Drug Lords, Cowboys, and Desperadoes: Violent Myths of the U.S.-Mexico Frontier
Series: Latino Perspectives
Author: Rafael Acosta Morales
Narrated By: Gary Roelofs
Length: 10 hrs 6 mins
Drug Lords, Cowboys, and Desperadoes examines the relationship between affect, narrative, and violence surrounding three historical archetypes—social bandits (often associated with the drug trade), cowboys, and desperadoes—and how these narratives create affective loops that recreate violent structures in the Mexican American frontier. Acosta Morales analyzes narrative in literary, cinematic, and musical form, examining works by Américo Paredes, Luis G. Inclán, Clint Eastwood, Rolando Hinojosa, Yuri Herrera, and Cormac McCarthy. The book focuses on how narratives of Mexican social banditry become incorporated into the social order that bandits rose against and how representations of violence in the U.S. weaponize narratives of trauma in order to justify and expand the violence that cowboys commit. Finally, it explains the usage of universality under the law as a means of criminalizing minorities by reading the stories of Mexican American men who were turned into desperadoes by the criminal law system.