At “Ceviche Loco” — Contemplating Political Loyalty

I’m exhausted. Nocturnal by nature, the Sun tends to lull me to sleep…Ahh, the breezy warmth of a Los Angeles winter.  Like snuggling up in mamushka’s queen sized bed while she makes me cafe con leche.  I’m waiting for my fish ceviche tostada and taco de pescado empanizado.

I spend nights awake & alert: working on art projects, writing, reading, scheming, watching movies, saving the world one conversation at a time till’ 4 in da’ mornin’ with a besty, or trying desperately to sleep “like a healthy person” for hours upon end.  This is why I LOVE the weekends.  I don’t have to feel any guilt, fear, or negative physical repercussions over my internal clock’s odd nature.  Friday night, Saturday, & Sunday are idyllic: Sleep in until 2p or 3p, run around and do stuff in the light of the world until it wanes (errands, brunches, exhibits, plays), and then when the sky turns the blue black it won’t shake for hours: I work on my art projects, write, read, scheme, watch movies, and save the world one conversation at a time til 4′ in da’ mornin’ with a besty.

“Besty” and/or “Besties” refers to dear friends I profoundly enjoy.  I learned the term in junior high.  I use it often since then.  Although I must admit, I like saying the word more than seeing it written.

So on Sunday at 10p, the night solidified its stay and my eyes wouldn’t close for even a blink.  My eyeballs were dry, meyng.   My tooth cavity hurt too.  So, I logged into Baby Dewds’ netflix account and watched some celluloid.

First, I saw the Comedy Central Bob Saget roast, which was more of a “hug/I really love you, man aka john stamos/you’re such a GAY jew dewd, huh huh” Fest than a “haha” fest.  It was no Pam Anderson roast.  Also, watching Norm McDonald’s face puffed up by wet brain was not funny.  At all.  Only drunks at the brink of wet brain who get sloppy and have some sort of “rock n’ roll” background are funny.  Like Courtney love on the Pam Anderson roast.  No, wait.  Her slow death isn’t really that funny either.  Just Jeff Ross’ take on it.  Man, Comedy Central Roasts are so depressing to think back on.

After that, I watched what brings me to blogging yet again at “Ceviche Loco” — The documentary Theater of War. It dissects German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s renowned 1939 play Mother Courage & Her Childrenand follows its NYC adaptation with Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Tony Kusher during 2006. I clicked on it because 1) The play starred the dynamite dame Meryl Streep  & 2) I’d never before seen a documentation of a single play’s “behind-the-scenes” process (playwrights and their plays — yes, but not one specific play)… So I thought, “HEY! Let’s do it.”

I knew nothing of Brecht or Mother Courage & Her Children so I was excited to learn more about the whole bada-bing.

It was a fascinating documentary.  Not for the cinematic artistry as the cinematography, editing, and sound design were amateur, but more for its multi-angle approach to exploring the play material.

You could tell the doc had been pieced together by someone who loved this play.  Not someone wowed by the hollywood fame of Streep and Kline or the pretension of comprehending THE THEATAWR, but by a collection of someones who wanted the audience to UNDERSTAND the play’s significance — its pivotal meaning to society — especially today.  The doc inspires one to reflect on their ideological beliefs not just theoretically (e.g. conversations with besties till’ 4 in da’ mornin’), but in the flesh.

How deeply do you embody your political loyalties?  Would you die for them? Sacrifice your limb, your sight, your child?  Your business?  Are the virtues of youth exploited by war?

Without having read the play or seen it performed, I can only discuss the contemplations aroused by the documentary and its reflections on Brecht’s Mother Courage & Her Children.

Mother Courage & Her Children‘s Quick Overview courtesy of Amazon.com:

Anna Fierling, an itinerant trader during the seventeenth century, becomes known as “Mother Courage” after the constant warfare gradually claims all of her children.

