Want law enforcement that’s really tough on Mexicans? Try Mexico’s. Only seven years until accused there are presumed innocent, and meanwhile the cops aren’t afraid to do what’s needed to get the job done. Like lie under oath.
Roberto and Layda are students in my shop (Roberto is my PhD advisee), and I am over-the-top proud of them. They’re not afraid to do what’s needed either, they shoot cameras and handcuff criminal officials to the facts, and before we’ve even licensed them to be in the social change business, they’re getting their hands dirty making justice and speaking truth to some very comfortable sleazy power. The Mexican criminal justice system is just figuring out what it’s up against, because their film is winning prizes and getting reviews, including the first prize at the Morelia festival. It’s out of control, and the courts will never be the same in Mexico.
It’s well known in academic circles that when one of your students does something really smashing, and you’re the only one of his profs present, you’re allowed to say “yup, taught him everything he knows!” I am dying to say that now, but the fact is, they’re teaching us. Besides basking in this reflected glory, I especially like their enterprise because it extends a link between the arts and policy that goes back at least to Goya, maybe Cervantes, who impaled the toxic nonsense of chivalry with a quill pen. Rivera’s murals were bigger than a movie screen, but Hernandez and Negrete are also painting on a million monitors and television sets. And their outrage has the power of analysis and the hard thinking my colleagues and I are helping them learn.
This is another day I have no trouble cashing my paycheck.