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Media Watchate! The San Antonio Current Mocks Me instead of investigating the Guadalupe Center

En vez de focusing on what I've uncovered about R. Bret Ruiz (see blog
archives/"What I've discovered about R. Bret Ruiz"), the alternative newspaper in this town, the San Antonio Current, spends valuable ink targeting me and this blog.

You call this journalism? Sad to say, it isn't. Tan jealous, porque my research is solid. Why don't they publish it? Because they work for corporate-owned media, bursting with sex ads, that doesn't want to deal with a character defamation suit. Because they know I'm right when I say all the media in this town is managed by whites. And they want to be in control of everything, even if they know it's wrong.

At the Guadalupe Board Meeting I attended on March 23rd, I spoke before the board, and listed my years of concrete board experience in Dallas - to substantiate why I thought the Board should resign. I reeled off my past board credentials, not my resume: I've been a boardmember of the Girl's Club; Women's Forum; Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; ACLU (officer); Teatro Dallas (Chair); and a member of the Dallas Commission for Cultural Affairs (a political appointment, I served three long years). From this base, yes, I told the Board they should resign.

And I meant it.

As I've said many times, I was censured at the San Antonio
Express-News in 2000 for my stand against the war. I guess it's
too much for one brown woman to have a blog as a way to speak
out. Men like Michael Cary deeply resent a latina asserting her
equality to them.

You see, I don't act like the sexy, sencilla, servile latina that
the Michael Carys out there would like me to be. How dare I? I threaten
them. Ridiculous. So they make yellow journalism.

They write just like the conservative media they profess to hate.

Because they are afraid of me. Why? I'm poor, I just bought a little car this year, I certainly don't want to be on a board ever again or want a job at the Guadalupe or anyplace else. I just want to write. The Michael Carys are the ones writing in the mainstream media, because they make sure I can't. But I'm not afraid of what they think of me. I'm only afraid of not telling the truth.

Here are three stories I've broken:
1. the firing of Kristina Ruiz-Healy at the SAEN
2. the revelations about R. Bret Ruiz, President of the Guadalupe Cultural Center, and possibly the beginning of the end of the nation's premier cultural center
by and for Chicana/o culture
3. the violation of students' civil rights in San Antonio by the imposition of
"lockdowns," which prevent the students from protesting and exercising their freedom of speech

But according to Michael Cary, my desire to tell the truth is my "show."
Here's the link to his latest below, when he should've been writing about
what the national impact of the Guadalupe Cultural Center is. When he had the chance to write about how the premier cultural center for brown gente known as La Lupe is on her knees, begging for us to help her.

*************************************************

News
Party lines
By Michael Cary

The Barbara Renaud Gonzalez show

Two new members of the board of directors of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Cynthia Segovia and Javier Guevara, sat for their first time last week with four veteran members. Chairman Juan Aguilera called the meeting to order.

GCAC President R. Bret Ruiz and board members Patricia Celis and Laura Hernandez sat with their backs to the audience at a portable table in the Guadalupe’s theater.

A Spanish-language TV cameraman jostled for the perfect angle as the meeting, declared open to the public thanks to a new policy of the Guadalupe directors, got under way.

One of the first items on the agenda was “citizens to be heard,” and self-promoting freelance writer Barbara Renaud Gonzalez stepped into the breach to speak her mind. But first, she asked someone to focus her video camera on her, ostensibly so the footage could be published on her eponymous vlog. “You operate in a very unconscionable way,” she told the board after she recited her curriculum vitae.

Aguilera interrupted her when she criticized Ruiz’s tenure at the center. “No personal attacks. We’ll be happy to speak to you afterwards.”

Aguilera avoided discussion of the topic on everyone’s mind: Ruiz recently has come under fire for alleged ill treatment of the center’s employees. He fired Mary Jessie Garza, the former education director, and Public Relations Marketing Manager Dolores Zapata Murff is on leave from the Center after she reportedly filed a sexual harassment and racial discrimination complaint against the Center with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The chairman said the complaints were aired “all over the media. This is a personnel matter. We have to respect the privacy of those individuals. Our silence doesn’t mean that we don’t care. We’re working on this matter and we’re trying to resolve things.”

