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21 September 2007



Great explanation on the title. Some people are so literal.

I didn't get all worked about the Ken Burns/the War controversy primarily because have little connection to that. My grandfathers were both braceros at the time and in a way contributing to the war effort, but it was different. It wasn't until I talked to the ex about his grandfather's experiences as a soldier that I felt something.


Why did I think that you liked "Quinceañera"?


Whatevs, Belinda Acosta...

It was a case of lazy journalism and metaphorical deficiency.

Shit happens.

Keep on keepin' on.


I mentioned you today, and I appreciate your explanation yet again for all of the hard headed people out there.
I read the reviews and probably the New Yorker review is right on the money, unfortunately an ignorant unaware citizenry will buy the dang thing.


The NYT review also had a great point, that it's really naive/disingenuous at this point, with such an overdocumented event, to do it from a point of view that makes it seem like WWII happened ONLY to US people. And I think this parochialism is connected to the not-seeing of brown people, since to us (whether Black, Indian, Asian, Latino, Arab), there is always a connection to things outside the nation-state.

Gotta read the New Yorker review.


In February, after talking to Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, I broke this story in my column in the San Antonio Express-News.

I was bien encabronado, quite frankly, because I grew up in a town where the local -- and virtually all-Chicano -- National Guard unit paid dearly trying to prove their Americanism. Almost two dozen Chicanos from Robstown spent most of the war in POW camps, and two whom I knew personally, refused to talk about the horrors they endured.

I am still encabronado over the reality that "The War" will become a definitive telling, nationally, of World War II and my tios and tias, primos and primas, hermanos y hermanas who sacrificed so much during that conflict will go all but unmentioned.

But the more important story is that we, as Latinos, have not yet developed the ways to tell our own stories, to record and tell our own history. This is our own failing and we cannot blame anyone else for it.

If there is a lesson in this, it is that we need to tell our own history, from our perspective, and tell it in a way that engages others.

Let's get to work, raza. Y con ganas.

Carlos Guerra
State/Metro columnist
San Antonio Express-News


So if your so upset with the little exposure that latinos get, why not the other races and people to? What about the Women that contributed in the war? We made those planes, those weapons, the ration kits, their uniforms!!!! Where is our exposure? Hate to burst any bubbles, but anyone can go to a bookstore and find hundreds of books on the war. But two when it comes to women. Like ive said, no "one" person can please everyone. You drive around SA and every other sign is in Spanish, the grocery store, even at McDonalds. I think thats pretty accomidating since the Nation, or USA has declared English as the official language. It used to be to be able to get in this Country you had to learn English. Now you cant even get hired at a job that you are qualified for if you dont know Spanish. It doesnt matter if you take 4 yrs of a foriegn language in College, if its not Spanish it doesnt count on a resume. Now to me that is racism. Just think about it as you drive aroun SA.


Rebecca, Sorry to burst your bubble, but saying that "you can't get hired at a job... if you don't know Spanish" is just patently untrue. Your point about other groups' contributions is a good one -- women's, and Native Americans', and Puerto Ricans' part of the story is definitely underdocumented also. But I don't think that because there's a problem with representation of all those groups takes away merit from the Latinos' complaint.

Carlos is right: we have to seize the means to tell more complex, inclusive stories. It makes for better stories, anyway.

David Zersen

Political correctness. Hrmmmph. What about the Latvians? The Estonians? The Czechs? The Bulgarians? The Greeks? The Danes? The Ukranians? The Poles? The Albanians? The Samis? The French? The Romanians? The Luxembourgers? The Croats? The Belgians?

None of them were mentioned in the film?

Are they umimportant?

Get real. The film was not about ethnic groups.

The Mexicans and Latinos are way out of line on this one.

The film was about how the War affected four families in four war towns.

Does that mean Mexicans and Latinos can't identify with the story because it wasn't about them?

Will all future documentaries require Mexicans and Latinos in order to be considered acceptable?

Perhaps we should just have Mexican and Latino films.

Hey! A new view of the world!


Excuse me, Rebecca, but search Amazon.com for "women and world war II," and you will find 3,116 entries.

And the United States has NEVER declared an official language. In fact, a key vote in the Constitutional Convention decided -- by a one-vote margin -- to write the document in English and not in German, verstehen Sie mich? (Yeah, I do alright in that and three other language as well, but that isn't why I have a job, it's why I can relate to a bigger part of this huge world.)

If you can't get a job in San Antonio, I suspect it may be for reasons other than your liguistic abilities.

As for Zersen, this issue has never been about getting special treatment or mention. It has always been about being included, about Latinos being recognized as being a part of that mythical big bunch you talk about, but which in this series -- unlike, Norman Mailer's "Naked and the Dead," didn't merit a single mention until a fuss was raised.

The fact that so many Latinos and Latinas could have served, and proportionately racked up more top commendations for battle than any other identifiable group, and not be recognized, is inexplicable.

And talk to any of the thousands who were there, as I have, and virtually all will tell you that they weren't just "part of the bunch" much of the time there either. They were segregated, discriminated, mistreated and belittled.

And they -- those who survived, at least -- related that to their children and grandchildren, which is why this issue has grown to this level.

Carlos Guerra


Isn't it silly how some people think that including Mexican-Americans veterans suddenly makes the film about "ethnic groups." It's about AMERICANS and AMERICANS come from all backgrounds including Mexican.

And we are not going to shut up while our contributions are ignored and people like Ken Burns use our tax dollars to peddle the MYTH that WWII soldiers were all white.

Initially Burns said that Mexican-American vets were excluded because they weren't segregated. I found that comment very telling. If minorities can't be depicted as "less than" then they should be ignored. God forbid, anybody get the crazy idea that we are all equal.

After the war, Hollywood made a movie called from "Hell to Eternity" about WWII vet Guy Gabaldon from East Los Angeles. He was played by Jeffrey Hunter and the fact that Gabaldon was of Mexican descent was erased.
We're not letting other people take credit for our contributions anymore.


ok. so i watched it. the burns thing. because of you. i laughed at the galan produced appendage(s), and thought you caused it. i was telling folks "see. see how ken burns se fregó los latinos. mendiola's right. burns hates mexicans."

and i knew...i knew...you didn't mean he really hates them, but your explanation...it was so...maybe i will provide an analogous satire.

mendiola hates karimi

now when i say mendiola, i mean the cultural critics who think that because they have blogs or listen to certain CD, and read certain books that they have

and when i say hates, i mean thinks that he knows better, thinks he can box, dehumanize, or objectify in order to further his world view

and when i say karimi, i mean 1 of 2 things: 1) hairy people, those with shoulder hair, or 2) individuals who define themselves as mixed race individuals, and those that mendiola, and those like him, do not agree with their cultural perspectives, because they do not make decisions like essentialists do.

now this was just silliness to make a point, but i can do this with anything:

bush hates iran
condoleeza hates chicanos
tony parker loves southside san anto

the defining of variables become laughable mendiola. sometimes we define too much that the words themselves become meaningless when left on their own.

maybe ken burns hates mexicans as much as condoleeza hates chicanos...but that is for another day.

good postin.


Ken Burns has had a Latin girlfriend. At least one that I know of.

Normally, I'd say that's a private matter, but it sort of rules out the idea that he's got the wrong attitude towards Latin Americans.

Jeanette Nuñez

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I think a burns film as a photograph of Ansel Adams, middlebrow, beautiful to watch, but without any real thought or analysis. But the question that his latest series is much deeper than that.

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