Public Enemy

Rillo

The Pueblo Indians and other Southwest tribes believe that the coyote can occur as a multiple of himself. Public Enemy stages this belief as a model for writing new texts from existing ones. A narrative-collage, Public Enemy frames the primordial myth of the cattle theft committed by the trickster-god Hermes within the 16th century Spanish picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes. Public Enemy portrays the wannabe cowherd and the downtrodden Lazarillo as coyotes. As it jumps from archaic to modern frames of reference, it appropriates The Public Enemy, the 1930 Warner Brothers film directed by William Wellman. The intercut film-text parodies the notion that the coyote is unkillable. The synergy between the different texts generates a cartoon-like, polyphonic effect.
The coyote may suffer bad luck / or just retribution in the form of starvation // "It's a fact that if I hadn't used all my cunning / and the tricks I knew, / I would have died of hunger more than once." // poisoning // "The real McCoy is hard to get." //dismemberment // "Who killed him?" //ingestion by monsters // "What's eating you?" //incineration // "Aw, nothing, I just got burned up that's all." //drowning // "I can drink it as long as you can pour it." // and fatal falls // "You always did get all the breaks."

 

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