The dark face of Brazil

Banksy, Trolleys (color), 2007
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By JAQUELINA IMBRIZI*

Commentary on four documentary films.

“The fascist regime always weighs on language and language itself, as it originally weighed on the psyche available to the fascist past. It completes and thickens the existing split and power relationship between language and social reality. Fixed by violence and by the bullets and bombs of power, in fascism ideology tends to become reality, having an effect even as something else in a dream, giving language the concreteness of a stone, the one thrown at the enemy and the one that crushes and paralyzes the possibility of circulation of difference” (Tales Ab'Sáber, Michel Temer and common fascism, P. 155).

Four documentaries that portray the darkest face of Brazil were made by two directors, Petra Costa (2019) and Maria Augusta Ramos (2018; 2022), and three directors, Tales Ab'Sáber, Rubens Rewald and Gustavo Aranda (2016).

The documentary Democracy em vertigem follows the events leading up to the impeachment by Dilma Rousseff; it is made up of some images donated and starring the then president of Brazil. Petra Costa (2019) weaves together the scenes in line with her experiences in the face of the parliamentary coup in 2016, which became our collective and political trauma. It's with her voice in off and including some images typical of different historical moments, and in the company of her family and friends, Petra Costa recalls her and our history, producing a counter-narrative resulting from her political position closer to the ideals of the left and in defense of democracy.

Let there be vertigo to accompany the narrative elaborated by the director! At the same time, who knows, it can produce in the spectator lull because of a certain seam of meanings between the catastrophes that frayed the social bonds of a nation. The director is a prodigy for her speed in making a film that followed details of our socio-political context that led to the rise of the extreme right, one year after the arrival of the conservative representative to power.

Maria Augusta Ramos (2018) also presents her vision of the parliamentary coup in The process, using images provided by the protagonists, the then president Dilma Rousseff, and the defense functions carried out by the representatives of the PT, Gleisi Hoffmann, president of the party, and the Minister of Justice at the time, José Eduardo Cardozo, among other people. In his most recent documentary, the secret friend (Ramos, 2022), it portrays the backstage of Operation Lava Jato, more specifically the staging of what was called “Operação Vaza Jato”, that is, the leak of information that explained the frauds perpetrated to prevent the candidacy of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Silva to the Presidency of the Republic in 2018, condensed in the figure of the then judge Sérgio Moro.

The director highlights the serious actors of journalism, linked to the platforms El País e intercept, transformed into protagonists of the documentary whose material is the struggle to unmask the biased judge. There are scenes recorded by the director in the work environment of the group of journalists, and in some of them the team knows that they are being filmed in their daily work: choosing the subject of the article, checking the sources and with them, the team meetings. There is also the organization of images produced by other communication vehicles. It is evident the tendency placed by Ramos to value the work of a type of journalism and of journalists who are still interested in the facts and their historical context.

They are professionals who did not rest until they unmasked the protagonists of a scam that involved the power games that prevented Lula's candidacy, despite the threats to their lives that were already announced, in that sociopolitical context. The documentary can be seen as a tribute to serious journalism that, through the work of critical professionals who, by not exempting themselves from the unforgettable challenge, contradicted the narrative of Brazilian conservative political representatives.

Recently, columnist Milly Lacombe (2022) called on journalists and media outlets to take a critical stand on the facts and consider their subjective implications when telling the story of corruption in Brazil, turned into a lie when it is attributed only to the Party of the workers. It is an untruth that fuels hatred and binarisms – responding to ideological and financial interests – that block the way to hold the current president of Brazil accountable, who is indeed capable of creating a secret budget to be in force for the next hundred years. The title of her text is direct: “Media must assume its role in the naturalization of the extreme right in Brazil”.

Maria Ramos (2022), in this audiovisual production, organizes the sequence of images so that this order speaks for itself, without any voice in off preparing the viewer for what will unfold in the documentary, while not offering the reading of images in the beautiful style of Petra Costa. On the contrary, those who watch need to make an effort to make the synthesis that best suits them.

