A New Lexicon of Terror
The emphasis the Montonera Princess places on the invention of a renewed language to talk about the traumatic past suggests that equally important as discussing whether we should call the texts of the so-called second generations in Argentina “postmemories” or not is highlighting the original formal, literary and visual procedures used to represent the past. Perez’s ludic blog has, in this vein, opened the doors to other contemporary autofictional testimonies of children of disappeared parents also marked by the use of humor, parody and wordplay to reflect on the politics of memory and mourning in Argentina.
It is worth mentioning, for example, Montonerisima, a 2014 stand-up show (dating originally from 2013 when it was called Monto Stand-up), in which actress Victoria Grigera Dupuy parodies being a daughter of a disappeared father in similar fashion to Perez.28 Grigera Dupuy also participated in the film Eva & Lola (Dir. Farji 2010), a fictional re-creation of her friendship with Victoria Donda, another daughter of disappeared parents, now a well-known politician. In her youth, Grigera Dupuy formed part of the political left-wing organization Venceremos and, like Perez, she has also worked in Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (for whom she prepared a Pakapaka version of her show).29 Her stand-up show was born in a pena (a meeting place of musicians and artists) organized by Los Tfos, a political group comprising former 1970s militants, some also survivors of the camps.
The title of Grigera Dupuy’s monologue echoes the titles of contemporary burlesque plays in Argentina (a genre known as teatro de revista) such as Brillantlsima, Bravlsima and Barbiensima (Fig. 4.3). If the Montonera Princess dreams of becoming a guest at one of the famous television lunches hosted by Argentine diva Mirtha Legrand, Grigera Dupuy wonders what would happen if she were a beautiful model married to a footballer. Transforming a series of popular 1970s political slogans into humorous remarks, she affirms that “si Evita viviera sena montonera ... siyo fuera alta, rubiay flaca, sena botinera” (“If Evita lived she would be a montonera ... if I were tall, blond and slim I would be a footballer’s wife”).30 She also confuses the V sign that in the 1970s stood for “victory” for a reference to “Versace,” declares herself “ni yanqui, ni marxista ... monotributista” (“neither yankee nor Marxist ... selfemployed”), takes pride in having the only unidad bdsica with a jacuzzi,31 and predicts that the main achievement of her political group would be “luche y vuelve Wanda Nara.”32 Moreover, proving that she is, like the Montonera Princess, a product of the digital age, Grigera Dupuy says that “my folks used weapons, I use Twitter,” and she imagines “selfies” with Argentine actress Esther Goris, who famously played the role of Evita in Juan Carlos Desanzo’s 1996 film Eva Peron.
This blend of the political slogans and symbols of the popular movements active before the coup, and references to the fashion world and showbiz, does not transform politics into something frivolous but rather
Fig. 4.3 Victoria Grigera Dupuy, Montonerisima, 2015 (Photo: Natalia Mayans)
demonstrates how the political language of the 1970s no longer speaks to the young, or, if it does, it provokes different emotions and reactions to those that were evoked when it first emerged. Grigera Dupuy refers to the language of militancy as the monto idioma that includes terms such as pueblo (the people) and patria (homeland), both words that have acquired new meanings in the present, particularly during kirchnerismo. Her use of parody here then shows the transformations experienced in recent decades by a whole paradigm of politics and the language that sustained it.
Parody allows Grigera Dupuy to demonstrate, for example, both the comical effect that the discourses of the 1970s (slogans, symbols and words) often have when reproduced in the present, at the same time as expressing her support for the politics of kirchnerismo, which has incorporated those discourses. At one point, for example, she compares the way her Peronist father “discovered” the world in 1973 with the way many young people began their militancy in 2010, out of the blue, with the death of Nestor Kirchner. Grigera Dupuy also parodies the nationalist discourse of kirchnerismo, and its stated rejection of luxury and imported items, by confessing that although she has a “4 x 4” (an expensive and big car), the equivalent of seven “Planes Procrear,” she is still a good kirch- nerista because she gets her petrol from YPF (the national fuel station).33
In addition, like Perez, Grigera Dupuy reworks children’s fables to include Argentine contemporary politics. In her view, Red Riding Hood has dollars in her basket and the Big Bad Wolf is Guillermo Moreno.34 Cinderella is a maid who only wants to receive her welfare cheque. She uses a pumpkin bought in the central market, where precios cuidados (controlled prices) are determined by a national programme that controls inflation. Finally, Hansel and Gretel are children of disappeared parents who make barbecues in the former ESMA,35 and the Smurfs are Argentine gnocchis36 (they are, after all, blue and white, just like the colours of the Argentine flag) who do nothing all day and live with the money that they get from the Asignacion Universal por Hijo.37
If in these lines Grigera Dupuy addresses certain politics of kirch- nerismo with a comical spirit, in other parts of Montonensima she uses (black) humor and parody to fill the void left by the catastrophe of meaning mentioned by Gatti at the beginning of this chapter. Such is the case, for example, when the actress makes fun of her parents’ decision to name her “Victoria” despite the fact that victory was not only an impossibility but had also been replaced by the horror of the camps. She was born in 1978, during the coup, after her father was kidnapped and disappeared in the torture and extermination centre Campo de Mayo. The choice of her name was, as far as she is concerned, proof that her parents were undoubtedly “people of faith.” This last remark illustrates, perhaps more than any other joke in her routine, how for her el humor despues del horror (humor after horror), the subtitle of the show, is not only possible but sometimes the only way to talk about experiences that, owing to their enormity and extremity, have challenged all modes of expression and representation.38
In conclusion, playful orphans such as Mariana Eva Perez and Victoria Grigera Dupuy use humor and parody to deliver “profane” memories of trauma in the sense stated by Agamben—that is, to tackle the taboos and sacred zones of the politics, institutions and liturgies of memory in Argentina. Their works also offer an alternative discourse to the “memory of victimhood” that has governed the field of human rights, some judicial discourses and memory narratives in recent years. Indeed, if we identify testimony with a certain set of rules, certain images (of suffering) and certain discourses, both Perez and Grigera Dupuy prove that there are many types of account of the self available to those who have been through traumatic experiences, and many ways for them to tell the true story of their lives.