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Latin America perspectives a series of information and comment about Latin America with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. These programs are recorded by station w s i u FM. Here now is Dr. Gardner. Once upon a time. No it really wasn't that long ago a piece published by a magazine became a legend. It happened in 1036 in one of the autumn issues of Esquire. The article was HELEN LAWRENCE and Latins are lousy lovers based on limited experience definitely limited experience in the Latin world and quite possibly limited experience in bed. That piece was a magnificent spoof. Of course some Indeed many did not see the humor in it and those enraged Latins fought back both in verbal e in defense and masculinity. Years passed and Lawrence and Peace became a minor classic of magazine journalism.
Now the author has given us a phone volume appropriately bound in passionate purple on the same theme. The book entitled The Latins are still lousy lovers. Is published by Hawthorne books incorporated and it has a wide ranging score of humorous articles. All are slick and frothy. And not all deal with the Latin world. Witness those that focus on Greenwich Village. American burlesque and Las Vegas however Latins are also there. The Spaniard of pump Lona the Mexicans of Mexico City and the Panamanians of Cologne in Panama City. And oh yes the Cubans of Havana. Have bene of course had been the prime focus and Cubans naturally the prime target of that initial article written in the 1930s. But first a word to give you a broader glimpse than just Cuba this time. A glimpse of her writing as it
relates to one of her themes a chapter entitled blue moon girls and silver mile and the setting being Panama Panama holds seven official world records in different classes of silver Mylan sailfish and snuck. It also has an unpublished an unofficial record for honky tonks General Mills dance halls cabarets fancy houses and kindred spots where female companionship is the main bait with thousands of ships passing through the canal and always stopping either at Panama City on the Pacific or at Cologne on the Atlantic. The place is a natural for that sort of thing in both towns. The main streets are lined with tawdry but colorful joints and bars with names like cantina Mississipi and cafe Brooklyn. While in Panama City an enterprising woman named Mimi Kelley for 40 odd years the owner of Mrs Kelly's Ritz built a worldwide reputation
out of the simple but sound formula that sailors got. Lovely. Shifting her attention to another area. And best time to Mexico. Robinson writes Watching a Mexican dance is the next best thing to dancing with him and that is wonderful because Mexican men are the best dancers in all of Latin America as well as the best drinkers and the best looking men. It sounds as though she slipping from that idea that Latins are lousy lovers. But then she continues about the Mexican Any man can be polite to an attractive girl but a Mexican man has the inner gallantry to treat all women as if they were young and beautiful. Fred is not a matter of manners alone but of the heart. The Mexican people have an innate good breeding and grace of spirit born of a proud Indian heritage deep in their blood because their own dignity is unassailable. They can
afford to practice the own most lost art of kindness to strangers. I would add as a clincher it seems that she has gone overboard a few Latins this time but her prime theme that time to get back in the 30s. Vanna comes in for two essays one written in one thousand fifty five in the period of Battista is power and the other in 1961 two years after Castro had come to power. Other than a 1955 the Teesta period she writes What makes Havana so alluring to the visitor is not her beauty because other cities Paris Naples Rio for example are more beautiful Puerto Rico has a similar climate. Miami has as many palms Montego Bay is more chic. There is just as much advice and more say in Panama City even the new islands. Mexico is more picturesque and Haiti is more primitive but travelers who have been to all these places find in Havana a
seduction more potent than anywhere else even though much of the time they may be unaware of its exact nature. The intrinsic basic quality of Anna is a deadly magic which permeates the very air which flows through the city inescapable and inseparable and which can only be defined in the last analysis as sex. Havana is without doubt the sexiest city in the world. This was the 1950s confirming her view of the 1930s. But then there's 961 and she writes of Vanna she writes of all Cuba in a capsule as it were. And she talks about culture culture with a capital C. That is the Performing Arts Culture up with the lowercase c that is the total way of life. And as you come up with a view that is suggestive of a contradiction that you cannot quite make a promise. And what is happening to Cuba but that
the revolution has indeed basically restructured the way of life of the Havana of Anna. She gives one lingering glimpse in her account of one thousand fifty five. In such words is this trying to explain that pull of the city. You know the music that subtly prurient mixture of African jungle and Spanish blood why is it the rum so stimulating at the same time relaxing is it the air. Is it the attitude toward sex. Is it a combination of all these things. One can't say but outsiders from hunger Shimer and Hemingway to the casual tourist have given their hearts to have Anna. Outsiders are not so numerous these days and they don't get to give their hearts or any other form of attention to Havana. This brings me to a second volume also published by Hawthorne. Of New York and this one is entitled The Caribbean and is authored by
