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From The Guardian news pages, a pretty funny Coalition of the Fringes circular firing-squad story that is useful in quantifying how it’s basically all a big hissy fit over money. It’s about a heavily-promoted novel, American Dirt, about a Mexican mother and her children who flee Mexico’s Tragic Dirt for America’s Magic Dirt:

American Dirt: why critics are calling Oprah’s book club pick exploitative and divisive

Latino writers say Jeanine Cummins’ novel uses stereotypes and exploits the suffering of Mexican immigrants

André Wheeler

Wed 22 Jan 2020

American Dirt, the third novel by Jeanine Cummins, begins with a group of assassins opening fire on a quinceañera cookout. We watch Lydia’s entire family get killed, one by one. Only Lydia and her eight-year-old survive.

The scene is one of many depictions of graphic violence in American Dirt and it has sparked an intense conversation about “pity porn” and writing about the Mexican immigrant experience.

The book’s critics argue that Cummins exploits the suffering of Mexican immigrants and resorts to stereotypes. …

Two days after criticisms went viral, Oprah Winfrey selected the divisive novel as the latest pick for her Oprah’s book club on Tuesday morning. The announcement was immediately met with intense pushback and confusion.

Roxane Gay expressed her disappointment on Twitter: “It’s frustrating to see a book like this elevated by Oprah because it legitimizes and normalizes flawed and patronizing and wrong-minded thinking about the border and those who cross it.”

… According to Publishers Weekly, the novel sold to Flatiron Books for a seven-figure advance. Early reviews compared American Dirt to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Stephen King and Don Winslow provided glowing blurbs. Imperative Entertainment, the Hollywood studio behind the controversial Sierra Leone civil war drama Blood Diamond, even purchased film rights shortly before the book’s release.

But Latino literary figures say their opinions and criticism about American Dirt have been silenced and ignored. The writer Myriam Gurba alleges the feminist publication Ms Magazine commissioned and then killed her review of the novel, fearing pushback. “[The editor] wrote that though my takedown of Dirt was “spectacular”, I lacked the fame to pen something so “negative”, Gurba writes in a personal essay. “She offered to reconsider if I changed my wording, if I wrote ‘something redeeming.’”

Gurba says the most frustrating part about the attention around American Dirt and the large advance Cummins received is the scant attention Chicano narratives, written by Chicano people, receive. “The machine that is supporting this book is dystopian in nature. Meanwhile, I have published three books through indie presses and have not made more than $5,000 on them. That gives you a sense of what value is being ascribed to authentic voices.” …

Cummins, who as recently as 2016, self-identified as white and Latina (and has a Puerto Rican grandmother), likely hoped to get ahead of any questions raised about her writing and profiting off the Mexican migrant experience.

In contrast, three of Gurba’s grandparents were Mexican. Three … count ’em … three!

She includes this author’s note at the beginning of American Dirt: “I was worried that, as a non-immigrant and non-Mexican, I had no business writing a book set almost entirely in Mexico, set entirely among immigrants. I wished someone slightly browner than me would write it.”

Gurba says the note is more infuriating, than placating. In an effort to shine a light on authentic voices, Gurba began a Twitter thread calling for original stories by Mexican-American writers. Authors she and others point to include Felicia Luna Lemus, Yxta Maya Murray, Reyna Grande, Helena Maria Viramontes and Raquel Gutierrez.

Gurba hopes the industry will reflect on this controversy: “I hope this makes people realize how conservative publishing really is.”

And from Myriam @LesWords Gurba’s blog:

Pendeja, You Ain’t Steinbeck: My Bronca with Fake-Ass Social Justice Literature
BY MYRIAM GURBA POSTED ON DECEMBER 12, 2019

When I tell gringos that my Mexican grandfather worked as a publicist, the news silences them.

Shocked facial expressions follow suit.

Their heads look ready to explode and I can tell they’re thinking, “In Mexico, there are PUBLICISTS?!”

How many live-in servants did your grandfather, the Mexican PUBLICIST, employ? More than Alfonso Cuaron’s scientist dad’s three live-in servants in Roma?

I wryly grin at these fulanos and let my smile speak on my behalf. It answers, “Yes, bitch, in México, there are things to publicize such as our own fucking opinions about YOU.”

I follow in the cocky footsteps of my grandfather, Ricardo Serrano Ríos, “decano de los publicistas de Jalisco[1],” and not only do I have opinions, I bark them como itzcuintli.

And then she goes on in this vein for awhile. Unlike Texas or Florida, Southern California is extremely lacking in people descended from the Mexican upper middle class, so this Long Beach, CA resident wants to remind you of her pedigree all the time.

… A self-professed gabacha, Jeanine Cummins, wrote a book that sucks. Big time.

Her obra de caca belongs to the great American tradition of doing the following:

Appropriating genius works by people of color
Slapping a coat of mayonesa on them to make palatable to taste buds estados-unidenses and
Repackaging them for mass racially “colorblind” consumption.

Rather than look us in the eye, many gabachos prefer to look down their noses at us. Rather than face that we are their moral and intellectual equals, they happily pity us. Pity is what inspires their sweet tooth for Mexican pain, a craving many of them hide. This denial motivates their spending habits, resulting in a preference for trauma porn that wears a social justice fig leaf. To satisfy this demand, Cummins tossed together American Dirt, a “road thriller” that wears an I’m-giving-a-voice-to-the-voiceless-masses merkin.

I learned about Dirt when an editor at a feminist magazine invited me to review it.

I accepted her offer, Dirt arrived in my mailbox, and I tossed it in my suitcase. At my tía’s house in Guadalajara, I opened the book.

Before giving me a chance to turn to chapter one, a publisher’s letter made me wince.

“The first time Jeanine and I ever talked on the phone,” the publisher gushed, “she said migrants at the Mexican border were being portrayed as a ‘faceless brown mass.’ She said she wanted to give these people a face.”

The phrase “these people” pissed me off so bad my blood became carbonated.

I looked up, at a mirror hanging on my tía’s wall.

It reflected my face.

