To Hell with Frida PDF
Written by Luis González de Alba   



I got tickets to the premiere of the opera “Frida”, in Spanish, but I gave them away the night of the show. I hate Frida Kahlo and her era. It’s not hatred without motive; I’m convinced that the very attitude that has taken to such heights a mediocre painter obsessed with her misfortune (For God’s sake! Why didn’t that tram finish her off?), is the one that forces Mexico to remain a poor country. Mexico has plenty of resources, in contrast to Korea, Singapore and Ireland, which were examples of underprivileged countries 30 years ago. These nations used to produce massive tides of immigrants, but they are rich today, because they chose to follow a path opposed to the one of Mexico.


Let’s go into detail. Frida, with her Tehuana costumes, is the very example of a woman that can’t work in a factory or even take a bus to go to work. In regard to her painting, she represents what the American Art market can draw out of its sleeve. The times of Frida and Diego are the times of cheap nationalism, which is the foundation of the policies that keep us chained to poverty and preserve the defects that hold the Mexicans back. One of these defects is xenophobia: foreigners always come to steal from us, and the proof is that they become rich as soon as they arrive here, according to a wise old taxicab driver. It is not that a self-absorbed people watches back and sees them prosper quickly because they work harder or have better education or skills. No. They take advantage from Mexicans.





This is ludicrous. However, I have my own reversed xenophobia. I see that the children of foreigners (such as the offspring of a German: Mr. Kahlo) are always the ones that impose us folklore as the only possible future: “Why do you want to get rid of your traditions?” The folklore-loving foreigners and their Mexican intellectual counterparts call upon eye-catching popular customs, such as embroidery, and disregard all of their oppressiveness. Indians are advised to preserve traditions that produce poverty by themselves, such as the “direct” democracy by show of hands, that keeps a chieftain forever in power, or the “mayordomías” (personal duty of paying for communal religious festivities), this custom annihilates what Marx called the “primal accumulation of capital”. The fiestas make pretty nice photographs, but they condemn people to remain without a water supply or a cement floor in their homes, and with no other healthcare that the one provided by the local shaman (Gabriel Figueroa made a lovely portrait of him). A woman carrying a beautiful water pitcher makes a much better picture than a woman opening a faucet. How can anyone compare the beauty of a stone grinder to a vulgar electric blender? This self-righteous crowd wants to ban hamburgers in Oaxaca but doesn’t mind the APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca) hooligans burning down theaters.


A great deal of Mexicans believe the government’s fairy tale of Mexico owning its oil. This is why PEMEX has to open new refineries with private capital in Texas, thus creating jobs for Texans, they don’t realize that if the Value-added Tax goes from 15% to a generalized 10%, that means is less, not more. The surveys say that Mexicans oppose the free market system in the production of energy, although the bad telephone service of today is immensely superior to the one we had when the telephone company “belonged to us”. Just like Frida to her wheelchair, they remain attached to the ideological crutches imposed by governments since 1917. They will not let go of Frida, Diego, the Muralist Movement or our glorious stone age past.


We are indoctrinated in our schools to feel as the children of the vanquished instead of the children of the conquerors. Few people bother to question this doctrine. Mayan astronomy? They could predict eclipses, but they thought a giant snake devoured the sun. There was not an explanation of nature within nature itself, which is the basis of science. The Aztecs were still hunters and collectors in the 1300’s. The Mayas had gone through that stage 1000 years before, and the Chinese 8000 years before. This indoctrination comes from the time of Frida, a time in which the unions of workers and other corporations joined forces with the government and taught us that the government, like the Divine Providence of yesteryear, would take care of all our needs.


All of this can be seen in the cult to Frida Kahlo, which is not her fault. She was merely a dreadful painter that obsessively made self-portraits, and promoted hairy Mexican girls.


Luis González de Alba


Luis González de Alba (1944) was the 1968 student movement leader. He is the author of the book Los días y los años (The Days and the years, Publish by Era 1971) and numerous novels and works of scientific circulation.



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