Thursday, January 3, 2013

Illustrated map of Teotihuacan (paired with a newsy angle)

I love this illustrated map of the first century pre-Columbian city of Teotihuacan, which is featured on the back cover of an undated (1960s?) tourist guide to the central Mexico location.

The guide had been sitting in the on-deck circle of my "To Blog" pile for months, but I couldn't come up with anything interesting to say about it, other than "Look! Pretty!"

Fawning over images doesn't make for the world's most compelling blog (even though I am guilty of doing essentially that at times).

Unfortunately, there's now a news peg for writing about Teotihuacan. The New York Times published a story last month with the headline "The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got Its Way in Mexico."1

The investigative piece by David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab examines how Wal-Mart used "aggressive and creative" bribes to skirt zoning laws and build a Bodega AurrerĂ¡ supermarket2 barely a mile from the Teotihuacan archaeological site.

Through this corruption, Wal-Mart was able to crush local leaders' hopes for limiting growth and capping congestion near the pyramids.

And so now one of Sam Walton's super structures sits just a hop, skip and jump from the 1,800-year-old Temple of Quetzalcoatl (now referred to as the Temple of the Feathered Serpent).

1. This article came on the heels of an investigative series in April 2012 titled "Wal-Mart Abroad: How a retail giant fueled growth with bribes." (And, as an aside, Reuters' Felix Salmon subsequently asked "Could the NYT make money from its scoops?")
2. At Bodega AurrerĂ¡, you can "buy everything from tortillas to tires, almost always at a substantial discount from local shops," according to the Times story.

No comments:

Post a Comment