The first scene of the film shows Lula being accused by a hesitant Sérgio Moro who is explicitly asked by the ex-president's defense lawyer to change the questions, as the endlessly repeated questions had already been properly answered by the accused, assuming that the defendant had get ready for the confrontation and move on with your task. In this way, the director was perspicacious in collecting the sequence of images in which the judge's inability is exposed live and in color to start the profusion of scenes that follow in order to unmask the one who was transformed into a national superhero , despite its lack of character and its adherence to the logic of non-thinking.

This director's style is also present in the documentary Intervention - love doesn't mean much (Ab'Sáber, Rewald, Aranda, 2016), in which nothing is said to prepare the viewer for what is to come and the images already start in profusion, highlighting, for the most part, male representatives in their five minutes of fame, who utter hatred and insults against the Workers' Party, against women, ostensibly called sluts by one of the protagonists, against Lula and any intelligent thought on the face of the Earth.

This documentary, unlike those by Costa (2019) and Ramos (2018; 2022), does not have images recorded by the directors and refers to the collection and organization of material taken from social networks: lives, Facebook, discussion forums available on different platforms occupied by the subjects highlighted there. The protagonists chosen to premiere the documentary are ordinary people – “the average conservative man” - and the false philosophers who record their speeches accompanied by facial expressions of hate, making them available on social networks towards a specific audience thirsty for this way of conveying the politics of enmity.

They are men who make a spectacle out of their own misery, and we can infer that the majority are ex-military. It is also worth highlighting the scenes in which automated movements are captured that respond to low-quality music, in a religious environment, mixed with the name of some god and, thus, represent the militarization of religion. It is a botched imitation of an aestheticization of politics. We will see this trend mature, in the four years that followed, with the victory of the far-right candidate, in 2018, supported by a speech that articulates the name of God to the call for the murder of people, together with the defense of the population’s arming. : a policy of war associated with the militarization of religion!

Walter Benjamin, in his now classic The work of art in the era of its technical reproducibility, written between 1935-36, offers us reflections on cinema. It is an analysis that we, lovers of the seventh art, never tire of revisiting and in which we find more and more enigmatic figures and ideas to think about contemporary audiovisual productions, specifically in the documentary format. Walter Benjamin, as is already known, discusses the changes in people's perception after the advent of the technical reproducibility of the work of art, mainly with regard to its consequences for the psychic regression of the receivers of the products of these new techniques of multiplying combined photographic images with the sound.

There is a shift from the tactile perception of museum goers to a dispersed perception that modifies the mass's relationship with art, triggering a certain restructuring of the perceptive system. Where the collectivity seeks dispersion, it can become retrograde or progressive. Thus, “retrograde in front of Picasso, she becomes progressive in front of Chaplin”. This statement by Benjamin (2012a, p.209) resonates in contemporary times – with the vertiginous reproduction of memes, TikToks and reel – and dispersion perhaps produces an oscillation in the mass, now retrograde, now forward.

Worse than this oscillation is the junction of the progressive narrative with the conservative one, as in an “all at the same time now”, the result of a certain split between language and social reality, as we highlight in the epigraph that opens this text and is also present in the book by Herbert Marcuse (1973): the lack of distinction between such disparate and politically antagonistic contents being converted into a homogeneous mass that builds non-thought.

Regarding the reception of the aforementioned audiovisual productions, the directors do not aim to entertain the spectator and provoke a dispersed perception, but to cause discomfort and contact with a Brazilian reality that part of the population continues to deny until the end. We can say that they are directors who make a presentation of reality accessible so that we can better elaborate it, inviting reflection on what is happening around us, as if the objective were to awaken our progressive vertex to face a regression of conscience in a large part of the world. of the population towards ethos conservative and patriarchal that regains its strength as petrified cultural values ​​in Brazilian lands.

Thus, it is possible to bring cinema closer to dream production with regard to the specific function of the dream to awaken the dreamer to the historical context and its potential for transformation and revolution, according to the reflections of Walter Benjamin: “Each era, in effect, does not he dreams only of the next one, but seeks, on the contrary, in his dream to come out of his sleep” (apud AB'SÁBER, 2005, p.102-3; AB'SÁBER, 2020a). Another function of the dream is related to the work of psychic elaboration of traumatic and catastrophic events, as warned by Sándor Ferenczi (2011).

