hack stole their shit. That didn’t happen, but I read enough to learn a thing or two about the pros and cons of having laws against plagiarism. Plagiarism, for those who commented on every thread out there without bothering to look it up, is when someone takes the writings or literary ideas of someone else and publishes/sells/somehow makes money off of them while claiming them as his or her own writing. For those of you who want to argue the small but very important points, using brief quotes and citing is okay, but the amount used and the purpose of the usage will always be taken into consideration before fair use can successfully be brought in as a valid defense. In other words, literary ideas can be owned, and those who steal them should pay the price.

Here are a few simple examples of how this works:

- Creating a mythos full of unknown evil beings with the ability to bring forth the destruction of humanity, not to mention the sanity of any individual who’s unlucky enough to encounter them, is a really cool thing. However, if you call it the Kthulhu Mythos and "create" an aquatic monster/deity called Dag-gon, you’re an asshole and deserve to be punished.  

- Guns, drugs, bad guys, and femme fatales have been used by every crime author out there. However, if your novel is titled The Maltese Bird, deals with a man wrongly accused of murder who’s also trying to help a young woman, and your main character is named Sam Stade, you’re stealing ideas, you douche.

Plagiarism is complicated because of valid things like pastiche, paying homage to someone, and the varying degrees to which certain authors you read in your youth may influence your style and even word selection. Luckily, there are venues to solve this, and they have to do with experts looking at things side by side and deciding if you’re just a bad poet trying too hard to sound like Bukowski or if you’re a thief who paraphrased an entire text in order not to have to come up with something new. However, the important point here is that ideas can be owned. You can’t own killing as an idea, but you can own an idea where a character you created slowly murders another character you created, preferably in a unique fashion and while saying some cool shit you came up with on your own. I know accepting the weird relationship between ideas and ownership is hard, but the relationship is there and it’s an important one, so be aware of it. Okay, you can go back to reading uninformed comments online now. My apologies for the interruption. 

lunes, 21 de julio de 2014

Fucking Franco: A Francopera in Three Acts

Act I

With a belly full of vodka
I try watching 
a brainless movie
Jason Statham
kicking ass
as usual
and you're there 
with an awful accent
and I shake my head 
think "Fucking Franco."

Act II

I go online 
to be words 
to read words
about a world
gone to shit
and you're there
always
this time
they're publishing 
a book of poems
POEMS!
by you
hahaha
and I feel 
like that time 
I thought 
my Amazon ranking 
depressed me
and then 
I saw yours
And I look at my shelves 
full of poets
good ones 
and I shake my head 
think "Fucking Franco."
Act III
I meet a girl
she looks broken
mean
sour
perfect
we talk
I say books
name authors
geek out
she says
my MFA this
my MFA that
my professor knows
things
many things
I love James Franco

I say bye

and I get mad
hate you a little
without any excuse to do so
only because
you are movies
you are bad directing
you are selfies
you are books that shouldn't be
you are news
you are alt lit
you are all lit
you are god
you are PhD
you are theater 
you are everywhere
you are shirtless
you are meta
you are fucking
James Franco
and we all live in your world 

domingo, 13 de julio de 2014

Buscapié: Bandwagoneros



Aquí les dejo la columna de hoy que, como muchas otras en los últimos meses, no se publicó en la versión digital del periódico. 

