The speech (of) the protagonist

Feliks Topolski, Speakers' Corner, 1973


The hyper-subject constitutes a mixture of inflammations of the ethos, for which there are no drugs in the drugstore

In historical terms, the transformation of the subject into a hyper-individual is recent: the metamorphosis of the subject of the king into the subject of capital begins in the second half of the XNUMXth century[I] and consolidates itself as a value subordinated to the money value,[ii] during the 1990th century. A century and a half later, more or less in the XNUMXs, it was assumed that the subject had inflated his own ego, also infecting his conception of the world, in such a way that he had started to subject other people and things to his whims. egocentric, exclusive and exclusive.[iii]

If you allow me the sanitary analogy, the hyper-subject is constituted in a mixture of inflammations of the ethos, for which there are no drugs in the drugstore. His invasive personality, coupled with a growing compulsion to self-exposure, works at almost the same pace as the most aggressive advertising campaigns. The hyper-individual has become a kind of traveling self-advertising agency and marketing personal, steeped in free competition. A homegrown entrepreneur, he prides himself on accumulating the functions of researcher, screenwriter, director and entertainment presenter, begging for sponsorship from companies whose services are not always related to the materials he publishes.

There seems to be no doubt that the advent of the Internet, some thirty years ago, favored the pandemic of mega-subjects. Initially, they turned diaries and personal experiences into blogs; later, they reassembled pieces of their meager biography in vlogs and photologs; then, they started to post (and demand) testimonials, likes, shares and affiliation of new members on social networks, in order, at the highest stage of stupidity, to present themselves as “channel administrators”, jealous of the ultramodern function of “preparing content".

Judging by the mile-long queues at bookshops and literary events, the exhibition and self marketing have been effective: the bestseller went from a commercially successful book (often with effective literary quality) to a pure fetish object, whose greatest utility is to ensure selfies with idols of the occasion and register the autograph of opinionated opinionated in the serious, or frankly superficial, approved according to the impoverished opinion of an army of non-readers. The content of the book that bears the name of the digital celebrity is of little importance;[iv] what matters is the certification (by image and in writing) that the follower he was in the company of the occasional idol for a few seconds.

But let's face it. The protagonist coexisted with his legion of admirers and fans for a long time (probably since the middle of the XNUMXth century). Let the proliferation of literary salons, vernissage sessions, chamber concerts, exhibitions with curators, book launches, etc., say so.[v] during the XNUMXth century. In this sense, it seems undeniable that the behavior of entertainers of the internet only potentiated, via world wide websites, which many people were already doing outside of video channels, social networks and electronic message groups.

Therefore, the issue that should interest us most is the growing need for protagonism of subjects and mega-individuals;[vi] and less the means (face-to-face or remote) in which mechanisms of this nature take place. Evidently, there would be a lot to consider: the idealization of the project, the production of the scenery, the staging of the speaker, the way he walks, the way he dresses, the maintenance of a general and unrestricted smile, the anti-creative sameness of the autographs that grants, the Selfies collecting etc.[vii]

Let us concentrate, however, on the lexicon and on the speech (of) the protagonist. A caricature of himself, the representative of this curious species stores a handful of catchphrases – some of them centered around umbrella words, such as: “this project would not be possible without the collaboration/assistance of my team”; “my goal was to give back to society what it invested in me”; “this material is a tool that will help in the work of future researchers, since there is much to be done”.

Obviously, discursive formulas vary. But, in general terms, the protagonist praises his project; he speaks about himself and reaffirms the relevance of the resulting artistic / technical work. His posture, gestures and behavior are linked to clichés with which he occupies the duration of the event. By extension, his speech is self-referential, long and one-sided.

And as he confuses length of time with primacy, he often interrupts, complements or takes over the speech of others – like a sovereign who monologues in praise of himself and to the detriment of others,[viii] for having more and better to say. When this happens, mediators and guests play the role of mere vassals, kept in the shadow of the protagonist's genius, materialized in (it doesn't matter which) product: the commodity form of the his personal commitment, particular talent and almost universal relevance.[ix]

*Jean Pierre Chauvin He is a professor at the School of Communication and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of A thousand, one dystopia (Publisher Glove).



CASARA, Rubens. Against neoliberal misery. São Paulo: Literary Autonomy, 2021.

Eco, Umberto. Pape Satàn aleppe: chronicles of a liquid society. Trans. Eliana Aguiar. Rio de Janeiro: Record, 2017.

ELIAS, Norbert. Court society: investigation into the sociology of royalty and court aristocracy. Trans. Peter Sussekind. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2001.

HAN, Byung-Chul. Infocracy: digitization and the crisis of democracy. Trans. Gabriel S. Philipson. Rio de Janeiro: Voices, 2022.

HANSEN, Joao Adolfo. main hall. s/l: Zazie Edições, 2019, p. 10.

LIPOVETISKY, Gilles. the hypermodern times. Trans. Mario Vilela. São Paulo: Barcarolla, 2007.

LUCAS, Fabio. Literature and communication in the electronic age. São Paulo: Cortez, 2001.

LUKÁCS, Georg. History and class consciousness: studies on the Marxist dialectic. Trans. Rodney Nascimento. São Paulo: WMF Martins Fontes, 2012.

SANTOS, Jair Ferreira dos. what is postmodern. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 2006.



[I] “Even the bourgeois professional, like the merchant, for example, has his tactics and his specific way of dealing with people. However, it is rare that she manages to integrate the other in its entirety, as in the case of the courtier, since he usually maintains a relationship that lasts a lifetime with each of the other individuals in his society” (Elias, 2001, p. 125). ).

[ii] “When the commodity speaks, what does it say? Money and banality, vulgarity and money” (Hansen, 2019, p. 10).

[iii] “[…] the race of competition prioritizes the urgent at the expense of the important, immediate action at the expense of reflection, the accessory at the expense of the essential” (Lipovetsky, 2007, p. 77).

[iv] “Mass electronic media destroy the rational discourse marked by bookish culture. produce a mediacracy” (Han, 2022, p. 27).

[v] “Society is being driven to impose an education that is more and more technical, which is to say: less and less literary. Meanwhile, the number of writers without an audience increases” (Lucas, 2001, p. 22).

[vi] “[…] technoscience, personalized consumption, art and philosophy around an emerging or decadent man are the fields where the postmodern ghost can be surprised” (Santos, 2006, p. 11).

[vii] “[…] it is impossible to understand the current mechanisms of power without paying attention to the phenomenon of neoliberalism, this governmental rationality, this normativity and this imaginary that originate from the premise that the market is the model for all social relations, which demonstrates a sociability marked by competition and the belief that everything (and everyone) can be negotiated. (Casara, 2021, p. 44).

[viii] “With the crisis of the concept of community, an unbridled individualism emerges, where no one is anyone's travel companion, but their antagonist, someone against whom it is better to protect themselves” (Eco, 2017, p. 10).

[ix] “The universality of the mercantile form conditions, therefore, both in the object and in the subjective aspects, an abstraction of human work that is objectified in commodities” (Lukács, 2012, p. 200).

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