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[personal profile] asakiyume
Needless to say, watching La Niña has made me curious about Colombia. My knowledge of it until now could be described by catchphrases from TV shows ("Colombian drug lords" "Cali cartel") and NPR headlines ("Colombia's FARC rebels [verb]" "Referendum on peace with FARC rebels"), plus an article on "biblioburros"--the project of a guy who acts as a bookmobile--only by donkey--bringing books to isolated communities--and the travels of someone I follow on Twitter, who visited there with her young daughter.

So first off, I wanted a better sense of where everything in Colombia is.

Here's a map, courtesy of the Rough Guide travel series:


As you can see, pretty much ALL the large cities are in the northwest. What you can't see in the map is that a high mountain range extends along that easternmost diagonal of towns. Bogotá is up in those mountains, and in the show, you get a sense of its high mountainousness.

Here's a photo--not from the show--that gives a sense of that.


Now here's a map, courtesy of Al-Zajeera, showing areas of guerrilla influence


The peace that was signed in November 2016 was with the FARC forces. Negotiations are still ongoing with the ELN.
ETA: Wow, and breaking news today: "Colombian Government and ELA Agree Ceasefire"

I'm not very experienced with Latin American television, but one thing I noticed about this show, as opposed to 3%, the Brazilian sci-fi Netflix offering I watched some time ago, was that this show was relatively whitewashed. Here are some actual FARC guerrillas (credits below the photos).

Photographer: Stephen Ferry, for the Guardian

Girls on the eve of demobilization
Photographer: Raul Arboleda, for the Atlantic

Guerrillas and civilians
Photographer: Federico Rios, for the British Journal of Photography

Compare those photos with the actors' pics from the previous post, and you'll see what I mean.

On the other hand, it's interesting to see telenovelas' role as a vehicle of public education in action. For instance, the older of Belky's two younger sisters wants to go riding on motorbikes with boys, and Belky's mom is sure she'd going to end up pregnant. The show has them go and talk to one of the doctors at Belky's university, who explains about contraception, confidentiality, etc.

Nana, the older of Belky's two younger sisters.

And, Wakanomori noticed, *no one*--not a single person--is shown smoking. No one in the army, no one in the guerrillas, no one on the streets. [ETA: very late in the show one obnoxious character and his friends are shown smoking, but that's the only case, and the smoking is made a big deal of as part of what makes the guy obnoxious]

The theme song for the show is also very appealing. It's Herencia de Timbiquí's "Te invito"--take a listen.

Date: 2017-09-04 04:33 pm (UTC)
missroserose: (Default)
From: [personal profile] missroserose
That's interesting about whitewashing. My initial thought on seeing the photos from the series was how it was interesting to see the cast of a show made up of predominantly non-white faces. It never occurred to me that there are degrees of whitewashing, or that Western beauty standards would have permeated other countries' art so thoroughly.

I think it's so awesome that you're learning about the context of the story you're watching! I do the same thing sometimes (though not as often as I feel like I should), and I inevitably find the story richer for it - even if it's just reading a few Wikipedia articles to get a general idea. Sometimes I feel like the overwhelming American cultural dominance puts us in a hall of mirrors, of sorts - we live our lives, our media reflects our lives, and since our media is so prevalent globally we begin to forget that other cultures with very different ways of life exist - and that while we may not approve of those traditions, given how old some of those cultures are, something about them ultimately is working in the climate and environment where they developed. (Which leads into a whole discussion about fighting for basic human rights versus white saviorism, and where the line is, which I don't have time to get into but I have a lot of conflicting and muddy thoughts about.)

Date: 2017-09-05 02:17 pm (UTC)
missroserose: (Default)
From: [personal profile] missroserose
That is fascinating! I had no idea about dryers in Japan. It's so interesting to me how ideas we take for granted - i.e. "more automation is better" - are so heavily influenced by culture. In most parts of America, hanging your laundry out to dry carries a mild taboo, because having a dryer is assumed to be the default. (Not all - when I lived in Bisbee, which is {a} right on the Mexican border, {b} a town full of hippie artists living on shoestring budgets and {c} in the desert, it was much more common to see; our house actually had a set up for clotheslines in the yard. I would use it occasionally, but (perhaps ironically) I was more concerned about the effects of the fierce desert sun on my clothes, and used the dryer instead. Which points to another factor - what you're accustomed to using. I imagine a mechanized dryer would be equally concerning to someone used to line-drying.

Did I tell you about the Korean action movie Brian and I were watching at a local restaurant a while back? In many ways it was a thoroughly Westernized flick, but the cultural differences were pretty obvious if you looked for them. For instance, the budget was clearly smaller than big American movies; the cars were all midrange vehicles like Hyundais or Kias, and although there were a number of car chases, there were very few crashes or explosions; they depended on near misses and stunt driving to keep the excitement level high. Also, although there weren't subtitles, you could tell from the musical cues and camera angles that it was a Really Big Deal when one character got hold of a handgun - the way the other characters were reacting, it was like he'd gone over to the Dark Side. Kind of fascinating.

Date: 2017-09-05 11:46 am (UTC)
aamcnamara: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aamcnamara
Oh! You will probably be interested to read these blog posts, by a group of MIT grad students doing work in/with the Colombian Pacific:
I know I learned a lot!

(Also you might just like CoLab Radio in general; they post really cool stuff, not only by MIT students but almost always really interesting. It was started out of CoLab, a specific research group in the urban studies and planning department (that I'm the library liaison to), that's interested in community development working with the community.)


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