Play by Bertolt Brecht, written in German as Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder: Eine Chronik aus dem Dreissigjahrigen Krieg, produced in 1941 and published in 1949. Composed of 12 scenes, the work is a chronicle play of the Thirty Years’ War and is based on the picaresque novel Simplicissimus (1669) by Hans Jakob Grimmelshausen. In 1949 Brecht staged Mother Courage, with music by Paul Dessau, in the Soviet sector of Berlin. The plot revolves around a woman who depends on war for her personal survival and who is nicknamed Mother Courage for her coolness in safeguarding her merchandise under enemy fire. One by one her three children die, yet she continues her profiteering. — The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Wars are fought by Mother Courage’s Children.  Each, as the film points out, killed by an Achilles’ heel — which proves not to be a character weakness but a character strength — a Virtue.
Kattrin: The mute daughter “who is killed as she attempts to warn a town about an imminent siege.” – Empathy killed her.
Eilif: “Mother Courage’s eldest and favorite son, he is something of a thug, though she thinks him “dashing” and “brave.” He is recruited by the Recruiting Officer in the first scene, and he seems after that to really enjoy the war. Much praised by the General in Scene 2 for slaughtering peasants and stealing their livestock, Eilif is executed for committing the same deed in Scene 6 in peacetime. Mother Courage never knows of his death.” – Fearlessness killed him.
Swiss Cheese: “Mother Courage’s younger son. Swiss Cheese is, according to his mother, too honest. He is painted by Brecht to be rather stupid. He takes a job as paymaster of the Second Finnish Regiment and attempts to hide its cashbox so that he can return it to his general after the Catholics have gained power. He is caught with it and shortly executed.” – Honesty killed him.
We — the young ones — are sacrificed for wars about ideologies — ideological wars devised by those that never had to die for their beliefs.  Yes, some war promoters/profiteers may have had to go to war and almost die or came back missing arms and legs. Many more came back physically whole, but mentally beyond repair.  And then there were those that never had to risk their skin at all…
Young soldiers die in the flesh for beliefs.  They kill other flesh & blood human beings for beliefs.  Beliefs:Ideas:Concepts.  Usually for the collective ideology of a community they were raised or embraced by.
The young soldiers of Fidel Castro’s revolution/overthrow of Batista’s government were this way, the young soldiers of Hitler’s 3rd Reich, American soldiers in Iraq & Afghanistan, the young Israeli soldiers in Palestine & Lebanon, the young Native-American warriors during European colonization, the young Zapatistas in Mexico, the young guerilla warriors in Colombia, the young child soldiers in the Congo, and the list goes on and on.
People my age and younger all over the world are dying for “what’s right,” dying for “the right” to live, dying for “our right to live a certain way” at the cost of other people’s “right to live a certain way” or “live. period.”  The Sacrificial Young are propelled into the arms of death by a passionate empathy, fearlessness, and honesty blinding in youth.
So I began to wonder — I know there are specific people I would die for — but are there ideologies I would die for too?  Are there any ideological wars taking place now that I would lay my life down for?  Cut my years on earth short for? Risk the quality of my life — risk my eyes which allow me to see the movies I love so much, risk hearing great jokes for a permanent deaf silence, risk dancing all night for a two-wheeler on the sidewalk, risk soundness of mind (the little I have left) for grotesque and painful memories that grow strong with age and beat me mercilessly in dreams…
Ideologies for which I’d sacrifice peace of mind and faith in humanity and remaining bits of childhood innocence and Eugene O’neill plays and Du Bois books and Flamenco music and train rides through German country sides and filming little Indian girls dancing at school performances in Jaipur and kissing a woman I’ve fallen madly for on the lips and lazy days on California beaches with besties and … and … and …
Do I have any staunch unmovable loyalties to any political entity or ideological organization?  And if so, would I’d die for  THEM?  Wow.  That’s a serious question, my friend.
I. don’t. know. yet.
All I do know is this: Every day I try my best to act — in all areas (personal, creative, & professional) — in accordance with the personal ideologies I hold dear.  I am my own political entity: The Party of Vanessa Libertad Garcia — who believes in affordable health care and higher education, quality public education, equality in the workforce, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, and the right to do and pursue anything you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else — For All.
If one day my freedom to do that was seriously threatened, and I had to sacrifice my safety to keep it … I’d like to think I would.
How?
Well, preferred forms of resistance are a whole nother’ blog post!


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About vanessalibertadgarcia

Vanessa Libertad Garcia is a Cuban – American writer & filmmaker who grew up between the burbs’ and hoods of Los Angeles. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, she’s completed a myriad of successful projects that tackle both the film and literary worlds. Ms. Garcia has worked in various capacities as writer, director, and producer on fiction films such as the HSF/McNamara Arts Grant recipient “A Two Woman One Act” and documentaries such as “Maid in America,” which debuted on PBS’ Independent Lens. Two films out of the many, which have screened at top festivals such as The Los Angeles Film Fest, The Habana Film Fest, Cinequest, and Outfest to name a few. Ms. Garcia has had writings published by venerated literary staple Lambda Literary and the up-and-coming Amor Fati. Her first book “The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive” is drawing laudable reviews. It’s available for purchase at amazon.com, barnes&noble.com, and many other sites. She presently has a feature film titled “Dear Dios” based on the books’ characters and a second book — the collection of poetry “Bloody Fucking Hell” — in development. View all posts by vanessalibertadgarcia

3 responses to “At “Ceviche Loco” — Contemplating Political Loyalty

  • Thelma T. Reyna

    Vanessa, the second half of this post merits publication consideration (with a bit of elaboration) as an essay. One place to consider is the Gulf Coast Review or the Rio Grande Review (both Texan). Just for starters. You bring up many excellent points about our young sacrificial lambs and warfare for ideology. So apt for our times! Very thoughtful and well-stated, with its tie-in to “Mother Courage.” I read that play in grad school decades ago but didn’t remember much about it, so thanks for the summaries. Have a great New Year, and take care.

  • pizzle

    If you aren’t prepared to fight for your rights or beliefs then you might as well give them up and bend over for any form of tyranny the govt will throw at you. Especially a govt that doesn’t respect the individual.

    Apathy has terrible consequences

  • vanessalibertadgarcia

    Thelma: You’re amazing! Thank you SO much for the support and recommendations. I’ll definitely look into them! xoxo!

    Pablo: Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the the the food for thought! All the best, 🙂 V

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