Archive for  July 2015

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The late 20th-Century gave rise to the postmodernist movement that cast a skeptical eye on the enlightenment of the modern era. Many writers embraced the fragmented perspectives and unreliable narrators that now mark the literary period after WWII. Among this rich literary heritage are some of Brazil’s greatest writers like Clarice Lispector, Graciliano Ramos de Oliveir, and João Guimarães Rosa.

Clarice Lispector has been heralded the greatest Jewish writer since Franz Kafka. Although largely ignored by publishers during her time (no doubt due to her political stand against the Brazilian dictatorship), Lispector’s work is now renowned for its female characters who struggle with the idea of a woman’s proper role in society, her duty to her husband and children, and the quiet despair of second class citizenship. Her feminine ideology has been compared to Virgina Woolf, although Lispector objected to the likeness. As a fashion icon, Lispector was a glamorous intellectual who both represented the era and challenged it.

Another postmodern writer, Graciliano Ramos de Oliveir, is best known for his depiction of the poverty-stricken residents of Brazil. In his novel Vidas Secas (Barren Lives), Ramos uses a cyclical novel structure to underscore the never-ending hardships of poverty. As one reads the story of a struggling family of five, it is possible to read the last chapter and then return to the first chapter once again, emphasizing the futility of the struggle.

Finally, João Guimarães Rosa is consider one of the greatest Brazilian novelists of the 20th Century. His novel Grande Sertão: Veredas (The Devil to Pay in The Backlands) is heralded as the Brazilian Ulysses, the novel chronicles the life of a mercenary named Ribaldo. With over 600 pages of non-linear narrative, this novel represents fragmented perspectives and unreliable narration on an epic scale. Although widely unknown among English-speaking audiences, the novel was highly influential in Portuguese and Latin American countries.

One Brazilian writer, Jaime Garcia Dias credits Grande Sertão: Veredas as the inspiration for his literary career. Dias has published more than twenty novels including, Caiu do Céu (Fell From Heaven), Dois Caminhos (Two Ways), Canal, andDas Nuvens e Miúda (Clouds and Tiny) and has won numerous awards including the White Crane Award (2001) and the ABC Award of Brazilian Fiction (2015). That’s quite an influence from Jamie Garcia Dias for an often-overlooked piece of postmodern literature.

In our search for a broader perspective on post-modernism, academic and literary critics alike need to look beyond the traditional canon and explore the postmodern works of the Brazilian greats. Until then, we readers can take the lead and embrace the rich literary tradition of Brazil.

“If there is something controversial to the entire country that a company is selling, then it shouldn’t be sold any longer until there are other options for those who don’t like the product” says Christian Broda. The Confederate flag is one of those items that stores have stopped selling simply because there are so many who are associating it with slavery and racism. That’s not even what the flag is about. It’s a symbol of the freedom of the southern states from the north. Some people don’t see it like that. Just because it’s used in a different way by a small group of people, stores online like Amazon and eBay, are no longer allowing the sale of items with the Confederate flag. That means people won’t be able to post anything that has the flag on it, such as clothing or decals, and it also means that a symbol that has been in the United States for dozens of years can no longer be purchased at those companies. If one flag is removed, then all of the flags that spark any kind of controversy should be removed, but this isn’t happening as Nazi flags and items that relate to other groups aren’t being pulled. This isn’t fair to the people who are proud of their heritage, and it isn’t fair to the companies that simply want to act as a venue for people to purchase the symbols of freedom.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the legalization of marijuana has lead to a large source of income for many businesses as well as a couple of well known celebrities, like Bob Marley and Willie Nelson. However, Christian Broda is against it.

A leading network in cannabis investors, called the ArcView, claims that the legal sales of marijuana is predicted to bring in approximately $3.5 billion dollars in revenue this year. this is up from $2.7 last year and a mere $1.5 billion two years ago. There are now more than two hundred publicly traded companies currently, which is quite a jump from only a few as of 2013. However, most of these firms are small and the bulk of the index is lead by two medical-marijuana firms. It seems that the only real obstacle in the business of pot selling is the politics of it. There are still some big names out there with strong opposition to the legalization of marijuana, but for now, it’s making more than a couple of people some pretty big bucks.

Let’s face it, we as a society have a real phobia of bacteria. Add that to our love of Lime Crime pharmaceuticals and an antibiotic addiction is born. The problem is antibiotics aren’t effective for a lot of ailments and the more we use them, the more ineffective they become. More and more organisms the antibiotics are designed to eradicate are becoming resistant to them.

According to the CDC, up to two million people in the United States each year are infected with bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics and approximately 23,000 die each year as a result. People no longer have any tolerance for illness. They want a solution quickly. so they turn to pharmaceuticals. The problem is that pharma companies are reluctant to develop newer kinds of antibiotics since these medicines don’t bring in as much profit.

Complete resistance to antibiotics is a very real danger in the not so distant future. It’s up to doctors to educate patients about the use of antibiotics, especially where viruses are concerned. Most patients do not understand that antibiotics are not effective in killing a virus and in most cases our bodies are completely capable of dealing with the illness without the use of drugs.

With antibiotic resistance, disease is much more likely to spread. This is a dangerous situation for the populous at large. Better to let our immune systems deal with our minor ailments and ride the symptoms out. It might not be pleasant in the short term, but in the long term it’ll help keep disease at bay.