Selden Rodman an individual who knows the Caribbean well as an art critic and student as an historian and writer of travel accounts. Indeed on many scores he has dealt with the Latin world dealing with the art works of art Roscoe of Mexico the renaissance of art in Haiti. He has traveled in Panama Guatemala Peru. He has written a history of the Dominican Republic a journal of the Haitian Republic and now and he views the Caribbean as though indeed the world should know especially the U.S. public. The riches on our doorstep. Two thirds of the volume of the Caribbean dedicated to what would be considered the lesser zones the French the Dutch the English islands of the Leeward the win words the Lesser Antilles. But then in the last third of the volume he gets
down to the core of what now for him is his greatest competence. Dealing with the Dominican Republic with Haiti and Puerto Rico it is in this area of Puerto Rico where he once lived that he has such remarks at these to make. The dilemma of rising expectations in a setting of deteriorating urban decay is what most Puerto Ricans find themselves facing today. Their situation is in some ways like that of the American Negro except that the American Negro is a full citizen with at least a fair chance of forcing a betterment of his condition. The proto Rican is a second class citizen and he resents it yet he finds his present political status and economic necessity practical people in most Puerto Ricans are practical. I believe the country can afford neither the cut off of American aid that would come with full independence nor the obligation
of American income taxes. The primary objection to attaining statehood. Selden Rodman right there on the score of Hispanic culture. The Hispanic culture that the advocates of independent constantly talk about wanting to say from an anti cultural America is the biggest mirage of all. Puerto Rico has produced no major poets playwrights novelists painters sculptors or architects the island's only. The art the diminutive Santos once carved by the ancient royal workers that he borrows is not considered worthy of mention in the compilation of religious sculptor. There are of course other outsiders who have looked at have evaluated the problem that quite a RICO has in its search for identity. And these are some quotations one from a US citizen who says After all
we did come here to exploit Puerto Rico rather than to help it. Why is American business here. Because labor is cheap and the unions are weak and because there's no return tariff on the finished product. The richer Puerto Rico gets the stronger becomes the Puerto Rican the desire to run the whole show with their culture and language predominating even if it means economic ruin which it surely will. And then a student from one of the English islands Barbados expressed the thought that the traditional Hispanic a lack of sense of individual responsibility for the general well-being was basic. That and the Catholic Church. And then the question was is the recollection. And he went on to tell the story that the other day the chancellor. This was at the university in Puerto Rico. Caught a small boy a friend's son her mind in the act of stripping the movable parts from his son's bicycle right on campus. When he asked the kid what he thought he was doing. The thief replied without even looking up. It's ok I'll tell the priest about it in the morning
and the chance to had to pull him away from the bike physically. They have an immense pride in their culture. Yet another student said who had come from another island. But no feeling of personal responsibility for what's happening to it. Beyond quite a recall we have Rodman moving to Santa Domingo an island he had visited many many times and he writes this I visited Santa Domingo both before during and even after the revolution in 1965 and what strikes me most in retrospect about those 16 months which began with the overthrow of coverall and the withdrawal of the American troops in 66 was that there were no real revolutionaries all the principal characters seem to have been drawn into the Mile strong against their wills. Everyone was looking for a messiah but no one wanted to be one. Except perhaps the leaders of the various communist factions whose participation was ruled out by the United States. As soon as the shooting began.
In the Valley of the Caribbean we have Selden Rodman dealing with every area of the Caribbean except Cuba and he deals lightly. He deals seriously oftentimes thoughtfully scholarly with these complex areas of life immediately to the south. In the second volume from Hawthorne press that Latin was are still lousy lovers. We have a view that in its Latin focus is on Panama and is on Cuba. This was another programme in the series. Latin America perspectives with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Joined us for our next program when Dr. Gardner will comment on another interesting aspect of Latin American affairs. These programs are recorded by station WFIU FM and are made available
to this station by the national educational radio network.
Latin American perspectives II
Episode Number
Episode 37 of 38
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3544. This prog.: Latins Are Still Lousy Lovers
Global Affairs
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Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-31-37 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:49
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives II; Episode 37 of 38,” 1969-07-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
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APA: Latin American perspectives II; Episode 37 of 38. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from