Friday, November 22, 2013

Despecho, Power and Love in the Telenovela

     As students, individuals, professionals, and consumers, we are all living our own telenovela. Our lives are hidden secrets, triumphs, woes, love, and despecho. We can't transcribe these lived emotions on paper for fear of sounding cheesy, silly, or shallow. In this same way, telenovelas flourish success because of the raw emotion preformed. Many disregard a telenovela as rather shallow, repetative, and unintelligent. We cannot, however, translate the true impact of telenovelas in society in the same way we can't translate the word despecho. Yet, we know it's deep impact the same way we know despecho is in grained in Mexico and Latin America. It's a saddening awakening, a sort of melancholy neblina in Venezuela.     If I have learned anything it is that telenovelas have power. As Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru concluded, the genre is evolving, it's not dying, and it has powers. The telenovela is filled with mistakes, also. I find, however, that life itself is full of mistakes, yet this gives it a human quality. In their hands, production companies, actors, writers, watchdog agencies, and government have broken countries and restored hope through the telenovela. 
    As an outsider watching from the United States,  my mother's heart hurt as she watched a report where thousands of gallons of milk being poured out because shipments did not arrive to Venezuela. In this CNN report, Henrique Capriles says that milk is being bought by spoonfuls. He accuses that the government controls foreign exchange, imported food, and practically all of the economy. Yet, as
we have watched, we saw power in the novela Cosita Rica. Although this was the last of the golden age of Venezuelan telenovelas, a spark of hope flares with writer, Lenardo Padrón. We all ache for Venezuela, yet there is solidarity for those waiting in thos long lines at the grocery stores. Shortages in Venezuela, NYT

     There is beauty in the imperfections of the telenovela. There is beauty in the power we hold as individuals, telenovela consumers, and the telenovela genre, itself.

Capriles hopes to spark solidarity for those standing in lines


  1. To add on to this post, I can say that this class opened my eyes to what is happening in the world today outside of the United States. Sometimes I find myself caught up in a sort of "bubble" where I only see, do, or hear what I want. I get caught up in what I have to do TODAY and don't actually think about what I could do TODAY for someone else. I feel ignorant. I didn't know the extent of Venezuela's struggles right now. I knew there was some violence but reading about the article you posted about the lack of milk is actually horrible. I can walk down stairs right now and pour myself a large class of milk and I would not even think twice. Does that make me a horrible person? Seeing Marisa Román's tears as we asked her the question about Venezuela actually broke my heart. I really pray for the country and hope that it will get back on its feet again.

  2. Wow, I really loved this post and I think its message is really powerful. Although I am about to sound really cheesy, I have some additional thoughts that I think are important to share.

    During Thanksgiving break, I was reminded of all that I am blessed with in my life. I live in a country where I have endless opportunities. Everything I could ever ask for is available at my fingertips, and I often do not appreciate all that I have been given. As I walked around campus today, I looked at the amazing facilities we study in. I realized that in many other parts of the world, many students do not have the same opportunities that I have been given and that I often take for granted. The thought of not even being able to go to the grocery store to buy milk is such a foreign concept to me.

    Like Nicole said, before taking this course I did not know what was going on in Venezuela. This course has opened my eyes to the struggle of not only Venezuela, but the many other struggles faced by people of Latin America today. This class has also shown me the power of knowing a second language. Our knowledge of Spanish opens so many doors and exposes us to new cultures. I hope to continue my study of Spanish, and through Spanish, I hope to learn more about life outside of the United States.