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Peru: Blogs from El Comercio

After the last Festival of Blogs (see participants) organized by BlogsPerú [es], it remained clear that although there is a certain percentage of bloggers who do not see the blogs of the newspaper El Comercio in a very good light, perhaps they may seem to be threatened by its presence and obvious mass diffusion, the majority agrees that it would be stupid to deny them the right to be called blogs. It is true also that to be a blogger with a salary is seen perhaps with a certain envy and that on the other hand some speculate that these wage-earning bloggers once they conclude their contracts, do not have the intention of continuing to blog on their own time.

For a historical view, in Roberto Bustamante’s blog El blog del Morsa [es]’, he published the post ‘the revolution of the blog: blog day peru’ with the following passage:

no soporto los rollos arties de raúl cachay en ¿descontrolados? (en realidad ni un solo blog de el comercio, que en realidad son más bien columnas digitales antes que blogs en el sentido estricto de la palabra).

I do not support the artiness of raúl cachay in out of control? (in reality neither one of the blogs of “El Comercio”; they actually are digital columns rather than blogs in the strict sense of the word).

This produced a reaction in a number of different blogs and the comments on this matter represented varied possible approaches to the topic, nevertheless the only blog of “El Comercio” that took up the gauntlet and challenged the assertion was Santa Lima of Juan Manuel Robles who said in Chifera Habich (I):

Ahora resulta que esto no es un blog. Yo no soy un blogger y quienes leen estas líneas no son seguidores de blogs, sino cándidos cibernautas atrapados por las fauces de ese monstruo hipnotizador chupa-lectores que es El Comercio. O sea, ustedes no me siguen: les soy impuesto por alguien más grande. Soy falso. Acabo de leer eso en una página en la que unos chicos muy exaltados celebraban el Día del blogger, mega evento ritual virtual al que, por supuesto, no fui invitado. Fue así como me enteré de algo que se sostiene hace tiempo: Santa Lima no es un blog porque, entre otras cosas, los bloggers de verdad no cobran. Bueno, mientras le buscan otro nombre a lo que están leyendo (“parablog” suena bien, creo), yo voy a hacer lo que más o menos hago siempre, o sea, mirar las cosas, escribir sobre ellas y ver cómo reacciona mi público.

Now it turns out that this is not a blog. I am not a blogger and whoever reads these lines are not followers of blogs, but candid cibernauts caught in the stomach of this hypnotic monster, that is: “El Comercio”. Meaning, you do not follow me: I am imposed on you by someone bigger. I am false. I have just read this on a page where a few very impassioned boys were celebrating the Day of the Blogger, a mega ritual virtual event to which, of course, I was not invited. It was thus that I found out about something that is supported for some time now: Santa Lima is not a blog because, among other things, the real bloggers do not charge. Good, while they look for another name for what they are reading (“parablog” sounds good, I believe), I am going to do what more or less I always do, that is, look at the things, write about them and see how my public reacts.

This response also generated some comments in several blogs. Finally Morsa in the post yo, blogger wrote:

ya, démosle vuelta. he escrito ya demasiado sobre los blogs, qué son y qué no son y me rindo. si los periodistas del comercio dicen que sus columnas digitales son blogs, no hay ni un problema: estamos en la época del geek is beautiful, y me imagino que renato cisneros y juan manuel robles quieren un poquito de vibra friki (que no le hace mal a nadie).

Now, let's turn it round. I have already written too much on the blogs that are blogs and on those that are not and I give up. if the journalists of “El Comercio” say that their digital columns are blogs, there is no problem even here: we are in the epoch of “the geek is beautiful”, and I imagine that renato cisneros and juan manuel robles want a bit of freak wave (it does not harm anybody).

But let´s start the review of blogs with the already mentioned and quite popular Santa Lima of Juan Manuel Robles, who usually devotes himself to gastronomic and related topics. For example his last post ‘La Bocina familiar’ tells us about … ice creams:

El tiempo borra ciertas cosas, en eso consiste su lógica inapelable. Nos encanta recordar con nostalgia las marcas registradas que aderezaron nuestra infancia como si fueran parte de un pasado más auténtico, acaso queriendo olvidar que la industria de helados más grande del país siempre tuvo una maquinaria marquetera abrumadora, que incluía argucias luminosas como ese comercial con la música de Bobby McFerrin que luego usaron los pañales Huggies en Estados Unidos (que bueno, Donofrio, Donofrio que bueno). En otros tiempos, que yo recuerde nada era más sabroso que un Jett o un Esquimo. Ahora me entero por la señora Lidia que la moda es el Egocéntrico, un nombre acorde con el yoísmo de los tiempos. Helado de vainilla bañado con chocolate Sublime. Todos lo piden.