In order to choke down Dirt, I developed a survival strategy. It required that I give myself over to the project of zealously hate-reading the book, filling its margins with phrases like “Pendeja, please.” That’s a Spanglish analogue for “Bitch, please.”

Back in Alta California, I sat at my kitchen table and penned my review. I submitted it. Waited.

After a few days, an editor responded. She wrote that though my takedown of Dirt was “spectacular,” I lacked the fame to pen something so “negative.” She offered to reconsider if I changed my wording, if I wrote “something redeeming.”

Because the nicest thing I can say about Dirt is that its pages ought to be upcycled as toilet paper, the editors hauled out the guillotine. I was notified that I’d be paid a kill fee: 30% of the $650 I was initially offered for my services.

Toxic heteroromanticism gives the sludge an arc and because the white gaze taints her prose, Cummins positions the United States of America as a magnetic sanctuary, a beacon toward which the story’s chronology chugs.

México: bad.

USA: good.

I pinched my metaphorical nose and read.

Cummins bombards with clichés from the get-go. Chapter One starts with assassins opening fire on a quinceañera, a fifteenth birthday party, a scene one can easily imagine President Donald Trump breathlessly conjuring at a Midwestern rally, and while Cummins’ executioners are certainly animated, their humanity remains shallow.

… Cummins employs this “landscape of carnage,” a turn of phrase which hearkens to Trump’s inaugural speech, to introduce her protagonist, the newly widowed Lydia Quixano Perez. …

With their family annihilated by narcotraffickers, mother and son embark on a refugees’ journey. They head north, or, as Cummins’ often writes, to “el norte,” and italicized Spanish words like carajo, mijo, and amigo litter the prose, yielding the same effect as store-bought taco seasoning.

Through flashbacks, Cummins reveals that Lydia, “a moderately attractive but not beautiful woman,” age thirty-two, operated a bookstore. …

It shocks Lydia to learn that the mysterious and wealthy patron who frequents her bookstore flanked by “[thuggish]” bodyguards is the capo of the local drug cartel!

Obviously, everybody knows that cartelistas enjoy nothing more than frequenting the bookstores found on practically every block in Mexico.

Why are all these angry people assuming that the central character of this book, a woman who owns a bookstore, is not white? If you gave a 23andMe DNA test to every single bookstore owner in Mexico (granted, that would not be a large sample size), what would be their average percentage of Caucasian DNA? 90%?

What it sounds like is that the author borrowed a very old plot: the main character has to pretend to be somebody to escape from bad guys. Basically, American Dirt sounds like the plot of Some Like It Hot: Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are witnesses to the Al Capone’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago, so to escape the the mobsters, they dress up as women and join an all-girl jazz band boarding a train for Florida, where Jack starts to get a little too much into his new identity. Same here: to escape from mobsters, the nice white lady and her son have to pretend to be Mexican immigrants to the US, and then they realize they are Mexican immigrants.

It shocks Lydia to learn that some central Americans migrate to the United States by foot! It shocks Lydia to learn that men rape female migrants en route to the United States! It shocks Lydia to learn that Mexico City has an ice-skating rink! (This “surprise” gave me a good chuckle: I learned to ice skate in México.)

Did I mention my grandfather was a publicist?

Notes:

[1] Source: his fucking tombstone

Did I mention I come from a classy family?

 
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  1. Anon[174] • Disclaimer says:

    You know it has to be a racist book if Stephen King blurbed it. (By the way, his oeuvre, all 500 novels over half a century, is being gone over with a fine tooth comb by Twitter, and instances of “magical negroes” are being documented.)

    But seriously, Steve, make a Google Alert for “Roxane Gay” and keep an eye on her Twitter account: That should pick up a lot of material for you.

  2. Mr. Blank says:

    Dafuq I just read…

    • LOL: Bubba
  3. Am I the only one who wants to know what Yxta’s pronouns are?

  4. An interesting part of communist thought is how they “know” what other people are thinking and present it as fact.

    “She was SHOCKED there were publicists in Mexico!”

    “I could see him thinking how could this poor brother know anything besides hip-hop?”

    “They thought I was some kind of bum.”

    Explains how “microaggressions” became a thing. If you can interpret, with only your feelings, that someone’s actions were negative against you.

    Saves a lot of time on that whole “proof” thing you need to go forward and blame “white privilege” (which, again, you merely made up in your own mind).

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @donvonburg
  5. I will make this woman happy. I will never write about Mexicans.

    • Replies: @sayless
  6. ‘Roxane Gay expressed her disappointment on Twitter: “It’s frustrating to see a book like this elevated by Oprah because…’

    There’s definitely poetic justice in those who have adapted approval by Oprah Winfrey as their litmus test of worth being disappointed by the results.

    I’m vaguely reminded (f0llow me here) of when Scarlett Johanssen (or whatever) insisted on endorsing Sodastream. ‘No, Scarlett, you don’t understand…’

    It was absurd.

    Those who choose the approval of big fat black women — or even beautiful blonde women — as their criterion of worth get what they deserve.

  7. But anyway, and speaking of the title…

    ‘Where's MY pay dirt?

    I deserve some. Gimme five mil.

    Hey. Might as well stake my claim. Come on, Stevo; fork it over. It’s all magic money.

  8. @syonredux

    You can practically feel the crazy radiating right through the screen…

    • Agree: animalogic
  9. J.Ross says:

    >Yxta
    Typo? Don’t care, I’m pronouncing it “typo.” Mexicans are not the racial superiors of Polacks and if you’re dumping foreignisms on people, you should expect mispronunciation, as all of my relatives have ever experienced.
    Also
    >you have to give us money and lebensraum because of our suffering
    >you have to weep, and it better look sincere, because of our suffering
    >your daughter that got killed by one of us better not distract from our suffering
    >WHAT GIVES RUCA, WHY ARE YOU MAKING US LOOK BAD WITH THIS “SUFFERING” STUFF?

  10. Rob says:

    La publicisterita wrote, “Cummins’ often writes italicized Spanish words like carajo, mijo, and amigo litter the prose, yielding the same effect as store-bought taco seasoning.”

