February 04, 2009

Migra Corridos

A friend of mine just told me about this secret project of the US border patrol to produce corridos to warn Mexican migrants about the dangers of the crossing.

You can read some of the lyrics

This type of hamfisted propaganda planting is in keeping with the Bush-era federal government paying for stories in the media. These songs are intended for the Mexican market so it is outward directed propaganda, which is allowed under the law. But that doesn't make it good.

I actually think that government sponsorship of music as a form of propaganda is not inherently bad if two conditions were met.

One, that the support for the music was not kept secret.

And two, that the music didn't suck. This music sucks.

The El Paso Times has an article about it that includes links to MP3s of the songs. Go give them a listen and see what you think.

(Something like Woody Guthrie's songs in support of salmon-killing dam building in the Pacific Northwest, that was a legit expenditure of federal propaganda funds. "E-lect-tri-ci-i-tee")

As you know, Undismayed loves norteño music and we listen to this shit all the time. So we know good norteño and this ain't it. It doesn't quite make you want to wander into the desert to have yourself cooked, but it does not even make the grade as good low grade norteño music.

To begin with, they sound like midi versions of songs. The accordion playing is terrible. I wonder why the Border Patrol couldn't find some decent musicians to record? There are innumerable good musicians on the US side of the line, for f'sake. Shake a stick on either side of the border and you'll find a good musician. And over there, over in Mexico, how about offering a free ride north in exchange for a decent song or two?

(At least this might be a good sign that we aren't yet fully in 1984. Remember in that book the machine produced songs were always a huge hit with the proles.)

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