I was wondering if you might explain more about superhumanization and how this contrasts with dehumanization.
To me, I imagine superhumanization differently than how it’s used specifically here, but nonetheless can see how it could work to explain this situation. We know Blacks are often treated as universally dangerous and threatening, and Black males have historically been associated with extreme physical strength and exaggerated masculinity. So Mr. Powell could have been received as a threat of a certain character and extent by virtue of his symbolic association with the general superhuman strength of Black males. Simultaneously, because his worth was diminished because Black lives are treated as insufficiently human, his threatening quality could be responded to with extreme violence to eradicate rather than manage the threat.
Thanks so much Maria!
I have heard of Broadchurch, but have yet to get around to watch it. Will have to make it a priority to watch. Thanks!
Pancho Villa is such a compelling character through which to look at the border — equal parts loved and hated, hero and villain — I almost think an entire week could be devoted to him. So I’m not surprised Padilla built this compilation film around him.
Mostly I find this film to be a great media representation of the border as perspective: the repurposing of footage for different aims — in fact, the complete opposite aims — as an adroit instance of “looking from the other side.” I’ll definitely have to check it out.
Media also serves (or can serve) a connective function. In “La Venganza” see yesterday’s post we saw how modes of representation circulated and were taken up in divergent contexts (e.g. Mexican audiences watching American films that featured stereotypical images). Hector’s images of crossing remind us that being able to move back and forth does not eliminate inequality–the “bloody red hued dustbowl.”
As you point out, the idea of a border as merely a line separating two places is very limiting, and I think that this series emphasizes the ways that borders are just as much about connecting spaces as they are about separating them. The title itself - The Bridge - foregrounds the connective function of the border before the narrative even starts. As various storylines develop, this connectivity remains central, as no story is limited to just one side of the border. Personal relationships, business deals, and criminal activities have roots on both sides, and it is the connection of the border that makes the potentially fragmented narratives complete.
A visual image from the trailer that I find particularly striking is the brief shot (about 6 seconds in) of the vehicular traffic lined up at the border. The lines of cars on the roadway (especially with their red tail lights glowing) suggest arteries in the human circulatory system - a reminder that an ongoing flow is necessary for the health and well being of the entire region.
I’m definitely curious whether there is any residual hope in this story — particularly since Sleep Dealer has a protagonist we are supposed to root for whereas Caustic Soda focuses on a set of antiheroes. On the issue of solidarity, what I’m most intrigued by in this graphic novel is the ethos of “networks fighting networks”: whether it’s the narco insurgency, the paramilitary corporation, or the league of assassins, all these factions seem to veer into dark territory even as they defend their own positions.
I definitely agree, Roger — and thanks for introducing my to desertpunk, I hadn’t thought about it in this way before. Also, I think what makes this desertpunk approach compelling is the continuity between future dystopia and present precarity: not only, like you mentioned, corrupt corporations and police states but also the desert as an eco-logic of austerity and adversity, especially for those struggling within it.
I frequently teach sleep dealer and one of the most notable elements of the film is the character Rudy Ramirez’s gradual awakening to his position within the neoliberal system that has privatized water, virtualized Mexican labor, and militarized the border. The end of the film seems quite hopeful or at least open-ended. I’ll be curious to see how this graphic novel handles issues of agency and solidarity on the bleak topos that it’s created.
Thank you for your post and curation of this week’s topic. This looks like a great comic. I think you are right to point to Sleep Dealer as also engaging in this discussion of border life from the perspective of the unenfranchised. Sleep Dealer is in line with cyberpunk narratives for its fusing of what Brucer Sterling called “high tech with low lives.” As a spinoff genre from cyberpunk, desertpunk offers a similar display of life outside of society, where people are relegated to makeshift lives in order to survive in a world dominated by corrupt corruptions that are supported by police states. As the title page aludes, there seems to be a desertpunk element to this comic that I think displays a sense of powerlessness while still looking for ways of gaining agency. Beyond representing border life, I think comics such as these—as well as other forms of media and tech—allow for voices in the border to not only define the space but also present an identity that is otherwise constantly debated and negated. Can’t wait to read more of it as it comes out.
She also becomes almost irrelevant to the series after season 4 or so, too, which felt odd. And dont get me started om the fat Betty storyline. They just completely phased her out. We hardly saw her at all in the first half of season 7.