Futebol and Telenovelas

Posted by: | March 22, 2009 | Comments Off on Futebol and Telenovelas

As I expect, learning about Brazil through fuetbol was probably one of the most exciting things we have done in this class. “Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life” is done very well. Bellos tells the story of Brazil through events such as the 1950’s World Cup of Soccer and profession athletes like Garrincha. I had an idea of how import the 1950’s World Cup because I had heard it from someone while I was in Brazil. It was one of the largest upsets according to the individual I talked to about it. Uruguay was seen as a large underdog going into the match. It is unfortunate that is how they see the event, because despite it being the most important game played there, it still is just a game. The things leading up to this event and game were more important to the foundation of the country( i.e. breaking free of dictatorship and building a stadium and hosting the championship game) but the people let the game symbolize more than it’s worth and “blamed” some for the loss. Specifically individuals, like Moacir Barbosa, lives were made so horrible for just trying to represent their country at the national stage. He was quoted as saying “The maximum punishment in Brazil is 30 years imprisonment, but I have been paying, for something I am not even responsible for, by now for 50 years”. I understand that futebol is extremely important to Brazilians, but isn’t there a point to which it’s too important. When I think of this it brings to mind how much focus on hockey is in Canada. I have heard horror stories of coaches being killed or assaulted (by parents) because they didn’t play a certain player. I enjoy sport especially soccer/football and I am a competitive person, but it isn’t the point of sports to bring people together, not single them out especially as scapegoats. Another point is how much this would discredit the win. Uruguay must have fought hard to achieve that victory, and Brazil though almost always a favourite, can’t always win. Soccer players are only human, and humans make mistakes.

The second article was not nearly as enthralling as the first, but it was still very relevant to Latin American Culture studies. Nelson Hippolyte Ortega’s small overview of telenovelas, explaining how and why they came into existence was quite interesting. The highlighting of works such as Rowe and Schelling show the culture process at work. In his introduction Nelson however loses me somewhat because he compares soap operas and telenovelas. He says that telenovelas are to incite “reality” and “teach about the affective, social and political problems of contemporary society”, and that soap operas are simply to entertain. I agree that there is much more substance in telenovelas, as they have some cultural value, but that does not mean that they do not also intent to entertain. When it comes down to it both soap operas and telenovelas serve to make money through media.


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