Gonzalez, who blogs regularly and copiously about her mission to oust Ruiz and the current board of directors, told the board to “move on and let us rebuild the Guadalupe.”

More people filed more complaints during their allotted three minutes.

Santiago García, aide to District 5 City Councilwoman Patti Radle, delivered a letter from her to the board.

“I’m sorry that I can’t be with you this evening,” read Radle’s letter, dated the same day. “The reason I wish I were with you tonight is because I understand that the strain of controversy surrounding the Guadalupe Cultural Arts organization has gotten to a very volatile level.”

Radle urged the board to “take immediate action in responding to the concerns of the community and accusations as we have seen appear in the media [see “Culture War,” February 8-14]. Not addressing the issues immediately has allowed the issues to fester and has been a discredit to the reputation of the organization. To wait so long is an injustice to the complainant, to the accused, and to the community.”

“There has been a lot of turmoil,” said Mara Posada when she took the podium to address the board. “We are here in support of the ogranization and the artists who built it. Support the barrio, however rasquache it may be.”

For a definition of “rasquache,” see the above-referenced article in the Current. However, any given conversation with Gonzalez reveals that a pinche gringo who attempts to define the word is, well, rasquache.

(there's more...)

Comments

LaRed said…
okay then...so Cary is taking on Barbara...I'm guessing because it is easier than journalism. Where does one begin?
1. the GCAC board meetings were not just recently opened to the public...by law they are always open. It is funded by public money and therefore open. Where was this man educated?
2. Dolores Z. Murff was at the meeting, talked to Cary, but he is still referring to the complaint as "reportedly"? It has been filed and she could have confirmed then and there. Instead he "cops" that piece of info from Barbara's vlog and then attacks her. Que pinche!
(I didn't used gringo)
3. Barbara spoke of her experience in context and seems that Cary has a mad-on for her. Can't take someone questioning his definition of "rasquache"...although we could have a photo of his rasquache looking self on the vlog? compared to the "Spanish language" reporter Cary definitely looks...well you know. Antonio Guillen always looks professional and there is no doubt that he is taking care of business.
4. So either the Current sticks to ads and/or light stuff or not. If the Current is going to try to seriously cover events then the reporters on staff should do their homework and leave their personal hurts at home with mommmy.
5. Yes Mr. Rasquache, or Southside Man, there do need to be bi-lingual
and bi-cultural reporters because regardless of where you grow up in this nation, there is still a giant difference between being brown and being white....especially a white man!
March 31, 2006


To the Editor of the San Antonio Current, and the San Antonio Community:

I am writing to express my absolute outrage at Michael Cary’s recent editorial in the Party Lines section of this week’s San Antonio Current. I call the article an “editorial,” instead of a news piece on local politics that usually runs in this section, because of Mr. Cary’s ad hominem attacks on his fellow journalist Barbara Renaud Gonzalez.

Instead of acknowledging the painstaking research, journalistic integrity and heroic leadership on this issue that Ms. Gonzalez has shown in her blog exposés, Mr. Cary dismisses her as the “self-promoting freelance writer.” He cites as evidence of her presumed “self-promoting” nature the fact that “she asked someone to focus her video camera on her, ostensibly so the footage could be published on her eponymous vlog [sic.].” Don’t all photographers and videographers usually take shots of people as they speak?

What I find most distasteful—actually, it is disgusting—is the fact that Mr. Cary has critiqued Ms. Gonzalez for her diligent investigative reportage on Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center President R. Bret Ruiz’ alleged mismanagement and criminal conduct. Instead of acknowledging a fellow reporter—who I might add has more years of experience than him—Mr. Cary critiques her for breaking a story that no local or regional paper had covered until last week.

If Mr. Cary had critiqued Ms. Gonzalez for blurring the line between investigative journalism and activism, perhaps he would have come off as less reactionary. But even this type of critique would have to be placed in the context of various forms of “new journalism” made famous throughout Latin America and the Southwest, among other places. I am referring to the politically engaged practice of “testimonial” regularly practiced by American journalists like Alexander Cockburn, Margaret Randall, Ruben Martinez, Demetria Martinez, Patricia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez, as well as such noted Mexican journalists as Cristina Pacheco, Elena Poniatowska and Carlos Monsivais among very many other writers. For these freelance journalists, the act of writing and bearing witness to crimes and injustice is not separate from the act of intervening into the fray. Even if Mr. Cary rejects such developments in journalistic writing—which, I might add have even had an important impact on the style of mainstream journalism—he at least should exhibit enough respect for his profession that he refrain from personalized attacks on a journalist who broke a story of profound importance to the San Antonio Latina/o community.

