23rd Sept 04
Hoping my neighbours would increase their knowledge, I encouraged the young Chicanos to order some nonfiction books from the prison library. Diego received Twentieth Century – The History of the World and Scooby received Plato’s Republic. Last night, in the midst of their early morning mumbo jumbo, they began to discuss politics. Scooby’s cellmate, Manny, who only reads the Bible, tried to scupper the discussion. The following is a sample from last night’s dialogue:
“I’m telling ya homey, what Plato wrote about is exactly what’s happenin’ today,” Scooby said.
“Izzat right, ese? Diego said.
“The politicians give yer all kinds of bullshit to get elected,” Scooby said, “an’ then they just take care of their homies, you know, special interests.”
“Homey here’s sounding all political 'cause he read that goddam Pluto [Plato] book!” Manny said.
“I ain’t political, ese!” Scooby said.
“Take no notice of Manny, ese!” Diego said. “He ain’t nuttin’ but a cheeto anyway.”
“Orale, homey!” Scooby said.
“Arnold’s tryin’ to run for president, but they won’t let him because he wasn’t born in the US and his dad was a Nazi,” Diego said.
“Was Arnold ever in the military, ese?” Scooby asked.
“In da movies he fuckin’ was!” Manny said.
“Sssshhhhhh!” came a voice from the bottom run.
“Who said sssshhhhhh?” Manny said in a threatening way.
“Dunno, ese” Diego said.
“To whoever said sssshhhhh,” Manny yelled, “fuck all you old-timers down stairs!”
“Nah, he wasn’t in the military, ese, but he married a Kennedy,” Diego said.
“I thought dat ruca was a Shriver,” Scooby said.
“She is, but she’s also a Kennedy, homey, some Kennedy niece or some shit like dat. She’s nuttin nice, homey, she’s wearing the pants in that relationship,” Diego said.
“Izzat right, ese?” Scooby said.
“Scooby, why don’t you run for governor?” Manny said.
“It’s not in my future, ese,” Scooby said.
“”What about president of Mexico then?” Manny said.
“Fuck you, ese!” Scooby said.
“I think dat Bush is gunna get fucked at the election 'cause of the medical prescription bill,” Diego said. “Vatos can go to Mexico and buy the same pills so much cheaper, ese.”
“I dunno,” Scooby said. “His dad is real powerful.”
“Yeah, cause he’s a CIA vato, homey,” Diego said.
“I’m surprised dat no ones tried to smoke Bush’s ass,” Scooby said.
“Orale!” Diego said.
“Don’t presidents get shot all of the time, ese?" Scooby said.
“Those gabachos, Lincoln and Kennedy, got shot in the head, ese,” Diego said , “and two women tried to smoke Ford’s ass.”
“Wuzn’t it 'cause of Vietnam that they took Kennedy out?” Scooby asked.
“Yeah, those CIA vatos took him out, and they told the military vatos, ‘You can have your war now!’ Then they smoked Kennedy’s bro as well," Diego said.
“This country is no joke, ese!” Scooby said.
“Orale, homey!” Diego said.
For Chicano prison slang translations see the blog two entries ago "Chicano Chat".
I am deeply moved by the avalanche of emails and comments that my parents have received from all over the world since the Guardian article. Thank you for taking the time to write. Your kind words have alleviated my suffering. Once upon a time, my dad could comfortably print out all of my emails and snail-mail them here to me in the States. I do not have access to a computer. I would then snail mail my responses back to my dad and he would email them to the original senders. Because of the recent huge response the system is presently kaput, so I am going to start addressing the questions you have put to me in emails via the blog. I would still like you to email email@example.com as my parents like to post your comments into the blog.
‘Jon’ is obviously a pseudonym, which needs to be used in the blog for continuity.
Thank you once again for the continued offers of gifts. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to receive gifts at the prison. I can receive letters, photographs and photocopies. I can receive magazine subscriptions directly from the magazine publishers and soft backed books directly from the publishers. Scott, your kind offer would be greatly appreciated. I am more interested in building relationships with people rather than receiving material items. The mail delivery is the highlight of the day for us inmates. I’m looking forward to hearing from more good people.