    Muy humeroso! I thought the same thing about the alien’s espanol.

  11. @syonredux

    I foresee no domestic violence calls to her home in her future. (/sarcasm)

  12. Veracitor says:
    @syonredux

    Her tats advertise her character even to people at a distance.

    • Agree: jim jones
  13. JimB says:

    Well, at least Gurba isn’t fat, but the tattoos will keep her from getting higher tips at the strip bar where she will need to work until she gets elected to Congress.

    • LOL: animalogic
    • Replies: @AKAHorace
  14. J.Ross says:
    @R.G. Camara

    “How astonished are you to learn that there are publicists in Mexico” is dumber than that Asian chick saying “you thought my name was what I asked you to call me when we met, — but actually it’s this other thing I never explained and you had no way of knowing — you racists!” At least the Asian is fundamentally correct, if preposterous. The Asian one is like the joke about the cat’s birthday cake in the only funny Seth Rogen movie. “Mexican publicists,” on the other hand, recalls the idiotic Russian state propaganda garbling of Polandball, “Country Balls/Strange Spheres,” which totally misses the beauty and balance of Polandball in favor of all the things that are dumb about state propaganda, and specifically the immortal poverty-erasing line: “Did you know we have tigers?”

  15. Myriam Gurba illustrates classy:

    Not much Aztec to found in that TCS, but lots of 3rd-world grade Angelina Jolie-ish lip collagen.

    • Agree: ben tillman
    • Replies: @Bill
    , @Deckin
  16. México: bad.

    USA: good.

    This should be hammered home to every potential immigrant in México and points south. Those who want to come here are only after money, or mentally ill.

    Toxic heteroromanticism…

    ¿Que mierda?

    Is there some dyke connection here? Is Myriam a hasbian?

    • Replies: @notsaying
  17. @syonredux

    Myriam Gurba =

    Rummy airbag.
    A grimy umbra.
    I buy grammar.

  18. I always knew there were Mexican PR flacks. I read Fred Reed.

    • Agree: R.G. Camara
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  19. Veracitor says:

    Obviously, since Harriet Beecher Stowe had zero grandparents who were African slaves, she had no right to pen Uncle Tom’s Cabin and galvanize the abolitionist movement.

  20. bgates says:

    Mexican-American writers…includ[ing] Yxta Maya Murray

    Cofounder of “Brown Girl Writers Like Me” with Quetzalcoatl Hixon Smythe-Haverford, her roommate at Philips Exeter.

  21. Anon[272] • Disclaimer says:

    When you look at Myriam Gurba in a difference photo, her mouth and nose look like something right off an Aztec stone carving. The native Indian genes are very strong in her face. No wonder she’s complaining about the crossbreed who is achieving greater success.

    Thou Shalt Not Envy is something the younger generation has never heard of. They don’t understand the wisdom of not being envious. It gives you peace of mind. Seething with jealousy all the way through life is a stupid way to live if you decide to do it–you’re always unhappy–and it’s characteristic of narcissists.

    • Replies: @CJ
  22. We watch Lydia’s entire family get killed, one by one. Only Lydia and her eight-year-old survive.

    Well, which is it? Do they all get killed one by one, or not? Is this a zombie book to fit in with the new Nerf gun Zombie series? “First he’s gonna shit, and then he’s gonna kill us!”

    Anyway, my money is on Miss Gurba, to place in the 5th. I’m mostly going by [email protected]’s picture and how long I imagine her fingernails are.

  23. @Bragadocious

    I foresee a tag-team match between Miss Cummins/Okra Winfred and Gurba/Fred Reed, no holds-barred, cage match, chickens in the cage too, and maybe one donkey.

  24. I’d say she was auditioning for Gus’ old job at the OC Weekly, but ghe paper is out of business.

  25. @syonredux

    Myriam Gurba

    Barf. And that is a generous response.

    • Agree: ben tillman
  26. love being conquistadorsplained/brahminsplained about equality!

    • Agree: Charon
  27. black sea says:

    Toxic heteroromanticism gives the sludge an arc and because the white gaze taints her prose, Cummins positions the United States of America as a magnetic sanctuary, a beacon toward which the story’s chronology chugs.

    With writing like this, I can understand why nobody reads.

    • Agree: Charon
    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
  28. Peterike says:

    You don’t have to be a whale to write “Moby Dick.”

    • LOL: BB753
  29. @black sea

    In the future, everyone will be lectured to in impenetrable gobbledygook for 15 minutes a day.

  30. Hail says: • Website

    Gurba’s mini-bio at the article:

    Myriam Gurba is a writer, podcaster and artist who lives in Long Beach, California.

    note — Not based. Just lives.

    Gurba co-hosts the AskBiGrlz advice podcast with cartoonist, and fellow biracialist, MariNaomi. Her collage and digital artwork has been shown in museums, galleries, and community centers.

    Biracialist?

    • Replies: @Lurker
  31. Can’t even count how many times I have heard the word “pendejo.” But I had never heard ‘pendeja’ before. But even my unwoke ass immediately knew it should be “pendejx.”

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @njguy73
  32. Cummins, who as recently as 2016, self-identified as white and Latina

    Man, imagine if Cummins was a dyke from Detroit who enjoys the Fast & Furious franchise? That would be ridic, yo.

  33. Lot says:

    “ California is extremely lacking in people descended from the Mexican upper middle class”

    My experience is half the time you see a prominent individual in California (outside of the state leg) with a Hispanic surname, they turn out to be Spanish or Cuban.

  34. Not Raul says:

    Does the classy daughter of the publicist realize that “mayonesa” was invented in Spain? Of course not. Perhaps intelligence isn’t entirely hereditary.

  35. Lot says:

    That’s some extremely low quality writing, I can see why Ms rejected it.

    Gurba seems to just randomly use a Spanish word every couple sentences.

    Nothing wrong with dropping a foreign word here when it is more expressive.

    But using “mayonesa” rather than mayonnaise doesn’t qualify.

