Sunday, November 21, 2010

Centennial Fever!

Today's* the centennial of the start of the Mexican Revolution, in which a guy named Frank, who had every legal right to be in Mexico but was forced to flee to the United States, harnessed the power of the printed word and sparked the overthrow of an autocratic despot. Something our friend Governor Calzada may want to think about.

This isn't one of those posts that tries to explain The Meaning of It All, since we're eminently unqualified to do so. The Mexican Revolution goes largely untaught in American schools, we can't say we knew a thing about it until a few years ago. The most surprising thing to us was the free-for-all nature of it. Unlike the neat, two-side wars Americans tend to fight - Colonists vs Brits; North vs South; Jesus vs Terror - The Mexican Revolution was Madero vs Diaz; Huerta vs Madero; Zapata, Villa and Carranza vs Huerta; Villa vs Carranza; Villa vs Obregon; Obregon vs Carranza... all of whom were either crazy, bloodthirsty or both. It was sort of like one of those 12-luchador steel-cage clusterfucks they have in Querétaro every Christmas. Only Diaz managed to die of old age. Obregon was shot by a Cristero, which was the war that followed right on the heels of the Revolution.

We can see why this isn't taught in US schools. It's sorta hard to condense.

Despite the free-for-all nature of it, the actual fighting was contained to a relatively few states, and Querétaro wasn't one of them. Querétaro did cerebral stuff like hosting the constitutional convention, but didn't get its hands dirty. More Revolution 9, than Revolution.

But while the constitution was written under Carranza's supervision, and there's a bust of him in the Teatro de la Republica, and Venustiano Carranza Street right behind our offices, Querétaro was (surprisingly, if you'd never seen the place before 2005) Pancho Villa country - because Carranza and Obregon were staunch anti-clerics, and Villa wasn't nearly as bad. In Querétaro, the Baby Jesus's enemy's enemy is your friend.

Villa visited the city twice and was hailed as a hero both times (though, ironically, one of those visits was on the way to the Battle of Celaya, which was kind of his Waterloo). So if we were forced to take a stab at The Meaning of it All, we'd just note that, 100 years after the start of the Revolution, the moment a guy like Villa set foot in Querétaro, he'd be picked up by the municipal police on vagrancy charges and hustled over the Guanajuato border in the dead of night. Viva!

Update: By "today," we mean "yesterday." We've sent a crew down to the engine room to figure out why this didn't post last night. Another round of layoffs to follow...


Anonymous said...

Have a great Thanksgiving, when you return la revolucion can begin.

Anonymous said...

The foto del dia is interesting, was it taken near Tijuana? rofflz

Dave said...

I was, one of these days going to try to work through the history of the revolution, but once again, you've saved me from tedious page-turning, and simultaneously dissuaded me from searching further, at least for now. Great post, at any rate.

Great Foto del dia! I was wondering about the role the narcos may have played in the setting, but I see it still has a head. Never mind.

Happy Thanksgiving tambien!

Burro Hall said...

Thanks, amigos. Same to y'all.

The murdered troll in the photo is, I think some kind of wilted decoration or pinata hanging in a courtyard in Polotitlan, Qro.

Dave said...

Having been to a few Mexican kids' birthday parties, I'd have to doubt the pinata theory, unless some yahoo hung it too high to reach. Those kids are relentless with a stick.

La Celebracion En Nuevo Leon said...

Here is the celebration in Nuevo Leon.

Burro Hall said...

Here is the head of Owens Corning Latin America saying companies need to work more closely with universities.