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Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America Paperback – February 1, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Marvels! Rompecabezas! And cartoons that bite into the mind appear throughout this long-awaited book that promises to reshape and refocus how we see Mexicans in the Americas and how we are taught and seduced to mis/understand our human potentials for solidarity. This is the closest Latin@ studies has come to a revolutionary vision of how American culture works through its image machines, a vision that cuts through to the roots of the U.S. propaganda archive on Mexican, Tex-Mex, Latino, Chicano/a humanity. Nericcio exposes, deciphers, historicizes, and 'cuts-up' the postcards, movies, captions, poems, and adverts that plaster dehumanization (he calls them 'miscegenated semantic oddities') through our brains. For him, understanding the sweet and sour hallucinations is not enough. He wants the flashing waters of our critical education to become instruments of restoration. In this book, Walter Benjamin meets Italo Calvino and they morph into Nericcio. Orale!" David Carrasco, Harvard University --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Marvels! Rompecabezas! And cartoons that bite into the mind appear throughout this long-awaited book that promises to reshape and refocus how we see Mexicans in the Americas and how we are taught and seduced to mis/understand our human potentials for solidarity. This is the closest Latin@ studies has come to a revolutionary vision of how American culture works through its image machines, a vision that cuts through to the roots of the U.S. propaganda archive on Mexican, Tex-Mex, Latino, Chicano/a humanity. Nericcio exposes, deciphers, historicizes, and 'cuts-up' the postcards, movies, captions, poems, and adverts that plaster dehumanization (he calls them 'miscegenated semantic oddities') through our brains. For him, understanding the sweet and sour hallucinations is not enough. He wants the flashing waters of our critical education to become instruments of restoration. In this book, Walter Benjamin meets Italo Calvino and they morph into Nericcio. Orale!" (Davíd Carrasco, Harvard University)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st edition (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292714572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292714571
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,060,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Nericcio spent a long time creating this work which he began in 1989. Unless I misread him, he's attempted a movie in book form, but I think what we really have here is a psychological expose of an author who was weaned in Laredo on comic books, TV and American media, and ultimately trained in semiotics and postmodern philosophy.

The subjects he choses to 'deconstruct' include the Welles's movie TOUCH OF EVIL, Welles's Mexican wife Rita Hayworth, Speedy Gonazalez, Richard Rodriguez, Lupe Velez, and as I said, himself. He does not take himself seriously, and while this 'cast of characters' he choses sound suspect, this is serious work, and the effort shows. He's clearly had a lot of fun pulling this one out of the sombrero.

The goal here is a postmodern scene-by-scene 'movie' with script that explores the racism against Mexicans in American media based on 'sex-starved' cartoon mice, Hollywood dye-jobs to get that gringa look, name changes, self-hatred, cultural conditioning, art, commentaries by Rodriguez examining his hatred for Mexico, etc.

Touch of Evil is one my favorites and Nericcio's perspective gave me much to chew on, especially after chewing on fries and drinking a beer at Nepenthe a few weeks a go, and coming to the conclusion that this spot that Welles shared with Rita was a "poorman's" dream-version of a castle Orson never built while Hearst was once 70 miles south on Hwy 1, busy on his fixer-upper. No lusty and lawless bordertowns for these gents.

And Nepenthe now? A hallucination in itself with a row of Mexicano cooks grilling up crappy food while tourists show up to check out the view--which is mostly of each other.
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The irony of William Nericcio's psychoanalysis (schizoanalysis?) of apparitions of The Mexican in the dream life of American culture is that Nericcio himself embodies---even as he appropriates and subverts---the stereotype of the Spanglish-speekeeng Trickster figure, tunneling under the heavily fortified borders between discursive zones. He's the Speedy Gonzales of zoot-suit Derrideanism. Better yet, he's the Mil Máscaras of critical theory, a masked semiotic wrestler pummeling multiple meanings out of the flotsam tossed up by our disposable culture.

Drawing on post-colonial theory, Chicano/a studies, a deep knowledge of American history, a scary mastery of continental theory, and an undisguised delight in the retinal pleasures and greasy seductions of junk culture, Nericcio spins us around to face our image of The Mexican, and in so doing reveals it for the cultural mirror it really is, a funhouse reflection of Anglo America's anxieties and fantasies about the Other. Ask not for whom the Taco Bell tolls, Lou Dobbs; it tolls for ustedes.

Text{e}-Mex crackles with a manic energy and an antic wit that are rare in academic writing, most of which tends toward soul-crushing ponderousness. Like the French philosophers who've clearly influenced his work, Nericcio tosses off oracular pronouncements without op. cits or apology and rejoices in wordplay. At the same time, his willingness to open the throttle on the passions that animate his arguments and take his rhetoric to telenovela heights of soap-operatic excess, pushing the envelope of his tropes and intertextual riffs into the ultra baroque, seems (to this gabacho, at least) profoundly Mexican.
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Format: Paperback
(Can anyone who gave K-Fed's rap album a five-star rating be trusted?) Doc Savage's review seems to be a total misreading of Tex[t]-Mex. But I am dignifying his comments by even implying that he did read the book--clearly he has not. Nowhere in the book does Nericcio claim that all Anglos are alike. Instead, Nericcio examines the seductive hallucination of " 'Mexicans ' in the eyes of Americans" across movies, newspapers , magazines and on television, and other forms of print (29). To me Doc Savage seems like a disgruntled student with a 15-year-old axe to grind. Get over it! Save your negative comment s for ratemyprofessor.com. The statute of limitations on your class complaints expired long ago.
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Format: Paperback
Smart writer here. In the vein of some wonderful social justice authors like Frantz Fanon, Nericcio seeks to unveil a variety of stereotypes on a structural level but does so in an artistic and lighthearted way. He explores how stereotypes of the 'Mexican' are both repeated and represented in popular culture, and how they are made problematic in certain texts- such as the film "Touch of Evil". With a section of color photos, illustrations, photos, and fun fonts on almost every page, a really unique writing style, and incredibly cool narratives interspersed, this important book is worth buying. I wish I could give a copy to every good reader I know, because then they might just see that Nericcio has joined the greats with his cultural study, Tex{t}-Mex.
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Format: Paperback
Speedy Gonzales: a wonderfully slick, sly, Mexican Mouse. What else can we say about him, right? Well, after you read William Nericcio's book,Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America, you will never look at Speedy the same way again. Through Nericcio's analysis of the creation of this cartoon, the origin of the character's name, and the reoccurring plots in the many Speedy episodes, we get to see how Mexicans have been viewed (and continue being viewed in many cases) in the American media. And must I say it? It is mostly not in a good light!!

But there are many other ways in which Nericcio shows us how Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Chicanos/as, are portrayed in the United States and the impact that it has on the community. Did you ever realize the importance of Rita Hayworth's change in name, nationality, hair color? Well, this book will give you a clear example of what de-Mexicanization can do to the life of a Hollywood star.

Reading William Nericcio's book was definitely a meaningful learning experience. I hope to do the author justice by striving to break the negative stereotypes of Mexicans in America.
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