Time erases certain things, in this consists its incontrovertible logic. We like to remember with nostalgia the registered brands that added color to our childhood as if they were a part of a more authentic past, perhaps wanting to forget that the country´s biggest ice cream industry always had a burdensome marketing machinery, that included luminous dodges such as that commercial with the music of Bobby McFerrin, that later on was used by the diapers Huggies in the United States (so good, Donofrio, Donofrio so good). At other times, I remember nothing was tastier than a Jett or an Esquimo. Now I find out from Mrs. Lidia that the fashion is “El Egocéntrico”, a name following their own self-centerdness spirit of the times. Vanilla Ice cream bathed in Sublime chocolate. They all ask for it.

But perhaps the most popular blog of all those of “El Comercio” is ‘Busco Novia [es]’ (I’m searching for a girlfriend) of Renato Cisneros. The topic? obviously, vicissitudes of life of a guy from Lima to find the woman of his dreams. In his most recent post ‘Señoras y Señoras’ he speculates on a rather uncommon option for a “serious” relation as he calls it himself:

Las mujeres mayores nunca me han interesado para iniciar una relación seria, pero sí me han llamado la atención para soñar con un romance. Creo que desde que eres niño y hasta una cierta edad (digamos 30) te topas con mujeres adultas que te impactan, te atraen, y te hacen montar secretas expediciones por la imaginación y fantasear con escenas mudas en donde ella y tú protagonizan clandestinas refriegas pasionales. Eso me pasaba, por ejemplo, con la Miss Lucía Shwarz, mi profesora de inglés en quinto grado de Primaria: tenía no más de veintisiete años, y usaba el pelo corto a lo Jamie Lee Curtis. La recuerdo en minifalda, con sus piernas larguísimas enfundadas en azulinas medias de nylon, con sus ojos verdes, con esa boquita siempre iluminada por la suave estridencia del colorete, y la voz ronca de cantante de taberna con la que nos decía “please, students, be quiet”.

I have never been interested in initiating a serious relation with older women, but they did attract my attention to dream of a romance. I believe that since you are a child and up to a certain age (let's say 30) you come across adult women that make an impact on you, that attract you, and that make you mount secret expeditions for the imagination and to daydream of the mute scenes where she and you are clandestine protagonists of passionate encounters. This happened to me, for example, with Miss Lucía Shwarz, my English teacher in fifth grade: she was not more than twenty-seven years old, and had short hair like Jamie Lee Curtis. I remember her in a mini-skirt, with her long legs stuffed in ordinary blue-tinted nylons, with her green eyes, with her little mouth always illuminated by the soft brigtness of rouge, and the hoarse voice of a singer from some bar, saying to us ” please, students, be quiet “.

Another very popular blog is almost inevitably the feminine counterpart of the previous one: Alicia Bisso’s Busco Novio [es] (I’m searching for a boyfriend). Her last post ‘Fiesta sin disfraces’ (Party without disguises) is about her falling in love with unreal characters and in parallel, with unreal ones that are real characters.

Desde que era chica e iba al cine -muy seguido- con mis padres y mi hermano, comencé a tener un secreto jueguito imaginario; de seguro, gracias a mi debilidad por la ficción. Éste, ahora que lo pienso, era un mecanismo de evasión de la realidad muy simple y debo aclarar, totalmente inconciente y además, irresistible para mi mente. Después de ver una película, en la que había visto a algún personaje que me había gustado por algo en especial, jugaba a convertirme en él o ella. Claro, no aparecía vestida de la Princesa Leia con el bikini dorado en la sala de mi casa, esto lo hacía en la privacidad de mi habitación o de mis pensamientos. Así pude ser Jennifer Conelly en Laberinto y estar enamorada todo lo que me dio la gana de David Bowie, amor que hasta ahora recuerdo como el primero; ya más grande, fue divertido jugar a ser la caprichosa Scarlett O'hara o la traviesa Faye de Chunking Express soñando con viajar a California. Me gustó jugar a ser la princesa Elisabeta, por la que el conde Drácula de Coppola navegó “océanos de tiempo” para encontrarla;

Since I was small and was going to the movies – continuously – with my parents and my brother, I began to have a secret imaginary game; certainly, thanks to my weakness for fiction. Now when I think about it, that was a very simple mechanism of evasion of reality and, I must clarify, completely unconscious and also irresistible for my mind. After seeing a movie, in which I had seen some personage that I liked for some particular reason. I would imagine myself turning into him or her. Certainly, I was not appearing in the living room of our house dressed as Princess Leia in a gilded bikini, I was doing it in the privacy of my room or of my thoughts. This way I could be Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth and be in love with David Bowie as much as I wanted, love that till now I remember as the first one. Once I was older, it was entertaining to impersonate the capricious Scarlett O'hara or naughty Faye from Chunking Express dreaming of traveling to California. I also liked imagining myself as princess Elisabeta, who Coppola ‘s Count Drácula navigated ” oceans of time ” to find.

