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TitleMexican Public Intellectuals
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LanguageEnglish
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Table of Contents
                            Cover
Title
Copyright
Dedication
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: A New Kind of Public Intellectual?
Chapter 1 The Democratic Dogma: Héctor Aguilar Camín, Jorge G. Castañeda, and Enrique Krauze in the Neoliberal Crucible
Chapter 2 Engaging Intellectuals: Andrés Henestrosa and Elena Poniatowska
Chapter 3 Monsiváis in a Nutshell
Chapter 4 Guadalupe Loaeza’s Blonded Ambition: Lip-Synching, Plagiarism, and Power Poses
Chapter 5 It’s My (National) Stage Too: Sabina Berman and Jesusa Rodríguez as Public Intellectuals
Chapter 6 From Accounting to Recounting: Esther Chávez Cano and the Articulation of Advocacy, Agency, and Justice on the US-Me
Chapter 7 Mayan Cultural Agency through Performance: Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya–Fomma
Chapter 8 María Novaro: Feminist Filmmaking as Public Voice
Chapter 9 The Masked Intellectual: Marcos and the Speech of the Rainforest
Chapter 10 Javier Sicilia: Public Mourning for the Sons of Mexico
Notes on Contributors
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

MEXICAN PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS

Page 126

IT ’S MY (NATIONAL) STAGE TOO 119

Rodríguez’s cabaret space (El Hábito) in the posh Coyoacán district

of southern Mexico City, and one or more plays by Sabina Berman

on stage, whether at a small independent theater or at the theater

complex of the National Auditorium. For years they had offered their

public a bitter yet almost always humorous dose of ironic, impertinent

commentary that many argued—though Berman and Rodríguez

were rarely so arrogant as to do so—made a difference on Mexico’s

national stage. Rodríguez told Mark and Blanca Kelty, in 1997, that

her work in political cabaret is “not an escape; on the contrary, it is

confronting what you most wanted to elude, what you didn’t want to

look at, what you didn’t want to notice. Cabaret theater makes you

say, ‘This is what you are living’ ” (124); while in 2004 Jacqueline E.

Bixler wrote that Berman’s theater wavers “between mockery and

caustic criticism of the historical, political, cultural, and sexual status

quo of her country” (21). As part of the Mexican mosaic their texts

and performances contributed to genuine albeit tortuous sociopo-

litical change. Mexican audiences—not to mention students in US

universities, who often read texts and view performances by these

and other Mexican artists—might see in the art of these two women

gender politics denaturalized on the page/stage, or experience the

power of parody to debunk the mythical morass of official histories

that confirm, conform, and deform the nation.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, for example, the public, including

academics in search of good material, could turn to their work to see

politicians parodied, the role of the church questioned, the enact-

ment of a same-sex wedding (the stage is of course ideal for rehears-

ing future reality), or—in my case—a critique of neoliberalism, the

conservative economic doctrine that posited the magic of the “free”

trade, privatization, and a reduction in social spending. Mexican

artists, it turns out, did not buy Francis Fukuyama’s assertion that

“while some present-day countries might fail to achieve stable liberal

democracy, and others might lapse back into other, more primitive

forms of rule like theocracy or military dictatorship, the ideal of lib-

eral democracy could not be improved on” (xi. Original emphasis).

They made this known through their plays and performances; audi-

ences, including the occasional politician, might find solace (except

perhaps for the occasional politician) in the scenes represented, and

a community of like-minded intellectuals, through their work and

that of others, was solidified. Berman’s 1990 play La grieta, or the

“crack,” for instance, depicted the massive crevice of corruption

on the part of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and

President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The seduction of Mexico by

Page 127

STUART A . DAY120

neoliberal forces was clear in this brutally comical play that com-

bined documentary theater with the theatre of the absurd—a recipe

for reality. I saw this play with a dozen other people in 1996 at the

diminutive Foro de la Conchita, not far from Jesusa Rodríguez’s bar

El Hábito, where among many cabaret performances that critiqued

the neoliberal order was the piece Misa en Los Pinos, which lam-

pooned, through a mass performed on a stage designed to represent

the presidential palace, the influence of two fundamental religions:

conservative Catholicism and neoliberalism (Fox had recently asked

the Mexican people to pray for the US economy). Rodríguez told me

at the time, as she has often told others, that her two favorite targets

were the church and the state; as of the 2000 elections, the Fox

administration offered two for one.

