Trying to understand Buenos Aires

Not open for further replies.

Yes, I´ve heard of Jack Weatherford. He´s a professor at Macalester College in the Twin Cities, where I happen to live. I know him, though, for his biography of Genghis Khan.

You´re right about the crucial importance of speaking Castellano; unfortunately this is something I can´t readily rectify. It can take years to acquire dexterity in another language, and dexterity is surely needed to discuss thorny political and social issues. I´m acutely aware of the problems of learning a second language, not only from my own fumbling efforts, but also from the unidiomatic and stilted English of Argentinians who have clearly been grappling with the language for some years.

As you perceptively point out, without mastery of the language I am doomed to remain an outsider to the political and cultural currents of the nation.

Perhaps I´m opposing my own a priori conceptual framework on a country that needs to be treated as "sui generis."

In Nashoramaville there are no problems because Nahorama in in charge and he knows all.He will fix all for you and for everyone.

In Nashoramaville there is no God because we have Nashorama to tell us right from wrong and what to think and feel and who is to blame and who is bad and who is good.

In Nashoramaville there is no Devil because he has presently anointed President Bush for this role.

In Nashoramaville there are no countries there is just well Nashoramaville

In Nashoramaville if you can´t get a hold on things just ask Nashorama because he knows everything. Well better yet don´t ask him you will get scolded.

In Nashoramaville the colors red,white and blue no longer exist only black and white as Nashorama paints them.

In Nashoramaville there will be free education for all with one teacher-Nashorama.

In Nashoramaville there will be always be one scapegoat for the children and citizens to learn about- the Americans and if they are doing what he wants them to do there are always the Christians to crucify.

Now future citizens of Nashoramaville do as you are told by Nashorama and everything will be perfect and much better than now. We all will be happy and content. Now hit the streets or at least hit an American or conservative Christian. For top Nashorama disciples bonus points will be awarded for insulting or striking or at least generalizing about--a white, male American, heterosexual of course with a conservative bent and of Christian faith-- preferably Catholic.Now do it and all will be well.



Its good advise that Graciella gives - I have been here now for nearly three years and it still suprises me. Just when I think I have cracked it up comes a new suprise. I think its a unique place - I have been and lived in many counties and belive me there is nowhere like it here in the world. To enjoy it at its best learn a little Spanish mix with the locals as much as you can try and get an invite to an asada and you will either find that its impossible to leave or you will want to keep coming back !!!

David Cummings



Bush is largely a figurehead. The man's a moron. As for US imperial policies (dressed up as "bringing democracy" and "nation rebuilding"), the less said the better. US government = US corporations, simple equation, easy to remember.

Anyone who's against US hegemony can't be all bad in my book.

However, I suspect Argentina has probably itself to blame for the quagmire it's presently in. The populist propaganda of it being the fault of the Northern gringos may play well, but it's not gospel truth.

What I hope will happen is a loose coalition between Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, and maybe Mexico (after their elections, when Fox gets his). This loose coalition will be another spanner in America's works.

I do hear China's premier paid a two-week visit to Latin America last year (including Argentina) and pledged $30 billion of new investment.

US hegemony is on the wane; at the same time, however, talk of its imminent demise is clearly premature.



I'm not an American citizen (yet), and I'm beginning to wonder whether I ever will be one in spirit. Right now I'm a Brit.

Nor am I the only person living in the USA who feels that something has been going very wrong. Again, as with Argentina, this situation has been long in the brewing. The US became a full-fledged imperial power with it's victory over Spain. Since then it has followed a trajectory of increasing global military and economic power -- unfettered capitalism requires this trajectory, in the same sense that gravity dictates the parabolic path of a projectile. To cut a long story short, I seek fresh pastures; I'm spiritually uncomfortable in the US of A. A culturally, socially, and politically inhibited society, with a mass media that does the bidding of its corporate owners. The Democrats, as one commentator recently asserted, is slightly to the right of European conservative parties; the Republicans slightly to the left of European national front parties. You're either fur us or agin' us, in the memorable words of George W. Buffoon.

But I digress (I'm catching it from you). I lack the crucial alchemical ingredient --time -- to make a proper acquaintance with Argentina, and I have a wife in tow as well. I shall observe as much as I can, and ponder over it.


