What would famous writers and activists say about the chicken crossing the road? In 1995, when the internet was new, my love interest forwarded a dozen such jokes to me. They were funny, yet not very diverse; one woman and no authors of color? I made my own list, according to what I was studying; Latin American and Spanish literature. Here they are, in slightly modified form:
WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?
Famous Authors and Activists Version
(any resemblance to comments these authors and activists might make is pure fiction…)
Amy Tan: The chicken crossed the road to bring joy and luck to her mah johngg club.
Alice Walker: The chicken crossed the road singing the blues to honor the color purple on the other side.
Ellen DeGeneres: Why? That’s easy. The chicken crossed the road to meet her wife on the other side.
¿Por qué cruzó el camino el pollo?
Miguel de Cervantes:
Don Quijote says: The chicken galloped across the road to save a fair damsel on the other side.
Sancho Panza says: The aroma of a savory meal drew the chicken across the road.
Isabel Allende: The mythical stories of her chicken foremothers captivated her imagination and as she ventured to the other side the chicken pledged to create a road story of her own.
Elizabeth Acevedo: The chicken crossed the road to say hello to her sister chicken and give her a peck on the cheek. She knows touch is important.
Gabriel García Márquez: The chicken did not cross the road, but was transported magically on the backs of 100 blue butterflies to the other side.
Clarice Lispector: The road was a mirror for the chicken, in which she saw herself as she crossed, and realized what it was to be a chicken.
Pablo Neruda: Chicken, I like when you are quiet, and it’s as if you are absent, like you have crossed the road.
Ernesto Cardinal: The liberation of this chicken, who now can walk freely to the other side of the road, is symbolic of our work through Christ to liberate all.
Rosario Castellanos: The chicken, realizing the yoke under which it lived, decided to struggle, and the beginning of that struggle was the day she crossed the road.
Simón Bolívar: The chicken fought hard for her independence to cross the road. Now she will build her nation.
Jorge Luís Borges: The chicken did not cross one road, but many serpentine, labyrinth-like roads, searching for the one that held the secret of existence and she was never seen again. She left behind a diary of chicken scratches, which I work to translate day and night.
Amy Tan: Chinese American Writer of the Joy Luck Club.
Alice Walker: Pulitzer Prize Winning African American writer of The Color Purple.
Ellen DeGeneres: Lesbian activist and comedian in the US, hosts the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: Author of Don Quijote, the first Spanish novel.
Isabel Allende: Chilean American writer of House of the Spirits.
Elizabeth Acevedo: Dominican American poet and author of Clap When You Land.
Gabriel García Márquez: Colombian writer of 100 Years of Solitude.
Clarice Lispector: Brazilian author of Woman Between Mirrors.
Pablo Neruda: Chilean poet, writer of 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair.
Ernesto Cardinal: Nicaraguan Catholic priest and poet dedicated to Liberation Theology.
Rosario Castellanos: Mexican author of Balún Canán.
Simón Bolívar: Liberator of many Spanish colonies in the early 1800s.
Jorge Luís Borges: Argentine Writer of Ficciones (Fictions).
What would your favorite activist or author say about the chicken crossing the road?