Tuesday, July 21, 2009

simple creatures

an argument in favor of space travel:

The first men to be created and formed were called the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, the Sorcerer of Night, Unkempt, and the Black Sorcerer... They were endowed with intelligence, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all that is around them, and they contemplated in turn the arc of heaven, and the round face of the earth... Then the Creator said: "They know all... what shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth!... Are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods?"

- Popol Vuh, Quiché Maya

Friday, July 17, 2009

O True Believers

She lay in bed trying to picture the tent with the freak walking from side to side but she was too sleepy to figure it out. She was better able to see the faces of the country people watching, the men more solemn then they were in church, and the women stern and polite, with painted-looking eyes, standing as if they were waiting for the first note of the piano to begin the hymn. She could hear the freak saying, "God made me thisaway and I don't dispute hit," and the people saying, "Amen. Amen."

"God done this to me and I praise Him."

"Amen. Amen."

"He could strike you thisaway."

"Amen. Amen."

"But he has not."


"Raise yourself up. A temple of the Holy Ghost. You! You are God's temple, don't you know? Don't you know? God's spirit has a dwelling in you, don't you know?"

"Amen. Amen."

"If anybody desecrates the temple of God, God will bring him to ruin and if you laugh, He may strike you thisaway. A temple of God is a holy thing. Amen. Amen."

"I am a temple of the Holy Ghost."


The people began to slap their hands without making a loud noise and with a regular beat between the Amens, more and more softly, as if they knew there was a child near, half asleep.

- Flannery O'Connor, "A Temple of the Holy Ghost"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Las Baladas Prohibidas

valient, outlawed songs of love and death among Mexicali's drug cartels.

"The policeman Carlos Pérez said that some of the most famous ballads were about Jesús Malverde, whom he called the patron saint of the narcotraffickers. He lived in Sinaloa. He was Robin Hood. He sold drugs and used the money to help the people. He was killed in a gun battle because he didn't want to give himself up. Some say he was never caught. Some say he died of old age, and others say that he is still alive. Everybody has his own story."

"Even Lupe, who trudged bitterly through life, cheered up when he heard this corrido, which was naturally so loud that he had to shout into my ear for me to apprehend that it dealt with the demure lady friend of a wanted drug lord who happened to be absent when two federales visited their residence, promising her that they wouldn't hurt him, so she told them to sit down and wait if so it pleased them; but while fixing refreshments she overheard their plan to liquidate her lover, so she sweetly invited them to rest just a moment longer, then strode out and blew them away!"

"I've failed to introduce you to the most famous narcotraffickers, whom even the police speak of with respect: Chapo Guzmán and the brothers Arellano Félix from Tijuana; Cárdenas the chief of chiefs, the Valencia brothers...But maybe I have showed you that certain individuals of a daringly decorative bent can paint the walls of hell with words as yellow, hot, and sulphurous as Mexicali at three in the morning."

read the rest of William T. Vollmann's article "Las Baladas Prohibidas" at Mother Jones.

(videos dug up by and borrowed from utne)