What we have noticed is that resistance to fascism may be being enacted in dreamlike productions by people who adhere to progressive ideals, whose heroes, by not identifying with the naturalization of bellicose coexistence, transmit figurative discomfort through processes of non-identification with political representatives who deny the possibility of barring humanity's irreversible path towards barbarism, as in the dreamlike narratives collected by Beradt (2017) and by our research and extension groups (IMBRIZI, 2020; IMBRIZI et al. 2021; SILVA et al., 2021).

For Walter Benjamin (2012a, p.204), cinema, through what he calls the optical unconscious, can produce a collective dream, by proposing cuts and sequences of images that are independent of the viewers' desire. In the words of the philosopher, “[…] the procedures of the camera correspond to the procedures thanks to which the collective perception of the public appropriates the modes of individual perception of the psychotic or the dreamer”.

In this case, the spectator allows himself to be led by the sequence of images as in a dream being produced by someone other than himself. The game of scene, the cuts and the sequential chaining of the images operate as the mechanism of oneiric figurability; in this case, they are imagery sequences conducted by editors and directors. Figurability is a mechanism specific to dream work (Freud, 1900/2019), it concerns the transformation of abstract thoughts into images and is related to the way the dream scenes are assembled by the dreamers: from what perspective does the protagonist speak, what the content conveyed according to a certain inversion of affections and transvaluation of values, which gestures accompany the themes shown, which colors, textures and evoked affections?

Elaboration of traumatic events and estrangement, horror and non-identification with the dream heroes for some people or non-dream, non-thinking and identification with virile references and conservative vertices for others seem to be the subjective impacts on the people who follow the unfolding of the narratives constructed in the productions audiovisual elements presented in this text.

“Aesthetics of war” is the last item in the essay by Walter Benjamin (2012a, p.210) that invites us to reflect on how to face a certain aestheticization of politics – located in the figure of Hitler and his followers on the rise at that historical moment – which would produce dispersion in perception, regression of consciousness and setbacks in the struggle to maintain the principles that preserve human life on planet earth. Thus, the aestheticization of politics “prepares” people for war: “All efforts to aestheticize politics converge on one point. That point is war.” For the philosopher, there is a possible answer to such a warlike tendency in artistic and cultural manifestations, a reflection of the capitalist mode of production, which is the politicization of art.

In the words of the theorist: “In Homer's time, humanity offered itself in spectacle to the Olympic gods; now, she becomes a spectacle to herself. His self-alienation has reached the point where he can experience his own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the aestheticization of politics, as practiced by fascism. Communism responded with the politicization of art” (BENJAMIN, 2012a, p.212).

Can we say that the four audiovisual productions, despite the heterogeneity of the resources used, represent a way of exercising a certain politicization of art? We think so. Even if, in order to achieve this objective, the politics of art means demonstrating what the majority of the population does not want to see, as they are documentaries that put us face to face with the aestheticization of politics in the Brazilian fashion, without much delay. Therefore, it is the aforementioned documentary Intervention what else offers us elements to reflect on the aesthetics of war and its psychic impacts on content producers and receivers, whether those people who adhere to the neo-fascist logic, or the people who still resist it. The protagonists of the documentary transmit in their gestures, in the tone of voice and in the affection carried in their lines an invitation to confront the imaginary and/or real enemy.

 

The aesthetics of war in documentary Intervention - love doesn't mean much

Far from an art form as entertainment, the documentary filmmakers dare to show and present something that we would not want to see and see that it is related to the rise of extreme right forces in Brazil. That is, documentarists invite us to face horror: the fact that fascism gains strength when we pretend, to protect ourselves, that it does not exist, that its shadow does not hover between and over us as a structuring root of the way of living. capitalist production and organization.

