Ragging On Novelas in the News

I know I’ve ragged on Brazilian novelas in the past as I’m sure they actually kill brain cells by the hundreds, but one thing I never ever understood is why in the world play-by-plays of the episodes would appear as a front page news article in the digital versions of major Brazilian newspapers. Ok, it’s not just Brazil. Sometimes you’ll see mini magazines in the supermarkets in the US that treat American soap opera characters as real people, but I find that equally as odd.

If you haven’t seen this strange, strange phenomenon in Brazil, here’s how it goes

“Joe walked out on Sue. Joe went to the bar and had a beer. Joe’s friend came by and they talked about Sue. Mark went to the gym after work. Mark got a traffic ticket by Joe’s police office father who is secretly in love with Sue’s aunt.”

9 thoughts on “Ragging On Novelas in the News

  1. Everyone has the right to choose whatever they want for entertainment, from reading a book to watching soap operas. I, for instance, hate soap operas. Actually, I hate tv. I prefer to spend my time chatting with friends, watching a movie or reading a book.
    But my cousin loves novela, and yet she is one of the most intelligent and reasonoble people I’ve ever met.
    It’s true that almost 90% of novela viewers are simple people (i.e. poor, and therefore most of the time uneducated). Maybe that’s where you got your assumption from?

  2. Well, as I mentioned in my post, we have ‘novelas’ in the US and many stay-at-home mothers watch them in the early afternoon. My automatic assumption of them is not that they are poor or uneducated, nor do I assume that of Brazilian viewers.

    Most people don’t see that 95% of what is on television is there to make the people stupid, to make them concern themselves with fantasies rather than participate in matters of the government. You see, we leave that for the ‘smart people’ to do and as long as we believe that most people are good and therefore we shouldn’t think those in government would do anything bad to us, then we are their puppets. The best kind of puppet is one who no longer needs its strings to keep doing the things it has always been doing, to basically ask for its own enslavement.

    The Romans used the phrase ‘bread and circuses’ to speak of the instant gratification that they gave to their people, while behind closed doors, the generals like Maximus, the Delayer, were creating new strategies of war, which the Fabian Society later adopted. What that all means is there is a technique used on the people which is to create change in them little by little instead of all at once. This is us, today.

    We get our ideas and opinions from the media and we confirm that they are good and correct ideas by asking our friends and neighbors, who are also brain-washed (a premise that Plato called the Allegory of the Cave). In more recent times than that of Plato, we have the Freud dynasty changing how we see ourselves and his nephew Edward Bernays practically created our current mass consumer society.

    So, yes. I am against T.V., especially for those who can be easily influenced. I’ve read studies that say the brain goes into a slower brain wave when we watch T.V. and we are then ready to be suggested to and this turns off our critical thinking ability too. So what we have is soft-kill war techniques being brought against us by multinational corporations and the Military Industrial Complex (the Pentagon heavily funds Hollywood for war movies).

    I seem to have written more than I intended but this is a science and we are being programmed to not participate in things that should matter greatly. If we look at another word for entertainment, we see diversion, that which diverts. I am more concerned with what I should be diverted from than to.


  3. accidentally came across this post and loved your responses (particularly the comment about diverting, couldn’t agree more). yes, from the western POV it is very much Plato´s allegory. I have been watching novelas recently partly to improve my listening skills, but also because – as Fabio pointed out – to understand the culture better, to connect with people (it is a social thing to watch them together). In Brazil, it is not only the poor that watch… I have Brazilians friends that are economists, grad students, engineers, marketers… and they all watch, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference whether they are male or female (as compared to housewives watching in US). i find that the over-the-top attitude towards love and relationships portrayed in the novelas is reflective of reality, or maybe it is vice versa, that novelas start affecting the way people talk in their daily interactions. fascinating for me from a sociological perspective, to be honest. I am originally from Montenegro, so all this novela craziness is like the dark side of the moon for me, plus i am by far more of a library geek than a TV watcher. Still, I confess, I love it.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I wrote about novelas here, too, and I admit the post you already read was a bit ‘all over the place’ in terms of trying to ‘pin down’ the causes and effects of watching novelas. It’s hard to put into words sometimes when there are so many influencers to any one action these days. Unfortunately, individual cultures must be destroyed or made less important in order to heavily sell a single culture (via globalization). That ‘single culture’ is really a mix of multiple cultures which act to divide people further by taking away their identity. Religion was the original change agent but a monoculture is much easier for most people to swallow.

      As for novelas, no worries. Watching them to assist language learning is perfectly fine. Even if I thought it weren’t fine, I’m still for everyone basically doing what they want.

      Also, we’re all ignorant of certain things and there’s always room to learn more. In fact, I just had to look up Montenegro on a map. ; )

  4. Hahaha that’s beautiful – pois é, é um pequeno país que fica no litoral do Mediterrâneo ;) It’s funny, when I was in Bahia, no one would even believe me that such a country existed. Quite honestly, after my daily mergulhzinho pra lavar a alma, followed by a slice of melancia, I’d stop believing it too. Only a couple of guys I met had seen Serbia & Montenegro play soccer on TV Globo :)

    The US, despite claiming to be a melting pot, seems to me a whole lot of bland. That’s one of the reasons I got rid of my TV three years ago – I have better things to do with the limited amount of grey matter I have ;) I am living in San Francisco now, but you know what’s funny? When I go for my late night jog, all I see – from the Victorians up to the 360 deg bay view penthouses – is the blue glow of a tv. I guess everyone would rather watch someone else´s life. From that perspective, wanting to see beautiful people living well actually makes more sense from Brazil. It is like getting free antidepressants. (OK,arguably it’s more Huxley’s Soma). But again, it’s just the way of the world…

    And thank you for your amazing blog – I have been following for a while, love your POV pieces and the documentaries in particular, I always learn a lot. The culture “translation” parts are entertaining, I end up mentally converting from Brazilian to American to mine… and by the time it circles back, the only thought that comes to mind is “oh, wait, that tastes like home” :)

  5. true, true… but you know what, Bush-era US was like this! ++ungood! many remnants of it still, maybe not in CA, but around here you get the brown rice brigade…

    as for the links, FASCINATING!!!! good lord… saw the first one, but not 7-part yet. problem with this is it hits *too* close to the nerve, i grew up living this reality and still get scared of talking too loudly, let alone someone banging on my door. i’d probably qualify for one of the “useful idiots that end up lined up and shot” – i was raised on a steady diet of anarchism, marxist-leninism and various other utopias. but nowadays my contact with communism has deteriorated into meeting dreadlocked berkeley people that call themselves communists because they visited vietnam twice :)

    did you live here? i love SF. it is the most normal i have felt in this country. and i love that area in GG, it is beautiful. get out there on weekends at times. my ‘hood is a lot more hilly but at least the sun shines out here!

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