Honestly, I pretty much knew nothing about Pancho Villa when I wrote the earlier post, except his name. Or I guess I knew that he maybe was in a Hollywood movie once, that like maybe somebody filmed him attacking a train or something and used that in a movie. But that’s about it. And I mentioned as well Emiliano Zapato, about whom I know even less, except that he’s evidently where the Zapatistas get their name.
Pancho Villa apparently was somewhat vaguely Marxist, in his own way. I love though the description of him from his Wikipedia entry: “Villa’s revolutionary aims (other than military goals), unlike those of Emiliano Zapata’s Plan de Ayala, were never clearly defined. Villa spoke vaguely of creating communal military colonies for his ex-soldiers…” I don’t know how committed a Marxist he was, then, other than speaking vaguely. And he apparently really was in the movies, four of them. All told, he sounds to me more like a bandit than anything else. Probably would have loved to have been dictator himself. Was in fact provisional governor (dictator) of Guadalajara for a while.
But, then, I did in fact call Pancho Villa “pal” in the earlier post, specifically as in being one of “our pals,” as if he were my pal, without actually knowing anything about him. So for that I apologize. I didn’t mean anything by it though. I mean, he never did anything against me personally, so I got nothing against him. But he wasn’t especially a nice guy either, so I got nothing for him then neither.
Or what I know of him is that he was some sort of outlaw. And we all love the outlaw archetype, don’t we? Whether Jesse James or Pancho Villa or Pretty Boy Floyd. Dig deep down and you’ll most likely find a real thug, a pig of a person, a killer, but the legend is the thing that we love, not so much the person. So that’s about all I was going for, with the “pal,” I suppose.
But then again, no, not just that, but maybe a little bit more, a Robin Hood type figure, rich/poor/robbing from/giving to type deal. Always fun.
But, Pancho Villa was a pro-American outlaw before he was an anti-American outlaw. To wit, here’s a link to a picture of Villa and Pershing, a picture from 1914, back when they were in fact pals, back when the US supported Villa, before they cut off aid to him and then in 1916 Villa in a pique of revenge attacked Columbus NM and killed US soldiers and civilians so then Pershing led the Punitive Expedition into Mexico after him.
But I’m not all hung up about all this. It’s all war and realpolitik and deals with the devil and backstabbing and betrayal. Whatever. That’s just war. And like I said before, this whole Mexican Revolution thing is really beyond my ability to grasp, way beyond my ken anyway.
But, bottom line, Pancho Villa is not really my pal.
One thought on “Pancho Villa”
It is interesting, the vicarious thrill we get from depictions of baddies (“The Godfather,” “The Sopranos,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”). In reality we wouldn’t want to know or associate with any of these people. I suppose it’s a way of having our cake and eating it, too.
I’m enjoying your turns of phrase, by the way, “pique” and “ken,” in particular. My mom played the word “ken” in Scrabble once, and I had to think twice about whether I should challenge her or not. I finally decided that any woman with a big stack of books under her bed should not be challenged. She also played “mead,” an archaic usage, short for meadow.
Living with my mom was always an educational experience. It was fun, too.
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