Author Daniel Hernandez gets a nice profile in today’s LA Times–the paper where he got his start and where he continues to write the occasional foreign dispatch. He talks about life in Mexico City, his Tijuana-born parents’ disbelief at his decision to move to south, and his new book “Down & Delirious in Mexico City: The Aztec Metropolis in the Twenty-First Century.”
“While millions of Mexicans are migrating northward, I go south. It is an act of rebellion. My parents, who left Tijuana and settled in San Diego in 1976, shake their heads in disapproval.”
Growing up as a bilingual, bicultural U.S. citizen, Hernandez often heard horror stories about Mexico City’s crime, smog and corruption. But rather than dissuade him, they aroused a desire to get to know this off-limits part of his cultural heritage.
What he found, upon arriving, was a cosmopolitan, multilayered city (pre-Columbian, colonial and modern) with a complex web of youth subcultures: emos, “anarco-punks,” Condesa scenesters, rich trendy fresas from Polanco.
“I just kind of went deeper and deeper,” Hernandez said. “I was adopting certain aspects of the subcultures. I realized I had to not judge anyone’s music or their style or their fashions but [ask] why had they adopted it, and to pinpoint what I see as the contradictions.”
Hernandez is in town to speak at this weekend’s LA Times Festival of Books.