Let's take a brief moment to fully appreciate "Despacito." I chanced across it in May 2017, not knowing anything about it, and fell in love with both the song and video on one view. When it became the most-watched video on YouTube, I cheered. The world population today is approximately 7.5 billion. Views of that video are at 6.59 billion. Granted that there are people like me who've watched it numerous times and people in Tibet or Xinjiang who've never seen it, still: what unites the world today is "Despacito."
Maybe in part it's because La Perla is simultaneously familiar to people worldwide and--in the video--idealized: children and old folks and young sexy folks all hanging out together, all at ease. Unfortunately, that neighborhood, wedged between the seawall and the city walls of Old San Juan, is *very* vulnerable to storms, and the people living in it don't have many financial resources. When Hurricane Maria came through, it was devastated. As we all remember, aside from tossing out rolls of paper towels, the current administration couldn't have cared less about disaster relief to the island as a whole, and what relief there was didn't make it to La Perla--the people there recovered by helping each other out.
(This I heard generally from people I talked to about the hurricane: everyone survived the extended lack of power with help from their neighbors and helping their neighbors.)
It turns out there's been a short film made about the neighborhood's recovery (osprey_archer, the director is a woman). It doesn't seem to be available for viewing online anywhere, but I hope to see it one day. Here's the trailer:
Next posts will be book reviews--the very marvelous The Wolf and the Girl and Time of Daughters 2.
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