Mexico, D.F. (proceso.com.mx).-It is not fanciful to anticipate that soon teens will proudly wear a t-shirt with the face of the capo Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, leader of the Sinaloa cartel. It will be the new example to follow.
It happened with the Colombian Pablo Escobar, leader and founder of the Medellín Cartel, linked by the authorities of that country to at least ten thousand homicides. The series "Pablo Escobar, The Drug Lord", broadcast by Telemundo, popularized the character to such an extent that the son of the capo, Sebastián Marroquín, took advantage of the success to produce t-shirts with the figure of his father. In poor neighborhoods of Medellín children started collecting pictures in a theme album about the gunman.
A shop worker shows a T-shirt bearing a picture of the late drug cartel leader Pablo Escobar at a store on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico
The Univision Network, sometime member of Televisa and currently licensed to transmit soap operas of the "Channel of the Stars", announced this week that they will play a series inspired by the life of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Alberto Ciruana, president of programming and content of this chain, told Associated Press the motives of the company:
"Univision has traditional soap operas produced by Televisa that are very successful and which make us highly competitive in the United States. In the case of Unimas, we want to be totally the opposite, an alternative channel where you can find stories like this".
In short, their intention is strictly marketing, leading in the competition for ratings. It is not a series that seeks to educate the viewer about the hell caused by drug cartels, nor of a cultural project aimed to understand the recent history of the country. Much less a report program or investigative journalism. One soap opera. Entertainment scrap, true to the prevailing style of the contents of Univision.
An article in the Honduran newspaper La Prensa reveals the thinking of some fans of the series "Pablo Escobar, The Drug Lord" perhaps the most popular series of this style. "Pablo Escobar was a hard guy", "that guy did have the balls to face a weak and corrupt government", "the business of the mafia is not so bad," were some of the expressions. The American series "Breaking Bad", whose main character is Walter White, a teacher who mutates into producer of methamphetamine, was not conceived as simple fiction by some viewers. In the Four Corners region of New Mexico, at the beginning of this year, it was discovered that traffickers sell methamphetamine dyed blue, inspired by the series. The city of Albuquerque, where the fictional series was filmed, has had a boom from tourists who get excited by retracing visiting themselves the sets of the program. The quality of "Breaking Bad" and the context of the United States are different from Latin America and its soap operas about narcos, but both cases offer an approach to how television changed the criteria for the masses.
The liberal philosopher Karl Popper noted in his essay "television is a bad teacher" that: "there are already a number of cases where those responsible for criminal facts have acknowledged being inspired by television to commit their crimes". The Austrian then wondered if the censorship was the response to the apology of crime reproduced by commercial television: "(...) "Censorship does not combine with democracy (...) censorship would not be effective with television because it would always arrive late and it would be impossible to organize the work of a preventive censor".
As a solution, Popper posed as well as the doctors get their license by means of strict control, the state should do the same with television content producers. And he added: "One must teach mental mechanisms through which both children and adults are not always able to distinguish what is fiction what's reality".
In the main thesis of his work Homo videns, Florentine researcher Giovanni Sartori argues that the cathode glow of television dulls the process of thought and reflection, setting off an uncritical and passive society: "television produces images and annuls concepts, and thus atrophies our capacity for abstraction and with it all our ability to understand".
In a sense similar to the two authors mentioned above, the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu concludes in her essay "on television", that this means of communication "is not very favorable for the expression of thought. It establishes a negative link between urgency and thought."
Far from contributing to stopping the violence suffered by Latin American countries, television series about narcos are observed by the viewer from a sedentary non-critical standpoint. We cannot wait for the soap opera about "El Chapo" to make the public aware of the damage caused by the drug cartels; on the contrary, the antihero will sow empathy from the audience, inevitable admiration.
"It was bad, but the least bad of all", "El Chapo helped a lot of people", "Was very human"... It is not strange that we begin to hear these arguments to defend the kingpin, who, by the way, remains active and visible to the look complicit in the authorities of the three levels of Government.
The series on the big drug lords also reach an audience oblivious to reflection and with the poorest levels of education. Mexico ranks 107 of 108 countries studied by the Unesco in reading rate. In a recent study, the Agency IBOPE concluded that the daily average of a Mexican TV is four hours 45 minutes. And young people spend 15 hours a week sitting in front the unit, according to the National Institute of statistics and geography and history in its national survey on the use of time of 2009.
Commercial television stations operate under the criteria of the free market. The rating is their only creed. Univision, Telemundo, TV Azteca, Televisa and major contents of Latin companies infest their programming more misogynist, dull cliches and homophobic imagination can conceive. Themselves are which profit from the stories of bosses.
It's power, which surpassed the state, has no known restrictions. They impose Presidents, annihilate opponents and sprayed the expensive democratic system. They have the absolute freedom to produce and disseminate the contents that wish, always inspired by the logic of the rating and contaminating a tenuous society in his intellectual formation.
Soon, posters of "El Chapo", "La Tuta", "El Chayo" and other criminal fauna will adorn the bedrooms of young people, in competition with Maradonas, Chés Guevaras and Lennons. The new idols manufactured by the Spanish language television, which gave life to the "Menudos", the "Laura Bozzos" and the "Academias" [popular reality musical on TV Azteca].