Friday, March 06, 2009

The Most Uninformative, Substance-less, Vapid, and Sexist Foreign Examination of U.S. Diplomacy EVER

Earlier this week, my much beloved O Globo had an image up on their front page that showed Hillary Clinton and said beneath it, "The New Face of American Diplomacy" (Portuguese only - sorry, only not really, because you're really better off if you don't know firsthand what O Globo is saying). Thinking, "huh - a foreign point of view on the new administration's diplomatic efforts - let's have a look," I clicked on the link, and the first page read:

"Hillary Clinton hasn't mastered foreign languages, but she visited over 80 countries in her 8 years as first-lady. The Secretary of State never negotiated an agreement between two hostile nations and, at first glance, appears much less prepared than her recent predecessors. She has neither the academic and political specialization of Condoleezza Rice, nor the military know-how of Colin Powell, nor the international credibility of Madelein Albright. But she has more charisma.

Get to know a little more about the woman who will be the spokesperson of Obama's diplomacy and who will have to face collossal challenges, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, the complex relations with Russia and Iran's nuclear ambitions."

OK. Seemed like it could be a bit anti-Clinton, perhaps, but my intrest was piqued, so I clicked to "learn more" about how Brazil viewed the pros and cons of Clinton's abilities as the "new face of American diplomacy."

Which would have been fine and even interesting, had that been what I got. Instead, I got the option to click on any of the following to find out more about her: "Hair," "Forehead," "Eyes," "Ears," "Necklace" [really], "Clothes," "Book," and "Purse." Already a bad sign, I decided to get it over with, and clicked on "purse," which opened a new graphic of an open purse, telling me such vital information as what perfumes and makeup she likes!!!! YES!! THIS IS DIPLOMACY!!! Already surprised, not at the vacuity of O Globo and the appalling gendered "analysis" of Clinton's "abilities" as the head American diplomat, but at my expectations that it could be anything otherwise, I began silently cursing myself for falling for it, and O Globo for being the 70% shareholder of Brazilian media. That said, already covered in the stink of O Globo, I clicked on some of the other options to see if it could get any worse than the "purse" "analysis."

Turns out, it didn't get "worse," - it just remained as shallow. The "Necklace" option read in its entirety: "Adept with the classic style, Hillary doesn't go without a necklace and pearl earrings." "Hair" told me all about how long her hair was (because, you know, my eyes hadn't been able to discern that, nor could my mind come up with the phrase "just above her shoulders" on its own), and, in the kind of truly deep political analysis only O Globo could offer, telling me that she "uses a spray to give her hair more shine and texture." "Book" told me what her favorite books are (not surprisingly,) while "Ears" told me her favorite music (including the Eagles - the Dude would not abide this) and "Eyes" told me what her favorite movies are. Because, you know, if I want to know about a person's abilities as diplomat, nothing is as revealing as knowing that he or she enjoys The Wizard of Oz or Casablanca (though how awesome would it have been if her favorite movie was something like Manos: Hands of Fate or the Criterion Collection edition of I Am Curious?) The "clothes" "info" was equally uninformative (she likes pantsuits! Again, something I'd have never noticed if it weren't for Globo's cunning analysis!!!), but as an added bonus, I could CHANGE THE COLOR OF HER PANTSUIT ON THE GRAPHIC!!! I never knew diplomacy could be so much FUN!!!! Only Clinton's "forehead" really gave anything relatively deep compared to the other tripe, and it was simply a basic biography of her, saying where she was born and when, what her degree and specialization was in (children's rights), and what she'd done in her life, all in 4 paragraphs!

It is no secret how much I hate O Globo, a fact that wouldn't matter nearly so much if it didn't control a majority of the Brazilian media and didn't make Fox News occasionally look rational and well-researched. Still, just when I think it can't get any more vacuous, sexist, and un-analytical, they come up with this absolutely mind-blowing shit (and let's be clear - it is nothing more than that, in the most perjorative sense of the word). Twenty minutes later, I still didn't know whether to just laugh or just get despondent.

Three days later, I still don't know.