Perhaps, scarier than the similarities between these two American assclowns celebrities is the difference: Britney Spears has far more international experience than Sarah Pallin.
As a journalist, it is really important to get your spelling right and your facts straight, or your own mistakes will be spread to the world, and everyone, in turn, will take your word for it.
So with that, I'd like to share with you all a story from an Australian newspaper, written by an author who wrote a book about about living for a year in Rio.
1. After spending a whole year in Brazil, I really, really hope that you realize that the language spoken here is in fact Portuguese, and not Spanish. I'm in doubt because you referred to "barrios" twice (bairro, in Portuguese), and your lead centered around a character named "El Cigarro." Unless the guy is Latino (which I find unlikely), his correct name would be "O Cigarro."
2. The mountain in Ipanema is called "Dois Irmãos," [Two Brothers] not "Dois Irmos." The famous gay street in Ipanema is called "Farme de Amoedo," not "Farme de Amoeda." It's Zazá Bistro, not Za Za Bistro. These kind of mistakes are akin to calling New York landmarks Rockefelle Center and Madisom Avenue.
3. Not all gringas have "granny bums" or wear "prudish European costumes" to the beach. If you'd spent a year here, I'd hope you'd have invested in at least one Brazilian bathing suit to try to blend in.
4. Roberta Sudbrack's restaurant (one of the hippest in Rio) is located in Jardim Botânico, not Ipanema. It's close, but definitely not the same neighborhood--they don't even border each other, since they're separated by the lagoon. Would you list a restaurant as being in Soho if it was actually in Chelsea?
The bottom line is that the anything goes attitude that pervades beach culture in Brazil has nothing to do with journalistic integrity, and there are no excuses for such glaring mistakes in a major newspaper story.
No, it's not Christmas--it's the Rio Film Festival! Last year I went to a bunch of movies but probably not enough. Each year, the festival features top Brazilian movies and films from all over the world. I go a little nuts during the festival and get a little overwhelmed by all the choices--there are literally hundreds of movies over two weeks. This year I've decided to focus on the Latin American and a few American movies. So for the next two weeks you will most likely find me at the cinema!
The gem of the festival, however, still isn't on sale: Steve Soderbergh's Che movie. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it won't be on the same day as the dozen other movies I want to see!
Brazil is famous for having some very oddly named cities (kind of like the US). McDonald's came out with a list, so if you understand Portuguese, check it out (click to enlarge):
Some of my favorites:
Ressaquinha, Minas Gerais (Slight Hangover)
Nao-Me-Toque, Rio Grande do Sul (Don't Touch Me)
Doutor Pedrinho, Santa Catarina (Little Doctor Peter)
Sopa, Minas Gerais (Soup)
Salva Vida, Rio Grande do Norte (Lifeguard)
Quem-Quem, Minas Gerais (Who Who?)
Feliz Natal, Matto Grosso (Merry Christmas)
Nenemlandia, Ceara (Babyland)
Pintopolis, Minas Gerais (Chick City, also could be P*nis City)
Quebra-Freio, Paraiba (Break Brake)
Marcianopolis, Goiania (Martian City)
Nova Iorque, Maranhao (New York)
This past week was one of the longest weeks of my life. Because I'm in serious need of money, I decided to give this teaching gig a try, even though it's far away, in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. I am just a tad worse for wear.
One must not bite the hand that just fed them, but since I am 120% sure I will never work at this place again, I promise to fill you in on some of the gory details later on. Suffice to say that I met a lot of lovely, wonderful Brazilians and some of the most spectacularly awful gringos I've ever encountered. But I certainly didn't walk away without learning something: I found I am in fact a good English teacher, that poker is really fun, that it's really cold in the mountains, that I hate speaking to Brazilians in English, and that I can be, at the very least, decent at anything I put my mind to. I decided I need to get on the ball with freelance writing and that one of my life goals is to not wind up bitter and alone.
The one story I will tell you now is the symbolic incident/bad omen that happened just as I got back to Rio, when I was downtown picking up my payment. It was pouring all day, and I had on sneakers and jeans. I got on the elevator and arrived in the office without incident. All of the sudden, I felt a pinch on my thigh. "That's weird," I thought. I fiddled with my jeans. The pinching sensation continued. I felt a wave of terror come over me when I began to suspect what was going on. I raced into the bathroom, where I pressed my hand against my jeans and felt something crunch under my fingers. I shook my jeans, and out fell a shiny, matchbox-sized cockroach.
