u.s. news media lame oh wait that’s not news

Ugh. Just wanted to check in with English-language/U.S. coverage of the student uprisings that were happening in Mexico this weekend, so I went to my old source the Washington Post and searched “Mexico.”

The first thing that comes up is this crap. “Front-runner in Mexico’s presidential race pledges respect for democracy and plurality.” That is the headline.

I didn’t realize that the PRI owned the Washington Post (actually, the Associated Press) as well as Televisa, but it sure sounds like they’ve got the same bland-ass copywriter on their payroll.

Background: this candidate is the “front runner” because the Mexican media is heavily manipulated by politicians (and vice-versa), and also gangstas judging by the journalist homicide rate. (Because there are homicide statistics for journalists here.) When characterizing the persecution of journalists and hampering of free speech in Mexico, Freedom House actually uses the term “systematic impunity.” Apparently this news is not as important as the story about a politician who, quote, pledges to respect democracy and plurality.

Anyway, since there seems to be not that much reporting on the student marches that happened this weekend in Mexico, I will briefly summarize. Around 40 thousand “mostly young,” as AP says, college students marched through the city Friday and again Saturday to demonstrate what they see as obvious falseness in media claims that he is the “front runner.” There were offshoot marches in cities around the country, and even in other countries (including a group of 40 in NYC). This was after he was jeered by hundreds a week earlier when giving an obligatory interview to the Ibero University’s radio station.

I get that these kids are fresas, but AP doesn’t even make it to that level. What we have here is a very clear example of syndicated journalism eating its own barf, and then the Washington Post goes and republishes it.

Seriously, it makes sense that a wire service like AP would get stories from the big local media conglomerate, but why bother running the story if they aren’t even going to fact check it? Or reality check it?

Here, of course, the L.A. Times has a more realistic take.

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preparing for frontera ROAD TRIP

So I got a little paranoid/upset the other day when my friend, with whom I am planning a roadtrip across the border to Austin to visit my sister and buy stuff, contacted me expressing dudas about the trip. I thought she was thinking of flaking out.

She was worried about a couple things, one of them being road conditions in Nuevo Leon because of Hurricane Alex and, I think, also because of increased checkpoints. She has since told me she heard it’s not all that bad.

So I was looking into it, finally. I have of course known there are issues… I’ve been working for the Human Rights Commission, in particular translating some stuff about authority missteps regarding methods of combating violence (including one that killed two little boys), and I also recently edited a couple of reports for a political risk consultant on drug-related violence. But other than that I haven’t really explored the issues.

i.e., I have avoided exposing myself to the more paranoid sources of news, such as the US State Department. But I decided to take the plunge today and read what they have to say, via a recent consular warden’s report. It seems pretty rational. In context of mentioning that thousands of US citizens travel in Mexico safely every day, they also tell you what’s been happening in hotspots, where to avoid, and why.

With respect to the pending cruzafrontera trip, this was the pertinent passage:
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the reverend barbie

So, I was getting settled into my laptop to do some work, but before I got started I ran into this. Episcopal Priest Barbie (of whom I am now a friend on Facebook).

This morning in the shower, after a particularly good yoga workout, I had already been thinking about religion. I was turning over in my head how if we now understand our minds to be one with our bodies, not separate, how come we think of everything as coming from our minds? Like I said, I’d had a good workout.

Basically, though, I came back to what it means to be agnostic. Which led me to something I have discussed before: the different social and spiritual faces of religion.

When I was applying for permission to work in Méx, el Gobierno me preguntó mi religión, among other things, in the forms I filled out. I thought about it a little and decided, you know, that’s really personal information. Do I really want to share with them that I am agnostic? That’s like sharing with them my personal philosophies. That’s not really any of their business.

Not that I think they care. They just want it for demographic purposes, I realized, so I decided to give them my “social” religious affiliation. The part of my religious life the Mexican government would be most interested in, I think, is the fact that I was not raised Catholic.

There were no boxes to check, just an empty space on the form. I wrote in, PROTESTANTE. It actually did feel a little rebellious. (Rebelde.) Both for asserting my minority social status and for not complying with the government’s request to know my real spiritual beliefs.

Then today I see this Barbie awesomeness. I love that Mattel specifically chose the Episcopal church as Barbie’s. [EDIT: The Barbie is not an official Mattel product, actually. A priest in Ohio just made some clothes and the Facebook page for her. Dammit. Not NEARLY as cool.] After all, aside from being the waspiest church, it also may be the most socially acceptable in the US. It was founded on the principle of divorce. It practices open communion. It allows women priests. It allows gay priests. Of COURSE Barbie is Episcopalian. I am, too.

unsubscribe notice

i’ve been getting these lame emails from the democratic party ever since the pres primaries. i finally found the patience to unsubscribe, rather than simply deleting. they wanted to know why, and this was my explanation:

“since you ask… it’s bc i find the tone of your emails really smug. it’s like you assume i agree with everything ‘the party’ says, when in reality the only reason i’m on this list to begin with is because i gave money to obama while you assholes were still supporting hillary. you come across as such baby boomers. herd mentality isn’t as relevant as it used to be, you know.”

[edit: next day. i was definitely kind of drunk when i wrote and published this. yes, i do feel this way, but i’d like to think that when sober i’m not so aggressive with my lack of diplomacy.]

cerca de la plaza de las tres culturas

La Plaza de las Tres Culturas es un sitio en el centro (Tlatelolco) de DF de un templo aztec, donde puedes visitar las ruinas. Alla existía un famoso mercado. Cuando llegaron los españoles construyeron una iglesia usando piedras de los edificios aztec.

En 1968 en esta plaza, una manefesteción de estudiantes contra el autoritarismo del gobierno PRI fue reprimido violentamente por el ejército, que luego estuvo ocultado. [Historia por NPR, en inglés.] El papa de mi roommate fue parte del movimiento de estudiantes.

El terremoto de 1985 seriamente les dañó unos de los edificios. Después muchos de los edificios UNAM estuvieron traslados al Sur de la Ciudad.

Ahora yo creo (?) que la area es en su mayor urbanizaciónes de viviendas subvencionadas, pero no he encontrado algo sobre esto en el internet. Las fotos son de una tienda en el abajo de uno de las viviendas.

Mi hermana escribió un expuesto en su blog sobre la plaza también.