The end of popular culture?

Posted by: | March 30, 2009 | Comments Off on The end of popular culture?

Definitely enjoyed the readings for this week!

Although I now understand that folktales, folk art & theories of mixture can and should be considered in discussions of popular culture, I feel like the subject matter of this weeks readings (Zapatista movement, Latina celebrity and salsa music) are what most people consider to be Latin American pop culture, myself included. This was my perception of L.A. pop culture at the beginning of this course; however, having now arrived at the end of the course, I have a much broader view of it!

At times I found it a bit humorous to be reading about J.Lo’s butt in such an academic context. However, I felt that these 3 articles analyzed pop culture elements, which we may not give much thought to, in a way that gave light to the underlying social struggles that they may represent. For example, the article on salsa music argued that as salsa music crossed borders from Latin America to England, certain social constructs were perpetuated through the music. For example, racial stereotypes on rhythm and movement became an issue. Caucasian players were stereotyped as being musical, and therefore played horns in the band whereas Latin musicians were stereotyped as more rhythmic, and therefore played the drums and percussion instruments. In the article on Jennifer Lopez’s North American cross-over, issues of gender stereotypes were raised. Jennifer Lopez’s success and “sex symbol” status in North America challenged conventional views of “beauty” in North America as being unnaturally thin. The fact that Jennifer Lopez was considered beautiful with her large butt challenged these views.

I feel that all 3 articles stressed the fact that popular culture, and perhaps culture in general, are constructed by a people. The leader of the Zapatista movement created a character to represent himself in the public sphere and the movement was described as a “performance”. Jennifer Lopez’s success in Hollywood was constructed by the media. Salsa music is a construct in that anyone can learn to play salsa music, and it is not necessarily something that certain people can do better than others simply because they are born into it.

Lastly, all 3 articles provided instances of Latin American popular culture crossing borders. The Zapatista movement became known worldwide. Jennifer Lopez, a Latina actress, found success in the United States. Salsa bands can now be found all over England, as well as almost anywhere else in the world. The question is: does this mean the end of popular culture? I don’t think so. I believe that it is exactly this crossing of borders, with new meanings being created, that makes popular culture interesting, exciting and dynamic. The ability to be contemporary and change with the times is essential to the definition of popular culture.

LAST The End of Popular Culture?

Posted by: | March 30, 2009 | Comments Off on LAST The End of Popular Culture?

This weeks topic  was examining if there is an end or has been an end of popular culture. In the first article by Guillermo was on the Zapatistas in Mexico. It talks about its intertwined realation with the media and how that relationship is so powerfull. It re-set in my mind the true powers of media and its reign over the general population.In the second article by Beltran the topic of study was not just simply Jennifer Lopez but on a larger scale the popularity of Latina Americana stars in the U.S and around the world. The things that Jennifer Lopez brought to the entertainment world and the was in which she changed it were stupendous. As she carried with her a roboust behind the popularity of it grew. This changed societies views on what was atractive and what was not. No longer was a skinny model body a thing of such desire but the evolution of more larger bodies become accepted and embraced.  It shows that ‘crossover’ celebrities offer a challange to the status qou of Hollywood and serve as a outpost for something new and different. Its also evident how people such as Jennifer Lopez on the ‘outside’ can have such an outstanding efffect of social norms and cultural standards. Finally there is Roman-Velazquez’s paper. His paper showcases debates about how slalsa contructs a particular sense of Latin American identity through the bodies of musicians. He also mentions the playing of latin music by non-latin people and their assumptions of “natural’ relations. All in all these three readings provided me with ample information and new ways on thinking about the existence of popular culture in latin American.

The end of pop culture?

Posted by: | March 30, 2009 | Comments Off on The end of pop culture?

In the first article they talk about this “super hero” figure that was developed in Mexico, he was a fighter for his believes, but did the people that followed him had the same ideology? or did they follow him just because “he is cool”? Also you can see how this mysterious figured appeared and created so much impact in the people that they started writing love letters to him and doing shows that in some way involve him. I think that a point that this article is trying to make is, where is the line that divides popular culture, the division where people follows things just because and where people follow things because they actually believe in that.
Jennifer Lopez is one of the most famous Latin people, she is famous for acting, singing, having her one clothes line and maybe some other things, but the first thing that called everyone’s attention was her butt. She went to Hollywood to prove herself as an artist and she made it, and she never felt that she should change her body in order to achieve it. As most Latin women, she is voluptuous, and american people notice that quite fast. She got there and prove all the stereotypes wrong, she prove that curvy women can be hot too. She is an icon for Latin people, because she was one of the first ones to step up in Hollywood and have success. Was her butt the reason why she success? Nobody knows, but it sure helped her, and it also help other people, many comedians and singers took advantage of her physical atributes to get more audience and followers.
Latinos are well knowed for exotical dances, one of them is Salsa. It has been used in other countries to attract the latin community there, and also to make more exotic the enviroment in their own country. Again, as JLo, “big” women are used to sell the image of the club and the dance. They are used as sex symbols, and lets face it, it’s better to have girls dancing on stage than men, they move better and know how to sell the dance, and dependig on their looks it would be the personification of Latino in all its glory.

The end of popular culture???

Posted by: | March 30, 2009 | Comments Off on The end of popular culture???