An analogy is well present in everyday conversations in Minas Gerais: in the land of this author, there is a specific way in which ordinary people refer to cancer – “that disease” – as if just the fact of pronouncing the word and naming the health problem could infect the speaker and the listener, acquiring magical connotations of some kind of curse. This correspondence helps us to think about the fact that the documentary aims to make explicit, without asking for licenses or apologies to the people who watch it, the curse that has taken over our sad Brazil, thus causing discomfort by making the aesthetics of our society very transparent. war.

It focuses on a common symptom of our culture: our inability to get in touch with horror, pronounce it and lay it bare – as in Freud's note on Civilization's Discontents, by stating that human beings in their socialization process seem to prepare to face winter in summer clothes, by denying aspects of aggression and violence, as if men and women were good by nature. The documentary exposes the violence and aggression that surrounds us and that we try vehemently to deny. Perhaps it is this denial that has left us unaware and unprotected to the point that many of us claim surprise at the victory of the extreme right candidate in the Brazilian presidential elections in 2018.

There is a broth of culture being produced by many intellectuals who aim with their knowledge to produce “interventions” with a view to barring a set of forces that sustain the neo-fascist rise in Brazilian territory. The psychoanalyst Tales Ab'Sáber, in addition to producing the documentary together with his two cronies, has thickened this cultural melting pot, and through his research and intellectual work he has articulated the contributions of critical authors, such as Karl Marx, and the authors of the first generation of the so-called Frankfurt School – Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and Walter Benjamin – with their experience in the expanded psychoanalytic clinic with the objective of analyzing the current situation, raising hypotheses about the functioning of the psychic defenses of people who adhere to the aesthetics of war.

Ab'Sáber has followed the propositions of philosophers of the critical theory of society with regard to the cultural, historical, political and economic conditions that favored the emergence of fascist logic in Brazilian culture, in addition to how the fertile lands, the cultural climates, are constituted (in Adornian language) that feed instrumental rationality, precisely with subjects ready to adhere to the orders of their leaders transformed into personifications of their ideals.

We can cite already classic themes listed by Theodor Adorno, such as the statement that while society is organized having its bases in the exploitation of the workforce, fascist principles will always be lurking and will be fertile soil for barbarism. Radical criticism goes to the root of the problem, in this case criticism and the search for alternatives to the capitalist mode of production; to the pseudo-culture that guides teaching in educational institutions that produce people ready to give opinions detached from the arduous, careful, time-consuming and loving intellectual work necessary for a major political position. This discussion is present in the texts pseudoculture theory (2004) and Cultural Industry – enlightenment as mystification of the masses (1985), the latter written in the company of philosopher Max Horkheimer.

In a radio talk in the 1960s, Adorno (1995) lists the conditions for an education after Auschwitz, a type of transmission of knowledge that calls into question the affections of humans, all too human. He directly quotes the results of research on the authoritarian personality (ADORNO, 2019) and social and cultural texts by Sigmund Freud as Discontents in Civilization (1930) and Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921).

These are themes that support the conditions that lead to the rise of fascism and that need to be faced: the strength of collectives in erasing singularities; blind love for leaders and figures considered celebrities; building a type of authoritarian personality based on the adoration of technology and everything that can be instrumentalized in the name of progress, objectifying relationships between people; awareness of the power game between life drive and death drive; the urgency of facing the evil and violence that we reproduce in the smallest gestures with a view to keeping the social gear in operation; last but not least, the invitation to exercise critical self-reflection. That is, it is the work of critical thinking that can prevent humanity's unstoppable path towards barbarism and, for that, it is necessary to get in touch with the fascist logic embedded in our culture and introjected by us, inculcating itself in our affections. most recondite and, many times, in the name of technical progress.

It is a paradox, because even the most enlightened people have difficulties facing the fascist discourse and the glazed eyes of people who adhere to this logic; here we can refer to the discomfort caused in people who manage to watch the documentary until the end. That is, the audiovisual production, without inviting us, and despite our resistance, shows what the “good Brazilian citizen” has been transformed into and so many human beings who, because they are also immersed in this cultural broth, tend to unconsciously identify with this way of life. of being and being in the world. Revulsion and seduction would be the mixed feelings triggered in people who watch the documentary.

