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Taylor Swift, Israel, Hamas, the IMF, climate change, Chainsaw Man and Mr. Pfizer visit Argentina
Argentina is once again the Petri dish where the world’s future is foretold
Oft ignored Argentina at the tip of the globe (It’s southernmost point in Ushuaia is dubbed “The End of the World.”) is enjoying worldwide saturation media coverage this week not because they are less than two weeks away from a pivotal presidential election with global significance, nor because of their rich multicultural history or abundance of globally in-demand natural resources, including enormous deposits of lithium and shale oil, nor because they are the world’s seventh largest exporter of wheat at a time when Ukraine’s massive global wheat exports have been cut in half under the economic stresses of their role as willing proxy in a dangerously direct US war with nuclear armed Russia, but rather because newly minted billionaire songstress Taylor Swift is visiting Buenos Aires and Argentina for the first time to perform a three day series of sold out concerts.
Thousands of fans from neighboring Chile and Uruguay, where local currencies are comparatively strong vs. the debilitated Argentine peso, are also flocking to Buenos Aires, making Ms. Swift’s concert series a regional phenomenon across the Southern Cone.
Ms. Swift’s second concert had to be rescheduled from yesterday, November 10, to Sunday, November 12, due to torrential rains, which are blamed on global climate change. The three and one half hour, sold out concert is now slated to take place at exactly the same time as televised coverage of Argentina’s final presidential debate Sunday night. “Swifties” have already made their priorities clear.
In the interim, the private flight of Ms. Swift’s current love interest, NFL star and noted spokesperson for Pfizer’s mRNA Covid injections, Travis Kelce, landed in Buenos Aires just ahead of Friday’s concert-canceling storm at world famous fútbol stadium Estadio Monumental de River Plate, so that he could join Ms. Swift for an “intimate dinner,” at which they were breathlessly described by sycophantic pop culture media as “beaming” and “so cute” before tonight’s performance.
Mr. Kelce also left behind his ongoing debate in the US with Superbowl winning, anti-Covid vaccine NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has dubbed 3x jabbed Kelce “Mr. Pfizer” because of his public endorsement of Pfizer and challenged him to a public debate about the safety and efficacy of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine products. Ms. Swift has also received multiple mRNA injections.
Ms. Swift’s arrival in Argentina was preceded by more than a month of intense international media coverage of the multi-pronged October 7, 2023, Hamas massacres across Israel that killed more than 1,400 Israelis, and the now month old Israeli military counter offensive that has killed at least 10,000 Palestinians.
Both remaining presidential candidates in Argentina have condemned Hamas and are vying to outdo one another with public proclamations of support for Israel. Although not widely known, Argentina has the sixth largest Jewish population in the world. The Jewish community is tight knit, politically engaged and generous in support of their favored political candidates and causes.
Even less well known, Argentina's Muslim community is estimated to be around 1% of the nation’s population, with 400,000 to 500,000 members. The King Fahd Islamic Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires is the largest mosque in Latin America.
Relations between the two religious communities are generally benign, although tensions have occasionally flared, particularly in the wake of a 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that was widely blamed on Islamic extremists affiliated with Iran. (Does this sound familiar?)
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
There are more than 22 links embedded in the preceding eight paragraphs. Typically, less than 1% of my subscribers click on these links in spite of the hundreds of hours of research they represent. I take this as a compliment, as a vote of confidence in my investigative reporting.
But do know that if followed, these links paint a radically alternative portrait not just of Argentina, but of a world that we are all trying to make sense of amidst a tsunami of “official” propaganda in every nation.
In the current Argentine presidential election, global political and cultural divisions are most saliently embodied in the campaign antics of radical libertarian candidate Javier Milei, who has become famous for promising to “take a chainsaw” to the existing neoliberal political structure while campaigning nationwide with an actual “motosierra.”
My enduring interest in Argentine culture and politics stems from a year split between 2007-2008 making short documentary films there that attempted to showcase the radically different worldviews, indigenous histories and geological mysteries of the Southern Cone, including microbial fossils in Argentina between 545 and 560 million years old, with location shoots ranging from Buenos Aires to “la puna” in northern Argentina (Salta and Jujuy), to Bolivia, Uruguay and Chile.
In 2015, after Argentina elected wealthy neoliberal, Washington Consensus businessman Mauricio Macri (Estimated $540 million net worth.), owner of the popular Boca Juniors fútbol club, as president, I published an article tracing the nation’s history as the global test lab for every variety of IMF & World Bank experiment in the rapacious financial colonialism of the post-Cold War era.
An excerpt from my 2015 article.
For the past four decades, Argentina has been the international test lab for neoliberal policies. The economic program that ravaged Greece and other lower-income nations of the Eurozone was first tested and refined in Argentina. Argentina has been subjected to every variety of neoliberalism and is about to be tested again. The potential global consequences of the 2015 election can be understood only against the backdrop of the nation’s often violent history as a neoliberal proving ground.
Sadly, this paradigm has scarcely changed in 2023. After the second round in the current presidential election, I asked my friend Sergio Carciofi, an attorney and historian with four published books on Argentine history, whose teenage daughters have their own rock band and are devoted “Swifties” who attended the first night’s concert in Buenos Aires, how one should characterize the 2023 Argentine presidential election.
“We are facing an absolutely emotional vote. Anger on the one hand (Milei) and fear on the other (Massa).”
Is this not the perfect description of elections across the West? Trump (anger) vs. Biden (fear). Macron (fear) vs. Le Pen (anger), etc., etc., etc.
I also asked a Mexican-American artist and architect friend who is an astute observer of popular culture across the Americas what she thought of the Taylor Swift mania in Argentina. My friend is not a “Swiftie.” She responded by characterizing Ms. Swift as a kind of witch using ritualistic observances such as friendship bracelets, numerology (13 is Ms. Swift’s favorite number) and in-concert chants as tools for social programming. What won’t her fans do without question if Taylor condones it? Vaccines? Political actions?
Think for yourself, and do so swiftly.
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