After a weekend of snarking and sulking, I was ready for a change of mood this morning. Saturday I made the mistake of opening a box and found shattered Mexican ceramics, the expensive and lovely kind. I was already in a crapulous mood, several of my beloved Mexican catrinas having bit the dust. (This is why I rationalize buying in bulk: padding the household with extras so that when I am very old there might be something left after all the moving. There is probably a name for this kind of thinking in the DSM handbook.) Then Mr. Understanding came home, not having read the blog, bringing home a Chinese/English electronic translator and a magazine or two.
Sunday afternoon found us lounging about after our family meeting. Thing 1 picked up the international version of Vanity Fair with Gisele Bundchen on the cover and read aloud from A.A. Gill’s article, “With it’s trillion dollar economy, stupendous resources, and habit of throwing a party at the drop of a buriti, Brazil is the 21st-century giant no one worries about and everybody loves.” Thing 1 snorted and said, “This makes me sick.” So this morning I read the article to see what my daughter was talking about. The article is all about fashion and Brazil’s charisma and I have no doubt the author visited your’s truly’s little ol’ blog; some of the phrasing is eerily familiar. I, however, am worried about Brazil so that makes at least “someone”.
Although not a huge Tina Brown fan, I nevertheless subscribed to Vanity Fair when she was at the helm. Even my love of Dominick Dunne’s column could not dissuade me from cancelling my subscription after Graydon Carter took over. His leftist politics are what I call “negative left politics”, so far to the left of left they are no longer on the number line. Which is why this article and it’s subtitle, or whatever it’s called, is so puzzling. The favelas, and the people who live and die in them, are apparently not worthy of pen service, nor are the folks cutting the sugarcane to manufacture biofuel in modern day slavery conditions. Fashion and supermodels are of haute importance it seems.
I will collect all my data and get back to this subject since it is near and dear to my heart. In the meantime, here are a few reasons why the rest of the world should be worried about Brazil:
1) 15 people are murdered every day in Rio*
2) the Brazilian government’s attempts to stem this red tide are either nonexistent or abysmal
3) the drug traffic will eventually make it to your doorstep
4) 70 – 85 Brazilians per 100,000 are victims of homicide, making it the leader not only in Latin America but the world
5) in 2006, it was reported that in the year 2005, the 55,000 Brazilian homicides surpassed three years of civilian casualties in the Iraq war.
The book Splendid Slippers, by author Beverly Jackson, talks of how in the early 1900’s international pressure was brought to bear on the practice of footbinding, starting the beginning of the end of a millenium of pain to women which ended officially in 1949. This was before the internet. So how is it that with such outstanding methods of communication today, international pressure cannot be brought on Brazil to lower its homicide rate and narcotics trade?
Perhaps the answer can be found in Oprah‘s September issue, in the article “Why We Don’t Care about Darfur” by Thea Singer. I am not sure I agree with the rationale put forth in the article (“Psychic numbing is a mechanism to keep us from exploding with grief”) but at least she asks the question. As soon as I post this, I am subscribing to O. At least it won’t make me or Thing 1 sick.
*The photo was taken from the website of the Rio de Paz organization on August 4, protesting the number of deaths in Rio this year. For more information go to http://www.riodepaz.org.br/. Wouldn’t it be great if the lovely Miss Bundchen would get off her bunda and be their spokeswoman?