The documentary is also the product of a larger research work that aims to analyze certain psychopolitics, investigate how subjects adhere to the fascist logic, in this case a Brazilian-style neo-fascism that grows in addition to our perverse and slave-owning historical roots. See an elite that is not bothered by the junction between economic interests and the extermination of people in a situation of social vulnerability – young, black, peripheral people –, a society and its justice system that did not hold accountable and judge the torturers and their bosses in the dictatorship period; the naturalization of the sub-human conditions offered in Brazilian prisons; an elite and portion of our parliamentary representatives who disregarded more than 150 requests for impeachment against Jair Bolsonaro as a result of his neglect in the face of the thousands of deaths during the coronavirus pandemic.

Would these be the reflections of a country that was the last to free enslaved blacks, despite its elite having signed decrees against the slave trade? Could that be our basic paradox? Or can we go back to the extermination of our original peoples in the name of religion in the colonial period? A perverse elite represented by white men properly dressed in opulent costumes and with civilizing varnishes in their attitudes; a middle class divided between the progressive intelligentsia (who need to deal with their privileges in the face of social inequalities that are getting worse) and those who adhere to the fascist logic as a vanishing point for anguish triggered by the loss of status Social; people in situations of social vulnerability who are still under the weight of hunger and functional illiteracy – there are many Brazils and the forms of adherence to left-wing and/or right-wing ideologies are multifaceted.

In this vast field of investigation, we will prioritize in this article the articulation between selected excerpts from the book Michel Temer and common fascism (Ab'Sáber, 2018) and some selected scenes and images from the documentary Intervention - love doesn't mean much, with the aim of analyzing the dynamics of affection of the average Brazilian citizen who adheres to fascist lies and propagates them in audiovisual format.

 

 

Approaches between scenes from the documentary and excerpts from the chapter “Dreams, fascism and history”

The documentary was released in 2016, but the scenes and recordings were collected by its directors since 2015, portraying a movement that led to the candidacy and, unfortunately, election of the far-right representative, Jair Messias Bolsonaro – who, it is worth remembering, did not participate in the debates with his opponents for the presidency as would befit someone who values ​​the democratic space.

Thus, the title of the documentary was taken from the speech of one of the “spectacularizers of the self” shown in the film, who calls for action, and expresses the maxim: “Love does not mean much”. This reveals the poverty of symbolic resources in these second-hour content producers presented in the documentary and its syntax and already points to the need to go straight to the act, without possible mediation of words and with a total absence of polite gestures.

Tales Ab'Sáber (2018, p.161-4) considers that “the fascist system of language, of culture, is a system of actions” resulting from a process of emptying words, a desymbolization of life and politics, in which “the programmatic culture of death and extermination is a culture of the death of words, and with them, of meanings”.

In the case of the word “love”, there is an annulment of its most precious meaning: respect for difference, sharing the sensitive, the fight for equal living conditions for all, empathy and the politics of friendship. In the opposite direction, love moves from mere affection to act and performance and, thus, as psychoanalysis teaches us: what cannot be said, remembered and elaborated is repeated in a violent act repeated to exhaustion (Freud, 1914).

In this line of reasoning, the documentary exposes people who cry out for someone to do something in their place, inviting those who listen to them to exterminate their imaginary enemies. A posteriori It is in the unfolding of the expressions of these grotesque characters, shown in the montage of images selected by the filmmakers, that we discover that the intervention that everyone requests is military intervention and the consequent return of the dictatorship and its authoritarian atrocities. And “the big thing” formulated in the sentence by the protagonist of the scene that inspires the title is to choose some object outside of himself to project his hatred and his will to eliminate any and all differences, imaginary and/or real.

The loving feeling is transformed into hate and is displaced against anyone who dares to think differently. In this case, imaginary communism, personified in the PT governments, in the figure of Lula and in the misogyny against Dilma Rousseff. Hatred is displaced in a continuum: directed against non-existent communism, it is directed towards the existing artist, the professor in the area of ​​existing humanities. See the current federal government's cost containment policy, which aims to undermine social rights historically conquered by Brazilian men and women, a way of diluting the dismantling hatred of public education and health policies conquered by years of struggles by groups of people who militate in social movements.