The three articles for this week are all related in that they deal with the globalization of culture. The first talks about how El Sup and the Zapatistas used international media as a launchpad for their movement, effectively creating a mythology that they would try to exploit. I actually did not know much at all about this and found it very interesting. The second article talks about Jennifer Lopez, and, more specifically, her butt. The author traces Lopez’s rise to stardom, fueled by her butt, to explain the processes and conflicts involved in the globalization of Hollywood and of Anglo perceptions/ideals. It was very interesting to read how Lopez represents a commodification of Latinism which magnifies a cultural conflict (beauty ideals) in the realm of celebrities. However, I think that the authors comparison of her “exploited” position with that of ‘Hottentot Venus’ is unfair and a gross exaggeration. Shes a star, that’s what starts are; exploited. Something about them, physically, causes millions of people to buy magazines like People and to go see movies like Gigli. Her butt is just one example of this, and it happens to be (supposedly) typically Latina. I found the article on samba most interesting, probably because of my interest in music, but I also have a small problem with it. The author really emphasizes how so many people essentialize styles music along ethnic lines. To some extent this is very true, especially when it comes to biological factors, but I think it is important to understand that ethnicity plays an important role. A person’s mindset will dictate how they approach a certain style of music, whether listening to it, playing it, or dancing to it. Well, mindsets, especially about music, tend to differ along ethnic boundaries. This is why B.B. King plays the blues and Eric Clapton plays blues-rock. That isn’t to say that a person can’t acquire or alter their mindset; I’m sure there are some great salsa players in England. But culture will always vary from region to region, from ethnic group to ethnic group. People are different and express themselves in different ways. And a lot of the time, when people deny this and attempt to do what some very different people are doing, you get results that can only be called failure (e.g. Kenny G). Latin music will always be best played by Latinos, black music will always be best played by blacks, and white music will always be best played by whites. With exceptions. Globalization has certainly been progressively increasing the amount of exceptions (of “cross-overs”), but I don’t think culture will every become globally homogenized to the extent that regional differences are non-existent. Regions would have to be nonexistent.

Balaclavas, Bootys and… Salsa.

Posted by: | March 30, 2009 | Comments Off on Balaclavas, Bootys and… Salsa.

I loved the readings this week! What a great way to end the semester. The three articles we were assigned this week all dealt with contemporary expressions of Latin American culture that I can relate to on a more personal level. Having spent time in Oaxaca.. Zapatista country, been a die-hard fan of the fly girls and the film Selena, and trying my hardest to catch a rhythm in both Vancouver and Cuban salsa clubs… I felt like I could connect to these analyses.

The first article, “The ‘Subcomandante’ of Performance,” is an interesting display of pop culture and politics fusing to promote a message through the almost celebrity-like idolization of their leader. The Zapatistas message and plea is powerful, yet it is also wonderment as they convey their meaning in unconventional and ever-changing ways which captivates their ‘audience.’ It was interesting to read how Marcos was portrayed by the people. Much like we do with celebrities, Marcos actions are adamantly followed, and the man himself is an object of sexual and emotional desire.  However, once this image has been created, the people do not want to know the real Marcos. They want to preserve the pristine and inspiring image of this leader without taint knowing that he is an ordinary man. There is something much more powerful in the mystery than the reality.. in the mystery anything is possible… in the reality the issues confronted by the ‘zapatistas’ are much more real, and much more stagnant.

The second article came as a surprise.. how has Jennifer Lopez’s behind has influenced social struggles of Latin American’s. I was surprised to find it was actually a completely appropriate foundation for describing how Latino/a’s roles in Hollywood have generally reflected existing ”social and racial hierarchies” (Page 72). Its interesting that Jennifer’s breakthrough role was the true story of the slain Latin American singer Selena that achieved some of these actual breakthroughs, only for Lopez herself to become a symbol of acceptance of certain Latin American cultural aspects in to mainstream North American media.

This article focused on the female body as something that differs between the two cultures. In North America, there is the desire to have a model-thin body, where as in Latin America a full figure “commutes health, inner peace and success” (Page 72). The expectation for Latin Americans in media was to either play into the assigned stereotypical role only a Latin American would play or to conform to North American society. However, Lopez came in and took pride in her figure. Although she did not put much emphasis on her heritage and did ultimately adapt to many expectations of Hollywood, embracing at least this one aspect of herself inspired women in north America and with it carried the “potential to upset the primacy of whiteness” (Page 80).

The Last article regarding Salsa was also quite interesting. It gave the unique aspect of an art-form that is so classically Latin American being translated in to a modern context. This includes women’s involvement in the male-dominated performance, and people from other cultural descents learning and performing the music. This is best expressed when Roman-Velazquez says “that cultural identities are not fixed to a place of origin has more resonance when thinking of those musicians who perform salsa, who may have no direct, or indirect, link with Latin America” (Page 117). Rhythms can be learned, and therefore this art form need not be constrained to the tradition of only Latin American males performing this music. It’s fascinating in respect to how popular culture can be adapted to modern circumstances. In light of rebellion against ‘machismo,’ and the global interest in Latin American music, Latin American popular is being expanded.

the end of popular culture?

Posted by: | March 29, 2009 | Comments Off on the end of popular culture?

I liked the readings for this week. The first one talks about the Zapatista movement in Chiapas. Just as the author says, Sub commandant Marcos and the Zapatista leaders are very intelligent in order to know how to use the media to get their message across. I think that it is great that by using globalization the Zapatistas also become globalized in the sense that most of their economic support comes from International groups. I took one class last semester and in that class we discusses how the Zapatistas want an International indigenous resistance, so that as the world becomes globalize its internal struggles become Internationalized. I think I liked that idea because I think that part of the problem with the marginalization of the Indigenous people comes from the national governments but there is the other part that comes from International government.
The second article about Jeniffer Lopez challenging social constructions was also really interesting. I liked the part on page eighty two where it says that “it is possible to view Jennifer Lopez not as another victim constructed in a still-racist society as an ethnic sexual object, but as empowered and empowering through asserting qualities such as intelligence, assertiveness, and power-while also proudly displaying her non-normative body and declaring it beautiful.” Just, as Mary Beltran writes in her article, people of different ethnic backgrounds always play in the movies the stereotypes related to their ethnicity. Jennifer Lopez also somehow represented the “exotic” Latina, but at the same time contested the standards of what is considered beautiful in Hollywood. So I think that it is very important to challenge the cultural constructions by using the stereotypes.
The third article was also good. The role expectation in this case for music is always ambiguous. I think that in her article Patria Román-Velazquez says that the assignation of roles to play or dance salsa is not black and white. I believe that as we discussed during the whole semester things are more complicated than that. There can be good dancers that are not from Latino America as there can be good dancers. I think that she highlights that ethnicity has nothing to do with your qualities to play or to dance salsa; the importance lays on the practice and the technique to improve while playing salsa.

Hybridity: The Most Timely Theory Thus Far

Posted by: | March 26, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybridity: The Most Timely Theory Thus Far

“Canadian consumers buy cars from Germany, Germans take holidays in Italy, Italians buy spices from Africa, Africans import oil from Kuwait, Kuwaitis buy Japanese cameras, and the Japanese buy Canadian lumber.”

