I recently finished reading a truly superb article in ESPN The Magazine, and the only reason I haven’t mentioned it before this is that I couldn’t find it online to share with others. Well, I’ve found it now, and as far as I can tell, it is not behind a paywall. It’s called “Generation June” and is written by Wright Thompson. The subtitle reads, “Fury, anarchy, martyrdom: Why the youth of Brazil are (forever) protesting, and how their anger may consume the World Cup.” ESPN deals with sports, and the World Cup is probably the only reason they ran the piece. But the World Cup is almost tangential to what Thompson describes, which is more accurately summarized by “why the youth of Brazil are forever protesting”. Thompson takes us inside the world of the youth, along the way providing some historical context while connecting such protests and the culture surrounding them to similar actions in other parts of the globe. I highly recommend the article:
Here is a brief excerpt from near the end of the essay:
A 53-year-old photographer, Fernando Costa Netto, looked around at the young men and women in the cafe. An idea worked inside of him. Past midnight, the young photographers talked about changing the world, and the older photographers talked about being young.
"They think they are immortal," Fernando said.
He smiled, happy to feel the secondhand energy of the things they believe, melancholy he can no longer believe in those things himself. Long ago, he took his camera to Bosnia and the world he saw through his lens showed him the limits of both youth and his art. The heavy wheels of history roll over anything in their way, without pity or nostalgia.
"I thought I was immortal, too," he said. "Not anymore."