Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't Cry For Me Brazil

Remember that fawning press release of an AP story I linked to yesterday? Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Brazil much of the time, had this to say about Obama's visit to Brazil:
... not to get all Tom Friedman on you, but I really enjoyed the slew of taxi drivers and other assorted residents of the city complaining endlessly and bitterly about the traffic jams and closed streets for "no good reason" - and then mocking and scoffing when I told them that American news reports kept emphasizing how star-struck and giddy Brazilians are that such a great man graced their nation with a visit.

It's true that his race does inspire some segment of very poor racially minorities in that it signals to them that they can achieve without limits, but beyond that, Brazilians believe (accurately) that they are a rapidly rising power and also believe (accurately) that the U.S. is heading in the opposite direction and, if anything, they think the sense of honor should go in the other direction.

MSNNBC cartoonist Daryl Cagle passed along this cartoon by the Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff.
Cagle helpfully translates:

The caption at the top of the cartoon translates to: “Obama reaches Rio…”

Obama (dressed as a conquistador) is asking the Brazilian beach-goer, “Where is the pre-salt?” (The pre-salt layer, according to Wikipedia, is an oil-rich geological formation on the continental shelves off the coast of Africa and Brazil.)

and comments:
Greedy, oil-thirsty, domineering American presidents are an enduring, international theme. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of the one-dimensional way the world sees us.
Well, we do return the favor. And there's a reason why "greedy, oil-thirsty, domineering American presidents" are such a popular theme.