Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gauchito Gil Redux

Our Argentine correspondent sends us this article from Santa Fe daily El Litoral dated 8 Janary 2008. Gauchito Gil was previously discussed here. Translation forthcoming. Until then try your luck with an online translator.
Update 13 January. The following translation was made with the assistance of; Cassell's Spanish-English Dictionary (1978); and Ximena Faya.
Miraculous powers are attributed to him
Thousands of pilgrims in Corrientes to honor Gauchito Gil
Today is the anniversary of his murder, according to legend, by a police patrol.
Thousands of pilgrims arrived at a site located in the neighborhood of the city of Mercedes in Corrientes where they paid homage to Gauchito Gil. Today is the anniversary of the day on which, according to legend, he was murdered by a police patrol and since which time miraculous powers have been attributed to him.

Municipal and police sources reported that the faithful have come from all corners and since yesterday have occupied the installations adjacent to the place where Jesus Antonio de la Cruz Gil, best-known as Gauchito Gil, is buried.

In this place a kind of oratory was built and has since given rise all manner of pilgrimage-based commerce, converting the popular rite into a lucrative business.

The sanctuary of Gauchito Gil, located at some 8 kilometers from the center of Mercedes and some 275 kilometers from the city of Corrientes, each year at this time harbors devotees from different points of the country and even neighboring countries.

In 2007 more than 120 thousand people came on January 8 "to salute" Gauchito.

An increased presence of provincial and National Police has been mounted in the zone since last Sunday. It is a matter of preventing not only accidents or fights, somewhat common due to the conglomeration of people and to the excessive consumption of alcohol, but also other types of crime such as contraband merchandise and drug trafficking that in previous years have proliferated in a significantly.

In the early hours today the bulk of the pilgrims arrived, above all from the delegations of other provinces, that arrived together in order to pass "a few hours" in the sanctuary.

A legend that grows

According to popular tradition, Gaucho Gil lived in the period between end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. For his followers he was responsible for bringing a little justice to the disparities of the epoch, stealing from the wealthy to help those in need.

Nevertheless, for the authorities of that time, Antonio de la Cruz Gil was a dishonorable gaucho, a deserter from the Army and a murderous thief. They searched for him intensely until he was trapped in an ambush and killed. The "legend" indicates that in the moments prior to his death he managed to speak with the policeman who wounded him; Gil indicated that his son, seriously ill, would be cured when he returned to his home.

Apparently, when the policeman returned to his dwelling, he found his son cured of his pain and from this the belief in Gaucho Gil’s miraculous powers was born.The legend grew over time, winning increasingly more followers and becoming one of the most popular rites in all the Argentine territory.

A little history

For Félix Coluccio, investigator of the American folk tradition, the gaucho Antonio Mamerto Gil Núñez, or Antonio Gil, or Curuzú Gil had in the middle of the last century a band that "divested money from the rich to give to the poor". The denomination "curuzú" signifies cross.

His greater significance dates from between 1840 and 1860, an epoch of small guerilla bands and their leaders. His life is wrapped in thousand tangles; it is said that he was an exploited laborer that became cunning, that he participated in the war with Paraguay under the orders of one General Madariaga, and that he was executed as a deserter.

According to Mrs. Anabel Miraflores, her mother Estrella Díaz of Miraflores, a rich land owner, had an affair with Gil at the same time she was the intended of the local police chief. This, and the hatred of her brothers, caused Curuzú to flee Pay Ubre and he enlisted in the Paraguay War.

After the fall of Rosas the federal litoraleños [residents of the Littoral, a region of Argentina] were divided into two factions: Reds (traditionalists of the divisa punzó or autonomistas) and Celestials (liberals) According to the legends, Gil was recruited by the Celestial colonel Juan de la Cruz Salazar, and as the gauchito was sympathetic to the Reds, took advantage of an opportunity afforded him by the negligence of his unit and deserted with mestizo Ramiro Brown and the criollo Francisco Gonzalez; companions whose path led them to become famous brigands.

His companions were killed by shots from a blunderbuss and the gaucho was put under arrest and taken to Goya. In spite of the intercession of one Colonel Velázquez, he was hung upside-down from a carob tree (on the way to Goya, at some 8 kilometers from Mercedes) and beheaded. Apparently he was hung that way to elude his reputed hypnotic powers and to avoid the influence of the payé (talisman) of San la Muerte that he had hanging around his neck.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mouse Problem? Call....Lucifer?

What obviously strikes one's "WTF?!" button first is the name of this here product, a standard mousetrap, that quaint killing machine whose efficient simplicity has given rise to an expression to describe useless endeavors. (No, not "blogging") "Building a better moustrap." Squaring the wheel, essentially. The one pictured here was found at a rural supermarket for a euro, hanging out among lightbulbs and bottles of butane.

But yeah, wtf indeed? "Lucifer?" Can you imagine that flying in the US of A? Procter & Gamble used to use the man in the moon and thirteen stars as a logo and as of 1995 were still trying to shake off charges of Satanism. They've even got a current webpage with info on how "To contact Procter & Gamble about the trademark rumor." Get behind me Satan!

Conveniently, Lucifer's makers have burned their web address on the face of the product. A sign o' the times somehow both incredibly odd and perfectly logical at the same time. Why wouldn't you put it on there?

So, according to the site:
The Compagny Masy Père et Fils is a family company with around 20 employees. [Why don't they know the exact number of employees?]

Based at Nouvion le Comte since 1920 (Aisne department) it has been in business for over a century and is the originator of the design behind the registered trademark "LUCIFER".

Its core business activity is manufacturing mouse traps. It is the only French manufacturer of this product, and supplies 80 % of the national market.

In addition to an assortment of traps and other rodent-busting products, the company makes "food safes" and trestles. Satanic ones.

Post Script: A stumbled-upon article by the improbably-named Texe Marrs points out that there is in fact an American company in the US called Lucifer Lighting. A web search confirms it. "We find our inspiration in many places. But at Lucifer, it all comes back to lighting." The name is so self-evident yet so blatantly provocative in a land where the likes of Texe Marrs are roaming about one can't help but wonder.... (insert Vincent Price laughter here)

Texe pictures an "Illuminati Eye" as seen in a Starbuck's window on his page but neglects to include the Starbuck's logo itself in his list of suspicious icons. It always struck us as a bit darewesay "occult" and lo! maybe there's a good reason for that after all. This oldy but goody traces the origin of the logo to a 15th century engraving of a two-tailed mermaid certainly of alchemical provenance.