  36. @Anon

    Toxic heteroromanticism gives the sludge an arc and because the white gaze taints her prose, Cummins positions the United States of America as a magnetic sanctuary, a beacon toward which the story’s chronology chugs.

    She is clearly a talented writer. This passage alone might set the North American record for most mixed metaphors in a single sentence.

    Let’s see. We’ve got poison, sludge, arcs, gazes, magnetism, beacons, and chugging choo-choo trains of chronology. Plus bonus points for inventing the word “heteroromanticism.” One sentence! Muy bueno.

  37. AKAHorace says:
    @JimB

    Well, at least Gurba isn’t fat, but the tattoos will keep her from getting higher tips at the strip bar where she will need to work until she gets elected to Congress.

    All things being equal I would vote for a stripper before yet another lawyer.

  38. Kronos says:

    Now that chick has crazy eyes.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Desiderius
  39. Did she mention her grandfather disowned for being a whore?

  40. vhrm says:
    @Lot

    AND that’s one of her complaints about the book she’s reviewing! i can’t tell if she’d doing it to show that it’s annoying or if she thinks it’s authentic when she does it or what.

  41. Sounds like non-Whites aren’t really a cohesive group. Blacks, Latinxes, Asians, various Muslims … they don’t form any natural social body.

    Meanwhile, probably 70% of Whites have a similar worldview and natural connectedness. If I were a White activist, I’d be pushing for a multiparty system to replace the two party one. That way, Whites would become the most dominant group (explicitly as Whites) and we’d have many eager non-Whites eager for political alliances.

    Whites would literally be more powerful even as a minority (the biggest) than they ever were as the old cuckolded majority.

  42. I might just have to order this book.

  43. Mr. Anon says:

    This Myriam Gurba woman seems to harbor a lot of rage. I imagine there’d be a job opening for her after the departure of María Guadalupe López Esquivel – “La Catrina”.

    Speaking of “La Catrina”, Jeanine Cummins should write a book about her.

  44. Plus bonus points for inventing the word “heteroromanticism.”

  45. dvorak says:

    It shocks Lydia to learn that the mysterious and wealthy patron who frequents her bookstore flanked by “[thuggish]” bodyguards is the capo of the local drug cartel!

    Lifted from the well-known movie DESPERADO?

    Salma Hayek plays the library/bookstore owner whose literary life is subsidized by the local crime boss.

  46. Anonymous[208] • Disclaimer says:

    Gurba appears to be going through life shaking her angry baby fist at the sky. I’m guessing concepts like agape, redemption and forgiveness are totally alien to her.

    Rageheads feel powerful when they get angry. It becomes an addiction. And feeling angry is better than feeling helpless. But it’s all a lie. They’re out of control which leads to feelings of helplessness anyway. Vicious cycle.

    The core problem for Gurba is she rejects the wisdom of the prophets especially Jesus of Nazareth. People don’t need to accept Jesus as lord and savior in order to benefit from his teachings. His philosophy will help any anger addicted person to heal at least to some extent.

    On the other hand this woman is a rage addict who might eventually gravitate to Islam like Sinead O’Connor.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  47. So in her novel the victims were all shot? Why no decapitations?

  48. @Lot

    Her use of estadounidense after the noun it modifies shows she’s willing to go beyond merely using Spanish vocabulary, to using Spanish syntax.

    • Replies: @Lot
  49. Crazy-eyes’ foul-mouthed, grievance-radiating Spanglish reads like a Gustavo Arellano blog post. How soon until she is published by Ron Unz?

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  50. Question for hispanophones: is “naca” a word? Does it inflect for gender, or is this cucarachita just naco, like you’d say in English?

  51. Anon[116] • Disclaimer says:

    I love how they sprinkle their rants with random Spanish words to signal their authenticity, yet this gringo can recognize every word. I admit I learned ‘gabacho’ from The Mexican here at Unz

    • Agree: notsaying
  52. Lot says:
    @International Jew

    estadounidense tends to be used by Mexican leftists, though it is a normal word too. It is a 7-syllable mouthful, but more woke than Americano.

  53. Bill P says:
    @syonredux

    Without the tats and the attitude she’d be quite attractive.

    However, I’ve noticed that this trashiness that Steve alludes to in regards to Socal latinas is a real thing. But it’s also true of a lot of whites from there as well. What gives? I thought Southern California was where all the bright young Midwestern whites and upwardly mobile Mexicans wanted to be, but it turns out that there are tons of bums there.

    I have a young white neighbor who’s from Socal. He has a good job, but his private life, in which I’ve had to intervene due to neighborhood disruption, is a hot mess. I like the guy, so I’ve been working on him (with some success), but it’s been a slow process.

    Sometimes I feel that Californians who are moving to new states should be required to go through a sort of cultural ESL.

  54. @Bill P

    Physically, she’s got a kind of angry-cute-punk Hopey Glass thing going on. But none of the Hopey charm or hilarity. And waaay too much of the crazy-but-not-even-worth-it. I’ve dated my share of angry-crazy-hot chicks, some were worth the cost of maintenance, but mostly not. I’d stick with early Maggie, or even Penny Century, just to be on the safe side.

  55. Michael S says:

    I was going to say something about crazy eyes, but I see that half a dozen other commenters beat me to the punch.

    Not crazy in a sporty way, either. Looks like she’d be a pretty disappointing lay – full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If you follow.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    , @Known Fact
  56. Her obra de caca belongs to the great American tradition of doing the following

    “obra de caca” is a fantastic turn of phrase, roughly translated as

    [MORE]
    piece of shit

  57. Roxane Gay expressed her disappointment on Twitter: “It’s frustrating to see a book like this elevated by Oprah because it legitimizes and normalizes flawed and patronizing and wrong-minded thinking about the border and those who cross it.”

    We were just talking about Dr. Gay the other day. Interesting that she chooses Oprah as her target, as she makes Oprah look like Tyra Banks.

    Anyway, if anyone in this world has Fuck You Money, it is Oprah, so I’m sure she isn’t worried.

