Faculty Writing: On Reality Romance Television, and Repairing the Future in Brazil

Writing for the LRB blog, Sophie Lewis explores the morbid fascination with which television audiences consume the genre of “reality romance”: “Do we really buy the idea that eternal romantic monogamy is the telos of life? Or are we engaging in anthropological scrutiny of the ideological snares and seductions of True Love™?” Given the shows’ observable “anti-sex morality and profound, counterintuitive erotophobia,” it would seem that “the moral arc of a reality romance contestant is supposed to bend towards post-carnal, wedlock-and-procreation-oriented maturity”—even if ours, broadly-speaking, as viewers, appears to be trending in some other direction than the bourgeois family. 

And, for The Baffler, Nara Roberta Silva offers a concise (pre)history of the Bolsonaro government in Brazil—stretching all the way back to the military government of the 1980s and the mass, left-wing demonstrations that followed its collapse—in order to comprehend, in breadth and historical depth, what exactly comprised Bolsonaro’s “destructive project” and how the new Lula government can begin to lay a foundation towards substantive repair. “Repealing Bolsonaro’s policies and prosecuting him, his band, and the perpetrators of the [January 8th] insurrection,” she cautions, “should be considered means—not ends,” given that Bolsonaro himself is “the manifestation” of much larger “unresolved dilemmas in Brazilian society.” 

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