The late 1920s were an age of islands, real and metaphorical. They were an age when Americans by thousands and tens of thousands were scheming to take the next boat for the South Seas or the West Indies, or better still for Paris, from which they could scatter to Majorca, Corsica, Capri or the isles of Greece. Paris itself was a modern city that seemed islanded in the past, and there were island countries, like Mexico, where Americans could feel that they had escaped from everything that oppressed them in a business civilization. Or without leaving home they could build themselves private islands of art or philosophy; or else - and this was a frequent solution - they could create social islands in the shadow of the skyscrapers, groups of close friends among whom they could live as unconstrainedly as in a Polynesian valley, live without moral scruples or modern conveniences, live in the pure moment, live gaily on gin and love and two lamb chops broiled over a coal fire in the grate. That was part of the Greenwich Village idea, and soon it was being copied in Boston, San Francisco, everywhere.
These paintings say Mexico is an ancient thing that will still go on forever telling its own story in slabs of color leaves and fruits and proud naked Indians in a history without shame. Their great city of Tenochtitlan is still here beneath our shoes and history was always just like today full of markets and wanting.
(We loved Mother too, completely, but we were finding out, as Father was too, that it is good for parents and for children to be alone now and then with one another.. The man alone or the woman, to sound new notes in the mysterious music of parenthood and childhood.)That night I not only saw my Father for the first time as a person. I saw the golden hills and the live oaks as clearly as I have ever seen them since; and I saw the dimples in my little sister's fat hands in a way that still moves me because of that first time; and I saw food as something beautiful to be shared with people instead of as a thrice-daily necessity.
Hoy el pesimismo recorre al país e infecta a quienes entran en contacto con él. México vive obsesionado con el fracaso. Con la victimización. Con todo lo que pudo ser pero no fue. Con lo perdido, con lo olvidado, lo maltratado. México estrena el vocabulario del desencanto. Se siente en las sobremesas, se comenta en las calles, se escucha en los taxis, se lee en las pintas, se lamenta en las columnas periodísticas, se respira en los lugares donde aplaudimos la transición y ahora padecemos la violencia.