The following blog that I want to select is that of Gerardo Manuel: Disco Club [es]. Gerardo Manuel is the personage in the history of Peruvian rock: musician and VJ, and an authority when it comes to rock. From his blog I select not the last post, but the one that talks about national rock: ‘Noviembre de grandes retornos’ (November of great comebacks). OKKKK

Hace algunas semanas en un post titulado “El Telégrafo suena de nuevo” les comenté la posibilidad del retorno de uno de los grandes grupos peruanos de los 70's: Telegraph Ave. Noviembre nos depara esa satisfacción después de 32 años de su última presentación oficial. Pero también hay otra reaparición que se nos viene el 9 de noviembre en El Templario de Barranco. Como una especie de experimento genético entre el pasado y el presente, se mezclan dos generaciones para traernos de vuelta a una de las bandas pioneras del heavy metal en español de Iberoamérica: Tarkus.

Some weeks ago in a post titled “El Telégrafo suena de nuevo” (The Telegraph sounds again) I commented on the possibility of the comeback of one of the biggest Peruvian groups of 70's: Telegraph Ave (Telegraph Bird). November offered us this satisfaction after 32 years since their last official presentation. But also there is another reappearance that occurred on November 9 in The Templario de Barranco. As a species of genetic experiment between the past and the present, two generations mixed to bring back to us one of the pioneering heavy metal bands in Spanish from Latin America: Tarkus.

The blog LaNuez [es] of Javier Prado is an atypical case inside the blogs of “El Comercio” since it is led by someone who has already been a blogger before opening this blog. Moreover, his previous blog had the same name. Javier is a very good illustrator and connoisseur of the topic. The post ‘El extraño caso de los huevos cuadrados del Perú’ (The strange case of the square eggs of Peru) is a sample of it:

Recuerdo esta historia dentro de la colección empastada en azul que tenían mis primos, a la cual tenía acceso cuando los visitaba algunos fines de semana. Tenía seis años y mis intereses reales en ese momento eran ver a Batman y Superman en televisión, pero esa historia en particular se me quedó grabada precisamente por las menciones de los Incas y, por supuesto, por los Huevos Cuadrados. Mucho tiempo después, ya con el virus del cómic instalado y en plena época preuniversitaria, a inicios de los ochenta, el libro “Para leer el Pato Donald” de Ariel Dorfman y Armand Mattelart, me la volvería a recordar.

I remember this story inside the collection pasted in blue that my cousins had, to which I had access when I was visiting them on the weekends. I was six years old and my real interests at that moment were to see Batman and Superman on television, but this story in particular stayed engraved in my mind precisely for the mentions of the Incas and, of course, for the Square Eggs. Much later, already with the virus of the installed cómic and in full pre-university epoch, in the beginning of the eighties, Ariel Dorfman’s and Armand Mattelart’s book “Para leer el Pato Donald” (to read Donald Duck) would remind me of that story again.

Another well-known blogger, but in this case always well tied to “El Comercio”, is Juan Carlos Luján who in his blog Vida y Futuro [es] (Life and Future) speaks on technological topics in our country. A good example of it is his post ‘OLPC: Un recorrido por Arahuay’ (OLPC: A trip around Arahuay).

Ayer estuve por Arahuay, un pueblito enclavado en las alturas de Canta, a unos 2.500 metros sobre el nivel del mar, en la sierra de Lima. Llegar allí con la comitiva del Ministerio de Educación no fue nada fácil. El camino es de tierra afirmada y el viaje desde San Borja hacia esa zona toma unas cuatro horas. Arahuay es visitada desde junio de este año por funcionarios del Ministerio de Educación, técnicos, profesores, periodistas y gente interesada en conocer cómo es el asunto de las llamadas Laptops de 100 dólares. En realidad, estas cuestan un poco más (unos 189 dólares) y las 50 que se prueban allá son parte de un lote de prototipos que la Fundación One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) envió al Perú para que se evalúen en un programa piloto antes que el Gobierno tomara la decisión de comprar 40.000 de estas unidades.

Yesterday I was in Arahuay, a little town nestled in the heights of Canta, approximately 2.500 meters above sea level, in the mountains of Lima. To come there with the retinue from the Department of Education was not at all easy. The path leads over solid ground and the trip from San Borja towards this area takes approximately four hours. Arahuay was visited strating in June of this year by officials of the Department of Education, technicians, teachers, journalists and people interested in knowing more about the so-called 100-dollar Laptops. Actually, those cost a little more (approximately 189 dollars) and the 50 that are being tried there are a part of prototypes that the Foundation One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) sent to Peru to be evaluated in a pilot program before the government decides whether to buy 40.000 of these units.

There are certainly more blog, and they all can be accessed from the web of “El Comercio [es].” The blogs are grouped in the section called BLOGSx36. It can be said, and it is true, that there is very little visible interaction between the bloggers and the people who comment in the blogs, that the big majority of these bloggers are (or they were, in some cases) quite foreign to the local blogsphere and that they do not take part in many of the conventions of a blogger, but to me it seems that the tool and its gadgets (the blog and everything that it includes) are interesting but the not most important thing. What matters is what one thinks and what one writes (communicates, let’s say) and of that there are very good examples here.

Translation by Sabina Abdulajeva

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