Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sarah Palin: Philosopher-in-chief

Alaska's now ex-Idiot in Chief, Sarah Palin, is surpassing even her own rhetorical peaks as she says goodbye to her people. Might the spunky ex-athlete and alleged MILF be pulling our leg? Why is it that most of what she says and does seems like something out of the mind of a naughty satirist? In a speech that would put Cicero to shame, she's already bestowed stellar platitudes about the government of the people and by the people, taken out of Wikipedia, commentary about Alaska's topography and weather you might find on the Travel or Weather Channel, and hectoring to the media about ethics. Here is where the true masterful ironies began. She, violator of ethics, lecturing anyone about this is priceless. But then in her usual articulate turn of phrase and flawless grammar she said "quit makin' things up" to the press. So she, the one who claimed President Obama was a Muslim and a terrorist, is the arbiter of truth. She also paraphrased Descartes' famous statement saying, "In Alaska, we eat, therefore we hunt" as her defense of the right to bear arms.

The latest in Brooklyn Jewelry

On my bus ride home, I just saw a rubenesque young woman clad in several lycra garments, the Playboy bunny on the back of her neck being just the most prominent of her (visible?) tattoos, 6-inch long acrylic nails, and a pair of the earrings, above. They are probably about 5 inches across the center and come in more than one shade of the enamel part that imitates wicker.

CNN's Palin Resignation Coverage

CNN has a small count-down clock (minutes and seconds) on the screen indicating the time left until Sarah Palin's resignation as Governor of Alaska becomes official and she is no longer in office!!!!

Bomba in Loiza

undated film probably from the early 1950s based on the (fabulous! check out the young woman in the white flouncy dress, white stiletto pumps, and the hanky dangling from her wrist! starting on minute 12)

Familia Cepeda, undated footage

Bobmba in Ponce 1957

The narrator says that this is one of the purest "negroid" (his word) vestiges left in Puerto Rican culture, and that the bomba music and dance has an elegance that the Spanish colonial slave masters would envy!

This one is fantastic, it starts with the same family dancing above and goes forward until the 1970s.

More footage, from the early 1980s the narrator is talking about the preservation of our African heritage in Loiza.

July 26, Feast day of Saint James, Loiza, 1949

This footage was directed by Ricardo Alegria, a pioneering cultural historian and anthropologist. He founded the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, among infinite achievements on behalf of recording Island culture.

Footage of celebrations of the feast day of the Apostle Saint James (Santiago), in Loiza, Puerto Rico. Saint James, Patron of Spain, is known there as Santiago Matamoros (yes, Moorslayer, referring to the "reconquest" of Spain from the Muslims, surely Dick Cheney has an altar to this saint in his bedroom).

Loiza is known for the preservation of African music and dance and their festival honoring Saint James is famous. You can see the beautiful masks made of coconut shells worn during the carnival as well. The narrator, who doesn't mention the African cultural contribution, says that the vegigante (wearing the masks) is the devil and he opposes Saint James (Santiago Caballero). The female character is called Loca (crazy) and according to the narrator paints her face black. In Mexico, the worship of the saint was translated as Santiago Mata Indios (killer of Indians). Here, the "moors" depicted as dark-skinned in Spain are conflated with the descendants of African slaves, while others play the role of the colonial invaders. The woman gets to play the irrational insane outsider, and not surprisingly, her face is painted black.

Obviously I know NOTHING whatsoever about the festival but I can't help but make these conjectures from my contemporary point of view.......I certainly wasn't taught anything about this during my brief period of elementary school (1st to 3rd grades) study on the Island. I only learned what I little I know after coming to New York, then I saw a great exhibition in Puerto Rico called La Tercera Raiz: Precencia Africana en Puerto Rico, and more recently, visited the museum devoted to African culture that is in Old San Juan.

La Tercera Raiz: Presencia Africana en Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico: Centro de Estudios de la Realidad Puertorriqueña, 1992)

Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, NY:

Links to research sources: