The Fairy and the Myth

Juan Gris (1887–1927), Playing card violin on table, 1913.


The collective identification with the victory of the cult Rayssa does not point to hope, but to the resignation of a population that has become accustomed to the immediacy of the death of thousands, hunger and social authoritarianism.

“Thank you for rekindling our hope in a better Brazil”. This was a sentence, among many similar ones, written by an Internet user after young skater Rayssa Leal (the so-called “fairy”) won a silver medal at the Olympics in Japan. Her victory, in addition to being the result of an individual redemption, became a kind of collective redemption (of another nature) for the viewers.

There is no doubt about the importance of such an achievement, especially as it is the result of the effort of a young black, poor and peripheral Brazilian woman who certainly faced many more obstacles than the other athletes representing the countries of the center of capitalism.

On the other hand, the idolatrous commotion for his victory, driven by the mass communication vehicles, carries much more potential for resignation than criticism. Already in the middle of the last century, Adorno and Horkheimer signaled how sport, when associated with the cultural industry, became pure ideology when used as an instrument of identification of the masses with the socially given, with the administered reality as it is presented before them. our eyes. The function of ideology would no longer be simply the concealment of the truth, which would result in false consciousness. On the contrary, today the cultural industry makes its lie explicit, not hiding anything from the consumer, except the fact that he lives in an immutable and always the same world. Therefore, in a very precise way, the Frankfurtians synthesized this new facet of ideology in one phrase: “become what you are”.

Indeed, the spectacle surrounding the fairy's victory at the Olympics, while projecting onto her figure the imaginary of the "myth" responsible for reconciling the contradictions that operate in Brazilian society, also reinforces the cynicism that there is nothing to be changed, that “things are what they are” and that everything depends on individual effort. It is enough to reflect that this tough medal is won in the context of a country whose government, the so-called “myth”, was directly responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people and which, through no fault of their own, extinguished the Ministry of Sport.

In such a situation, Rayssa was “lucky” to have a video of her go viral on the internet, which offered her opportunities to overcome some of the structural disadvantages she would face until she won the medal. The same happened with surfer Ítalo Ferreira, gold medalist, who learned to surf on a Styrofoam lid early in his career. It is evident that such disadvantages could have been avoided (or minimized) in a fairer and less authoritarian country. That is why his victories, despite being deserved, appear to viewers as a manifest lie.

In this sense, the collective identification with the victory of the revered Rayssa does not point to hope, but to the resignation of a population that has become accustomed to the immediacy of the death of thousands, hunger and social authoritarianism. Resilience, in this context, is just an expression of mutilation and not of redemption or individual overcoming. If there's something to be opened wide in the skater's conquest, it's not hope, but despair. After all, the fairy's spectacular victory unfortunately takes place under the real misfortune of the myth.

* Thiago Bloss de Araújo is a doctoral student at the School of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences at UNIFESP.


See this link for all articles


  • Reasons for the end of the strike at Federal Universitiesbenches 16/05/2024 By TADEU ALENCAR ARRAIS: The Federal Government's new proposal announced on May 15 deserves debate on whether or not to continue the strike
  • How to lie with statisticschair 51 18/05/2024 By AQUILES MELO: The numbers presented by the federal government to education employees on strike confuse more than they explain, thus demonstrating a lack of interest in resolving the problem
  • “Multipolarity” and the chronic decline of the WestJose Luis Fiori 17/05/2024 By JOSÉ LUÍS FIORI: The defense of multipolarity will increasingly be the banner of countries and peoples that are currently rising up against the global military imperium exercised by the West
  • The strike at universities and federal institutes does not…path time 17/05/2024 By GRAÇA DRUCK & LUIZ FILGUEIRAS: The left-wing and democratic forces need to get out of passivity, as if waiting for Lula and his government, as well as the STF, to resolve the political impasses
  • The Caramel horsecaramel horse 15/05/2024 By LEONARDO BOFF: We must admit that we have not respected the rights of nature and its intrinsic value, nor have we controlled our voracity to devastate it
  • The operational universityMarilena Chauí 2 13/05/2024 By MARILENA CHAUI: The operational university, in university terms, is the highest expression of neoliberalism
  • Environmental denialism and the flooding of Porto AlegrePorto Alegre airport flooded 14/05/2024 By CARLOS ATÍLIO TODESCHINI: Porto Alegre has the best flood protection system in Brazil. It is considered a “Dutch mini-system”. Why did this system fail in its function of preventing the city from being flooded?
  • Oza's handJoao_Carlos_Salles 14/05/2024 By JOÃO CARLOS SALLES: The duty of the Brazilian State and the contracted university
  • Fake freedom and the Marquis de SadeEugenio Bucci 18/05/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Fake freedom, sadistic freedom, which in essence is the denial of all freedom, is leading Brazil to total shipwreck
  • SUS, 36 years old – consolidation and uncertaintiesPaulo Capel Narvai 15/05/2024 By PAULO CAPEL NARVAI: SUS was not the “stillbirth” that many predicted. Almost four decades later, the SUS is institutionally consolidated and has developed a notable process of republican governance