The characters in Macho Camacho’s Beat are grotesques, allegorical rather than fully rounded, and are defined primarily by their obsessions and a desire to be what they are not.
The Heathen Chinky/The Mother, representative of the masses as her generic labels suggest, is obsessed with sex and her desire to be television’s sex symbol, Iris Chacón. Barraged on all sides by mass-media hype, her self-perception is so distorted that it seems quite reasonable to prostitute herself for the price of a new linoleum floor. She believes herself to be a good mother because she fondles the Kid and sings to him, just as she has seen mothers do in Mexican films. To maintain her delusions of happiness, the Heathen Chinky eagerly subscribes to the pop philosophy of Macho Camacho’s guaracha, which insists, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that “Life Is a Phenomenal Thing.”
Senator Vincente Reinosa is obsessed with sexual fantasies involving black and mulatto women and fancies himself a modern-day Don Juan. He sexually exploits women whom he would never acknowledge in public and embezzles public funds to pay the cost of keeping them. He uses his political clout to keep his budding terrorist son out of jail (and out of the headlines), and he bilks the government for the price of a brand-new Ferrari to appease the boy. Reinosa wants Puerto Rico to become a part of the United States. He represents the desire of the wealthy to maintain...
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