This quote from my macroeconomics textbook on The Gains from International Trade, best highlights the notion brought up in Canclini’s text of how “life consists of constantly crossing borders.” The fact that Canadians consume cars from Germany, Germans take holidays in Italy… demonstrates the interconnectedness of our world today and the notion brought up in class, that “borders are now everywhere”. Reading this quote over again really illustrates how the boundaries of nations are slowly disappearing or rather are being redefined. We went into in class on how the the purpose of borders are no longer simply there to divide nations, rather to connect through its facilitation of trade. Inevitably this interaction of goods and services between countries results in a point where cultures mix with one another.

The reason why I decided to include this quote is because of how its relevance to term hybridity as I have interpreted from Canclini’s text. Hybridity as I understand, is not just a repetition of all the other terms we’ve studied so far, rather it tries to capture the current reality of our world. It is complexities reflect the reality of the complexities that are occurring all around us. Hybridity takes into account the expansion of global neo-liberal economic policies. These policies are reshaping the economic, political and social landscape of every country within this world. With increasingly spread of globalization, knowledge technological improvements, immigration, internet and trade, cultural mixing becomes more complex. Canclini introduces a term about mixing that truly takes into account all the changes and complexities that our world is going through today.

I think when countries export and import goods, it is impossible for them to separate aspects of their culture from the good it exports. Every good that a country produces is influenced by its culture and vice versa. Even the very trade agreement made by nations is done through some from of communication where cultural mixing happens. The very usage of products made in other countries brings with it its culture.

This is concept is so complicated I cannot even properly express myself. But it is definetly the most interesting one that we’ve discussed thus far.

what exactly does he mean by hybrid? Is he talking peas?

Posted by: | March 26, 2009 | Comments Off on what exactly does he mean by hybrid? Is he talking peas?

This whole idea of hybridity, proposed by Canclini seems problematic to me. Not necessarily the way I had conceived of hybridity before, in thinking about different types of pea plants, and the outcomes of their cross pollination, but in the way that Canclini seems to posit it at a meeting of two distinctly different and contradictory ideas. I get a strong sense that he sees the modern and folkloric as contradictory as well as the modern and the popular. What I fail to completely understand is how this is the case at all. Having read Williams we know that those who are in the countryside welcomed the advances of technology brought along with modernity. And in many ways, the country side was home to some of the most modern advances. In terms of the popular and modern, he seems confused. Clearly what is popular can be modern, and can be hegemonic in its own right. Look at futeball, or even certain eating practices. Whether they began in the city or not seems beside the point. They are things appropriated by massive groups of people, or initiated by them, and not by elite culture at all.
Interestingly though, I see how Canclini can make a case for hybridity using the countless examples he does. Humor, collective memory, successful production of handicrafts, graffiti, mass media, political upheaval, popular expressions of traditional religions, migrations, artistic movements and tourism, for example all contain examples of the hybrid or a blending of the six ideas he presents at the beginning.
I disagreed with his process of modernity however, even if it was discussing the basis for his concept of hybridity. I disagree that the modern=cultured=hegemonic, and would counter that the traditional can = cultured, and that often the subaltern can = hegemonic. I keep thinking back to his section on the massification of culture and the way that the subaltern often became quite powerful in activism and protest. Groups like the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, or even the people in Eva Peron’s piece idealize the power of the supposed, uneducated, uncultured masses. I suppose the massification of culture can be an example of hybridity, but I don’t see it in contrast to the modern, cultured or hegemonic necessarily.

Pop Culture as Mass Culture

Posted by: | March 25, 2009 | Comments Off on Pop Culture as Mass Culture

The first article regarding popular culture as mass culture is “The Fateful Final” about the world cup final between Brazil and Uruguay in 1950 in which Uruguay beats Brazil in the final 12 minutes of the game. Football in Brazil is a major/mass pastime that acts almost as a national religion. When I was younger I played soccer for 13 years and my team won the BC provincials one year. Throughout this article I could really imagine this fate full game and the emotions that came with it. To some extent at least I can identify with the change in mentality that you have when playing as well as when you’re watching a game from the sidelines. The strong connections between team players and their desire to win can bring everyone into the present, forgetting past and future and simply being in the now. This is an amazing power of sports, and extremely difficult to do when you are in your daily life. Anyways, I guess I can say that if you have never played in team sports and the amount of emotion and intensity that is written about in this article might seem weird and excessive (which it very well might be). But there is something to be said for experiencing the act of being in team sports or even just watching. I feel like it does bring people together creating a sense of community whether that is in a small town and a group of children, or on the national level. I guess what the author of this article exemplifies how nations as big as Brazil can come together as an imagined community, all intimately connected. In the article I became aware of the extent of the emotions that were on high at the Maracana. The emotions could be defined as almost scary or fanatical with a sort of mob mentality that I would probably want to stay away from. However I did think it was interesting to learn that only one person got knocked over when leaving the Maracana after the game and that violence was minimal.

In the second article, “Big Snakes on the Streets and Never Ending Stories” we learn of Venezuelan Telenovelas, another form of popular culture as mass culture.

The telenovela is popular all around Latin America and “is the main source of support for several television channels in Latin America”.  We learn about novellas on the radio in the 1900s and their influence on telenovelas of today. You can go back farther and trace the telenovela to “popular forms, beginning with the folletin, or newspaper serioal, itself transitiona…”(pg67) It continues to evolve as a genre, acquiring different nuances in different countries. Most of them however are organized and produced in a similar way… “a story in which a man and a woman fall madly in love, but before they can live happily ever after, they have to overcome a series of obstacles.”(pg69)



