This month at Intelatin, I am featuring a comic book project called Americatown by Bradford Winters and Larry Cohen. Music for the podcast is curated by El G at ZZK Records and performed by Chancha vía Circuito, Fauna, Tremor, Frikstailers, Animal Chuki, El Remolón, Nicolá Cruz, La Yegros and Luzmila Carpio.
Winters: “When I first set out to create a TV series about immigration, it was one set in today’s America with a kaleidoscopic look at the topic. But I quickly realized how hampered a show in that vein would be by questions of where it fell on the spectrum of the debate: was it liberal or conservative, pro- or anti-immigrant, etc.? But then I took a giant step back and flipped the paradigm as we know it by making Americans the immigrants in a dystopic near future. Thus by making Americans the underdog, both hero and villain if the media does insist on the villainous portrayal of immigrants, we could sabotage the debate itself by forcing an American audience to identify with characters whose relatable crises and personal choices have nothing to do with political allegiances.”
Thesis: In a future Argentina, booms in “longevity tourism,” the water trade and Chinese foreign investment are creating a power shift in the Americas. Americans are leaving the economic instability and political vicissitudes of the U.S. for an immigrant community in Buenos Aires called Americatown.
In 2016, Democrats Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders will force Clinton to the left. On the Republican side, all the reactionaries will force Jeb Bush to the right. Immigration will be a key topic as the candidates vie for the majority of the Latino voting bloc in an effort to win the presidency. No policy will likely be enacted this year or next to the continued anguish of our immigrant families, including my own. Including the families of our friends at DRM Dream Action Coalition and Educators for Fair Consideration. What can we do?
I question this for myself as I singularize this catastrophe in my personal life. I have been considering this question for over 20 years as I have swooned romantically for the moment when I can leave California and live in Valle de Guadalupe, or Quepos, or Cartagena, or Buzios, or Cusco, or Bariloche. And now I question this as I consider the premise of Americatown in a situation where the immigration path goes from Philadelphia to Buenos Aires.
In my circle of reference, I am the most critical of the United States. I detest the United States for all the wickedness that it committed on Native Indigenous People. On African People. On Mexican People. On Gay People. I detest the United States for how it constantly tries to crush the underdog in favor of the overlord. I detest the United States for how it laundered all of its ghastly acts and created this phantom country that claims its controlled by a mythical Constitution in favor of ALL people. I detest the United States for how it can’t make the jump from the cause of the bigotry of Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson to the effect of “Straight Outta Compton.”
In the September 2015 edition of The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a letter to his 15=year=old son: “I am sorry that I cannot save you–but not that sorry. Part of me thinks that your very vulnerability brings you closer to the meaning of life, just as for others, the quest to believe oneself white divides them from it. You have been cast into [Racecraft] in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees this is true of all life. The difference is you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.” I detest the United States for this and I cannot get past it because I am more pale and privileged than Coates’ son.
Now, I am not so stupid to believe that Argentina is any different from the United States. I am ignorant enough to not be able to list all the atrocities committed by Argentines towards the underdog but I know they exist in the Akashic Records. I can’t wait to read what happens to the characters of Americatown when they leave the United States and begin their lives in Argentina.
Thank you for listening to our podcast.
About Intelatin: The radio broadcast for Intelatin was started in 2012 at California State University Long Beach as outreach for their majority Latin@ campus. The broadcast aired on KBeach Global and KKJZ 88.1 FM. It podcasts in 2015 on iTunes and Audioboom. The next Intelatin episode will be released at the end of September. Connect on Twitter: @Intelatin.