We don’t always remember to do it, but historians almost always benefit from attending carefully to sonic practices. Music, sound, expressive aurality–all tend to serve, for whatever reasons, as uniquely reliable barometers of the arrival of the new. As Ernst Bloch once noted: “Nowhere does change penetrate as deeply, and most of all nowhere does the timespan in which this change takes place have the same vehement tempo and brevity as in music.”
With Bloch’s insights in mind, and with our ruminations on interruption and its politics and Lacan and Chicana/o aesthetics still in the rearview mirror, I think we are prepared to turn to the work of a particularly fascinating (and psychoanalytically sophisticated) musical interrupter: Pedro “Chingo Bling” Herrerra III, of Houston, Texas.
Known by a variety of punning nicknames––the “Ghetto Vaquero,” the “Tamale Kingpin,” the “Versace mariachi”–– Herrerra has, over the course of the last decade, produced an extraordinary body of parodic music that bridges the gap between the ludic radicalism of Con Safos and Los Anthropolocos and the streetwise poetry of Texas underground heroes like Devin the Dude and Bun B.
By skillfully deploying a sophisticated series of comic strategies––rooted equally in Chicana/o oral and pop culture traditions and in the DIY culture of Houston hip-hop (wherein selling home-dubbed tapes out of car trunks has often been the privileged form of commodity exchange)–– Herrerra returns the gaze (and its aural equivalent–the eavesdropping ear, maybe?) of majoritarian forces of “law and order” and their ad hoc securitized revisions of traditional white supremacy, switching the joke, as Ralph Ellison once put it, to slip the yoke.
In keeping with the line of research we have been pursuing of late, we will want to situate Chingo Bling’s work as a labor of interruption—a technology which necessarily occasions a change in the situation in which speaker and listener are situated.
Particularly interesting, in this respect, is Chingo Bling’s 2007 release They Can’t Deport Us All. As Herrerra told the LA Times, in the wake of a series of violent assaults upon the vans and billboards that advertised They Can’t Deport Us All‘s release to the residents of Houston, Texas in the summer of 2007: “It just brings to light, I guess, the feelings at the core of this debate: the fear, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and all kinds of good stuff.”
As They Can’t Deport Us All’s promotional campaign ramped up, conservative voices like Michelle Malkin began to target Chingo Bling as a uniquely menacing ideological force:
Understand this: The adoption of Chingo’s “They can’t deport us all” mantra is the adoption of a radically ruinous open-borders fallacy. Since we “can’t deport them all,” they argue, we should deport no one. To the likes of Chingo, national security concerns are a joke. Border Patrol officers are pigs. And jihad is a joke…
What was it that about They Can’t Deport Us All that made Malkin so nervous?
It is a simple question, but it does not necessarily yield easy answers. Next week, I will try to think through some possibilities, drawing on our discussion of Lacan and the politics of interruption, and, with any luck, developing its ideas further.
 Ernst Bloch, “The Philosophy of Music,” in Spirit of Utopia, 45-46.
 Daniel Hernandez, “Latino rapper lets the ethnic insults fly; The Houston artist pushes the edge on satire as he hits Southern California.” Los Angeles Times, Dec 2005, E. 1.
 Agustin Gurza, “Comic rapper’s CD stirs serious reaction.” Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2007: E 1.