Friday, December 4, 2009

Follow-Up: Context is Everything.

Go take a look at this link if you haven't done so already.

I expect El Museo will rip this page down as soon as they hear that someone has helpfully pointed it out. Not to worry, though. I have a MacBook, and I can take screenshots with it. If anyone is having trouble reading context into the Museum's programming and promotional materials, all you have to do is read that flyer.

Or, if you'd rather, what you could do is read the note they posted changing the name of the Spic Up series: You'll need a PDF reader for that. Get it, because context is everything.

On December 4th, 2009, after a summer internal email exchange, a Times article, an essay, and some pointed criticism from the community, El Museo has provided what they call "context" for the use of the word "spic" to name its show.

Now, maybe it's me, but I don't see any element of this context on the above promo poster. Nor do I recall reading about it in any of the materials I read from 2008. But most of all, I didn't read about it in the section marked "About The Series," which states:

Recognizing the power and influence of the spoken word in New York City, El Museo del Barrio provides established and emerging Latino/a poets with a platform for expressions; and El Museo's audiences with some of the hottest word wizardry in town. Spic Up!/Speak Out! features an exciting line-up of urban poets who have voiced their minds in speakeasies and clubs around the city. Each evening is organized and hosted by a guest poet. After the performance, the audience is encouraged to grab the mic and speak up!

Could it be that I didn't read about this context because it was never there? Could it be that the only reason they used the word "spic" was as a cheap promotional gimmick? Or could it be that I didn't read the context in the flyer because I'm too dumb to catch it? Well. Lucky for me, lucky for us, the Museo is there to explain it to us. On December 4th.

I wonder what El Museo's executive director Julian Zugazagoitia thinks about this? I wouldn't know, because he never answered my email.

Maybe he'll answer yours.

More to come.

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