If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Wednesday 28 November 2012
Read gnomica 1-150 here!
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They have a joy for life in Brazil unlike any country I’ve ever seen.
Morena Baccarin (2 Jun 1979 – )
Thus we come to Gnomicon 200 since Gnomicon 1 on 29 February earlier in the year. And for all the roughly 120,000 words of Gnomica since then, there is still sooo much more to write about – and sooo little time!
I believe that very beautiful [for what it’s worth, I think she is the most beautiful actress currently working!] Morena Baccarin believes what she says, being from Brazil herself, but I’m not so sure about the categorical validity of what she says. Probably many people, including those living in Iowa, could reasonably say something along the same lines about their own ‘place’. She is of course by now well known to us and made famous by her rôle as Jessica Brody in the hit TV series Homeland (reputed to be a favorite guilty pleasure for President Obama) now winding down its second season.
My interest here is actually neither in Brazil nor in Morena Baccarin, but rather the phrase “a joy for life”. As so often, some saying or celebrity statement simply offers a good springboard for a leap into some murky pool.
What does it mean to ”have a joy for life”? And why is it in Brazil “unlike any other country” she has seen?
It all sounds quite appealing, and, given the ever larger presence Brazil is becoming on the world stage, it is a timely comment. But when the actress talks about that nebulous “they” one is forced to pull up short and attempt to populate this empty pronoun with real people.
Are ‘they’ the building barons of Queiroz Galvão creating profitable links with Chinese construction companies? Well might these be the people who “have a joy for life in Brazil”. Or, Brazil being in 2010 “the world’s biggest exporter of beef” and still today exporting massive amounts of beef, are ‘they’ the beef barons bulldozing Indian lands in neighboring Paraguay for grazing grounds? Or, are ‘they’ the inhabitants of Rio’s numerous favelas, like those in the Manguinhos slum? Or are ‘they’ the many indigenous dwellers up and down the Amazon whose lands are as indelicately as unwillingly becoming subject to local versions of an odious practice that we here in the States white-wash with a euphemism like the neutralizing term of art, ‘eminent domain’?
Of course there are far more varieties of people in Brazil than building barons, beef exporters, slum-dwellers and native populations, and much as I enjoy Baccarin’s films and TV programs and do not in any way single her out for my censorious comment, her easy generalization (like far too many generalizations) hardly holds up to scrutiny.
Well, fact is that not only is her statement appealing and kind to her homeland but it is also far too compendious – I for one find it hard to believe that the favela residents and the Indians of the Amazonian rainforests share in that “joy for life in Brazil” that benefits barons and beef bosses.
Am I being too picky, too pedantic, too punctilious?
Guilty as charged … but facts are still facts.