Posted by: | March 25, 2009 | Comments Off on Hibridación…


La lectura de esta semana del escritor argentino Néstor García Canclini describe una teoría más del mestizaje: hibridación. Se me ha complicado un poco encontrar la diferencia entre hibridación y transculturación. En la lectura hace una buena descripción de algunas de las tradiciones latinoamericanas, por ejemplo en las págs. 153 y 154 hace referencia a los carnavales que se acostumbran en diversos países latinoamericanos como Brasil, México, etc.
Además, García hace algunas comparaciones muy específicas para diferenciar o exponer la relación entre dos cosas, por ejemplo en la pag. 173 habla de arte vs. Artesanías y como se relaciona una con la otra, por un lado señala que una de las causas que originan las artesanías es el desempleo, además compara la “alta” con la “baja” cultura y critica el uso o explotación buena o mala (dependiendo del punto de vista en que se vea) de las diferentes formas de expresión o características culturales de ciertos países, por parte de los gobiernos, como es el caso de México. Hablando con relación a lo que García cita, me gustaría contar algo que me ha pasado en los últimos días, primero el fin de semana conocí a un estudiante de geografía que me contaba que él había estado en México, pero solo en Cancún y Puerto Vallarta, por lo que me dice:¡ Pero vamos, eso no es México! En cierta parte tiene razón, la ciudad que se presenta a los turistas quizá no sea que la misma realidad que se vive en el resto del país, porque al igual que otros países, México busca mostrar lo mejor para que un mayor número de personas vengan al país. Ahora se encuentre en una grave problema, porque alrededor del mundo se piensa que visitar México es peligroso y la verdad es que las cosas no son como se muestran en las noticas, es como lo que decía García, que gracias a los medios de comunicación las noticias llegan a un mayor número de personas, tal y como ha sucedido con la cultura y ahora el país tiene una mala imagen que este mismo se ha ido creando…

Hybrid culture

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybrid culture

I had a difficult time for a while trying to pick out of the article what exactly the author’s definition of ‘hybrid culture’ was. Not that the article was not interesting throughout, but until the end I was not all that clear on his meaning.

It was interesting to read about Canclini’s take on the commercialization, if not fabrication of popular culture in Latin American societies. Even more so, how the government and tourist industry exploit what might have once been legitimate and important cultural traditions and employs it for its own benefit. It’s a fascinating link about the interdependence of the different worlds, such as folk culture which represents the ordinary, and politics which represents elite society. It is this interchangeability of the traditional culture being used to enhance modern society, such as to attract tourism, as well as the transformation of popular culture that modernization inflicts.

On page 262. when Canclini is concluding his paper he writes ‘Cultural practices are performances more than actions.’ I feel that this is a very blanket statement. It may express his views, which he backs up, about how other societies perceive Latin American cultures, but it degrades any individual connections to certain cultural traditions and the meanings they still hold for some. Both tourists and country-men alike may be manipulated to some extent on how certain ‘popular cultures’ are expressed, but they does not mean that they are only of a shallow significance.

Cancilini also discusses how with modernization came the permeability of borders. ‘Pop culture’ has lost its authenticity, so now it is ‘just a performance,’ as he says in his conclusion. Depending on geographical position and/or susceptibility to globalization, cultures are fusing with one another and creating ‘hybrid’ cultures. He expresses this best on page 261 by saying: “…today all cultures are border cultures. All the arts develop in relation to other arts: handicrafts migrate from the countryside to the city; movies, videos, and songs that recount events of one people are interchanged with others. Thus, cultures lose the exclusive relation with their territory, but they gain in communication and knowledge.”

Cultures aren’t necessarily fading, they’re fortifying one another. I don’t know if I buy in to the opinion that this means culture is a dated concept, its just going through a change. This is evident in the examples used on how the rural and urban influence one another, and in his examples of border towns. Cultures are definatley fusing, but this doesnt mean they’re losing significance. Popular culture tells the story of a countries history, globalization and ‘hybrid’ societies are just another part of this story.

Modernity and Hybrid Cultures

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Modernity and Hybrid Cultures

Nestor Garcia Canclini’s article entitled “ Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity”, talks manily about the development of urban dwellings. They have become microcosms of interweaving and fragmented: humans, land and culture. Cities offer a paradigm for culture and power, and create many opposing thoughts of humankind. Latin American cities scenarios make one perceive both the amalgamation and separation in both high and popular culture. Much global modernity phenomenon in the trends and creation of popular culture is able to be viewed, many of these stratifications of art is impossible to get to and not necessary. A hybrid happens in these forms of art that is more generically termed ‘post-modernism’.By pointing out interesting issues, like the figurative bond between urban and rural spheres in the view of the ever increasing mass media prevalent in most nations today Canclini shows us what one may see when going to a Latin American country. Many of the countries I have been to in Latin America have supported this thought process, much of television broadcasting either has some or a large portion of influence on the style, language and goals of the country and its people. Canclini then goes on to talk about urban reflections, by using examples from national monuments, statues and urban artwork to show the ways in which history and modernity interact on the canvas that is the streets. Other examples of folk and art works tend to be display in museums and usually in areas of ‘high culture’, while the public areas and monuments is where the real contention court lies. Page two hundred and thirty one provides an excellent example for how the author proposes an alternative look at contesting and contention in public areas through the viewpoint of popular culture representations. In the last paragraph of this chapter, the author makes this contesting even clearer between lack of public initiative, acknowledging the symbolism these monuments perform (i.e. creating politeness and conflict) and a detachment from political issues. The most interesting part of Canclinis work, or at least I found to be, is when he discusses the significance of urban graffiti art and the ways in which it allows for imagery to be altered, distorted and rebuild visual realities. Other things  such as comic books, which the author also points out, can have a humoristic approach to speak about the dominant and orthodox view forms.

