Previous posts in this discussion:
PostWAIS Conference: "Cultural Imperialism--The triumph of violence and vulgarity" (Ronald Hilton, USA, 11/15/00 9:47 am)
A recent posting on the tragedy of Colombia expressed dismay that, while Colombia is caught in a seemingly hopeless cycle of violence, most of a Colombian TV news program was devoted to a silly Miss Colombia contest. Juan Reyes has sent a long reply from which I extract the essential parts:
"From being a national tradition, "Señorita Colombia" has became the tool for manipulating power, money and looks for some of the businesses in the country. In fact it has inherited most of the bad and good things of its close relative in the U.S. to the extend that it is far from giving the picture of a real Colombian women, and it certainly is not a model for any girl aiming to survive in this modern communications society.
The real picture is that Colombian women are amazing for various reasons, including looks. Not only are they brave, but they are pivots for family and society. While carrying the weight of a family, they also take their jobs as well or better than their male counterparts. In a very high percentage most women provide all support for the family, and this is not about single women but also about daughters and stable couples. The image of sewing or cooking women has been replaced by that of a modern smart person with executive and organizing qualities in additional to all psychological attributes of a mother.
It is true that many girls aim their dreams to top-model and celebrity search venues as well as TV stars or news anchors because of a narco by-product of the pseudo-Hollywood and pseudo-Park Avenue idea spawn by wages from advertising agencies in Bogota as well as the TV production companies, but many dreams to become successful professionals in the arts and sciences as well as in every field the nation has to offer.
Reporters cover beauty contests, fashion shows as well as successful executives in Colombia because of ratings and advertising, by the way the surviving of propaganda. But for the rest of us getting inspiration in the streets of Barranquilla during Carnival and, although we know that Joselito is not a good looking king, we also know that the queen of the carnival is not there because of her good looks but because of her kindness. If we were to photograph the women in the Carnival we will focus our camera to many others, not in the fashion show, but many dancers at the battle of flowers and many at the heart of the comparsa.
My comment: This is a complaint heard in much of the world: our healthy traditions have been supplanted by Hollywood vulgarity. However, it is noteworthy that in no other Spanish-speaking country is it more apparent than in Colombian TV. Perhaps it is an escape from the ugly violence which has overwhelmed the country.
As for carnival, I have not seen it in Colombia, but in Rio it does not have the qualities described. Carnival in Rio is marked by a sharp increase in the number of killings, scarcely a manifestation of kindness.