If the authors of the first phase of the critical theory of society prioritized the contributions of Freudian psychoanalysis to the analysis of the cultural and psychic conditions that favored adherence to fascist dictates, Tales Ab'Sáber (2005), to reflect on the neo-fascist personality on Brazilian soil , uses contributions from Melanie Klein, DW Winnicott and Wilfred Bion. The psychoanalysis with very young children elaborated by Klein postulates the psychic constitution through object relations, from two positions of the subject of the unconscious: the paranoid schizoid that divides the objects into bad and good, the first being projected to the external world, and the depressive position that facilitates the integration between good and bad objects.

Continuing the Kleinian legacy, Winnicott and Bion are psychoanalysts who dared to extend care in the psychoanalytic clinic to psychotics, schizophrenics, patients called borderlines and those located in borderline states. For Winnicott, the human psyche is built in contact with caring figures and depends on good enough environmental conditions. He postulates the development of the Self not as something ready and finished, but in constant construction as it goes through the path that goes from a stage of total dependence on the mother-environment to a stage of greater independence. Therefore, the Self is composed of psychotic and neurotic personality traits and it is in the process of its psychic development that the space between these two types of personality can become split, characterizing the most serious cases.

In the subject considered normal, the neurotic, on his way to conquer his independence, he is minimally able to identify the rules and laws of social reality and respect them. In more serious cases, the person is not able to discern between the rules of the inner world and his desires. That is, every person in specific sociopolitical contexts can awaken psychotic personality traits that were dormant, escape reality and invent a world of their own that protects them from the storms of social reality. The novelty of the Bionian proposal is to consider the experience of dreaming, whose first movement is to hallucinate the primordial object of satisfaction, as the first step for the subject to acquire the ability to think.

That is, it is necessary to acquire the ability to dream in order to build the logical process of thought. In many cases, the psychotic experiences a kind of continuous hallucination, almost a non-dream state that hinders his ability to develop thinking and logical reasoning. Often, the main work in the clinic with these patients in serious conditions is to build an environment between analysand-analyst that restores the subject's ability to dream - a not so simple task due to the fact that the work of dreaming, in the neurotic subject, it always refers to a compromise solution between repressed elements and the wishes that can be hallucinatory fulfilled by the dreamer.

In the psychotic subject, instead of the mechanism of repression, what happens is a cleavage of the Self, characterized by the division and fragmentation of the Self between good and bad objects and by the division of external objects that are crossed by fear, by the threats to its integrity arising from aggressiveness and sadistic fantasies. Evil is outside, it inhabits the external world and needs, as is typical of the projection mechanism, to be hated and, subsequently, exterminated. When there is no integration between good and bad objects, the subject lives in a constant hallucination and delirium; it is a hallucinosis that refers to non-dreams and the state of non-thinking. Based on this clinical experience, Bion postulated the idea of ​​hallucinosis: “an effective distortion of the ability to think based on the need to saturate reality with desires that do not tolerate frustration, as well as the corrosive impact of the psychic mechanisms linked to hatred on thought itself” (Tales Ab'Sáber, 2018, p.53).

For the ability to dream to be restored and with it the possibility of thinking, it is necessary to build an environment in the psychoanalytic clinic that remakes the compromise between the subject's desires and the recognition of the impositions of reality always associated with the sociopolitical conditions of particular historical context. Tales Ab'Sáber's (2018, p.176) hypothesis is that hatred is fueled by the liberal culture of competition and performance and by the fascist movement that seeks, through destruction, to maintain the capitalist order: “How capital , hatred as politics cannot stop producing its own surplus, the politics of enmity, the invention of the universal civilizing enemy”.

What the documentary shows, in the specific case of Brazil, is that a “collective hallucinosis” was produced in some people, as a defense to support the data of reality, in which there is a cleavage of the Self, and this divided unconscious subject builds hallucinations and delusions that guide his invention of truths dissociated from historical facts, therefore, an inversion of reality that aims to produce perverse pleasures. This invention and inversion responds to the search for immediate fulfillment of desires of a subject who avoids getting in touch with his fears and anxieties triggered by living with difference and social conflicts.