Hybrid Cultures

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybrid Cultures

In Nestor Garcia Canclini’s article, he explores the popularization of folk culture. It was thought that modernization would erase folklore, but instead it has transformed it. The “popular-traditional” has been adopted by the elite culture and the culture industry, in such a way that it is commodified and mass-produced. Facing unemployment, many people turn to making artisans to make a living, or as an way to make a little extra income. Artisans make up apparently “ 18 percent of the economically active population” of Latin America, a number that is surprising as many would think that culture was being eroded by the globalization of Western (mainly American) culture. Now, people whose communities never made handicrafts, or only did for their own personal use, are making them as part of the culture industry. Governments continue to promote the productions of such artisanal work despite the fact that it does not add to the GDP. In places like Mexico, stores dedicated solely to the sale of souvenirs are everywhere, heavily concentrated, obviously, in the tourist destinations that are frequented by Americans. Staying at a Club Med, people can own a little piece of “real”, “authentic” Latin America that they bought in the resort’s gift shop, without even having to venture out into the street.  Folklore is not only catered as a commodity for tourists, however, as states use traditional or popular symbols to reach the population. Nestor Garcia Canclini states that different sectors use folk culture “to affirm their identity, stress a national;-popular political definition or the distinction of a cultivated taste with traditional roots” (154). Through the modernization of communication networks, states can use traditional symbols, dances, festivals, etc to reach all levels of the population, regardless of geographical location or socioeconomic standing. Communities also use folk culture as a way to communicate with the people, to tell history and to teach morality. So, although traditional culture is often produced for the volumes of tourists wishing to take home a little piece of their trip, modernization has allowed traditions to keep being practiced by the population, even if they have been transformed.


Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybridity

Before reading Canclini’s few chapters I thought I had a pretty good idea of what hybridity, as a theory of mixture, would be. I thought that it would be a lot like transculturation except more diverse, less one whole process. In a way, this isn’t an incorrect assumption, but I could never imagined how complex it really is. Hybridity isn’t simply the hybridization of different regional cultures, but the hybridization of almost everything. This is put most simplistically when, in the beginning of chapter 5, Caclini outlines three pairs of processes that are often describes as polar opposites. Before I even started to read I noticed this and, knowing exactly what he was showing, instantly thought of some things that proved these perceived polarities incorrect.

Not surprisingly, that is exactly what Caclini does for the next three chapters, although in great, great detail. Using examples from Latin American culture, he shows that the ideas of the traditional, modern, popular, and cultured are not exclusive, but rather hybridized in various ways in all culture. His most extensive demonstration of this is the ways in which folk culture is affected by modernization and “Art” (high art). He shows that, far from destroying folk culture, the modern economy actually encourages it (in the right circumstances) and helps shape it, so that it seems what is “folk” will never die, but will constantly evolve as does everything else.

He goes on describing all sorts of instances of culture and it is increasingly revealed that almost all cultural, social, economic, and political processes and actors interact according to circumstance. What is a produced is culture that is, in various ways, a hybridization of hybridizations of hybridizations of everything. Complex processes produce a collage of interlinked, conflicting, and diverse elements. This in turn challenges our perceived borders. Borders of states, of class, of ethnicity, and of terminology or category.

I really liked this reading and hope we go into great detail on it in class.

Theories of Mixture: Hybridity III

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture: Hybridity III

This article was somewhat confusing.  However, there is one point that Canclini makes that I agree in part with, but not totally.

Canclini says that the state uses folk culture to attract tourists.  On many levels, I agree with this.  I think that in countries like in Mexico and Brazil, this is more obvious than in others.  But in countries like Costa Rica, where a nation’s identity is still in question (I mean we have beautiful naturre, beaches, great people) what does the government take in order to attract tourists?  This is where I think Canclini generalized his thoughts of states using folk culture because of personal experience.  In Costa Rica, tourists come for nature and having a great time mostly outdoors, but I know that seeing McDonalds, Burger King, international banks and this kind of thing is a definite bonus for travelers.  Sometimes I think we get the amount of tourists that we get because it reminds them so much of home (excepts for a few details), and they feel safe there.  So, in this case, I think the state uses perhaps US mass culture to attract tourists and make Costa Rica a more attractive destination.

Hybridity: And I’m not talking about your car, or am i?

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybridity: And I’m not talking about your car, or am i?

Ever heard that popular saying out there that goes something like this: “Kiss French, Dress Italian, Drive German”? Well that’s the first thing I thought when I say the word Hybridity. Why? I am not sure, all I know is that for me people have always try to adopt things from other places…. the grass will always be greener in the other side, no?

According to Canclini’s text – I think – Hybridity is like the globalization of culture. The terms attempts to capture the complexity of culture in today’s society. Going back a couple of weeks, when we were talking about the Folk Culture, we were discussing the authenticity of the stories. If simply taking the stories out of their context made them not authentic, well in today’s society it would be very hard to find authentic indigenous culture. Cancilini seems to take into account the massive process of globalization that the world has gone under in the past two to three decades, and I mean the guy wrote this in the mid-90’s. It would be interesting to see his view today with the massification of the internet!

Furthermore, the means of production around the world are all scattered all over the place. I mean, one good example for me are both the production lines of Airbus and Boeing… the go trough so much trouble to get the best components from so many different areas of the world… and the interaction that people have trough trade must have an impact both cultures. Now, this process is true for car manufactures, electronics, etc, etc, etc.  But not all global interaction takes place at a corporation scale! I dont know if you guys remember, but back in the day MSN had (maybe still have) random chat rooms… where you would go and kill a couple of hours… well sometimes you would be talking with a person from the other side of the world – not that i would recommend you doing that nowadays… its just creepy -. Also, in the same way we have sites like facebook, in which people from all over the world are ‘learning’ to interact in the cyber world the way the Americans design the site.

To finish this off, when I think of Hybridity I do think of your car, your computer, and your cothes. But I also think of the inevitable influence that having a bunch of ‘non-Canadian- food restaurants within minutes on a bus ride. So, is there any more authentic culuture anywhere? Thats for you to decide.


Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybridity

I found that the point of the author about hybridization was hard to get. I must confess that I cannot clearly understand the differences between hybridization, transculturation and syncretism. I found really interesting the first arguments of Calclini about popular culture as a construction of the elite. He explains that there is some clichés about popular culture. He points out that “there is an intrinsic interest on the part of the hegemonic sectors to promote modernity and a fatal destiny on the part of the popular sectors that keeps them rooted in traditions”. Therefore, most of the time, popular culture is considered as something traditional, rural and subaltern. According to him, there is a theatricalization of popular culture based on the folklore, the culture industry and political populism. He points out six refutation of the biased views about popular culture. “Culture have developed by being transformed, (…) peasant and traditional cultures no longer represent the major part of popular culture (…) the popular is not concentrated in objects, the popular is not the monopoly of he popular sectors, the popular is not lived by popular subjects as a melancholic complacency with traditions” Moreover, Canclini stresses the relation between folk culture and the state and how the state use folk culture to attract tourist and control the mass. I think the example of the tourism was really interesting because it shows to what extent the state rework the meaning of popular culture and use folk culture as the base of national identity Finally, I think that Clanclini explain really the theory of hybridization at the end of his article. He explains that there is not an authentic popular culture. He choose the example of the monuments to illustrate his concept of hybridization because “public rites and monumental constructions express the historic impulse of mass movement”. I think that as the way of considering these national images changes, the hybridization implies change. Deterritorialization and Decollecting are two relevant notions to understand hybridization. However, I do not get clearly the meaning of hybridization and I hope the course of today will help me to understand its characteristics.

