Reprazenting the Permanent Debt Crisis

Just borrowing this image from the opening the other day around beautiful Bruckner Boulevard’s end at the southern tip of the Boogie Down–it was the return of City Maze by Jane Dickson and Crash, two pivotal figures in Fashion/Moda, an art thing that happened in the Bronx so many years ago. It kind of represents how I’ve been feeling lately as one of the Babylon tongues trying to explain the PR Debt Crisis. It’s such a dire moment with no federal help on the horizon and the health care system teetering on the brink of chaos, yet the crisis doesn’t seem tangible yet no matter how many dependent clauses I use to explain it.

I mean let’s face it. This is a permanent debt crisis. Just like the permanent War on Terror. What do you think the idea about the End of History is about? Instilling a belief that we’re in a permanent cycle, with no need to change anything. The proverbial elephant in the room is the fact that the great majority of New York’s residents have been living in a debt crisis since Gerald Ford told us to drop dead.

We had a great get-together last week at the Loisaida Center with Dave Galarza, and, via Skype, Rafael Bernabe desde Puerto Rico. I kind of took more time than I wanted to with my Power Point Puerto Rico Debt Crisis 101. Actually, you’re gonna need Keynote for that. At any rate it was Bernabe who had the best point of the evening, Héctor Cordero Guzmán’s thoughtful contributions notwithstanding: How are we going to convince everybody that independence is the only solution?

Here’s an on-point piece by Monxo López on the bankruptcy of our hero liberal economist Paul Krugman’s bankrupt logic, by the way.

Meanwhile, Paper magazine seems oblivious to anything being wrong, instead choosing to focus on the stars of the island’s fabulous art scene. Well, who can blame them. The whole Downtown scene was about the grimy dystopia of Manhattan that formed soon after that Gerald Ford Daily News cover story. Oh wait he didn’t actually say that.

Looks like we’ll have to postpone our handwringing until after Congress comes back in September, the unveiling of the ingenious plan now being put together to save the economy by loyalists of the García Padilla administration and their crack consultants, and of course after we celebrate some more Obama milestones like immigration reform and the closing of Guantánamo.

For the record, more of my testimony:

My appearance on WABC’s Tiempo with the Hispanic Federation’s Frankie Miranda in two parts, on the Tiempo website here and here.

Here’s a lovely half-hour spent with Samuel Orozco on California’s Radio Bilingüe, at times I’m sounding perceptive, others not very competent en la idioma castellana. I invented a new word: negocieros for negociantes, and made my favorite gender mistake: “las problemas” (el problema es masculino).

Finally, another rambling episode of Living in Spanglish Radio on WBAI, where I talk with Cultura Profética about the crisis, and am compelled to declare the end of modernist nostalgia.

Hasta pronto.


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