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October 17, 2004

Guest Posting -- Andre Vera

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Andre Vera, a visitor from Brazil, left a wonderful and informative (if over-generous) comment on a recent posting. I'm reprinting it here because I'd hate it if other visitors missed it.

Greetings from Brasil!

I need to tell you right away that I use your texts (and sometimes the blogs you link) in my English classes here in Brasil. Being Brazilian, I find in them, both “food” for my own spiritual / critical appetite, and challenging stuff for my English students.

Nevertheless, I have to say that being an English teacher is not a bad job even when you consider the money. It leaves you time to do your own stuff, it allows you to meet interesting etc. But please don’t consider the “not bad money” in American terms, which are positively different from Brazilian.

My relationship with this blog site dates back to the repercussions of the bookpeople moviepeople posting which caused flak among some of your Brazilian counterparts. Since then, curiosity and interest has led me to check out what has been going on in some other American blogs (to be honest, this blog has been my no.1 portal to all the others, followed by

While our own native blogs seem to be more concerned with pale idiosyncrasies and black humor, I have indulged my ambition for more reasonable and intelligent discussions with your writings and some of the blogs you link. Thank you very much for that.

Discussions here in our native blogs, I strongly believe, occur at a very sad and down-to-earth, somewhat uneducated level. For instance, when it comes to discussions of politics, they are usually either about “spitting on the Mercedes-Benzes” or “defending driving Mercedes-Benzes” (variations on Dumb and Dumber!). It is really sad to see how we keep wallowing in such simplistic, violent and even misleading concepts of what people think of “the other” side.

It is sad, but at the same time we here are all to blame for it. I sometimes ask myself if the investment in such discussions is worth the effort. I usually keep my mouth shut, but that makes me feel hopeless. It is obviously all part of our “lousy” educational system and political propaganda (remember that not so long ago, here in Brasil, we were in a long and dark age of military dictatorship). Democracy and the democratic spirit are not things people are used to. Actually, in a way, they are yet to be created.

On the other hand I should add that photoblogs are very popular. Of course they are mostly about people’s daily lives, parties and narcissistic contemplations of each other’s faces and body parts, for subjects, like politics, remain far beyond their reach. Well, it couldn’t be otherwise, in a country of illiterates (no matter what the “statistics” say – to hell with those numbers – people do have a hard time understanding texts, and the majority of the population, albeit able to pronounce the words and recognize the letters, cannot understand their combinations in long sentences or paragraphs).

Our own media is a sad reflection of the poor state of our country’s health and intelligence. Even in São Paulo, our most cosmopolitan and educated city; newspapers tend to portray the image of the politics of extremes that leaves no common ground. Thus, leaving the population without any hope of conciliation or improvement. Opinion columnists tend to be arrogant and far too inflexible (when not hiding behind some suspicious skepticism or even estheticism!). The TV and news media, in my opinion, are completely immature and irresponsible. They have proven themselves (with rare exceptions) utterly incapable of educating the population in ways to deal with these crucial subjects, or to provide any sensible or sensitive perspective on things.

Not that I should idealize your news media either. I am constantly reading articles from The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, The Washington Post and even Details! The feeling I have is that either a communist revolution is going on, or President Lula is showing up drunk as a skunk for work. Fuck!! Could these guys be more off the point or misleading?

So now I find myself browsing the net for good sense and well-reasoned material. I like and appreciate the fact that good discussions are available online and that fact really contributes to making sensible advances in thought, at least with the few people who read them (my students included). My favorite subjects are not very different from yours, as they range from art, books, films, architecture, urbanism, politics etc.

Well I think that´s it. I feel as if I´ve rambled for too long.
Please keep writing, (if it does you good) and sharing, and believing, and making this world a better place. It comforts me to believe our actions are like those ripples on a big lake. Thanks again.



Many thanks to Andre Vera.



posted by Michael at October 17, 2004


Thanks very much again, Michael. And thanks to ricpic, too!
I never thought it would become a "real" post (my sts are definitely going to hear of it)!
It has been a real honor, as well as an incentive.
All the best,

Posted by: André on October 17, 2004 5:28 PM

I concur with the appreciation of 2blowhards. I,too, visit and read to get my daily good mental health requirements!

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on October 17, 2004 9:55 PM

Photoblogs are the product of poor reading and writing skills? Woot!

Posted by: j.c. on October 18, 2004 8:08 PM

Thanks, you're too sweet. We think it's our classy commenters who really make this place.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 19, 2004 10:11 AM

I've never known what to think of this place, though you have some interesting essays, contributors and commentators. But visiting Andre's site/email address is sad.

Posted by: reader on October 19, 2004 2:17 PM


Posted by: mp3 on November 6, 2004 1:21 PM

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