During the last several theater seasons, however, Rodríguez

bowed out of her political cabaret in the Coyoacán district in south-

ern Mexico City (it is now in the hands of Las Reinas Chulas3), and

one summer the only Berman plays on the Mexico City theater scene

were the adaptation (produced by Berman, anonymously at first) of

Puppetry of the Penis at the Foro Shakespeare, as well as a play for

children.4 Academics and others perceived that artists like Berman

and Rodríguez had abandoned the performance of politics, yet this

was hardly the case. In fact, they were rehearsing for their roles on

the national stage, and the early years of the twenty-first century were

by no means stagnant for the two artists: among many other pro-

jects, Berman conducted on-site research and wrote her screenplay

Backyard/Traspatio on the murders of hundreds of girls and young

women in Ciudad Juárez, while one of Rodríguez’s multiple political

incursions included her wedding to Liliana Felipe on the same day

as hundreds of other gay and lesbian couples, in Valentine’s Day cer-

emonies that at once parodied conservative politics and set the stage

for sanctioned civil unions.

Notwithstanding their significant political participation in the

past, the power of these two women on the national stage was real-

ized most forcefully in their roles during and after the 2006 presi-

dential elections: Rodríguez through increased political involvement

with Andrés Manuel López Obrador (for whom she began to serve,

shortly after the election, as stage director for numerous political

events) and the Civil Resistance Movement; Berman through her

initial work with an “independent” United Nations election watch

group, and later in her 2006 book on the elections Un soplo en el

corazón de la patria: instantáneas de la crisis as well as her television

Page 252

INDEX 249

Said, Eduard, 6, 28, 136, 139, 141,

156, 160, 198, 213, 219

Salazar Escalante, Jezreel, 43, 76, 92

Salinas de Gortari, Carlos, 7, 16,

17, 34, 38, 40, 43, 119, 126, 131,

144, 156, 193

same-sex, 119, 123, 135

Sánchez-Blake, Elvira, 10, 11,

181–94

Sánchez Prado, Ignacio M., 6, 7,

15, 38, 39, 43, 77, 83, 89, 90–3,

157, 161, 239

Sandinista, 30, 31

satirize, 98, 109

Scherer García, Julio, 73, 121, 138

secular, 12, 73, 81, 116

Sefchovich, Sara, 189–90, 192–4

señor, 129, 148, 216

señora, 95, 98, 103, 111

sexist, 80, 105, 112, 147, 187

sexual, 47–8, 50, 54–5, 67, 74,

78, 80–1, 87, 90, 92, 119, 130,

145–9, 152, 159, 161, 186, 189,

200, 212, 238

sexuality, 54, 81, 87, 90, 95, 98,

113, 147, 178, 180, 194

sexually, 48

Shalalá, 9, 120–1, 128–31

Shapiro, Estela, 62

Sheppard, Randal, 26, 44

Sheridan, Guillermo, 102–3

Showalter, Elaine, 141–2, 155, 161

Sicilia, Javier, 1, 5, 15, 217–18, 224,

231, 234–5

¡Siempre!, 72, 107, 115

sindicato, 184

sociedad, 22, 41, 43–4, 68, 73,

91–3, 128, 138, 142, 148–50

Solberg, Helena, 182, 192

Sommer, Doris, 166, 179

sovereign, 24

Spanish, 31, 34, 50–2, 54, 56,

62–4, 68, 75, 78, 90, 100, 118,

163–4, 173, 176–7, 199, 205–6,

