Mr. Trend has been blogging the hell out of Carnaval in Brazil this year, but I have to confess that the subject doesn't interest me that much. As Trend notes, the Rio version has become very commercial and it appears that someone is always determined to gin up controversy.
Full disclosure: I have never actually been in Brazil during Carnaval, but returned just before it started in 2006. That was an interesting experience as I was able to see some of the preparations for the neighborhood blocos (small local celebrations) that are not commercial, but in my mind, much more interesting.
I appreciate the fact that Trend points out that there is much more to it in the entire country than simply Rio. Credit should be given to the Wikipedia entry for giving fair mention to some of the others.
My criticisms notwithstanding, I do have some cousins who have appeared with a samba school, and the idea of appearing with one someday does elicit a brief frisson of interest.