In the mid-eighties a young woman was hired as a receptionist at a local TV station in Lima, an anonymous and fortuitous circumstance, which set in motion one of those bizarre episodes in Peruvian politics. A possessor of ambition and bodily capital, Susy Diaz was quickly promoted to semi-exotic dancer, working for a prime-time TV show named “Laughter and Salsa Music.” “Salsa,” to clarify, meant women dancing in thongs, and “laughter” meant, in general, men demeaning the women in thongs. Diaz soon took the central stage. Her fan base grew rapidly, and so, almost as with Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s “metamorphosis,” one fine morning she woke up to find herself transformed into a tabloid celebrity.
I remember one of those tabloids run by Fujimori with a front page devoted to Diaz’s sexual exploits, photographs of purported anal sex included. Confident with her popularity, she also expanded into picaresque theater, as well as singing. One of her theater pieces was entitled “The Erotic Congresswoman,” and one of her songs was “Let Me Blow Your Horn.” “Catharsis for the masses,” as Adorno would say, “but catharsis which keeps them all the more firmly in line.”
Susy Diaz’s ambitions grew in proportion to her newfound fame. Inspired by Cicciolina, the Italian porn star turned parliamentarian, Diaz used her popularity to launch a tumultuous, one-of-a-kind political career. Convincing members of the Agrarian Party (a caucus devoted to peasant-related issues) that she would be a good addition to their ranks, she soon found herself running for Congress, with a campaign that was simple and faithful to her style. She first inscribed her ballot number on her buttocks to thus remind fans and cameras of the reasons to vote for her. If it had worked in the domain of tabloids and TV, why wouldn’t it work in the domain of politics?
Naturally, she . . .
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