We Will Be Like Shrek*

Erasmo Calzadilla

HAVANA TIMES, Jan 20 — In the slow but unstoppable process of the pluralization of Cuban society, various groups (religious believers, gays, people of African descent) have been shaping their identity, gaining ground and making their legitimate discourses coherent.

This is something extremely positive that we should celebrate.

Nevertheless, many other communities have failed to take shape because the trait that identifies them still lacks social prestige, therefore their potential members prefer to remain “in the closet.”

I’m thinking of the poor but also people who are ugly.** It’s to the latter that I want to dedicate this post.

It’s difficult to address the issue without it seeming like a cruel joke (a symptom of the lack of respect they receive). Nevertheless, what’s suffered by those who are ugly isn’t funny, especially those who are unable to compensate for or disguise their ugliness by appealing to other faculties.

To make matters worse, the ugly don’t yet have the protection of an ideology, a religion or a body of doctrine. Even the poor have their philosophers and their heroes, but who speaks of the day when everyone will look the same?

Has anyone dared to deny beautiful people passage through the gate of heaven? Why doesn’t anyone yet want to “cast their lot” with the ugly of the earth***?

The media desperately avoids racist and sexist references, but even classic children’s stories (“The Ugly Duckling” or “Cinderella”) are full of homely-phobia, which isn’t prohibited.

To my knowledge, only Shrek has raised up his big green head for us in recent times.

My contribution

Though I don’t count myself among the most horrible, I too have also suffered exclusion and loneliness; my suffering has been immense for having such a huge ego.

Nonetheless, a wave of courage occasionally swells up within me and I try to make my contribution to the pro-ugly movement.

It’s not very difficult. Being ugly, one needs only relax and be themselves, letting their body shape to fit, without any self-repression. To achieve this, for example, I’m freely letting myself grow a goatee.

In its slow advance towards the center of the earth, my goatee is breaking up the harmony of my face and generating immediate non-acceptance by people around me. Normally there comes a point when I can’t stand it anymore, so I’ll trim it. But this time I’ve gone further than ever.

* At all schools in Cuba there is a homeroom pledge where the students chant in unison, “We will be like Che” (Ernesto Guevara).

** When I say “ugly” and “pretty,” I mean what society understands by these notions.

*** Jose Marti, Cuba’s national hero, wrote: “With the poor of the world, I cast my lot.

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

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4 thoughts on “We Will Be Like Shrek*

  • Wicked goatee, man! The whackiness (ugliness, if you prefer) of your goatee counterbalances the radiance (beauty) of your smile.

    If “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” as it is often said, then so is ugly – and we are generally our own worst critic. It is also often said that “beauty is as beauty does” and I’d say the corollary would be just as apt; ugly actions make a person ugly.

    Keep smiling!

  • “People of African descent”… Could you just call’em negroes or black?
    I have blood from 3 continents, so according to this: I’m a “people of intercontinental descent”, please.

    The newspeak of political correctness is reducing journalism to an insipid puree.
    Your readers don’t talk like that in real life, you neither. Be natural, be yourself and try for once send a clear and interesting message in plain english (o español). Just… Cut the crap!

  • This post disturbs me a little. Who’s to judge who is attractive v.s. who is “ugly”? Perhaps it’s the word “ugly” that I find disturbing/offensive. And if you’re saying that you believe that you’re ugly, then I’m perplexed.
    Erasmo….I don’t know what to say here. But I like the goatee! 🙂

  • It is our different looks and our different personalities that make us unique and beautiful individuals. We are priceless individuals in our Creators eyes no matter what we look like… its whats inside that truly matters. Far too much value is placed on the so called beautiful people.

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