Cities: schizophrenic agglomerations of grids or a place for citizens to fully engage with each other and perform creative expressions of culture?

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Cities: schizophrenic agglomerations of grids or a place for citizens to fully engage with each other and perform creative expressions of culture?

On “Hybrid Culture, Oblique Powers” by Néstor García Canclini, 1995.
The development of urban concentrations fascinate me in its capacity to, simultaneously intertwine and fragment, peoples, places, and cultures. Cities are a strong representation of the contradictions of humanity and the paradigm of culture and power. Looking at the discontinuity and mixtures of high and popular culture in the urban scenarios of Latin America, much of the influences of international modernities in the tendencies and production of popular culture can be seen. The classification of art becomes unachievable and unnecessary, as hybridization occurs in forms that can perhaps only be generally called postmodernism.
Canclini raises interesting points such as the imaginary bond between the rural and the urban realities through the ever increasing access of mass media communications throughout nations. In fact, drawing from my own experiences of travels to remote places in Brazil while living in São Paulo, I perceive this dialogue and unfolding of modernization and changes in language, dressing habits, and even aspirations, being somehow connected to the influence of Brazilian influential television broadcast, TV Globo.
Going back to the urban reflections, the author takes examples from monuments to exemplify the ways in which history interacts with modernity through creative expressions in the streets. While, pieces of art and folk that are displayed at the museums are kept in the atmosphere of high culture, monuments and public spaces are the arena for contestation. In my opinion, Canclini proposes an interesting look thorough the lenses of popular culture in its representations that are juxtaposed and contesting the public areas that are usually kept around monuments such as the example on page 213. In the very last paragraphs of the chapter, Canclini makes clearer the contention between the lack of public action, disconnection from political issues, acknowledging the symbolism or these art forms to perform a limited task on civility and action.
The very spatial aspect of urban concentrations in Latin America perform various influences in the ways in which civilians act their voices and opinions. I realize through this reading the capacity of control by the mass mediation of information, as well as the characteristics of “living for a job” so common in cities. Concentrated in the myriad of slums, business districts, skyscrapers, long avenues, and the usual urban fuzziness, becomes easier to reduce peoples’ lives to the never-ending consumerist desires. I often think of how the agglomeration of people in urban spaces actually influences less intimate and truthful social bonds, than in smaller towns in the countryside– in its very individualistic survival and anonymity.
As a last comment, Canclini touches on the importance of the urban art graffiti and how its movement allows for images to be transformed, recreated and visually distort the reality. Similarly, comic strips use a humorist approach to speak of the predominant forms of domination and orthodox views. In this way, popular culture become a place of citizenship assertion and ideological contestation, even though its capacity for transformations in the political sphere for more democratic societies remains to be seen.

Futbol y Telenovelas

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Futbol y Telenovelas

Si hay dos cosas que se asocian con Latinoamerica, son el futbol y las telenovelas.  Aunque hay gente que no se vuelve loca por el futbol, siempre van a tener algun equipo favorito.  Pasa lo mismo con las novelas, por ejemplo, me crie en una casa con una mama medio gringa medio tica que nunca vio, ni ve novelas… pero yo si vi algunas, y aunque no seguia ninguna en particular, si sabia cuales estaban en la tele y a veces hasta quien era quien.

La pasion juega un papel importante en las telenovelas al igual que en futbol, pero en diferentes formas.  Al ver un partido de futbol, los que se vuelven locos y pegan gritos son los aficionados, los que estan viendo el partido.  Pero en las telenovelas, son la actrices y actores que lloran, gritan y pelean como locos.
Creo que mucha gente que va a Latinoamerica espera este tipo de pasion y emocion… le digo el sabor latino… algo que me hace falta bastante.
Tambien me parecio muy bacilon el comentario que hizo la compañera en clases, que cuando fue a Peru (creo) la manera en que la gente se expresaba le parecio tan emotivo… Me imagino un viejo verde agarrandole la mano y bacilandola, pero ella penso que era en serio.

popular culture as mass culture

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on popular culture as mass culture

I do my post for last week today because I was quite busy last week and I did not manage to do it properly. Anyway, I found the two articles quite interesting. We are quite used to associating Latin America with the two examples given this week. Indeed, the futebol and the telenovelas have a broad and multinational audience. The first article about the futebol was interesting. Indeed, I know that futebol was a popular sport in Latin America but I did not realize that it has such a big impact. In his article, Alex Bellos stressed the relationship between futebol and politics. He explains, « Futebol gives Brazilians a feeling of national identity-citizenship ». Thus, the defeat of 1950 is considered as « the most beautiful and most glorified (…) historical examples of national crisis in Brazil ». But, how a sport could embody a nation? I think that this defeat transformed the futebol into a national element. Indeed, Brazil was a young country and had not any experiences of a national tragedy. That is why; this defeat became a symbol of the Brazilian identity. I assume that after this defeat, the national identity increase. But, the identity created seems to be based on a « sense of inferiority and shame ». Thus, Brazilians suffer from this defeat but their sufferings contribute to increase the national feelings of identity. Nevertheless, some of the aftermaths of the defeat were also the rise of the racism against people from slave backgrounds. Thus, the model of a Brazilian nation based on mestizaje was put into question. This illustrated how it is difficult to make a nation. I found the second text also interesting. It deals about the telenovelas in Latin America. Ortega explains that modern telenovelas are inspired by radio novelas, which were broadcasted in the early 1900’s. This text reminds me the article of William Rowe and Vivian Schelling who explain that the telenovelas are the new form of the folletos, which were prevalent at the end of the 19th century. Thus, the development of telenovelas traduces the change from a traditional society to a modern and urban society. Moreover, the author stresses the relationship between the upper culture and the popular culture comparing the opera with the telenovelas. I assume that the two types of cultures are both important in the construction of a national feeling.