How a cockroach climbed up my leg without me noticing until it hit the tight part of my jeans blows my mind. Just like how I managed to survive this week is beyond my comprehension. But when I got home, Eli wanted to watch "The Pianist," which was on TV and he's always been bugging me to watch, and it made me realize that my week was really not so bad if I put things into perspective.
SEEKING LEGAL AND POLITICAL AID IN BRAZIL - IMPORTANT STORY BELOW
PROCURANDO AJUDA JURIDICA E POLITICA NO BRASIL - ARTIGO IMPORTANTE SEGUE ABAIXO
My goal is to find at least one person who could help, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. IF YOU CAN HELP, PLEASE EMAIL BRINGSEANHOME at YAHOO dot COM. SE VOCE PODE AJUDAR, POR FAVOR MANDE EMAIL PARA BRINGSEANHOME arroba YAHOO ponto COM.
This story broke my heart not only because it is tragic, but because it pits the US against Brazil and puts into very harsh perspective the failure of the Brazilian judicial system. The purpose of this post is not to demonize Brazil or Brazilians as a whole, but rather the exact people involved in the story.
In short, an American man, David, met a Carioca, Bruna, and they fell in love and got married in the US. They had a son, Sean, and seemed to be a happy family living in New Jersey--that is, until the Brazilian wife took her son on vacation with her parents to Brazil, but in reality, was kidnapping him. When she arrived in Rio, she called her husband and said she was never coming back, and if he wanted to see his son again, he would have to give her full custody.
Divorce court records would later show that Bruna had no specific complaints about her husband, like abuse or neglect. She was soon remarried to a powerful Carioca lawyer, João Paulo Lins e Silva, and she got pregnant. But, in a strange and terrible turn of events, she died during childbirth, and her new husband is trying to literally change Sean's birth certificate to become his legal guardian. (Incidentally, he happens to specialize in family law)
The Brazilian courts have not only been slow, but they have essentially violated international law by refusing to go to trial within six weeks of the kidnapping (it took about a year), and ruling in favor of the mother when they did, citing the child's "well-being." It has been four years since David has seen his son, and all efforts by the State Department, David's lawyers, and American authorities have been in vain. Joao Paulo Lins e Silva is, in effect, holding Sean hostage in Rio.
What You Can Do:
For those of us who aren't politically powerful enough to have an immediate impact on this case, here's what you can do. Also, if you have any political or legal clout either in the US or Brazil, please get in touch with me or the administrator of BringSeanHome.org at bringseanhome at yahoo dot com.
Versão Português (Breve)
Bruna, uma carioca, e David, um americano, se conheceram nos Estados Unidos, onde se apaixonaram e se casaram. Tiveram um filho, Sean, e viveram felizes em Nova Jersey. Quando Sean tinha 3 anos, os pais da Bruna foram visitar ela lá, e a Bruna e o Sean voltaram com eles ao Brasil para passar as férias. Pelo menos, o David pensou que iam de férias. Quando chegou no Rio, a Bruna ligou para o David e disse que queria um divórcio e nunca mais ia voltar. Se ele queria ver o filho de novo, teria que dar a guarda da criança para ela. No procedimento do divórcio, ela não reclamou sobre o marido, e não tem evidência de abuso.
O David tratou o caso como um secuestro, mas as cortes brasileiras não ajudaram--só houve um processo um ano depois do fato, e o juiz decretou que a mãe mereceu custodia do filho; nada de secuestro. A Bruna casou de novo, esta vez com um advogado rico e poderoso, e ficou gravida. Há um mes, ela faleceu durante o parto. O novo marido, Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, está tentando mudar o certidão de nascimento do Sean para apagar o nome do pai biológico e para tornar-se o guardião legal da criança. (Não é coincidência que ele é especializado em direito de família) O Sean, que já tem 7 anos, é essencialmente um refém do Lins e Silva no Brasil. Fazem quatro anos que o pequeno Sean viu o pai.
Como ajudar: clique aqui.
Se você tiver poder político ou jurídico nos EUA ou no Brasil, por favor entre em contato comigo ou com o administrador do BringSeanHome.org no endereço bringseanhome arroba yahoo ponto com.