We thus witness the construction of statements that are split from political facts and the Brazilian socioeconomic reality, which is configured as a perverse power machine based on barbarism and lies, through the psychopolitical activation of the subject's paranoid-schizoid position. Faced with the invention of the universal civilizing enemy, the division between good and evil and sadism, the fascist delirium has no regulation and no commitment to historical reality. As an example, it is possible to mention the excerpt from the documentary in which a man tells his viewers that he had received information that there was a contract being signed with China to build a large railroad linking the Brazilian coast to Peru, with the purpose of importing people, bringing about 300 million Chinese to live inside the homes of Brazilians.

It is, therefore, a spectacular regressive policy of lies, in which war enters every word. In this culture of war, the lie in the neo-fascist logic, as a real action that deforms reality, violently invades things, inverting values ​​and meanings. War must be total, internalized and become an act of subjectivation, invading the desiring structure and impoverishing imaginary life, requiring the subject to convert to the war machine, to aggressiveness.

In this line of reasoning, there are scenes in the documentary that show a male figure who speaks and films himself – through his cell phone – from inside his car parked on a public road. He lives in the United States and his message is directed at Brazilians residing in Brazil, uttering low-quality profanities and calling people, transformed into miserable South Americans, to leave inertia and fight for the return of the military dictatorship in national territory.

Binary and dichotomous thinking is present, disqualifying Brazilians and exalting Americans; there is geopolitical prejudice and the call for the return of the authoritarian State, based on patriarchal values, when referring to the “purple thing” – an expression used by former president Fernando Collor de Mello to refer to male virility. (More up-to-date we have the term “imbroxable”, created by the current president of a Republic that spends more on penile prostheses than on effective measures to eradicate hunger in the country. It seems that these are men who are unaware of other forms of eroticized satisfaction other than transforming women into objects of “modesty and home.” They are people who will hardly face the fact that authoritarian policies transform everyone into broxable individuals, because in fact and by law we are powerless in the face of the danger and threat arising from the armament of the population and the announced destruction process).

This “good citizen” transforms his own misery from inside his car into a spectacle by expressing himself through repetitive, shallow speech, full of profanities and, thus, transforms himself and his car into weapons of war – reduced to an immediacy befitting a context that demands supersonic speeds – presented in an exhibitionist way in real time on their Facebook page.

He turns the car into a war tank, positions himself with an authoritarian tone and automated gestures in order to dictate rules to his likely interlocutors. These are attitudes that remind us of Victor Klemperer's idea highlighted by Tales Ab'Sáber (2018, p.1 61): “From 1939, the racing car was replaced by the tank, and the car driver was replaced by the panzerfaher (tank driver) […]. For twelve years, the concept and vocabulary of heroism were among the favorite terms, used with greater intensity and selectivity, aiming at bellicose courage, at a bold attitude of fearlessness in the face of any death in combat”.

Here we are face to face with the neo-fascist who makes demands of everything, translated into the image of a raised finger that aims to dictate what the other should do, so that he himself does not get involved with his actions and takes responsibility for their consequences. These are the ways of acting of the various characters shown in the documentary. This is what Sartre (2005) said: “hell is other people” – they are those who need to obey orders because they are considered people without qualities. These are relationships based on the policy of enmity in which the other is always the dangerous one, the insubordinate and the enemy. In this way, the logic of common fascism and the culture of war propagated by the extreme right invites followers to the repression of violence, linked to the sadistic pleasure of destroying the other.

Tales Ab'Sáber (2018, p. 165) considers that fascist culture is the negative of multiplicity, it is the society of minimal liberal rights, with the limitation of an organization focused on war that occupies symbolic life, so that “ the thing penetrates the space of the symbol”. It is this cultural climate that outlines the fact that our ability to dream is increasingly distant, while our ability to die and kill is getting closer. Fascism is a symptom that generates a symptom and attacks the dreaming subject: “Because the dream is the simple limit of resistance, the source of psychic mobility, the only remainder of the idea of ​​freedom, what the fascist aims at is in fact to dominate it. , paralyze it, reconfigure it even as a form: from its fundamental civilizing negotiation, from the metaphor, from the distance and poetry of dreaming, from the human exile dreamed of in meaning, to the direct action of discharge and refusal of the existence of the other” (Tales Ab'Sáber, 2018, p. 164).