Theory of mixture III: Hybridity

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Theory of mixture III: Hybridity

First of all, I must admit that Canclini’s article was a bit difficult to follow. He really deals with numerous complex themes and he doesn’t really focus on the term ‘hybridity’ which gave me troubles to understand its meaning. I hope we’ll clarify this in class.

However the overall impression I get is that hybridity is fundamentally linked with modernity and the different processes that are linked to it such as urban growth, deteritorialisation, migrations and transnationalisation. The former cultural hierarchy that used to be the standard no longer exists because of the amount of interactions, exchanges, migrations that happen all the time between what was before considered as cultural territories. Power relationships are no longer concentric and become more and more complex. Sociopolitical relations are nowadays decentred and multidetermined which has completely changed the nature and the former exclusivity of cultures.

I also think that Canclini’s reflexion is very much centred on the idea that territories have been transcended. “All cultures are border cultures”. I found really interesting the passage concerning the different cities at the US/Mexico borders. The hybridization of people’s cultures there is extremely emphasized. I find fascinating and very optimistic that these processes has helped to develop a much more tolerant and open interpretation of cultural identities. To be honest the reason why I was particularly interested by this topic is because I’ve done my review paper on the cultural identities of Central American immigrants in San Francisco focusing on the mural paintings of the Latin American district.

I think that what this article says is that it is practically impossible today for a culture to stay “authentic” and not to encounter others influences, which is the base for explaining the process of hybridization. The example of historical monuments integrated to the dynamics of the city was a really good example of hybridity; the interaction of memory (history) and change (modernity).

Basically the difference between hybridity and mestizaje for example would be that the way Canclini explains hybridization looks like a report on the state of cultural identities in our modern world, whereas mestizaje is an objective, an ideal to reach. Hybridity has also to do with the strong acceptation and emphasis of these cultural identities at the intersection of different worlds by the people who are directly concerned. Once again I think I’m gonna stop my ramblings here, before saying anything stupid. These concepts become more and more difficult to really understand.

Is it Natural?

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Is it Natural?

Hybridity…is it really that natural? From a biological perspective hybridity is commonly a result of human manipulation of genetics – cross-breeding… borne from hyperactive imaginations of scientists with too much time granted to them or childhood desires to fulfill and realize all those creatures that are harvested in magical bedtime stories. Some popular (and scholarly) sources claim that the seeming ‘realness’ of those creatures with their vibrant coats of fur, and eloquent animalistic chatter was probably due to (forceful) milk consumption before the settling into a peaceful slumber. Either way, hybridity is essentially just another fabrication, rarely “authentic” in the natural world. This ‘authenticity’ is mentioned in Canclini’s exerpts within the context of modernity, where modernity enthusiastically asserts itself as the silent genius puppeteering behind the scenes, dictating the progression of popular culture and the stamina of its authenticity and ingenuity. Canclini reveals that “modernizers draw the moral that their interest in the advances and promises of history justifies their hegemonic position: meanwhile the backwardness of the popular classes condemns them to subalternity” (146), and almost as an afterthought states how hegemony is a “constructed character” (146). In the ‘Staging of the Popular’, Canclini relates Folklore with Authenticity as though they were long lost blood relatives subconsciously channeling each other’s life paths only to have a fateful reunion by happenstance on a glorious autumn day. Where Folklore subconsciously channels authenticity (within the discourse of the popular) and can only be preserved by allowing modernity dictate its development. Evidence of these relations is witnessed in the way that “Folklore… is almost always a melancholic attempt at subtracting the popular from the massive reorganization of society, fixing it in artisanal forms of production and communication, and guarding it as an imaginary reserve of nationalist political discourses.” (151) whereby communication (in this case) represents the modern (communication being the brainchild of technology which happens to be THE right hand man of Modernity). The notion that modernity, despite being construed as damaging folklore and what is considered ‘authentic’, is the automobile of choice for the transportation of folk/authenticity into the future is one full of complexities that cause the uprising of questions-galore. It acknowledges the dependence of certain elements of folklore on modernity in order to make them popular enough to be granted exclusive rights to conservation, consequently resulting in immortality. The interdependence seems to rely on the dynamics between institutionilized views of the popular (i.e. media, basically the mediums of communication) in the creation of the ‘hybrid’ form of the folklore where only certain elements of the original or authentic folk have been conserved, and then incorporated with other characteristics to guarantee survival. Cue Questions: Can folklore hybrids which are appraised by the media (popularity points!) be considered authentic? Who or what decides the elements that gain special priviledges to being cryonically preserved in time? How come folklore has to be sugar-coated by modernity in order ensure its own survival? Maybe some questions can be answered Clancini himself who states that “popular condition – [is] dedicated to the oppositions between isolated subalterns and dominating cosmopolitans” (172) and, “with the artistic and the artisanal being included in mass processes of message circulation, their sources of appropriation of images and forms and their channels of distribution and audiences tend to coincide, ” (175): both quotations address the power relations involved in the creation of folklore hybrids which please the masses, henceforth becoming elements of popular culture. To add more complications, Canclini introduces: the concept of a “culture industry” (186), the possibility of “mass culture [as] the great competitor of folklore” (187) and another shade of the ‘popular’ where
“the popular designates the positions of certain actors, which situate them against the hegemonic group and not always in the form of confrontations” (203). All this within the two chapters that have no trace whatsoever of “Hybrid” within their titles. As interest wanes, fatigue emerges and a hint of boredom makes a cameo appearance, only to be refuted by complete annoyance at Canclini for first of all playing with my feelings and secondly not creating a pefectly bundled definition of the “Theories of Mixture III: Hybridity” with trimmings that would challenge even Martha Stewart’s expertise in the Domestic, Canclini decides to explain hybridization as “the breakup and mixing of the collections that used to organize cultural systems, the deterritorialization of symbolic processes, and the expansion of impure genres” (207). He also lets me in on his grand secret of appearing to be cultured (and becoming a bonafide people magnet), leaning over my shoulder and wisely gazing down upon my naivety in a way eeriely reminiscent of Marlon Brando, he huskily recounts “to be cultured in a modern city consists in knowing how to distinguish between what is purchased for use, what is commemorated and what is enjoyed symbolically” (221) that “the notion of an authentic culture as an autonomous internally coherent universe is no longer sustainable” (232), sensing my confusion in dissapointment (a confusion which I was trying to fool him – and myself – into thinking that it was reverence), he jauntily limps away mumbling a barely audible and impacting proverb, “today all cultures are border cultures” (261).

