By Donna M. Goldstein
Donna M. Goldstein demanding situations a lot of what we predict we all know in regards to the "culture of poverty." Drawing on greater than a decade of expertise in Brazil, Goldstein presents an intimate portrait of daily life one of the girls of the favelas, or city shantytowns. those girls have created absurdist and black-humor storytelling practices within the face of trauma and tragedy. Goldstein is helping us to appreciate that such joking and laughter is a part of an emotional aesthetic that defines the feel of frustration and anomie endemic to the political and monetary desperation of the shantytown.
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Additional info for Laughter Out of Place: Race, Class, Violence, and Sexuality in a Rio Shantytown (Public Anthropology, 9)
Wherever these trucks slowed down, clots of passersby would begin to dance in the street. Occasionally, even drivers caught in traffic would take advantage of the opportunity and dance next to their gridlocked cars. During the afternoon of the day of the event, I was instructed by my friends—upper-middle-class Brazilian intellectuals—to dress in white and to buy new underwear. Tradition demands that everyone do so, and 26 Laughter “Out of Place” the underwear should be either white or pink—pink for love, I was told.
The favela had changed in many ways over those years, and I was busy registering those changes as I tried to digest the news that Zeca had died. 20 Laughter “Out of Place” I still had a bit of adjusting to do, since I had only landed in Rio a day earlier. 1 So we set out for the Zona Oeste (West Zone) of the city following Avenida Brasil in her forever reliable but rusty Volkswagen Beetle. Driving out through the city center, we passed the early-twentieth-century Opera House, the building meticulously modeled after the one in Paris and so clearly evocative of an earlier Europhile grandeur.
Humor is one of the fugitive forms of insubordination. Although I could not often see the discontent of these women directly, I found that I could hear it expressed, often meekly, sometimes boldly, through their laughter. bitter truths, hidden transcripts Rabelais, one of the wisest and most learned, as well as the wittiest of men, put on the robe of the all-licensed fool, that he might, like the court-jester, convey bitter truths under the semblance of simple buffoonery. 11 While it may seem that the popular humor of the characters presented throughout this book displays a similarly survivalist perspective—after all, their humor is inspired within cruel and unusual political and economic circumstances that nevertheless allow them to make fun of the absurdity of their situation—it is also much more than that.
Laughter Out of Place: Race, Class, Violence, and Sexuality in a Rio Shantytown (Public Anthropology, 9) by Donna M. Goldstein