HUNTING WHITE ELEPHANTS / CAÇANDO ELEFANTES BRANCOS

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19 May 2014

Discursive framing and other one-offs

There are few media conglomerates that wield the kind of influence over society, culture and popular perception as the Globo Network in Brazil. This is particularly true in the media-government-business nexus of the World Cup. Globo is the de-facto owner of Brazilian football, paid dearly for the rights to transmit the 2014 World Cup (though no one knows how much) and is shaping the discourse around the tournament to suit the needs of those who seek to maintain their grip on power, namely the Globo network itself. 

One of the biggest advertisers in the Globo newspaper is the state government. Their contributions are rivalled by the big civil construction firms whose subsidiaries in the closed-condominium housing industry take out full page ads everyday to extoll the virtues of living in stylized off-worlds with names like Miami Gardens, Pure Island, or Reserva Golfe. The condo ads are inevitably flanked by car and truck ads, extolling the virtues of escape into the wilderness, or alternatively, into a morass of congestion. As ever, Rio de Janeiro is the most beautiful city in the world to be stuck in traffic. This is not a counter-cultural moment in Brazil. People are pulling their hair out, not letting it flow naturally to prove a point. Brazil is in the midst of an ideological project driven by elites in government, media and industry that want Brazilians to charge full speed ahead into a debt-ridden world of consumerism, hostility towards the public sphere and fear of the underclasses.

One of the most perverse ways in which Globo tries to twist the realities of fantastically unequal wealth distribution, militarization, privatization and commodification into a Hallmark moment of Brazil´s arrival on the international stage is in their presentation of the Maracanã. As we know, the Maracanã was ripped from public hands with some violence over the past few years. One of the particularly charming displays was the removal of the Aldeia Maracanã indigenous community with shock troops. The ever-mindful president of the state agency responsible for the Maracanã complex said at the time, “the place for Indians is in the forest, that´s why we´re preserving the Amazon.” This is what it looked like:


Warning: do not eat while looking at this photo. 
Now, according to Globo, this is what the Aldeia Maracanã has become.

In the article, we are informed that weddings can now be held in the stadium for a rent as low as R$30,000. The new Aldeia Maracanã according to Globo, has no indigenous, no poor, not even the middle class. This Aldeia is only for those who can afford it. 

They´re cute while young, best to declaw in early adolescence.
To prove the point, this is the way that the ideologues at Globo are presenting Brazilian´s indigenous communities as the World Cup approaches.

The title here should be, “Brasil, através da bala.” If you are indigenous, you had better be young, because as soon as you start to demand rights or dare to appear in places where you don´t “belong” then likelihood of extirpation by FBI-trained shock troops is pretty good.


While the criminal and unconstitutional treatment of the indigenous communities across Brazil gets almost no play in the media, it is important to remember that the oldest center of indigenous culture in Brazil has been forcibly removed for the realization of the World Cup. In its place we have a sterile urban environment that tens of thousands will pass by without noticing on their way to drink Budweiser and eat McDonalds inside of the privatized, sanitized and hollow (not hallowed) Maracanã.

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