"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Nothing like a little controversy...

to boost blog hits. Yesterday was the one-day record for hits on this blog since it was established 18 months ago. I think I'm going to branch out with a new blog, called "Chicano Convention." It will feature me performing my ethnicity. See Tony eat chorizo. See Tony wear a sombrero. See Tony hate whitey. And so much more.

For those of you who still don't get it--I am very happy with my identity. I am not self-loathing, nor am I ashamed, embarrassed, or anything else. I have a beef with people who try to tell me HOW to "be ethnic" (especially white people--I'd link to the latest but I'll respect this person's privacy). What went down is pretty easy to understand: I was condescended to by another blogger and I responded. For that, I'm suddenly a big scary offensive guy. I am not mandating behavior or certain styles of writing or ethnic performance for anyone except myself--so if you take offense, maybe you're not thinking very much.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. The Kirby Olsons of the world blame me for being "too ethnic," and the LDCs offer to "sand my planks." And I'M the one being offensive? Give me a break.

What happened to critical thinking?


What's the Bernstein bit---the test of poetry is that it discomfits...


In other news, someone backchanneled and asked why my below post seemed pro-Grateful Dead. I like the Dead. I like their studio albums. I don't like most of their fans, or their long extended hippie jam bootlegs that only sound good if you're really stoned. Great songwriters, great songs. I'm just not into the "scene," dig?


Does anybody wanna retroactively diss WCW for not being Puerto Rican enough? I'll lead the charge...


Reb said...

Vote for Pedro!

Sara said...

Hey, that reminds me, may I please appropriate your recipe for those tacos w/potato in 'em? Man, I LOVE those!! I also love identity debates (from my white, privileged position). I love the richness, the questions that need to be asked, and the possibility for sparking positive changes. I also am fond of the possibility for enhanced victimhood and divisive backstabbing. Really, it has it all. It could get confusing, but luckily there's always some omniscient soul out there to tell you what you should think about your ownself.

jenni said...

hey, will you and andy do the calandar?

ask him. we need hotties.

Reb said...

Go for it, dude. All this rage is making you incredibly hot.

gina said...

I love you Tony.

Tony said...

Reb--Hell no. I hate that movie.

Sara--Did I ever make you potato tacos? Really? Here's the deal--take some potatoes, waxy are preferable but any will do, boil till just done in salted water, peel, cube and refrigerate. Refrigeration is an important step--they'll brown better if you let them dry and chill for a bit. Remove from fridge, bring to room temp, and meantime, take some low-grade supermarket chorizo, the kind consisting primarily of lymph nodes and salivary glands. I always use the pork, but it comes in beef too. The beef is actually fattier. Anyway, bust off a big hunk of the chorizo and cook it until most of the fat is rendered, adding some diced onions about halfway into the process. Then add potatoes and toss to coat with chorizo grease. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cooked through and a bit crisp in places, lush and unctuous in others. Eat with tortillas, tomatillo salsa, and queso fresco if you have it.

Gina--I love you too.

GJPW said...

Sometimes I like to mention to people that my second last name is Washburn, that I'm white AND brown (even if that complexity is ignored or derided by essentialists on all sides). Although having to explain oneself in that manner gets old quickly. Richard Rodriguez does it brilliantly in his latest book, "Brown."

I see no way out of these identity politics scuffles for any of us writers of color any time soon. I don't think racism and its attendant chaos will ever completely disappear from the US.

But as you imply, what's truly important is the WRITING.

Jerry Garcia is a genius, especially anything he played from about 1972-1979.


Tony said...


Thanks for commenting. I'm half-white too. When a brown person suggests that my lack of allegiance to my brown side indicates self-loathing, I can't help but think that an allegiance of any sort to EITHER side will/can be read as self-loathing since, as you mention, essentialists on all sides will expect me to be ONE or the OTHER.

I also don't buy the argument that by not explicitly referencing much "ethnic" material in my writing, I'm somehow de facto "white"--this argument privileges the "white" (a construction if there ever was one) POV or lifestyle more than it deserves. We live in a diverse nation, formed by diverse peoples--to be American is to be white, black, brown, yellow, red, etc. To be American is to acknowledge that what we consider mainstream American "culture" (what its detractors might call "white" culture) is not monochrome.

And I DO write about "my culture"--check this blog for my posts on food, PARTICULARLY those on Mexican food.

I once made a comment that still haunts me to this day--that I was fed up with a certain type of "ethnic" poem that nearly every poet had (and some of whole books of them) that involve exoticizing one's ethicity by being about the food that one's "ethnic" family ate and how it differed from what the white folks ate. I don't abhor the subject matter--rather, the whole idea is a cliche--I'd like to see someone do something more interesting with it. In any case, my mistake was calling this type of poem the "gramma stirring a pot of beans" poem. The term comes from my own experience, as that is one of my earliest memories--gramma stirring beans (something she did every day) or making fresh tortillas (again a daily activity). I'm not planning on poeming about this sort of thing until I can make it rise above the level of anecdote.

Anyway. Lots to chew on here.

Stuart Greenhouse said...

Sweet supreme-demiurge-of-an-unspecified-nature, that recipe's really, really, tasty.

Jess said...

The Dead "stink on ice."

But Tony and Guillermo I can't get enough of.

Jess said...

& Gina too, but that almost goes without saying.

Tony said...

These are a few of my favorite things:

1) Reb L
2) Sara Mac
3) Potatos w/chorizo
4) Jess Mynes' fucking amazing poetry
5) Guillermo Parra's good sense
6) Gina Myers
7) Stu G.'s thoughtful blogging.
8) Greatest Palace Music (sorry, Satan)