"nashorama" said:
Mr. Bigbadwolf:

But he now understands there are no American or French parts of Canada (except, maybe Toronto which is the best copy of a US city we can do).
lol -- Nashorama it may have been some time since you lived in Canada but I think it's hilarious that you're still carrying our good old Western Canadian chip on our shoulder about TO. I have to say the more I go to TO the more I like it, although grudgingly so...

to BigBadWolf, I know how you feel about living in the States,, I like Americans but actually living in the States wasn't for me, in fact my souvenir from that time ended up being my Maple Leaf tattoo that I got one weekend while up in Ottawa doing research for my thesis (well, at least even if I regret the tattoo I'll never regret the symbolism of it, and it's on my back so no one -- including me -- can see it unless I actually wnat them to!).

Hey, that's an interesting chat about Argentina. All that bad mouthing my action hero, the lone star pilot who never took off on his battle mission. Well, I'm heading down, bringin some good
old democracy with me this Friday! Things here (USA) is getting riper by the minute, can't wait for the pus to come shooting out. But hey, thats my fantasy talking. I need to compile a cheat sheet, as I can't remember all the scandals from this administration already!

But, I want to make a point on Peron, first time I came I borrowed a fat book on Peron, boy what a great intro to Argentina. Well written by some professor from an establish University in the US. Lots of facts that my BsAs friends didn't even know about. Peron was a very complex character, and no one before him or after comes close. Ditto for Evita. Not saying he was perfect. He wasn't a fascist like Hitler's cronies, even if he was too pally with them. For one thing there were several occasions when the 'shirtless' ones were ready to battle the military on his behalf, but Peron didn't want a massacre, so he was willing to let go of power. He had seen what had happened in Franco's spain, (the massacres), thats a compassionate side of him no one seems to note. He also had to battle Baden or Bradden can't remember the US Ambassador to Argentina, who was a member of the JohnBirch society. Its takes a giant of a man to deal with the powers of US Empire.

There's a ton of detail I'll dig up the author etc if anyones interested. It reads like a novel, I was scared it would be a dead weight I'd be carrying around, but boy what a great book it turned out to be.



About Bush: it's strictly business, nothing personal. He's probably an affable character among his chums, doesn't beat his wife or kick his dog. But the man's bonkers. Like many ex-alcoholics who're now walking the straight-and-narrow, he's a fanatic. To exacerbate this, he isn't quite overendowed intellectually. Add to that a streak of complacency (hey, he's got a direct link to God), and this makes for a lethal cocktail.

But more important than this figurehead of a president, whose cabal represents naked corporate interests like no other administration in living memory, are the people who voted him into office. Thomas Frank came out with a book last year titled, "What's The Matter With Kansas," in which he grapples with the question of how anyone in his right mind -- particularly the impoverished hordes of the Mid-West -- could vote for this criminal gang. And now I get to the crux of the matter: I'm scared stiff of Americans; not the kind of cosmpolitan Americans who visit or live in Argentina, nor the Americans who live in New York City, but the bible belt lot: the bible-thumping pickup-and-shotgun lot who inhabit much of the South and Mid-West. Who listen to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson (who called for the assassination of Chavez). And it's this profound unease with much of the American psyche that's prompting me to look for other pastures.


Phew! This topic may be going over my head, I think I've lost the plot.
I lived here as a spotty seventeen year old for two years between 74 and 76, and in that short time managed to see, hear and feel the good the bad and the downright ugly. I was at Retiro in March 76 when the tanks came rolling down Libertador the night the helicopters came for Isabel Peron at the Casa Rosada. I was held at gunpoint on a colectivo close to La Lucila and almost kidnapped. I went to more parties and asados than most teenagers do in their formative years and ended up having an affair with my private and very dusky maths teacher, who was at least 15 years my senior.I met the love of my life in Bs As, and we never forgot.
Buenos Aires never lets you go, as long as you let it in. I'm a romantic at heart and far from intellectual. I've given up asking myself why I like Argentina, and more importantly the people. I just do,that's good enough for me and that's why I live here now.
Not open for further replies.