2016 Olympics: What Rio doesn’t want the world to see
What we have here is a failure to understand Communication in its current state! Look, it would be easy to wag fingers at the government and power structure of the nation of Brazil and say “Why don’t you do something to help the poor?” Shame on you for, in the face of their overwhelming suffering and need, simply turn your back on them and hiding them from the eyes of the World? Why are you even staging an Olympics when you have such serious domestic issues to address?”
Yeah, it would be easy to do that and no doubt a good number of people would cluck their tongues and nod their heads in agreement. But honestly, I understand… understand that crushing poverty is so long established, so thoroughly woven into the very fabric of life in Brazil that adequately addressing it probably is beyond the scope of what the current system can do. And yes, even in the face of that, the life of Brazil must go on, Brazil must participate in the world and having an Olympics, even though it is something that has not turned out to be what it was hope to be elsewhere in the world, makes some kind of sense… contributes in some ways to the national identity and pride and desire to move forward of this nation. But this wall? C’mon! Are you really that out of touch with Reality as it presents itself currently?
What we have here is a failure to understand that 19th Century thinking cannot produce satisfactory results in the 21st Century. You CAN construct a wall to obscure visitors’ views of miles and miles of slums as they sit in cabs and shuttles riding from the airport to their luxury hotels downtown somewhere. You CAN! You can influence your local press not to run stories on it. And international press, large corporations who participate in that great web of interlocking arrangements of profit and mutual back scratching? So long as there’s more money to be made in not reporting this than there is in reporting it, yeah you can convince them to be quiet on this issue, as well. And hey, it’s not as if the poverty in Brazil is news; who wants to report on Dog Bites Man? The wall, though, that is news of the Man Bites Dog variety.
This video, by the way, isn’t one of those “There goes another cop beating a Black man for no reason, let me whip out my CELL phone and get some footage of this to upload somewhere!” videos. No, this is a full on, professionally produced News Show, an exemplar of a new genre of such shows that are produced for and distributed on YouTube and similar online media sharing resources. The interesting thing about these is that, in their beginnings, at least, VOX (the organization behind this one) and others like it, like the now hyper-famous VICE, appear to be small enough in scale (both physically and economically) to apparently fly free of the long arm of the body of influences that would allow a force, the imagined Powers That Be, to obscure their prying eyes and stifle their voice.
And so, not only is it no longer possible to hide things like the slum dog megalopolis that overshadows the sanctioned, officially permitted housing zones for the moneyed and enfranchised, but attempts to hide them through such primitive and crude efforts, like building a way to block their being seen by visitors, actually attract the attention of crews of technicians and journalists who can’t wait to get such stories made and up on the web and under the nose of a public that shows some interest in seeing them.
What we have here is a failure to comprehend that the world has changed and how it has changed. What we have here is a failure to understand the power and appeal of YouTube.