Thanks for the reply, Andrew. Forgive the long post.
I agree, there is intent in the use of known non-fiction sources.
Doesn't someone say (perhaps Gonzalez himself) that the degree of
state complicity makes the danger to journalists so profound that the
only way the story will be told is in fiction? I took it to mean 2666
knows as much, if not more, than the sources it asks readers to
Given this simulacra, where Bolano makes changes is interesting. Like
naming it Santa Teresa, instead of Juarez...
I feel like the text offers but ultimately resists the kind of
psychological explanation we all know from the serial killer genre.
Significantly, when the famous American profiler comes to town, he
doesn't present a psychological portrait but rather an institutional
analysis: the streets are dark, the dumps are dangerous, the
transportation is unreliable...This resistance seems reinforced by the
rather unflattering characterization of the psychiatrist and the cop
who consults her.
re:"so rampant it institutionalizes violence against women"...Indeed.
But the book is laying the blame beyond the sex trade, no? Clearly
the book shows misogyny institutionalized in the police force, the
govt., the history (Lalo Cura's ancestral rapists), the sexual
contract generally. This is why, as his mistress corrects Sergio,
it's not whores, but factory workers who are primarily victims. Even
the crimes’ foremost journalist accidentally conflates the two.
A similar conflation is the ostensible motive the critics invoke, in
their violent three-way with the cab-driver who calls Norton a whore.
That triangle is a bloody foreshadowing of the relationship later
consummated in Santa Teresa.
The book explicitly compares the Juarez femicide with the
transatlantic slave trade and the Holocaust. In those other cases,
genocide, as 2666 presents it, appears as the collateral damage of
commerce. At the same time, the theme of Aztec sacrifice, the
obsession of Archimboldi's girlfriend, thematizes mass murder as
mystical ritual and initiation.
It occured to me that maybe by focusing on the individual killers and
their relationships (imagined or real) to their victims, we focus too
much on motive. If you encountered an ancient grave of sacrificed
virgins, how much time would you spend on motive? What if to kill a
woman (particularly one who looks like your sister or your mother or
the embodiment of your country) is not an aberrant practice, but a
Our atavars, the critics, attempt interpretation and seek motive in
the violence at the centre of Johns’ art. The two most redeemed
critics accept and confront that in the end, the famous artist cut off
his own hand “for the money.” The Nazi businessman similarly executed
Jewish prisoners and their keepers, for the money. Critics ourselves,
as we interpret the collective violence at the centre of 2666, should
we ask, where is the money?
In a place like Juarez, it’s easy to see how cartel associates,
informants, cops, journalists, witnesses, etc, can end up as the
“collateral damage” of a violent economy. But why so many girls,
girls first raped and tortured? What are the bodies of anonymous,
randomly targeted, women necessary for in this economy? How lucrative
can the regular sex trade be in a place where women make on average
more than their masculine counterparts? Where drug money is so
normalized, and can buy the ‘best’ that the sex trade has to offer,
how much of a market can there be for the kind of sexual fetish that
would necessitate the killing of hundreds of poor women?
The text anticipates this question with its account of the snuff film
legend. Women killed for the consumption of pornagraphiles is
ultimately rejected as a motive. But the paradigm it introduces – of
woman-murder as a consequence of a profit motive—is not.
Why are some of the bodies disposed of to be found? Why are their
disposals sometimes apparently site-specific, marking property
boundaries or the locations of earlier crimes? For years, literary
scholars have identified how the bodies of women are used
figuratively, to mark the political relationships between men. To me,
2666 suggests the literalization of this conceit. That the book so
closely mirrors a real situation is consequently terrifying.
> > place, these records are specific. I want to talk about it. Anyone?- Hide quoted text -
> - Show quoted text -