The Western world has gone Brazil-crazy in recent years and I’ve never been quite sure how I feel about it (even though I’m certified Brazil-crazy myself). If we’re talking linguistically, where more and more people are discovering the beautiful language that is Brazilian Portuguese, then I’m all for it! I really feel that I will never, not even for a second, regret learning the language.
In general, though, seeing Brazil being looked at up close reminds me of a smaller craze in 2010 called Secret London which amassed 180,000 members on Facebook in one month’s time. Despite the success of it, some journalists were asking questions about the whole concept of secrecy and if or when something is no longer a secret, how can it still be called such?
One writer in particular had the following to say about the group in an article titled “Why Secret London might ruin our city”,
“The point, apparently, is to tell absolutely everyone about those great places that aren’t already filled with tourists. The result, I can only assume, will be for all of those lovely little places to quickly become overcrowded and not-so-lovely little places, but that is only the beginning.”
Likewise, a PBS documentary project from 2001 titled “Merchants of Cool” details how corporations and consultancies literally create what’s cool. In the documentary, they demonstrate how the manifestation of what is cool is always changing because the very act of being cool means the trend-setters move on to the next big thing.
If the focus is to remain on Westerners then it’s safe to say the jury is no longer out on the question of whether or not they love Brazil. Brazil is awesome in so many ways, socially, culturally and geographically. But what is there to be said about over-saturation? Try to search for the word ‘Brazil’ on Twitter to get an idea of what I mean.
Tourism aside, what does it all mean for Brazil? On one side, it’s great for Brazilians themselves to understand all the positives, assuming they don’t already. And be it positive or negative, placing society and self under the microscope can lead to (more) positive results. But on the other side, my fear, at least from an international perspective, is that all this interest will dry up in a few years and the microscope will be put back on the shelf. I love Brazil in a dozen different ways and I don’t want to be left feeling that all this attention, like investment in sporting events, was for reasons whose usefulness is temporary.
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