The documentary, in this sense, offers approximations with the idea of ​​a dream as a memory of the future, as looking retrospectively, from 2022, it portrays common characters and a certain horizontality in the relationships between people who have not yet found a leader to worship, the despite the fact that in these protagonists the slow process of cementing the foundations for the awakening of Brazilian neo-fascist forces is already present. In other words, it was only years later that the extreme right, portrayed by citizens shouting insults in the film, would find a leader to call their own, the figure of yet another hero without any character, capable of evoking the name of a torturer when he declared his vote in favor of the impeachment against then-president Dilma Rousseff, in a democratic plenary that did not impose punishment on her. We are talking about Jair Messias Bolsonaro who, again, came out unscathed from this impudence. We are the ones who left him free to produce national and international shame in every self-respecting Brazilian, during the four years of his mismanagement. Perplexed and inattentive, we drifted into a kind of dreamless sleep, a socialized hypnosis.

It is Adorno (2015, p. 189) who distrusts the motto of his country – “Wake up, Germany” –, which meant a veiled call, at that time, for the blind adherence of the population to the Nazi leader, as if the people needed to wake up from a kind of socialized hypnosis that made a large part of the population accept the path to their own destruction. Not without a paradoxical hint of optimism, the philosopher states: “Socialized hypnosis creates in itself the forces that will eliminate the ghost of regression through remote control and that, in the end, will awaken those who keep their eyes closed although they are no longer sleeping. ”.

Benjamin (2012b) offers us other meanings for awakening, associating it with the dream, whose function would be to awaken us to the nightmare to which we are trapped and, only then, could we seek strength to rebuild our history, remembering our dead , for they will not have peace nor will they leave us in peace and security while fascist leaders are winning and occupying the seats of power, deciding which lives can live and which must die. We already have accumulated knowledge for the deconstruction of the aesthetics of war and for cultivating cultural climates less prone to authoritarianism and we know that this edification will be carried out with advances and setbacks; so let's not rush too much, there is the necessary time for dialogue with those who are willing to build alliances aimed at elaborating, imagining and dreaming “other possible political horizons” (KRENAK; SIDARTA, 2020).

 

The risks of our history repeating itself as a tragedy and a farce

The non-dream and non-thinking of the fascists have produced exacerbated interference in the imaginative capacity of Brazilian men and women. It is now up to us, on the eve of another runoff in the presidential elections in Brazil, in 2022, to sensitize citizens to face the horror without makeup. It is up to us to exercise our civic right to put our votes in the ballot box for the candidate who respects the constitution and the democratic space of law. Despite the feeling that history is repeating itself, once again we are invited to choose between Jair Bolsonaro and a PT candidate, we are under no illusions.

It is about escaping the feeling of imminent tragedy with the certainty that farce has already reigned too much in the last four years in Brazilian territory. Rightly so, there is no repetition, as the farce that prevented Lula from being a candidate for President of the Republic in 2018 is being unmasked. Now there is a clash between the extreme right candidate and representatives of a democratic front that combines several parties with the objective of rebuilding Brazil.

Nothing is ready, there is no Messiah to save us, there is heterogeneity and contradictions also within the progressive forces and we need to question our privileges in the face of social inequality that has deepened in a big way in the last four years. Those who are hungry also have their ability to dream and think reduced. It is urgent to bar the link between economic growth and the extermination of the popular classes that marks the historical roots of the Brazilian nation. It is up to us to take back the reins of a society towards good living for everyone.[I]

*Jaquelina Imbrizi Professor of Psychology at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP).

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Note


[I] Special thanks to Luísa Segalla de Carvalho, Psychology student at Unifesp, for reading and inserting some paragraphs in the first version of this manuscript, in addition to her technical support in cutting selected scenes from the documentary that were used in the presentation of the event Dream and History, held in September 2022 (available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XhJSaMIfA8&t=15s).

 

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