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    Las cartas de los cuarenta y uno
    El Popular : Diario independiente de la mañana (México, D. F., México). -- Dic. 1, 1901.
    p. 1
    Newspaper article – Letters
    "Las cartas de los cuarenta y uno." El Popular: Diario independiente de la mañana (Mexico City), December 1, 1901.
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El Popular released three fictional “Cartas de Los cuarenta y uno” [Letters from the Forty-One] signed by Concho, Lolito and Carolino, with a number of clearly ridiculous complaints, even riddled with intentional spelling mistakes: “Alfredo de mis intestinos... desde el día nefasto y nebuloso en que me arrancaron de tu lado, sentí que dolías como una muela” [Alfredo of my guts,... since the terrible, anxiety-filled day when they dragged me from your side, I have felt you hurting like a toothache]; “Mea dorado Luiz... procura mandarme mis calzones de piquitos y encajes que deje en la cómoda. Cuídame mucho a mí pajarito” [My beloved Luiz (Luiz of the golden pee)... if you would please send me my panties with kisses (penises) and lace that I left on the dresser. Take good care of my little bird (your dick) for me]; and “Señor Licenciado Triquiñuelas... no puedo estar sin mi hijo. Por señas que me costó diez pesos y lo compre, con muchos sacrificios, en la juguetería de la Palma. Usted no sabe todavía lo que es ser madre” [To the honorable Mr. Triquiñuelas (Trickery)... I cannot be without my son. To be more specific, he cost me ten dollars, and it was at a great sacrifice that I bought him to a toy store in la Palma. You have no idea, yet, of what it is to be a mother.]


For two weeks, jokes, sensational articles, satirical poems, humorous short articles, engravings and love letters were published about the Forty-One. Their punishment was to be sent to [join] the army, illustrated with Mexico’s broad, very rich and varied vocabulary of homosexual terminology and phrases (more than any other country). The facts are that on that Sunday in 1901, there was a scandalous raid on a clandestine dance where forty-two men were detained, many of them dressed as women. This is a good case for demonstrating that what is tacitly accepted bears no relationship to what is public, and may even contradict it. What is more: public silence is a kind of social mask, a mask that is understood to hide the deepest roots of our collective sadism. From that night on, in Mexican culture, to say “forty-one” has been both a reference to homosexuality and an indicator of intolerance.

With this article, it becomes clear that El Popular, one of the newspapers most inclined to treat the matter from a perspective of sensationalism and mockery, had used up all its resources and was concluding its series with a joke that was not funny.

In his engravings, José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) also ridiculed the event. 

Alejandro García
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico

Fondo Reservado del Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional, México.