211, 214–15, 233, 237–9

specific, 141, 226

stage, 4, 9–10, 30–1, 36, 61, 89,

101, 117–38, 163, 165–8,

173–5, 179–80, 186, 220,

226, 232

stagnation, 1, 207

stance, 4, 28, 31, 128, 130, 132–3,

212

stereotypes, 46, 48, 67, 95–6,

103, 191

Subcomandante Marcos, 5, 11, 81,

90, 91, 110, 137, 164, 197–200,

202–16, 231

subordinate, 136, 168

subversion, 21, 44

supranational, 167

system, 20, 22, 29, 33, 36–7, 58,

80, 85, 87, 90, 106, 123, 159,

164, 170, 177, 185, 187, 189,

201–2

Tabuenca Córdoba, María Socorro,

10, 139, 159, 161, 237, 239

Taibo II, Paco Ignacio, 11, 210,

215, 216

talent, 50, 95–6

Taylor, Analisa, 64, 69

Taylor, Diana, 166–7, 175–80

Taylor, Kathy, 39, 44, 49–50, 67

teatro, 135, 137–8, 168–9, 171,

174–5, 177–9, 238

technology, 85–6

Tehuana, 52

Televisa, 48, 76, 129

The New Republic, 27

The Speed, 204, 208–9, 216

Theatre, 9–10, 117, 120, 136–7, 180

threats, 6, 154

title, 7–8, 28, 37, 54–5, 66, 73–4,

80, 84, 88–9, 96, 100, 103, 108,

112, 170, 183, 188, 199, 226–7

Tlatelolco, 6, 82, 83, 90, 92, 121,

125, 126, 138, 232

Toledo, Alejandro, 21, 44

Toledo, Francisco, 74

trade, 10, 19, 22, 96, 119, 122,

160–1, 197, 200, 221–2, 233

Page 253

INDEX250

traditional, 2, 4, 11–12, 16, 18, 21,

32, 36, 65, 77–8, 107, 123–4,

163, 165–6, 168, 170–7, 212,

219

trafficking, 1, 10, 135, 220–2, 227,

233, 235, 238

transnational, 10, 30, 64–6, 86,

210

transsexual, 130, 133, 213

Trejo Delabre, Raúl, 22, 44

trope, 100, 141, 187, 224

TV Azteca, 9, 111, 129, 131, 133,

228, 234

UNAM, 43, 72, 92, 115, 138,

160, 235

underdevelopment, 65

Underiner, Tamara, 165, 167, 172,

176, 180

universal, 141, 226

Uno Más Uno, 72, 98, 100

uprising, 78, 164, 197–8, 205

Valdespino Vargas, Carla, 205, 214,

216

value, 7, 9, 18, 24, 27, 29, 35, 46, 53,

58–9, 98, 105, 108, 110, 113, 150,

165, 167–8, 170, 177, 183, 197,

223, 229

Van Delden Maarten, 22, 44

Vanden Berghe, Kristen, 44, 201,

203–6, 208, 214, 216

Vasconcelos, José, 45, 52, 61–2, 66,

89, 134, 193

V-Day, 142, 153, 160

Villamil, Jenaro, 73, 79–80, 89–90,

92–3

violence, 10, 15, 52, 65, 86, 140,

144–5, 151–2, 154–5, 159, 167,

169–71, 173, 177, 190, 217–18,

220–2, 224–8, 230, 234, 238

virgin, 67

Virgin of Guadalupe, 81, 109, 131,

227

virginal, 123

virginity, 58

vocation, 116, 121, 133, 139, 154,

165

voice, 1, 10–1, 15, 28, 34, 61, 76, 79,

83, 98, 100, 107–8, 111–12, 140,

144, 148, 150–1, 153, 155–6, 167,

169, 174–5, 181, 189, 191, 193,

198, 200, 202, 204, 207, 209,

211–13, 218, 223, 230

Vuelta, 22, 27, 43, 44, 68, 91, 157,

161

women, 8–11, 16, 47–50, 52,

54–8, 60, 63, 67–8, 78, 80, 89,

99–100, 103, 105, 109, 111–12,

119–20, 138, 140–61, 163–91,

193–5, 202, 205–6, 208–9,

212–13, 237–9

Wright, Melissa, 154, 160–1

Zabludovsky, Jacobo, 96

Zapata, Emiliano, 25, 203, 205, 215

Zapatista, 2, 11, 17, 164, 197–201,

201–3, 207–16, 231

Zapotec, 5, 7, 45, 47–8, 51–2, 56–7,

59, 61–2, 64, 67–8

zapoteca, 48, 67

zócalo, 87, 117–18, 124, 126–8,

134, 213, 228

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