Bandwagoneros
por Gabino Iglesias

            Bandwagonero. El término viene de "bandwagon", el concepto utilizado en Estados Unidos para nombrar cualquier cosa a la que muchos se unen en calidad de fanáticos (o expertos) sólo porque parece estar de moda. En muchos casos, los bandwagoneros son la razón por la cual algo cobra relevancia. En fin, el asunto es un uróboros (pseudo)cultural bastante deprimente, pero el punto importante es que la mayoría de los puertorriqueños son bandwagoneros.
            Ahora es fútbol y parece que al grupo de apasionados regulares les molesta, pero puede ser boxeo, política, música o cualquier otra cosa. El boricua se suma como gota de agua a lo que sea que esté cerca del epicentro (aunque sea sólo percibido) del ojo público, y eso no es nada malo. Que somos el país del baile, la botella y la baraja es un hecho histórico y es bueno añadir de vez en cuando un poco de variedad al asunto. Si todos se cantaban fanáticos de Brasil en el Mundial, hoy se ponen camisetas de la selección Argentina para el partido final y mañana lunes se olvidan del fútbol para pasar a otra cosa, ¿que daño hacen?
            Es fácil criticar a los opinionados mal informados, a los fanáticos de cartón y a los que llevan ser veleta como bandera de sus gustos, pero hacerlo es negarles el derecho a disfrutar, aunque sea momentáneamente, de cosas que no tienen dueño. La vida en Puerto Rico puede ser una larga letanía de asesinatos, tapones, políticos ineptos, facturas deprimentes, presiones y depresiones. Para escapar de eso hay una multiplicidad de eventos, figuras y novedades que sirven de paliativos gratuitos. Eso es bueno, y aprovecharse de ello cuando todo lo demás huele a basura y sabe a tamarindo es perfectamente excusable.
            El puertorriqueño es bandwagonero, pero subirse en el tren de los que los detestan es de bandwagoneros. Recuerda aquello que tu madre te enseñó sobre compartir con el prójimo.  
               
             

jueves, 5 de junio de 2014

The Literary Haters Ball: By The Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends by J. David Osborne



The Literary Haters Ball: By The Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends by J. David Osborne

A review by: Hatebino Hateglesias.

Okay, so by the time I was done reading that freaking title, I felt like I'd done my reading for the day. Were you trying to see how many words you could fit into the front of your book, Osborne? Damn, man, take it easy on the titles. You know what? I'm gonna cut you some slack because this is, after all, your first book. However, I'll say this: we should bring back public hangings just so we can get back at the "editor" that allowed you to get away with that.

According to Amazon, this narrative (I'm calling it that so people will understand, but this damn thing is so convoluted it should be called a "nrrtaaiev") takes place in Siberia in 1953 (Way too keep your shit relevant, Osborne! You sure know what the kids want to read about these days). Stalin is dead and a thief named Alek Karriker (according to what I could find online, the author is a white dude from Oklahoma, so don't be too surprised about the hidden KKK in aleK KarriKer's name) who used to make good money, is now feeling the pressure from other bad dudes. Alek is trapped in an icy prison camp controlled by the criminals where violence, death, and chaos are everywhere (you know, much like in the story itself). Some really bad guys are planning to kill Alek and things are heating up because these lovely folks are running low on opium and getting really antsy about it. Alek knows his only way to survive is escaping the hellish prison, but escaping prison in Siberia is suicide (much like writing about it). To pull it off, he enlists the help of an aging guard and a beautiful, kinky, murderous nurse. Together they need to find a "calf" to survive the trip, which means they need another member in their group who will eventually be cannibalized when things get tough.

First thing first: J. David Osborne? What does the J stand for? I've met a few guys who start their names with a letter, and they've all been douchebags. Anyway, moving on. A sexy nurse, bad dudes doing drugs, and a calf? Wow, seems like Jessica or Johnny or Justin or whoever was trying to cram more tropes into the "nrrtaaiev" than words on the title. That being said, I kinda wish he'd stuck to the tropes, because when he tries to do "original" things, the whole story starts to collapse faster than a tower of cards in a hurricane. I'd love to tell you what doesn't work, but I'm not sure I can because this is one of the most unnecessarily complicated novels in the last ten years, so nothing works. There's a scar that moves around and some dark magic and some other weird stuff not worth mentioning because it doesn't lead anywhere. Listen, J, next time you need some psychotropics, give me a call; I know a guy who sells better stuff than whatever you're buying now.

There's some violence and a bit of sex and a lot of descriptions of cold and snow and then this thing is mercifully over. The only points Osborne gets here are for keeping this nightmare of a book short. Osborne has a smidge of talent, but he needs to do a few things if he's ever going to have a career as a writer. First, he needs to let someone else come up with the titles. Second, he needs to shorten his chapters, explain things a bit more, and use easier words. You know, like the amazing James Patterson. Also, I hope he never again writes a book where I need to go look up words because they're in another language. In the immortal words of Jules Winnfield: "English, motherfucker, do you speak it?"

Here's my verdict on this cold, pathetic mess: I could've written something better while watching a few episodes of River Monsters.