Until the death throes

Image: Nicolas Postiglioni
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By JEAN PIERRE CHAUVIN*

I want to leave my life in order, in perfect agreement with the customs of the Holy Neo-Pentecostal Inquisition

Dear reader, or dear reader, please pay attention, I was completely wrong. Forgive me for taking 49 years and eight months to figure it out. Fortunately, there is no harm that lasts so long, considering the cultivation of science and culture favored by the evident social harmony that unites us – as can be seen in the way in which we cultivate democracy, secularism and the fight against prejudice, even if persistent.

Excuse me for quoting a rather old book, but Aristotle taught, in Poeticsthat the ethos of the hero is forged in moments of choice. Here, therefore, is the report of my decision, for registration and signature recognition: “At this point in this withered life, in the face of such egregious events, I will tear off all the reddish T-shirts and polo-shirts; I will tear the red knapsack to pieces; I will deposit the new red pencil case in the nearest bin (you never know the consequence of giving it to another victim)”.

Was it good like that? I say more. Fortunately, I've always found red underwear tacky and, luckily or gracefully, I've never resorted to red socks, as I wouldn't have anything to go with them. Better yet, I owned three automobiles: one was lead-colored; the second, burgundy; The third, bright red (not my fault, but on the recommendation of the dealership). Glad I got rid of them all. There's no better gymnastics than running after the bus and working your chest, crushed between people, when on the subway. But we talked about contrite repentance. Let's get back to the topic.

By getting rid of the red and hanging the flag with the colors of Bragança on the chandelier, I try to imitate a relatively illustrious person from the XNUMXth century. When he converted to Christianity, Saint Augustine spent hundreds of pages recounting his childhood and his curious relationship with the Manichaeans. If you'll allow me to correct, notice how innovative I am. I have the advantage over him of writing it in five or six paragraphs, which brings me closer to Brás Cubas, but also to Quincas Borba, when he writes a violent letter (and that makes people laugh) to the future heir Rubião.

Let's face it: such a high power of synthesis can only be explained in two ways: (1) since I don't know a thousandth of what the Bishop of Hippo knew, nothing fairer than limiting myself to a very brief article of self-censorship; (2) the prideful-patriotic and theistic moral awareness will allow me to walk through the streets of Pauliceia in safety, preventing the thugs, in gangs, from converting me to vote for another candidate for tapas.

You cannot imagine how liberating it is to be compulsorily subordinated to a totalitarian, destructive, mythomaniac, sadistic, corny and denialist regime. But for that, discipline and courage are needed. Above all, it will be necessary to abandon any critical spirit; simultaneously, avoid discussing the unidimensional conception of neo-Nazism apologists in São Paulo and Brazil.

Nothing will be more reassuring than working (if there is still a job) until death throes: an almost eternal feeling of productivity. Why, it just now occurred to me that I have to decline the honorable invitation to preface books; avoid writing unprofitable or useless articles; stop guiding scientific initiation, master's and doctoral students (especially those who take research so seriously that they cannot continue to do so without a scholarship). The accusation that I am idle because I have two “vacations” a year might make sense to an anti-USP subject.

But, back to the color palette. I just realized that I will have to destroy the mouse red blood, so that the next service provider who happens to come along doesn't radiate miseries in this regard and dump my name on the register of the enemies of the Leader – a guy so patriotic that he wants to share what little territory is left with the rich brothers of the North. Wow, now I remembered that the sandwich maker has a red color. Let me get the hammer again. Ready. No immediate threat. Make yourself comfortable. You may come in. The apartment is modest. Your grace, do not notice the mess. That crazy thing is from this morning. I got up early to sell lessons… Oh, didn't I tell you that I'm a professional and not an amateur? You know what it is? Since I don't have sponsorship, because I'm not that good a sport, I need to sell my workforce. Yes, I read and write, basically.

Did you see how there aren't any appliances, utensils or subversive posters left around here? It must have been intuition that ordered the ordering of white shelves and shelves… How is it? That book upstairs? Forgive me: as I'm without glasses I can't make out very well. Imagine if I had a niche with works by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx in the living room! Never… Outdated and tasteless stuff. Ah, well, those weren't the ones you saw... Oh, you're right: I still have about thirteen red-backed books, including The New Reason of the World, by Dardot and Laval. What is he about? How do I respond to you without committing myself? Sir, mind you: I barely remember the content. It must be the daily weariness spent in various forms of resistance.

No no. I don't go to the terreiro. But, your lordship, forgive me: I also stay away from the temples. Church? Rare, rare: when entering an era more out of historical interest. Yes, yes: teacher stuff. Lately, I avoid going in, anyway. It's just that, from time to time, people appear who like to offend the priests. Not critical, no. That's what I read in some newspapers and heard from the testimonies. In that respect, I'm more relaxed. I try to be virtuous, despite atheism. I even think my CPF is clean. O score it's not that high because I'm paying for the new housing loan. You know how it is, right? We are so well paid, so well recognized for our work that I keep an account at two banks to distract myself.

Ah, now you're curious about my personal life? No problem at all. What do you want to know? Bring it on… Yes, I was married. Today I'm just dating, you know? Oh, am I in sin? And cracked, is it also wrong? And secret secrecy? Oh, that's beside the point… I understand: these are the old-new criteria of mismanagement. Wow, then I need to run. Far be it from me to seek trouble with good citizens.

I want to leave my life in order, in perfect agreement with the customs of the Holy Neo-Pentecostal Inquisition, also imported from the USA, like Coca-Cola, comics and microwave popcorn. Your lordship will send an emissary of order and good manners to search the apartment. I will give an exemplary enough in this pernicious relationship with the girl, bringing her not proof, but convictions. If not today, tomorrow I'll do it first thing in the morning. As? I call the subject in for an interview and say it's all over. You're right: I need to prevent you from painting a mood again.

*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).

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