So what is Rictus anyway? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure yet. But a few weeks ago José Manuel Simían and I met up for lunch near Union Square Park to do what we always do when we see each other: talk about culture and media coverage — specifically, the way Latino culture is digested and regurgitated in the US.
To an extent, both of us have been making our living writing and ranting about what we like or dislike. We’ve done it for various media outlets in various degrees of involvement. I can’t speak for José (anymore, I mean — and you can write your own take on this, José), but while writing for certain sites has been fun — especially when given carte blanche — others have plenty of limitations that need to be observed (the audience and tone of the site, the kind of content they favor, making sure certain opinions don’t piss off advertisers, etc).
Those are general guidelines followed by many writers and editors in media publishing, but Latino-geared media seems to be even more restrictive, as if no one is allowed to have a strong opinion about anything — notably when it comes to other Latinos. Taking down Donald Trump, a universally-hated figure at this point, is somehow perceived as ballsy (and sure, it has its merits), but turning the mirror on ourselves can often be seen as treacherous regardless of who’s in the right.
Know this: there’s not better person to keep us honest other than ourselves.
While on the subject of Latino media, there’s also a lack of general cultural items. It’s always been up to us to value and cherish our own idols — of which there’s plenty — yet coverage of cool, fun, or interesting figures, artists, or creators remains paltry.
“Fuck it. Let’s just start our own site. That way we can write about whatever, however” I told José during that lunch. “Cut the middle man?” said José. “Yes. Let’s come up with name and we’ll go from there,” I replied.
We came up with Rictus
– Marcelo Baéz