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The Trouble with Favela Chic

Stashed in: Poverty, Morons, That Wasn't the Point, When the 1% try to be the 99%

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A Milwaukee bar called Nomad World Pub wanted to create a special place for its customers to watch the World Cup, so it decided to set up a faux favela inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s poverty-stricken mountainside slums. The fact the space comes with a taco hut — a type of food not even served in Brazil — reveals the depth of ignorance out of which it was created. You have to wonder: is the menu in Spanish too? 

You would think Nomad’s owner might think twice before replicating this environment for local Wisconsinites’ enjoyment, but such poverty has long been an inexplicable source of titillation for those not born into it. In the 19th century, wealthy Londoners enjoyed touring Brick Lane (then a slum), just as today Westerners pay money to visit the slums of Rio and Mumbai. In the mid-2000s, “homeless chic” — literally clothing inspired by homeless people’s make-do attire — took over the catwalks of designers like John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood (models wore “frostbitten” makeup).

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