Algunos de mis muy queridas compañeras y compañeros salvadoreños se podrían sentir molestos al escuchar este pronunciamiento: el queridísimo San Oscar Romero no es de El Salvador. En verdad, no es San Romero de las Américas...
The last time I went to the theatre, it was filled with educated and privileged people from all around the Princeton, NJ area. A group of us, dissertation fellows, from the Hispanic Theological Initiative had been invited to see the play The Convert in its world premiere at McCarter Theatre where Emily Mann directed it. I know from comments I overheard from another group of church friends during intermission and afterward, that in their view much of the audience was filled with, in the words of my church friend, “white guilt.” But I also know that for some of us in the room, including myself as a Latin American Christian and student of Christian Social Ethics, the play made a different sort of sense.
The Doctor Who episode The Krotons features what to viewers in our time will appear to be quite primitive and poorly-constructed robots as the key villains. If one can get past the appearance – perhaps by keeping in mind that the Krotons are supposed to be not robots but organic crystal-based life forms that are intellectually and technologically advanced, then one may be able to see beyond the low-budget costumes and appreciate the episode for what it is: a powerful statement about the use of education by colonial powers and more generally in order to reinforce rather than break down class divisions.
Media accounts of suicide tend to explain it as an effect of bullying. This is both helpful and limiting. It is helpful in moving us away from a view of suicide as ipso facto evidence of a psychological problem (sickness) or in the even older view, as a moral failing (sin). Psychological problems may in fact be present in some or many of the cases. In reference to the colonized it would seem to go with the territory, as Frantz Fanon, Kelly Oliver and others have argued. The better explanation where bullying is involved, however, is that the sense of desperation caused by the harassment itself, irrespective of the victim’s mental health (read: “resilience”), was so great that suicide seemed (or may have really been) the only way out. This account lifts the burden of stigma, and exonerates the youth of any moral culpability, which is right both in terms of compassionate practice—how is blaming a suicidal youth going to help?—and in terms of the larger analysis. From a queer, postcolonial and feminist perspective, it really isn’t their fault.
Growing Up Different(ly): Space, Community and the Dissensual Bildungsroman in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, by Pramod K. Nayar
What strikes one first about Suzanne Collins’ bestselling trilogy, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay (2008-2010), are the echoes from William Golding’s marvelously frightening The Lord of the Flies, Stephen King’s The Running Man and the TV Reality show, Survivor. It also recalls that iconic eighteenth century text about European/Western individualism, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, which really is the ancestor of Survivor as well. Collins’ trilogy is set some time in the future when the United States has been destroyed and rehabilitated in the form of twelve outlying districts controlled by the Capitol, together called Panem, under the control of President Snow.