  58. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Gurba says the most frustrating part about the attention around American Dirt

    Has anyone explained how “around” pretty much replaced every other preposition in journalism over the last several years? The idiomatic expression here of course would be “attention to” American Dirt.

    Obviously, everybody knows that cartelistas enjoy nothing more than frequenting the bookstores found on practically every block in Mexico.

    It occurs to me that Steve Sailer and Fred Reed could write the same post about Mexico, word-for-word, with the only difference being that Steve is being ironic and Fred is not.

  59. @ScarletNumber

    So, is she busy finishing her own “obras completas de caca”?

    Meh, if you really want interesting turns of Spanish from a true sudamericano, always reach for the Cesar Vallejo.

    Accept no substitutes.

  60. It would impossible for me to overstate how much the squabbling of bitchy latinas fails to interest me.

    • Replies: @Charon
  61. Anon[744] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kronos

    Now that chick has crazy eyes.

    And she’s going bald.

  62. @syonredux

    Bet Grandpa Gurba is proud of her looking like she works in a Zone of Tolerance.

  63. @R.G. Camara

    Mexico is a high functioning third world country where intelligent and hard working people can do somewhat well without inherited resources or family connections, but where the vast majority of the wealth is controlled by a small segment of upper class, mostly European descended people, and so they have most of the infrastructure a First World nation has-just not a lot of it. Wealthy Mexicans come to the US to shop or for advanced medical procedures, or to watch a ball game, or that kind of thing. They do not emigrate here because they have big houses and servants and stuff down there and why should they? Mexicans who are poor, and occasionally the few middle class Mexicans who can provide services to the poor such as running Mexican groceries, etc, emigrate here so they can drive bigger cars and have more children who will be US citizens and make even more money.

  64. MEH 0910 says:

  65. @MEH 0910

    From the recent best-seller, “I Remember the Smells of Mi Grandmother’s Kitchen”…..

    “I reeeeemember theeee smellllls of mi grandmother’s keeeeetchen. Sheee was always making fresh torrrrtiiiilllas, y tacos, y sopas, y moles, y salsas verrrrrrdes. She was so very earthy and wise. She used to say, “You know, miiiija, theeee whole world is contained in a tomatiiiiiilllllo.” She always used sooooo many spices — not like los grrrriiiiiingos, with their money and their stupid hamburgers. Ay, diiiios miiiiiiio!!

  66. @West Reanimator

    “How soon until she is published by Ron Unz?”

    I say go for it. We could do with a laugh.

  67. Did I mention I come from a classy family?

    Oh yeah? Did your dad’s pickup truck have mudflaps like these?

  68. Clyde says:

    Roxane Gay expressed her disappointment on Twitter: “It’s frustrating to see a book like this elevated by Oprah…….

    Frustrating is definitely a femsplaining word. Don’t use it. If you are a guy, that is. Laughs all ways around here as Oprah numskull gets twitter mobbed by her holier than thou minions.

    The Oprah audience skews older. The young ones don’t know who she is, or the Beatles.

    • LOL: sayless
  69. Brutusale says:
    @Michael S

    Not crazy in a sporty way, either. Looks like she’d be a pretty disappointing lay – full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If you follow.

    No, she looks like the kind of crazy that rides you like a rodeo champ, followed by 45 minutes of tears.

    And, as a “bisexualist”, she may bring a friend!

    • Replies: @Lurker
  70. Veloman says:

    I just picked this book up at my super SJW public library. When I first heard of the book I immediately thought of Isteve and magic dirt. It’s so good to see lefties in a circular firing squad. I think the coalition of the fringes is becoming unhinged. About a year ago a prof in the Big Ten college town I live in criticized whites for cultural appropriation of yoga. That didn’t go over well. Then the college museum that sponsored a folk festival cancelled it saying it was too white and too old. The festival had always included black and world music, I thought. The old hippies complained and made noises about suspending financial support for the U, but nothing happened and there is no more folk festival. I think the new museum director wouldn’t have been happy until there was a drive-by shooting at the rap tent. BTW my public library has a children’s Social Justice reading group. This sure looks like indoctrination to me. This election year will be very interesting in college towns. They will still vote overwhelmingly Democrat but there may be some defections if Bernie is not the nominee. Mayor Pete, forget about it. Blacks and Hispanics will never support him. A fascinating site on border conflict is Boarderland Beat. Take a look at it and tell me Mexico isn’t a failed state.

    • Thanks: Hail
    • Replies: @Hail
  71. Charon says:
    @Cloudbuster

    But isn’t it wonderful that we keep importing all of this tribal third-world drama rather than leaving it back in the countries where it belongs?

  72. Bill says:
    @MikeatMikedotMike

    The over-the-top tackiness of elite Mexicans is puzzling to me. Why are they so gross?

  73. Lurker says:
    @Hail

    Myriam the Gurbarian.

    • Replies: @Hail
  74. @syonredux

    The masculine haircut is a big miss, but she has a pretty kickin’ bod.

    It might take a couple Dos Equis, but I think this one is a….si….

  75. Lurker says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    positions the United States of America as a magnetic sanctuary

    In know we’re well used to this all-pervasive hypocrisy but, still, I’m guessing Myriam neglects to explain why she lives in the US herself.

    • Agree: notsaying
  76. Lurker says:
    @Brutusale

    And, as a “bisexualist”, she may bring a friend!

    That could end badly.

    • Replies: @Kronos
  77. Kronos says:
    @Lurker

    Yeah, that would be a very awkward police report.

    “You were very likely the last one to see her alive Ms. Gay, any idea where she went?”

  78. Despite its tiresome predictability, “who’s got the chorizo?” is welcome respite from hair sagas, you must admit.

  79. Anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:

    The poor authoress appears not to have a firm grasp on either Spanish or English.

    • Replies: @anon
  80. JimDandy says:

    If you’re a white fiction writer, you have no right to create non-white characters. Also, if you’re a white fiction writer: creating fictional worlds with no minority characters makes you a racist. Such a nifty way of destroying the art of fiction and opening doors for minorities who couldn’t make it on talent alone.

