Originals and copies: playing the game of authenticity in césar aira’s los misterios de rosario

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Originals and Copies: Playing the Game of Authenticity in César Aira’s Los misterios de Rosario

Now God’s salvation has come! Now God has shown his power as King! Now his Messiah has shown his authority!
The Revelation to John 12:10
During one of many excursions on the information highway I discovered an intriguingly seductive website: a cyber fanzine entitled Mondo Bizarro!, whichdedicates its space to Montevidean freaks.1(1‘Alvaro Debali,’ ¡Mundo bizarro! El portal de la cultura freak (28 July 1999) (p.1). This site is no longer online but the same interview can be found in . All declarations taken by Alvaro Debali from this point on derive from the interview found on the ‘original’ web site.) Headlining its first issue was the all enchanting character, Alvaro Debali,alias “the Messiah.” Born of parents María and José, Debali asserts to: be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ on earth, possess supernatural powers, and maintain contact with extraterrestrials which will accommodate the advent of the end of the world. To substantiate this grandiose allegation, and as all decent Christians should, he refers to the Bible which offers him the following words ofvalidation: ‘for the Son of Man will come like the lightning which flashes across the whole sky from the east to the west’ (Matthew 24:27). Through a literal translation of geographical location applied to his own eschewed sense of space he equates east and ‘oriente.’ This indeed leads him towards logically confirming his identity, since Uruguay, situated in the most eastern geographical locality in theRiver Plate Region, is and has been referred to historically as the ‘oriente.’2(2The term ‘oriental’ dates back to the colonial period. The area on the eastern bank of the Uruguay river was simply referred to as ‘la Banda oriental del Uruguay.’ It lacked in a specific name just as much as it lacked in interest for the colonizers since gold and possible Christian converts were not readily available.The name was retained throughout the development and history of the region from its colonial period to independence. During the struggle for independence the thirty three liberators that lead the nation into its birth were called ‘los treinta y tres orientales.’ The full name of the nation state to this date reflects the historical roots of this once nomadic area: La República Oriental delUruguay.) At once he identifies with those holy words taken from the Book of Matthew, and thus all the pieces begin to fall into place for ‘the chosen one.’ In order to commit himself wholeheartedly to the counter conquest of the west from the east Debali must embrace the responsibilities that this monumental role requires: ‘salir en T.V. por todo el planeta, salimos en varios diarios internacionales,hablamos para radios de toda América Latina y Europa.’ As ludicrous as it may seem to any outside observer, his international exposure and performance as a holy leader has bewitched one million followers who consider Debali as Christ himself, returning to purify the soul and take the faithful to Urbún, an Edenic planet, where extraterrestrials await their arrival. In this re-enactment of the ancientscript, Uruguay becomes the centre for the spectacle of the Apocalypse, since all its actors reside in this key location. The Beast (a female reincarnation) and the Antichrist (its male counterpart) can be found in the seasonally-populated tourist-infested beaches of Piriápolis. It seems that the battle between good and evil, Armageddon, is to befall amid the tanned muscled bodies of vacationers.If Debali indeed achieves his goal good will certainly reign over evil. And to ensure such victory Debali demands support from the government, for he too will struggle for securing his ‘lugarcito’ because: ‘¡El mundo nos necesita! El Uruguay tiene a Jesúcristo y no lo valora, no lo cuida, no lo trata como debe tratar...’
Debali both fits and creates a niche: the perfectly commoditised package...
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