Sunday, August 24, 2003

I am trying to find more information on SuperBarrio. Most articles on him date from the late 90's.

The figure of Superbarrio combines the circus-like atmosphere of masked mexican wrestling with modern political ideologies. He is a sublime performance artist and political activist. He dismantles corrupt politicans by casting them as ridiculous and laughable straight men - not as sources of fear and power.

His first presence on the world stage struck me as one of those moments when a people's ideas and will becomes so strong that it manifests into reality. As if he was willed into existence. His masked hero routine also resonates with those other masked populists - The Zapatistas.

For all these reasons and more, Latin intellectuals adore him. Here is Alberto Rios:

Superbarrio appeared a number of years ago when the police were evicting someone from a low income house. A crowd formed in the neighborhood, saying, "Don't do this, don't do this." Suddenly, a costumed, masked wrestler appeared, jumping up onto the bed of a truck. "Stop!" he said. "I am here. Superbarrio!" He gave a speech: you can't do this, and I stand for this and that. Sure enough, everybody rallied to the call, and kicked the police out of there.

Superbarrio started showing up in different places. But he didn't look the same in every photograph. It became apparent that different people were wearing the costume. This was brought to his attention. "Superbarrio," he was asked, "how come you look different in each of your photographs?" And he gave one of the best retorts of all time: "It is because I am everybody." What a great subversive notion, that the superhero is the people! It was a wonderful rallying point. And what other hope is there? Why not this?

Make your own Super Barrio Man Masken!

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