Saturday, May 03, 2003

Neo-Romanticism as an American Tropicalismo.........

Recently, it's come to my attention that a little movement existed in Brazil in the late sixties called Tropicalismo, which, initially centered on music, came to include a insatiable hunger for everything in European culture, which was then chewed up and spit out in a Brazillian form......it had it's roots in ideas going back to Surrealism, indeed, following Oswald de Andrade, the fundamental question was Tupi or not Tupi....but I'm getting ahead of myself....

I propose that we have an American Tropicalismo starting off from Postmodernism, incorporating Neo-Romantic approaches, linked with working-class rebellion against the stale, official, bourgeois culture, egalitarian, inn order to take down the wall between American culture and world culture once and for all....

Indeed, what I've been pursuing for years, and what many other people on the same type of trip have been pursuing, has resonances with what I read Caetano Veloso, the Brazillian musician, has been searching out for most of his life......


America is strikingly like a third world country where culture is concerned; we were extremely lucky to have been able to industrialize fast and join the first world in overall living standards, even if they're going down the toilet, but culturally we haven't been so fortunate.....a civil rights respecting culture has obviously been coexisting with one which has no idea what civil rights or democracy are for a very long time, leading to great freedoms when that other America hasn't been looking at what we've been doing. 9/11's aftermath has shown how things really are in America when push comes to shove, and the whole culture is forced to look at these issues.

So, even though we're pretty far apart from Brazil in terms of standard of living, as well as the way we colonized the country, and in terms of political and religious culture, you can still compare the two when it comes to popular culture and popular ideas about politics.....or, to be more precise, America can be compared to the Brazil of forty years ago in this respect.

And we didn't even have a Kubitschek.......

So, since the U.S. has obviously blown any chance of connecting to Europe through Anglo culture, like Canada is doing, and isn't tradition bound in other ways like many Latin American countries are, democratization and renewal through a cannibalization of Western European culture with American characteristics looks like one of the few ways in which we can rejoin the mainstream of modern society.....


A Cannibalization with American characteristics....or a Tropicalismo with American characteristics.....sounds like "Socialism with Chinese Charcteristics". Maybe that's just as well.....who knows.....but Xenophillia is surely a path to be reckoned with in terms of creating positive social change.

So, as the add says, "Just do it!"

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