Interesting article about one of Brazil’s most famous plastic surgeons, who also a 2-bit philosopher. I enjoyed the write up and noticed a few interesting moments.
1. Capitalism is seldom visible. But the cultivation of desires, and the normalizing of those desires can be noted.
When a good life is defined through the ability to buy goods then rights may be reinterpreted to mean not equality before the law, but equality in the market. One young man who lived in an area notorious for police violence said he longed to buy an imported car. While there is nothing unusual in this wish, what he said next surprised me: “That’s my dream. Rights for all.” This is perhaps a new idea of citizenship: social belonging depends on access to a particular standard of living.
2. These changes are exceptionally fast. Victorians believed cleft palette would ‘build character.’ To move from a normal space for a body to inhabit to an illness that needs remedy is pretty amazing.
Victorians saw a cleft palate as a defect that built character. For us it hinders self-realization and merits corrective surgery. This shift reflects a new attitude towards appearance and mental health: the notion that at least some defects cause unfair suffering and social stigma is now widely accepted.