Gnomicon 200

If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.

Gnomicon  200
Wednesday 28 November 2012
Read gnomica 1-150 here!
151     152     153     154     155     156     157     158     159     160     161     162
163     164     165     166     167    168     169     170     171     172     173      174     175     176     177     178     179    180     181     182     183     184     185     186     187     188     189     190     191    192     193     194     195     196     197     198     199

 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.

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4 Responses to Gnomicon 200

  1. Helga says:

    Agree with your sentiment totally! Congratulations on No. 200! I always enjoy reading them and they often give me a good point for conversation with friends. Thanks!

  2. Al Cram says:

    You are correct in your belief and the beautiful Morena is right in her belief. The people she knows personally are probably very happy. All the Brazilians I know personally are very “joy of life” persons, but all the ones I know are physicians and live in a different world than those in the favela. Perhaps she could be persuaded to add a short disclaimer such as “all the Brazilians I know personally ………..” but it wouldn’t play well on the late night talk shows. Takes too much time. I say let’s forgive her for the scope of the statement and agree that it’s not more egregious than the claims most TV personalities make when being interviewed by Letterman or Leno.

  3. laohutiger says:

    Certainly agree on that one! For sure, those who have it great in America are not all actively and on a daily basis conscious of the misery of many who live here whom we do not know or who even register on our personal radars. Thanks again for thoughtful (as always) comment!

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