La vida después del Buda punk / Heriberto Yépez

Life After the Punk Buddha

                        [Mario Vargas Llosa, Venezuela, 2014. Via @shirleyvarnagy]

If Disney banned the selfie-stick it’s because it put too much distance between the I and the I. For the system to clone itself, the I cannot put any distance between the Vile I and Vile I. Any distance threatens to become critical.

This era consists of hiding the truths of Buddha. Although Buddhism is a high point of earthling thought, we would like to allege that arrow never wounded us.

Contemporary literature is an amusement park tour. In experimental literatures, the veteran North American one, for instance, Burroughs and Acker would no longer be possible today. Punk is prohibited. Being a writer in the Facebook Era means Behaving Well: Like! Like! Like!

Nearly everything related to Millenials is detestable: they were designed by the media. Their reaction to everything that happens is a reference to the world of show business. Each thing they encounter in the world reminds them of a movie or a video.

In North American literature they call it “Post-Conceptualism.” In Latin America and Spain, “Return of the Chronicle” or “Autofiction.” In one case after another, they are escapes from what truly followed: writing as a destruction of the I, I and I.

Selfie, Networking, Retro and Hipster are the keywords of today’s globcult.

They used to follow forms of writing that went beyond the author. But the Death of the Author was replaced by the Writer As Celebrity-Zombie.

20th century literatures reached a point of no return and the initial literatures of the 21st century decided to return. Mario Vargas Llosa is its best avatar. He was once an author of the Latin American Boom and today he’s on the cover of ¡Hola!.

Gabriel García Márquez’s black eye prefigured it: thanks to the confessionalism of social media we would all become Varguitas.

There’s not a single social media account that doesn’t want to be ¡Hola!. The notion of an “oeuvre” has died from spontaneous combustion.

The literary product is now of tertiary importance. What’s important is the “author.” And the author is now his own pure image.

The most important aspect of writers today is their photographs. The book is only a pretext. They key is their names, in other words, their place within networking. Click: the photo is total.

We’re now in the first moment in the history of literature when it doesn’t matter if a writer produces works. What’s essential is that his image be popular or, at least, pivotal in some virtual literary network.

What’s relevant is that it can be sold well on Amazon or in chain bookstores or, in the case of writers without success protected by some cultural institution or clique, that their posts have a certain relevance in their network of Privileged Losers.

No one will be Vargas Llosa anymore. Vargas Llosa himself wasn’t able to do it. But everyone can aspire to be a semi-star in some corner of the Web.

And literature? Literature became a branch of fantastic photography. Photography has colonized all media.

The Punk Buddha was merely an X Dream. Take a selfie.

{ Heriberto Yépez, Archivo Hache, Milenio (México D.F.), 11 July 2015 }

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