Why the President can’t shed a smile

Written by Staff Writer at CNN From Esquire UK Written by Staff Writer at CNN From Esquire UK

Three weeks after a Brazilian GIRO team rider made international headlines, Izzet Atoyo Jr. is still inspiring disbelief in his homeland.

“I was left in no doubt that this was an isolated incident,” the Team Giro team leader was quoted as saying in the press. “I cannot understand why all the international media have jumped to this conclusion.”

Blogging for CNN over the weekend, fashion writer and aeronautical engineer Kevin Stark says that his friend, an ethnic African-Brazilian like Atoyo, is an ambassador for inclusion and self-determination “in a country that does not want to hear it.”

“This feels very much like a blip on the radar for the general Brazilian population,” he continues. “It’s not really relevant to their daily life. To the extent that (that Atoyo) remains an ambassador for inclusion and self-determination, I’m fine with that.”

Stark has just returned from Rio de Janeiro, where he covered the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo’s test flight and caught some sun.

An Olympics less spectacular

In the 2016 Rio Olympics, the media were quick to suggest the city’s food, architecture and general spirit was lost on the international press corps. One writer compared the city to a “South American Los Angeles.”

Stark says that the 2008 Beijing Games were a similarly gloomy experience.

“The idea of the Chinese national team is very different,” he says. “It doesn’t feel as imposing and as fearful as the Chinese might make you feel. The Chinese use the Olympics to project an image of themselves in the world as an aggressive, dominant power. So when they do things like their soccer player Zhang Jilong steps on a hole in the pitch to play against Italy, it’s seen as a belligerent and humiliating act of disrespect. He didn’t do it to pick at some flesh. He did it because that’s how the Chinese think.”

Nowadays, Asiana Airlines is planning to offer free trips to survivors of last year’s AirAsia crash in the South China Sea. Photographer N. V. Lolo writes about how elite bodies have become increasingly untrustworthy and critical of activities that seem quintessentially modern.

Fashion designer Jose Carlos Moschetto reflects on the ever-changing art of sportswear; funny man Will Fordjour looks back at a dystopian hangout in his hometown; literary critic Dina Dubicka looks at the political, social and psychological underpinnings of sexual pleasure; and Australian art historian Erin McCarthy describes how the Berlin street artists iColor and Against All Odds have become multi-disciplinary masters.

Meanwhile, after nine years of tepid endorsement and incessant construction, Dubai’s Barwa Mall is reopening this month. Originally designed as a giant shopping mall of the future in the Emirate, the project was dogged by rising costs and projects in India, China and elsewhere came along to eat its lunch. CNN’s Arwa Damon takes a tour of the public building and its uncertain future.

Leave a Comment