    Lionel Shriver is a heroine in this fight:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/13/lionel-shrivers-full-speech-i-hope-the-concept-of-cultural-appropriation-is-a-passing-fad

  81. Dumbo says:
    @Lot

    That was Arellano’s (Ask a Mexican) style too, and he used to be published by Ron Unz (Thank God he isn’t anymore!). It’s a stupid trick to show your Mexican bona fides, I guess.

  82. Slapping a coat of mayonesa on them to make palatable to taste buds estados-unidenses

    White people like mayo! Zing. An inclusion that shows this womxn just marinates her arrachera in the same woke-ish, black-Twitter-aping juices as every other upper-middle-class goon.

    You want to talk about colonization, chilaquile? All of your mental anguish at the gringos- their failure to recognize traditional Toltec analingus, or whatever- all of that is a product of faggy trends spread among Anglo elites.

    Your own country (well, the one you go on vacations to, to enjoy the benefit of stronger dolares tostada-unitenses) spirals further into mismanagement, but you’re more concerned about receiving the correct signals from Ophelia Woldicott-Delamere and Karen Schmeckelschlep in NYC regarding what to shit yourself over this week.

  83. @Kronos

    Schiff (yang) sanpaku eyes.

    • Replies: @hhsiii
  84. @Bill P

    Sometimes I feel that Californians who are moving to new states should be required to go through a sort of cultural ESL.

    Or what divers go through when they come up.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decompression_practice

  85. @Ozymandias

    Can’t even count how many times I have heard the word “pendejo.” But I had never heard ‘pendeja’ before. But even my unwoke ass immediately knew it should be “pendejx.”

    How about culerx?

    https://www.grittyspanish.com/2017/01/24/10-brutal-guatemalan-curse-words/

  86. sayless says:
    @flyingtiger

    “never write about Mexicans”

    That isn’t going to make her happy either. She’ll get mad because you aren’t.

  87. Deckin says:
    @MikeatMikedotMike

    Not to mention those items inside her top are obvious bolt-ons. What a train wreck!

    • Replies: @Kevin O'Keeffe
    , @CJ
  88. Hail says: • Website
    @Lurker

    I didn’t care to look into what she meant by alluding to herself as “biracial” (and it is highly unlikely she meant that as in “part Amerind, part Spaniard).

    But now, this:

    Gurba writes chronologic flash essays about coming of age as an immigrant in California in the 80s and attending Berkley in the 90s. A self-proclaimed melo-dramatist, self-defined “Molack”—Mexican mother and Polish father— Gurba begins her story with the construction of racial identities and feminist theory on the Santa Maria schoolhouse playground. An anecdote about forcing a group of boys to climb a chain link back-stop several stories high, to join the author’s girls’ club concludes with a premature razor-sharp insight:

    I hoped Steve would injure himself and die so that I wouldn’t have to let him into my club.

    That is from a review by a DM O’Connor of Mean, the non-fiction book by Myriam Gurba (Coffee House Press November 2017).

    Elsewhere, her ancestry is characterized this way:

    Gurba had a Mexican feminist mother and a half-Polish father, and a mother tongue of English

    If this “Polish” simply “of US ancestry for the past century or more and distant Polish origin?” If her father was only half Polish by ancestry, what is the one-quarter of her total ancestry that Gurba is omitting?

    Her own book, Mean, which looks like a series of vignettes (or “chronologic flash essays”), has this as one of the stand-alone vignettes of her mental world. Capitalization and punctuation are as in oiriginal:

    [Start of page, unrelated to previous page’s contents]

    PIA ZADORA SAM WAGSTAFF LEON CZOLGOSZ TADEUSZ KOSCIUSZKO POPE JOHN PAUL II CHLOE SEVIGNY and TED KACZYNSKI are all Polish. Richard Ramirez Speedy Gonzalez Selena Jennifer Lopez Menudo Dora the Explorer and ALF are not. Of all Eddie Van Halen’s wives, Valerie Berinelli looks the most Polish Mexican.

    [End of page; next page starts different topic.]

    • Replies: @vhrm
  89. @syonredux

    Make me a taco, bitch.

    Sorry – puta.

    • Replies: @Hail
  90. @Anonymous

    ‘…On the other hand this woman is a rage addict who might eventually gravitate to Islam like Sinead O’Connor.’

    You’re aware Islam means ‘submission,’ right?

    As in ‘submission to the will of God.’

    It’s also worth noting that Jesus is a prophet in Islam as well. So I’d think Muslims would heartily agree with you that people could ‘benefit from his teachings.’

    There. I found you some new friends! More than a billion of them, in fact.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  91. @kaganovitch

    I’ll give Xer one thing: I’ve never though so much about BO and body hair while reading a book review. There should be a prize for that in Latinx literary bulldyke circles.

  92. njguy73 says:
    @Ozymandias

    Let me tell you something, pendeja. You pull any crazy shit, write a culturally appropriative novel, I’ll stick my gun up your ass and pull the fucking trigger tell it goes “click.”

    Nobody fucks with The Yxta!

  93. @Michael S

    Looks like she’d be a pretty disappointing lay — full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    You’ll get no lay at all if she hears you quoting dead white male writers

  94. hhsiii says:
    @syonredux

    She’s also a high school teacher in Long Beach. LGBTQ etc. Went to Cal-Berkeley. She’s says she is mixed race. Whether that means Euro Mexican plus something else i don’t know. From the name Myriam I thought perhaps jewish. Miriam delirium come int my solarium.

    Apparently a rape victim. Interestingly, her rapist (who also was a convicted murderer) went down on her, which isn’t something I thought was part of the playbook. In her memoir, “Mean”.

  95. Hail says: • Website
    @Stan Adams

    Maybe she would go along if you mutually agree to call them Pierogi Tacos.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  96. Graham Greene … Malcolm Lowry … B Traven … Why are the best novels about Mexico by two Brits and a German?

  97. Hail says: • Website
    @hhsiii

    She’s says she is mixed race. Whether that means Euro Mexican plus something else i don’t know. From the name Myriam I thought perhaps jewish.