In fact, the San Antonio Current, like all alternative newsweeklies in the country, are renowned for their risqué reportage and indirect advocacy. Indeed, many of the stories that Ms. Gonzalez reports in her blog and other publications (which include The Texas Observer, The Nation, The Progressive, San Antonio Express-News and even the San Antonio Current) oftentimes are first reported in such papers. The San Antonio Current’s own Last Words section at the end of the paper regularly prints the type of personalized political commentary—including pieces by the San Antonio Current’s own editors—and the paper is all the more satisfying for this engagé feature. Does Mr. Cary also consider all past contributors to this section to be “self serving”? I call them heroic testimonial journalists who bravely merged their personal lives with personal reflections and actions.

It must be noted that Mr. Cary’s attack also comes off as racially motivated. On the fourteenth paragraph, Mr. Cary writes “For a definition of ‘rasquache,’ see the above-referenced article in the Current. However, any given conversation with Gonzalez reveals that a pinche gringo [sic.] who attempts to define the word is, well rasquache.’”

Mr. Cary’s tone is not only unnecessarily defensive, but also reveals a personal investment in (if not outright hostility towards) Ms. Gonzalez’s work as a journalist that is the same type of personalized reportage that Mr. Cary critiques as “self serving.” Worse, Mr. Cary reveals that he has absolutely no understanding of Chicano culture. “Rasquache” is a term, like Queer camp, that refers to a subculture and style but that also lends itself to cross cultural usage. In fact, many of my own students—including those that Mr. Cary might call “pinche gringo”—regularly use this concept in their own research, writing and even self identification. And by the way, it really is not an insulting term that one would use as an epithet as Mr. Cary suggest, but usually is offered as a sign of respect and group acceptance. Trust me when I say that after Mr. Cary’s editorial, no Chicana/o is likely to ever refer to Mr. Cary with such loving and playfully critical terms of endearment.

Were Mr. Cary’s outrageous, racially insensitive, and politically immature attacks published in another newspaper, I have no doubt that it would have resulted in a stern reprimand if not outright termination. At the very least, Mr. Cary should offer a public apology for his unnecessarily vicious editorial commentary in a news story that, ultimately, comes off as a carte blanche praise of a center that is in obvious disarray. (Some readers might be tempted to say “goodbye” to the old gadfly spirit of alternative journalism, but I still have too much respect for the San Antonio Current and its writers and editors.) I hope the publisher and editorial staff at the San Antonio Current, a paper I continue to read and also to which I occasionally have submitted book and theater reviews, will take this matter seriously. In the balance between Ms. Gonzalez reportage and advocacy and Mr. Cary’s personalized attacks on an esteemed Chicana journalist, lay the community of readers and writers like me, who desperately want to believe that the San Antonio Current has not become an institution that tolerates and harbors feeble-minded bigots.

Sincerely,

Ben V. Olguín, Ph.D.
March 31, 2006


To the Editor of the San Antonio Current, and the San Antonio Community:

I am writing to express my absolute outrage at Michael Cary’s recent editorial in the Party Lines section of this week’s San Antonio Current. I call the article an “editorial,” instead of a news piece on local politics that usually runs in this section, because of Mr. Cary’s ad hominem attacks on his fellow journalist Barbara Renaud Gonzalez.

Instead of acknowledging the painstaking research, journalistic integrity and heroic leadership on this issue that Ms. Gonzalez has shown in her blog exposés, Mr. Cary dismisses her as the “self-promoting freelance writer.” He cites as evidence of her presumed “self-promoting” nature the fact that “she asked someone to focus her video camera on her, ostensibly so the footage could be published on her eponymous vlog [sic.].” Don’t all photographers and videographers usually take shots of people as they speak?

