October 26, 2008

Today's Poetry

Rather than continuing to talk about reggaetón and the election (everyone did see that Calle 13 and Tego are endorsing Rogelio Figueroa and PPR though, right?) and how much it sucks, I thought I'd link to this article about the personal and creative methods of publishing that today's Puerto Rican poets are using. Really interesting stuff. Most notably, they quote Xavier Valcárcel, who's also known for using his blog to spread his poetry with a significant amount of success.

October 23, 2008

Reggaetón and the election

If you've been around enough, you'll know that I've been kind of uneasily eying reggaetón's encroachment on the presidential election. Anyways, from the author of the blog Post Pomo Nuyorican Homo comes a great explanation and analysis of everything going on lately. It's a fascinating topic and I encourage everyone to check it out!

October 21, 2008

Word of the Week: Frajlai

Sorry I've been missing the last week or so. Anyways, I've skipped the last couple... issues Puerto Rico has had. By that, I mean natural disasters. Sort of. There was the earthquake, and then Hurricane Omar... yeah. Anyways, so that you have this word for the next one, I thought I'd get a word of the week in there.

There are a couple of different ways to say flashlight in Spanish, but Puerto Rico has its own--frajlai, from the American flashlight. Linguistically it's a fascinating word. "Sh" is replaced with "j", since it's the end of the syllable and ending it with "j" is a very Puerto Rican tendency. There's also no attempt to end the second syllable with the English consonant, a typical trait of words being transferred to Puerto Rican Spanish (look at bre, for example, as in "Dame un bre", give me a break literally). The most interesting thing though is the change from "l" to "r". Even though "flash", when brought into Spanish, kept the "l", for the Puertoricanization of a similar word it had to be changed. My friend gave me a very Puerto Rican explanation for this change: "It sounded too much like chino with the l" (an analysis of the millions of uses of the word chino to come later!). This represents a sort of schism with the other Spanishes, which could accept the "fl" sound, in favor of a sound more natural to Puerto Rican Spanish. This doesn't mean that Puerto Rican Spanish doesn't include words like "flaco" or others with "fl", but rather that it is able to affirm its own Spanish inside of a global and traditional Spanish. Like most things Puerto Rican, it is the acceptance of a contradiction that does not need to be solved; it just is because it is. It's brilliant.

October 13, 2008

Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day. I would write about it, I suppose, but I'm sure there are others who will write about it more eloquently than I. For starters, here's a column by the author of Cave of the Jagua about how to reconcile with the holiday as a Catholic. Not that I endorse his views, but it does raise a couple interesting questions (at least for me).

October 9, 2008

Julia de Burgos - Después

I was looking for a copy of this poem online before and I could never find it. So, for the sake of the internet, here is "Después".

Cuando todo despierte, lo anunciarán los lirios,
que no supieron nunca vestirse sin mis albas;
lo arroparán, muriéndose, unas nubes ligeras,
y el mar me tendrá toda por siempre entre sus lágrimas.

La soledad del viento llenará los silencios...
Y vendrá la pregunta, la inevitable lanza
que hará sangrar lo único que existira de mí:
un recuerdo en la inmensa vibración de unas alas.

Y habrá quien se adelante a la espiga y la fuente
y enlutará mi nombre, y dirá unas palabras:
y hasta habrá quien me tire unas flores al mar,
como breve limosna a una vida que pasa.

Después, cuando se encrespe el mar violentamente,
dirán: “Es la conciencia fatal de esa muchacha,
tuvo muchos pecados por vivir siempre en verso,
y lo que se hace en tierra en la tierra se paga.”

Y yo, en un descuido de mis pobres hermanos,
me llevaré hasta el nombre de esta tierra sin alma;
que no quiero en mi manso retiro, recordarme
por el mundo del hombre, ¡paloma consternada!

October 6, 2008

Puerto Rico = Iraq?

In other, slightly more pleasant news (I suppose), Bayamón is turning into Iraq for some new movie by George Clooney called "Men Who Stare At Goats" (don't ask me, it's about terrorism or something).

... nothing exciting, but definitely more than a little strange...

You'd think Daddy Yankee would know better than to get even more involved in politics...

While El Nuevo Día frivolously concerns itself with what he should wear, I am amazed that somehow Daddy Yankee is again getting involved with politics. Apparently he's going to be moderating the debate between the 5 candidates for governor along with some model named Yizette Cifredo.

La presencia de Daddy Yankee reconfirma que la política se ha vertido en parte del espectáculo mediático y en ese sentido se justifica la intervención de figuras de la cultura popular, explicó Roche.
Daddy Yankee's presence reconfirms that politics have partly turned into a media spectacle and in this sense the intervention of popular cultural figures is justified, explained Roche.
I agree completely. Except that this professor seems to be all right with this, and I'm not.

It's already hard enough to take politicians seriously, particularly on the island where one has just been arrested and one of the candidates (Aníbal, of course) for the governorship is facing huge problems as well. And so they choose someone who, aside from his reggaetón credentials, is already known for either not caring for Puerto Rican politics by deferring his attention to the presidential election or for being hopelessly ignorant of the fact that he can't vote in both. I'm pretty sure he's aware that he can't be involved in both, so I think it's safe to say that his endorsement of McCain was, aside from whatever purposes it had in swaying the American Latino population, a giant "screw you" to the Puerto Rican elections and all the political limitations of residence in the island. That is reason enough to not let him get anywhere near the upcoming Puerto Rican elections.

I don't know, guys. I'm baffled.

October 3, 2008

Jorge de Castro Font--busted!

Everyone on the island knows this already (I'm sure the news is being blasted everywhere), but Jorge de Castro Font has been arrested. Not really surprising, seeing as he was already under heavy scrutiny by the FBI for a while. At least now he won't be running for sure and Fortuño can stop complaining about it...

MTV is totally pimping Calle 13

You might have heard that Calle 13 has a new album coming out October 21st... okay, maybe not, but I sure did and I am ridiculously excited. They've offered some of the songs on iTunes, all of which have sounded great.

And then, with my roommate watching America's Next Top Model in the background, I realize I'm hearing him. Residente. Apparently they've picked the duo to get people to vote on MTV... which has both of them speaking in their mediocre English. It is, quite frankly, adorable. Obviously they're not half as eloquent in English as they are in Spanish, but that's what makes it so cute. They're also using some of his music for their show advertisements.

I tried to find the videos online but there aren't any. Instead, you'll have to content yourself with them performing some new and old songs. They have a great sound and PG-13 (the boys' sister who sings with them on several tracks) just keeps getting better and better. I'm already impressed with what I've seen of this album.