Morelia’s dotted right now with posters with a giant white F emblazoned against a red background, sort of a scarlet letter in reverse. The first time I spotted one of these from a distance, my immediate reaction was “F, for fucked.” Only a split second later did it hit me that these posters, great and bold examples of graphic design, were in support of Fausto Vallejo, one of the contenders in the November 11 race for Presidente Municipal of Morelia.
Gazing at the poster, I couldn’t help wondering “What were they thinking?” And I thought a little more. And gave it a second look. And a third.
Estadounidense culture pervades this country. Students aren’t graded on an A to F scale, but everyone knows what a headline claiming “So-and-so gets an F for foreign policy” means. Out of the seventeen movies playing right now at the local Cinepolis, only a single one was made in Mexico — El Búfalo de la Noche. But for two made in France and Norway, the remaining fourteen are made in the U.S. or Canada, which means that they’re either dubbed or subtitled. We clearly know what the F-word means.
F can stand for fuerza or franqueza, and it can carry a lot of other positive connotations.
Now, whether you like Fausto Vallejo or not, and I happen to like the guy, you have to admit that he and his team know their business. He’s got a doctorate in political science and comparative constitutional law from The Sorbonne, and he’s spent his lifetime in public service, having served at the side of former governor Genovevo Figueroa, serving as state president of PRI, and putting in a couple of terms as presidente municipal. He’s on a first-name basis with all of Morelia: simply say “Fausto,” and everyone knows you’re talking about Fausto Vallejo. No last name is needed.
Someone’s studied the impact of this poster, considering it from all angles. And whoever developed and approved it has balls. Or, as we say around these parts, huevos. Cojones. And that’s a good thing.