Paco Ignacio Taibo II constructs a guide to corruption in Mexico City Noir
Taibo's chapters feature his Coca-Cola-and-tobacco-addled, one-eyed detective Hector Belascoarn Shayne on the trail of a murderer named Morales. Marcos in turn writes about a Zapatista investigator named Elias, who is also searching for a man named Morales. The two stories wind up intersecting in a sometimes surreal jumble in Mexico City, where, in Taibo's words, there are "more movie theatres than Paris, more abortions than London, and more universities than New York."
The 1968 Mexico City police massacre of student activists is a key reference point in both books. That bloody repression was clearly a watershed period for Taibo and Marcos, profoundly influencing both of them. In the early 1980s, Marcos went south to Chiapas and joined the guerrillas who evolved into Zapatistas. Taibo became a history professor at the Metropolitan University of Mexico City and president of the International Association of Political Writers; He also went on to write '68, a memoir of sorts available in English from Seven Stories Press, and the experimental novel Calling All Heroes: A Manual for Taking Power (which features a survivor of the 1968 police massacres who enlists the aid of his childhood heroes Sherlock Holmes, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and D'Artagnan to help him in a new reform movement) just reprinted by local publisher PM Press.
Both Taibo and Marcos retained their radical politics and commitment to class struggle. They also share a fondness for absurdist humor, and both display an endearing willingness to laugh at themselves. Self-effacing humor is not a trait one usually associates with committed leftists, alas. The writing of Taibo and Marcos is a fine corrective to the unfortunate association of strident humorlessness with radical activism.
Most Commented On
- Agree with the gist, - May 20, 2013
- Well now that you know our plan... - May 20, 2013
- "If the over-grown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous" - May 20, 2013
- Yes, and many of those things should be legal - May 20, 2013
- You're sure I'm indigent? - May 20, 2013
- I agree that transients can be valuable members of the community - May 20, 2013
- Illegals are liable for the same taxes as everyone else. - May 20, 2013
- He knows because he has the wisdom of a bigot - May 20, 2013
- No, "almost everyone" doesn't know that. - May 20, 2013
- But I as a taxpayer have to treat your heart disease - May 20, 2013