    She claims to have a Mexican [pres. mestiza] mother and a half-Polish father.

    She claims her parents sent her to Catholic school, which suggests, like Walter in The Big Lebowski, it’s Polish-Catholic even though she’s playing at a (((Polish))) game.

    • Replies: @hhsiii
  98. hhsiii says:
    @Desiderius

    Was gonna say. Man, she has Charlie Manson eyes. Or Steve Railsback.

  99. hhsiii says:
    @Hail

    Shomer Shabbos, dude.

    Maybe the catholic school is just from the Mexican side of the family. But your search skills exceeded mine.

  100. @Anon

    “and instances of ‘magical negroes’ are being documented”

    Bad writer and Goodwhite Twitter activist Stephen King will be spreading around some of his fortune to key black grievance outfits to burnish his New Left bonafides.

  101. @hhsiii

    Interestingly, her rapist (who also was a convicted murderer) went down on her, which isn’t something I thought was part of the playbook.

    The guy must’ve been absolutely awful.

    I guess he won’t have to worry about winding up like Michael Douglas.

  102. vhrm says:
    @Hail

    You left out a telling part of the except in the review you linked:

    I hoped Steve would injure himself and die so that I wouldn’t have to let him into my club. That had been my strategy. To give his sex an insurmountable initiation. Like the literacy tests given to black folks in the American South before the Voting Rights Act passed.
    I was an early-onset feminist.

    How much of that is joke and how much is a nod that yeah feminism is primarily about man hating and so what?

    Checking this book on Amazon i was surprised to see it had more than 50 review excerpts from magazines and such.

    (though only 24 Amazon reviews)

  103. @Rob

    Cummins exploited the sainted brown people motif and networked her way into a seven figure advance and swift purchase of the film rights. Life is good for those who worship Goddess Oprah. Don Winslow is a much better writer than the old hippie from Maine, but he’s just as much a sniveling sycophant to the authoritarian left as King. Unfortunately, my stepdad likes Winslow’s books which means I’m putting a few pesos in that creep’s pocket.

  104. Hail says: • Website
    @Veloman

    Then the college museum that sponsored a folk festival cancelled it saying it was too white and too old

    College Museums, as inanimate objects, do not have agency; so technically it was a person or group of people within the College Museum who did it. Who was it?

    Not sure if this is the same one you are referring to, but I find a case of this happening in Michigan in 2018 and 2019:

    It’s Official: The Great Lakes Folk Festival Is Cancelled” (April 9, 2019).

    One year ago, ELi broke the story that the Great Lake Folks Festival had been put on a “one-year hiatus” by MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander. Now comes the news that it’s not a hiatus – it’s a cancellation.

    Auslander’s view that the festival hasn’t been ethnically diverse enough

    You know what? Auslander is an especially ironic name for someone who dismantles a folk festival.

    Auslander (or Ausländer, if you insist) means, of course, Foreigner. How does someone end up with the surname ‘Foreigner’?

    I’m getting suspicious. Anyone else? Could it be?

    _____________________

    MARK AUSLANDER

    Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1997
    M.A., Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1985
    B.A. with Honors, University of Chicago, 1983

    Among his other work, he’s been published at something called Black Past, and from the archives from 2012 we find this confirmation of my suspicion:

    REMEMBRANCE IN THE CEMETERY: IN SEARCH OF “THE ACCIDENTAL SLAVEOWNER”

    January 17, 2012 | Contributed by MARK AUSLANDER

    I grew up in Washington D.C. in a secular Jewish family in a predominantly white neighborhood, with only a limited sense of the richness and complexity of African American D.C. It took me a long time to find my way back, as it were, to my hometown.

    In graduate school at the University of Chicago, I was trained as an Africanist anthropologist, and spent over two years doing ethnographic fieldwork in a village of the Ngoni people of eastern Zambia. My studies concentrated on ritual performance and changing popular perceptions of landscape amidst neoliberal economic conditions. Among other things, I worked extensively on the sacred symbolism of trees and burial grounds. Years later, teaching in rural Georgia, I found myself increasingly drawn to local African American cemeteries

    No further comment.

  105. @Deckin

    Not to mention those items inside her top are obvious bolt-ons. What a train wreck!

    Just once, I’d like to see a picture of a woman w/nice tits posted to the internet, without some guy telling me how they’re obviously fake. Apparently, before breast augmentation, there was no such thing as a pair of nice tits. Nice tits were invented by Jewish plastic surgeons, I suppose. Presumably in order to manipulate the rest of us.

  106. @Hail

    Auslander (or Ausländer, if you insist) means, of course, Foreigner. How does someone end up with the surname ‘Foreigner’?

    Is there a Barbara in the family?

    https://www.sheknows.com/baby-names/name/barbara/

    You get a place name for a surname when your ancestor leaves that place for somewhere else. No point in calling someone in Hamburg Hamburger— everyone there is. (Except Mr Frankfurter and M. Parisien.) A common name in Finland is Ruotsalainen, which means “Swede”.

    Various Slavic tongues, and Hungarian by absorbtion, use a form of Nemetsky to mean “German”. It was once applied to any foreigner, and derived from “one who can’t speak”.

    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-origin-of-the-word-for-Germany-in-Ukrainian-німеччина-nimechchyna

    Of course, there’s that curious similarity of Deutsch and deutlich, or “clear”…

    The original Mr Ausländer might have been rather vague when asked whence he came.

    • Replies: @Kibernetika
  107. notsaying says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Yes the Mexico/bad, USA/good dichotomy certainly does not apply.

    It is ridiculous that someone whose family recently immigrated to the US is disputing the difference between the two places.

    If Mexico were so wonderful her grandparents never would have come here, would they?

    Does she wish she’d been born in Mexico instead (yeah, I bet she does).

    And to think as we continue to get more and more immigrants there will be more and more articles like this. What a future to look forward to.

    By the way, there’s more about this controversy — along with lots of comments — at Slate.

    https://slate.com/culture/2020/01/american-dirt-book-controversy-explained.html

  108. JimDandy says:
    @Hail

    “Years later, teaching in rural Georgia, I found myself increasingly drawn to local African American cock… er… I mean… cemeteries. CEMETERIES!”