What I find most distasteful—actually, it is disgusting—is the fact that Mr. Cary has critiqued Ms. Gonzalez for her diligent investigative reportage on Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center President R. Bret Ruiz’ alleged mismanagement and criminal conduct. Instead of acknowledging a fellow reporter—who I might add has more years of experience than him—Mr. Cary critiques her for breaking a story that no local or regional paper had covered until last week.

If Mr. Cary had critiqued Ms. Gonzalez for blurring the line between investigative journalism and activism, perhaps he would have come off as less reactionary. But even this type of critique would have to be placed in the context of various forms of “new journalism” made famous throughout Latin America and the Southwest, among other places. I am referring to the politically engaged practice of “testimonial” regularly practiced by American journalists like Alexander Cockburn, Margaret Randall, Ruben Martinez, Demetria Martinez, Patricia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez, as well as such noted Mexican journalists as Cristina Pacheco, Elena Poniatowska and Carlos Monsivais among very many other writers. For these freelance journalists, the act of writing and bearing witness to crimes and injustice is not separate from the act of intervening into the fray. Even if Mr. Cary rejects such developments in journalistic writing—which, I might add have even had an important impact on the style of mainstream journalism—he at least should exhibit enough respect for his profession that he refrain from personalized attacks on a journalist who broke a story of profound importance to the San Antonio Latina/o community.

In fact, the San Antonio Current, like all alternative newsweeklies in the country, are renowned for their risqué reportage and indirect advocacy. Indeed, many of the stories that Ms. Gonzalez reports in her blog and other publications (which include The Texas Observer, The Nation, The Progressive, San Antonio Express-News and even the San Antonio Current) oftentimes are first reported in such papers. The San Antonio Current’s own Last Words section at the end of the paper regularly prints the type of personalized political commentary—including pieces by the San Antonio Current’s own editors—and the paper is all the more satisfying for this engagé feature. Does Mr. Cary also consider all past contributors to this section to be “self serving”? I call them heroic testimonial journalists who bravely merged their personal lives with personal reflections and actions.

It must be noted that Mr. Cary’s attack also comes off as racially motivated. On the fourteenth paragraph, Mr. Cary writes “For a definition of ‘rasquache,’ see the above-referenced article in the Current. However, any given conversation with Gonzalez reveals that a pinche gringo [sic.] who attempts to define the word is, well rasquache.’”

Mr. Cary’s tone is not only unnecessarily defensive, but also reveals a personal investment in (if not outright hostility towards) Ms. Gonzalez’s work as a journalist that is the same type of personalized reportage that Mr. Cary critiques as “self serving.” Worse, Mr. Cary reveals that he has absolutely no understanding of Chicano culture. “Rasquache” is a term, like Queer camp, that refers to a subculture and style but that also lends itself to cross cultural usage. In fact, many of my own students—including those that Mr. Cary might call “pinche gringo”—regularly use this concept in their own research, writing and even self identification. And by the way, it really is not an insulting term that one would use as an epithet as Mr. Cary suggest, but usually is offered as a sign of respect and group acceptance. Trust me when I say that after Mr. Cary’s editorial, no Chicana/o is likely to ever refer to Mr. Cary with such loving and playfully critical terms of endearment.

Were Mr. Cary’s outrageous, racially insensitive, and politically immature attacks published in another newspaper, I have no doubt that it would have resulted in a stern reprimand if not outright termination. At the very least, Mr. Cary should offer a public apology for his unnecessarily vicious editorial commentary in a news story that, ultimately, comes off as a carte blanche praise of a center that is in obvious disarray. (Some readers might be tempted to say “goodbye” to the old gadfly spirit of alternative journalism, but I still have too much respect for the San Antonio Current and its writers and editors.) I hope the publisher and editorial staff at the San Antonio Current, a paper I continue to read and also to which I occasionally have submitted book and theater reviews, will take this matter seriously. In the balance between Ms. Gonzalez reportage and advocacy and Mr. Cary’s personalized attacks on an esteemed Chicana journalist, lay the community of readers and writers like me, who desperately want to believe that the San Antonio Current has not become an institution that tolerates and harbors feeble-minded bigots.

Sincerely,

Ben V. Olguín, Ph.D.
BigBubba said…
Personally I cannot get aggravated about The San Antonio Current. It is supposed to be an alternative newspaper. Alternative to what? Slitting my wrists?

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