Mexico City Modern: A Review Essay

Posted on October 1, 2014 • Filed under: Culture, Mexico, Social Issues, TRAVEL

Raymond B. Craib – – Mexico City Modern: A Review Essay

“Overcrowded, polluted, corrupted, Mexico
City offers the world a grim lesson.”
Thus proclaimed Time Magazine in 1984. Never mind that it could just as easily have been describing any number of cities in the world, including a number of metropolises in the US, as Mike Davis’s indictment of Los Angeles
City of Quartz
) showed six years later. But Mexico City—in theory so close to the US, so far from modernity—was much easier fodder for the progenitors of predictable caricatures of elsewhere. 2
Recent media obsessions with narco-trafficking and its attendant violence are only the latest instantiation of a long tradition of casting Mexico as a lawless, corrupt, and failed state. Meanwhile, the US State Department warns travelers away from Mexico (the entire country!) even as the body count in the US from gun violence—merely random, unpredictable, scattershot, apolitical, and
utterly routine—grows at a steady clip. 3 Projections and predictions such as those
articulated by Time are nothing new, as Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo shows in I Speak of the City
. At a hefty 500 pages, Tenorio-Trillo’s book offers a vision of the city’s history not
found in most travel guides, popular journalism, or history books. Read Article

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