Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Weekly Realization That I'm a Bourgeois Asshole

Last night I watched the movie City of God, a scathing drama directed by Fernado Meirelles that takes place in the Favela, Rio De Janeiro's infamous slums. I immediately feel like an asshole because both Friday and Saturday nights last weekend I went to a Brazilian dance club in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris; it was called Favela Chic.

Oh, chic slums? Cool. Somehow I don’t think de Beauvoir would approve. People in Brazil - a place kind of like where I’m from in that I’m part Portuguese and they speak the same language - are shooting each other because they have to sell drugs to feed their families and I’m paying a 10 Euro cover to grind with the hot doctor/professor I'm getting with while having my hair tugged on by countless married guys and getting so drunk I apparently think I’m Paris Hilton and dance on tables.

I like being slapped in the face with perspective sometimes. It is often times quite necessary.

I also watched the documentary that is in the special features, which touches on the realities of the situation: people addicted to the drugs the dealers have to sell to pay for food, incredible poverty and violence, illegal gun trading, a neverending war between the police and the people: it seems to me like if the government figured out programs to help end poverty, drug addiction and hunger, then these problems wouldn't be so pronounced. It seems to me if the government stopped spending money arming the police with AK-47s and instead used that money to implement programs that would help the people live and not die, then the problems might ebb a little. But I'm always on the side of the impoverished because I grew up in a place where most people were impoverished. Not even close to those in Brazil, but also not New York or Paris either.

This is just another example of there being too many things wrong with the world and I get incredibly overwhelmed and can't decide where to concentrate my efforts. Just when I think I've zoned in on one problem that could be the root cause of all the others, something else nabs my attention. Of course, in the end I do nothing but write about it, and ultimately words alone could never save us.

-Jess

4 comments:

leynafaye said...

you're right, the power of words comes from the action they ignite. but it's not like you have to leave paris this very minute to volunteer in favela. action can be political or *personal*. so i wonder, will you stop living like every other decadent 20something? or is this just a passing observation you blog about every month or so?

Who We Are: said...

Oh my god, but Favala Chic is one of the best bars that I have ever had the fotrtune of going to!

rebekker said...

This is really good. Have you read Political Fictions, by Joan Didion? I have a weird connection with her as a Westerner gone East (see: Goodbye To All That) and in general she is right about everything.

You sort of have to take the Joan Didions and the Hillary Clintons of the world hand in hand, truthful cynicism and mostly truthful pappy politics and come up with your own Rachel Maddow-esque perspective, because it's too easy to be overwhelmed and become cynical yourself, which gets no one anywhere.

http://www.knox.edu/x12547.xml The Colbert gets it.

LuĂ­sa said...

Brazilians are as alienated about our own situation as anyone else, you know? Things got so fucked up that the jeitinho brasileiro (Brazilian's way of improvising and kinda fixing things for the moment) doesn't work anymore. Rio de Janeiro is just polarized between the has and the hasnots and that's not about to change anytime soon, as politics is simply rotten. You should see the other movies that came out after City of God became a hit. 'Tropa de Elite' is something that can put anyone into perspective, any day.
Ayways, I'm rambling. So bye. ;)