  109. Stephen says:

    Early reviews compared American Dirt to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

    It’s been a while, but my recollection of the Grapes of Wrath is that the Joad family moved to California because they saw help wanted ads for farm workers. When they got to Cali, they found long lines for the most menial jobs and figured out that the big farms were deliberately keeping the labor market over supplied to supress wages.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that this wasn’t the comparison that the early reviewers were making.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  110. @Hail

    All I know is that if a woman offers you kielbasa, then you should make damn well sure she’s not a tranny.

  111. nebulafox says:
    @Colin Wright

    >It’s also worth noting that Jesus is a prophet in Islam as well.

    It’s always amusing to tell your average GOP primary voter that Muslims have a much higher opinion of Jesus than Jews.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
  112. anon[154] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    The poor authoress appears not to have a firm grasp on either Spanish or English.

    She’s writing in Spanglish. It’s common in some border areas, and a lot easier than learning either proper English or proper Spanish.

  113. @Reg Cæsar

    Wow, that triggered memories. An eyebrow went north when seeing the surname Ausländer (or some variant thereof). My German family had a kind of built-in avoidance of the noun. I noticed the absence after reading William Shirer as a youth. He may have been one of the first to popularize the Ausländer Raus! accusatory scare meme that the American left has adopted. Dunno.

    These days the Left packages this as “fear of the Other,” xenophobia, and other easily dismissable junk.

    Regarding the Slav language etymology for German, I only know what I learned. It’s complicated, as they say. In the vernacular, German is still equated with fascist in ex-Soviet places. In small towns all over that vast region it’s common. So they’ve got that in common with the NYT.

    Here’s a good, modern example of Russian-language use of the noun nemets:

  114. @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Just once, I’d like to see a picture of a woman w/nice tits posted to the internet, without some guy telling me how they’re obviously fake.

    I too, noticed that her set appear to be of very high quality.

  115. @Hail

    TL;DR – This guy loves BBC.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  116. Anonymous[354] • Disclaimer says:

    That tombstone-quoter reminds me of the guy whom Unz used to republish here, the one with all the tryhard advice about impressing campesinos with your wealth of street palabras

  117. @syonredux

    That’s a (really unfortunate looking woman) man, baby!

  118. JimDandy says:
    @Stephen

    That’s an excellent point. But don’t tell too many people, or that book will get cancelled. If it hasn’t already been, simply because it was written by a Dead White Male.

  119. Lurker says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    I assume you didn’t mean the British Broadcasting Corporation.

  120. In contrast, three of Gurba’s grandparents were Mexican. Three … count ’em … three!

    How recently did they leave the shtetl?

  121. My favorite novels set in Mexico are The Power and the Glory and Under the Volcano. I wonder if this señorita has heard of them.

  122. @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Those are not implants, but I read she has an ex-wife of 15 years.

    If you look at her pictures, she’s not that hot. She’s a typical Berkeley chicana / x. Probably an Ethnic Studies baccalaureate. “Chicanos” had their own library when I was there, and I’m sure she got her grift theory in that cesspool of psuedo-academia.

    Her tattoos are designed to say “I’m a Sailer! Look at me! Find me on the pole!”

    What was her major at Berkeley? English or Spanish Literature or perhaps Sociology? She is not that good with defiling the English language — a total copycat of Gustavo Arellano. And I’m quite certain she was not an Electrical Engineering major.

    She is rather portly like most mestizas. Short legs and big tits and a small brain. If she is traveling home to Guadalajara, she may be part of the jaliscience region by genetics, which would explain the high forehead (not balding). This region is an interesting admixture of European and Indio.

    Blondes and redheads are not uncommon in Guadalajara–a lot of French and Irish if you poke around.

    I live 15 miles from Long Beach, and there is a reason why. To stay away from people like this author / feminazi.

    • Disagree: The Wild Geese Howard
  123. CJ says:
    @Anon

    Envy is one of the seven deadly sins, but in the current era many of the deadly sins are considered to be virtues. Sloth is work/life balance, gluttony is being a foodie, greed is good, pride is knowing your worth, lust is exploring your sexuality et cetera. Envy? These people just know that they deserve everything they see.

    It’s not a recipe for successful living.

  124. CJ says:
    @Deckin

    I’m not so sure they’re aftermarket enhancements. If they were she’d probably be showing them more.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  125. EdwardM says:

    Who knew that Blood Diamond was “controversial”? I thought it was a very solid, entertaining movie, powerful at times.

    I suppose it’s controversial because of (1) magic negro, (2) white savior, (3) its accurate depiction of Africa?

  126. She’s not wrong about this:

    Rather than look us in the eye, many gabachos prefer to look down their noses at us. Rather than face that we are their moral and intellectual equals, they happily pity us. Pity is what inspires their sweet tooth for Mexican pain, a craving many of them hide. This denial motivates their spending habits, resulting in a preference for trauma porn that wears a social justice fig leaf. To satisfy this demand, Cummins tossed together American Dirt, a “road thriller” that wears an I’m-giving-a-voice-to-the-voiceless-masses merkin.

    This is slimy UMC white woman SJW porn.

    (And yeah, i’d be shocked–if i was still capable of such–that trotting out this dreck results in a seven figure advance and movie deal.)

    We can’t have a civilization unless this look-at-me-i’m-so-sensitive nonsense by the distaff side is ended.

  127. @CJ

    Oh wow.

    If she didn’t have the unfortunate tattoos and looksmaxxed her hair and wardrobe she’d be an easy 7.5, possible 8 with guys lined up around the block, TWGH included.

  128. On cultural appropriation: A Latina novelist calls herself out amid the “American Dirt” controversy

    As controversy erupts over Jeanine Cummins’ Oprah Book Club novel, a review of my own novel demands my attention

    From Salon, naturally.

    Best quote from article? “I’ve suffered from sometimes debilitating depression and mental illness since I was a young teenager…”

    Of course you have.

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