Theories of Mixture: Hybridity

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture: Hybridity

While this article was a bit hard to get through, due to its wordiness, I felt like it covered some very interesting topics. However, the topic of hybridity wasn’t really covered in depth until the very end of the article, and to be honest, by that point I wasn’t being as diligent with my comprehension as I was in the first half of the article.

Now that I look back over the article, I see that the topic of hybridity was somewhat covered in the beginning of the article when Canclini discussed the mixing of traditional and modernity in popular cultures. He points out how mass media, as an example of modernity, gives new meaning to popular culture.

I particularly enjoyed the arguments Canclini made about folk culture and the state. Power is given to both when we analyze the tourist industry. The state uses folk culture and turns it into a tourist attraction, presenting the country’s “national identity”. However, at the same time, folk culture is given a certain amount of power, because without it, the state would not be able to promote tourism in the same way that they can, through use of the folk culture industry.

I also enjoyed Canclini’s comparison of anthropology and sociology. Canclini states that anthropology is interested in “saving” traditional and soon-to-be-extinct cultures, whereas sociology is interested in the effects of modernization on society. Canclini points out that both disciplines result in overlooking different aspects of society.

Canclini’s discussion of the role of monuments in society was very interesting. I’ve never thought of monuments in the way that Canclini has; however, his discussion of them brings new meaning to monuments for me. The author describes how monuments, although they may commemorate a specific time or moment in history, are resignified in modern society as they are built into the cities or towns. They are not enclosed in a glass box, such as they would be in a museum, for people to look at from afar. Rather, they are incorporated into the surroundings of a city, and people are able to interact with the monuments. Certain juxtapositions can then occur, such as the demonstration in favor of abortions occurring alongside a monumental statue of mother holding her son.

Lastly, I found Canclini’s hybridization case studies on graffiti and comics a great way to solidify his discussions of the theory of hybridization. In analyzing graffiti and comics and the roles they play in modern-day society, we see the processes of hybridization in material forms. Comics mix the use of images and words/dialogue with subject matter often pertaining to current issues whether economic, political or social. Graffiti, on the other hand, is a way of reclaiming territory, a form of expression that provides a voice for marginalized segments of society who may not have access to more widely used forms of communication.

I see that hybridization involves a mixing of different elements, such as Canclini discussed in the topic of border towns like Tiajuana, however I’m still not sure of how hybridization is different from mestizaje or transculturation. Hybridization seems to me to fit somewhere in between mestizaje and transculturation, with less stress on how the cultures mix and more stress on the end product, however I could be completely wrong!

Telenovelas and Futbol

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Telenovelas and Futbol

In this response I want to switch it up and talk about the second article first “Big Snakes on the Streets and Never Ending Stories: The Case of Venezuelan Telenovelas” by Nelson Hyppolyte Ortega. In this article, Ortega talks about the telenovela phenomenon that is so central in Latin American popular culture and how it has evolved over the years. He talks about how the radio novelas that were prevalent in the early 1900’s were most likely the historical ancestor to the modern day telenovela. One aspect of the essay that I found intriguing is how Ortega compares soap operas and tlenovelas saying that soap operas are for entertainment and represent the upper class, while the telenovela’s “mission is show reality and to teach about the affective, social, and political problems of contemporary society” (Pg. 65), while appealing more to the working class. The article focuses a great deal on one specific telenovela called Por estas Calles and its direct influence on Venezuelan Culture. This particular telenovela uses plots that are based on actual issues within the country, or as Ortega puts it “successfully exposed the national reality” (Pg. 72) such as scandals, corruption, drug trafficking, and money laundering etc. It has been heavily criticized by many scholars because of how real it is and how it can often depict powerful people within the country in such a negative manor. For example, there was an episode that had a a metropolitan police officer rented his revolver to certain delinquents in exchange for drugs. This telenovela is a great example of how the public consciousness has changed throughout the years in Venezuela. Overall, it was an interesting read and had some person elements for me because my Abuelita loves telenovelas and is hooked on them watching everyday.

In Alex Bellos’ article Futbol: The Brazilian Way of Life, all that is football in Brazil is discussed. I have always known that football was a big deal in Brazil but I had no idea just how big! It is larger than life in that nation and this essay does a fantastic job of depicting that reality. The article focuses largely on the 1950 world cup that Brazil hosted and were favorites to win. They built the worlds largest stadium called the Maracana that could hold an excess of 180,000 people and the entire nation was envisioning watching their home squad capture the world cup on home soil. In the end they came up short, losing to there neighbours the Uruguayans by a score of 2-1. Some people were said to have jumped off the second story balcony to there death due to the outcome of the game. Bellos does an excellent job of relaying the feelings and emotions of the people after the loss, basically stating complete disbelief. The people even spread the rumours that team Uruguay “used the tactical system of Sao Goncalo’s Carioca” (Pg. 44), a former Brazilian coach and a Brazilian style of play. This was a very long essay that tackles many different issues pertaining to Brazilian football, but one issue that really stood out for me was that of racist discrimination. All the scapegoats of the 1950 Brazilian football team were Black including Barbosa, the goalkeeper that let in the decisive goal. “Barbosa suffered most. Journalists voted him best goalkeeper of the 1950 world cup, yet he only played once more for the national team” (Pg. 56). It is amazing to me that a nation is so passionate about a sport that they could completely ostracize a player simply based on a performance in a game. One thing I know for sure is that the pressure on those players must be incredible and it is both a blessing and a curse to suit up for the Brazilian national team.

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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