Filed under: brave new world | Tags: cheerleaders, enthusiasm, France, intelligence, italy, la bella figura, malice, mexico, oscars, Russia, United States
In the Latin world intelligence is equated with malice; in America with cheerleading; in Mexico they would give out prizes laced with poison.
“The French equate intelligence with rational discourse, the Russians with intense soul-searching. For a Mexican, intelligence is inseparable from maliciousness – in this, as in many other things, we are quite Italian: furberia, roguish slyness, and the cult of appearances, la bella figura, are Italianate traits present everywhere in Latin America: Rome, more than Madrid, is our spiritual capital in this sense. For me, as a child, the United States seemed a world where intelligence was equated with energy, zest, enthusiasm. The North American world blinds us with its energy; we cannot see ourselves, we must see you. The United States is a world full of cheerleaders, prize giving, singin’ in the rain: the baton twirler, the Oscar awards, the musical comedies cannot be repeated elsewhere; in Mexico, the Hollywood statuette would come dipped in poisoned paint; in France, Gene Kelly would constantly stop in his steps to reflect: Je danse, donc je suis.
~Carlos Fuentes from How I Started to Write
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