I’m not sure how extensively Obama’s visit to Brazil last weekend was covered in the United States, but I’d be really surprised if it was televised there more than it was here. It was on the news all day last Saturday and Sunday, and it continued in the evenings for a few days after he left. They kept replaying a portion of one of his speeches where he began with a few words of Portuguese – everyone seemed very entertained by this. Good try, Barack. You and me, learning Portuguese. I was also pleased to see that Michelle Obama’s fashion choices were just as exciting to the Brazilian news as they noremally are in the States – I particularly enjoyed the reddish dress with the teal shoes. Nice work.
Quick side note: Somehow, multiple people in my program have remarked to me that they are aware that Obama went to Oxy. I have no idea how this information has been disseminated. The only places I’ve ever heard it stated are at Oxy itself and on Huel Howser’s California Gold, which both seem unlikely sources. It’s a mystery to me.
Anyway, as it happened, Obama no Brasil turned out to be the first and so far the strongest weird experience of seeing American or American-ish things in Brazilian media. This happens fairly often – a lot of Hollywood movies are shown dubbed in Portuguese, and some Hollywood stars are interesting to Brazilian entertainment magazines. So far the most unexpected has been seeing an interview with the American actor Bill Pullman in Cara, which seems like a classier version of People or Star. Apparently, he really loves Brazil. Go, Bill Pullman. Will.i.am made an appearance on a variety show today, and they’ve been running Harry Potter in Portuguese in the afternoons, which is hilarious – Ron and Hermione’s names get me every time, since the R sounds like an H, the H is silent, and they add an “ee” sound at the end of everything – “Honny!” “Ermy-oney!” But let me get back to Obama.
I’m not a very patriotic person. I appreciate my life in America, and I’m starting to really appreciate a lot of the everyday things about it, like putting the toilet paper in the toilet and having water temperature options in the shower, but I’m just, but I feel really awkward saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and my feelings tend more towards certainty that there is a good deal of wool over everyone’s eyes than pride. But somehow, watching the Obamas do their thing in Brazil just completely undid me. I started tearing up watching them stand next to Dilma Rousseff while The Star Spangled Banner played and the U.S. flag was raised. I’m not claiming to know the meaning of being American, or anything like that, but man. I had no idea I had any of that kind of feeling in there. I guess when I’m in America I don’t feel American – I just feel like a person. But at that moment I felt really, really American. It was bizarre. And it keeps happening. I watched most of Ladder 49 on TV today, and I kept almost losing it during the entire thing. I don’t even have a particular attachment to firefighters or anything – the whole thing was just so American. It’s really weird.