Two years of misrule – the era of the raletocracy?



The last few years have consolidated an unexplored trait of Brazilianness: boçality has come out of the closet

On my wall there is a Japanese wooden sculpture.
Mask of an evil demon, covered in golden enamel.
understanding I observe
The dilated veins of the forehead, indicating
How exhausting it is to be mean.
(Bertolt Brecht, “The Mask of Evil”, translated by Paulo Cesar de Souza)

I had the privilege of meeting the most distinguished of aristocrats, Lord Francisco. Lord Francisco da Silva was thin, discreet, composed, spoke slowly and always listened. Young, 35 years old, a gardener by profession, he had begun to learn to read and write (I remember the joy with which he showed me the first little newspaper in which he participated). I never saw in him a gesture of subservience or flattery, crass vices that pose as virtues in the so-called educated strata. It was finesse personified. Remember him?

The Franciscos are becoming scarce (or hidden and afraid), replaced by Daniéis, Jairinhos & co. From what? Dispense last name. Such creatures do not have specificity of color, sex, gender, age or belonging to a social class (although the middle class bubbles from them), and they were already lurking, in latency, in the land where taking advantage was an advertising billboard, in the ancient Law of Gerson. For a while now, such beings animated by vulgarity have blossomed into flowers, chests inflated, shameless and violent. Was it the crisis? No, it was the opportunity.

The Planalto infected the plain, which endorsed the Planalto, which excited it in the most despicable way. Even some Round-Earthers are picking up certain habits from Flat-Earthers. Thus, in a tight, contagious hug, the new Brazilian way was born: the propensity to insult, the apogee of “so what?” with others, the paroxysm of contempt for the law and the norm, the height of “you know who you're talking to”, now followed by a beating if you don't know: in a word, the normalization and naturalization of stupidity.

In 1928, the country's first tutor, the intellectual, essayist, patron and coffee grower Paulo Prado, in his classic Portrait of Brazil. essay on sadness, already prophesied such a fate. It caused a stir in intellectual circles at the time, and today it sleeps in a discreet ostracism of Cassandra.

It would be considered politically incorrect today to be a candidate for immediate incineration. Its first chapter, dedicated to “Luxuria”, mentions the miscegenation of races, the dissolution of customs and voluptuousness as aspects of the formation of Brazilian nationality. But the main source of Brazilian disquiet, created in the colonial period, would intensify at the turn of the XNUMXth century, to which another essential element of the national character would collaborate: political anemia and the desire for quick enrichment or “Cobiça”, title of the second book. chapter.

Some excerpts, illuminated: “If you ask why so many risks were taken, why so many dangers were faced – writes the poet of Y-Juca-Pyrama – why so many mountains were climbed, why so many rivers were explored, why so many lands were discovered, why so many tribes were conquered: say it – and do not lie: it was by cubica”. – Insatiable greed, in the madness of getting rich quick”. In greed, any expedient that Jairinho & CIA says: status and money above all, and the god Mammon above all.

On the sense of the common good, and that anything goes to get away with it and satisfy, Prado wrote: “This bishop saw that when he ordered to buy a chicken, four eggs and a fish to eat, nothing was brought to him because he was not to be found in the square or on the street. butcher shop, and if he ordered the said things and others from private houses, they would send them to them. “Truly, said the bishop, things have changed in this land, because the whole of Ella is not a republic, each house is”.

Mine, me and with me. And the “us” that is crippled. On entrepreneurship – the alpha and omega of newly converted posued liberals, protein alchemists of national salvation- see Prado's mention of pioneering bandeirante entrepreneurs: “Their intensive and extensive energy was concentrated on a dream of enrichment that lasted centuries, but always deceitful and elusive. With that illusion he came to die suffering from the same hunger, the same thirst, the same madness. Gold. Gold. Gold". Money, status, pathological exhibitionism, this is the current standard currency. Heavier than metal, because brandished in the name of civil liberties (synonymous with the liberation of weapons), and under the auspices of impunity and brutality.

Prado would probably be appalled by the success (past tense, let's hope) of second-rate vigilantes, Torquemadas mixurucas and agrafos, as well as opportunists/climbers and indomitable corrupters (today it is known) of the institution of the Judiciary. What phrase would better define these “congês” (g or j?) of anti-corruption public hysteria than: “Representatives of royal power, far from the disciplinary supervision of Lisbon, were primarily concerned with the personal income of the positions they held. Father Vieira used to say that the word steal combined in every way in Portuguese India”.

How terribly contemporary Prado is! He was, in addition to being the first interpreter in Brazil, the forerunner of the suspicion that truculence, overlaid with cordiality, was a visceral disease in the native character: “A man's life was worth little: for a patacão, a henchman would take charge of the disappearance of any dislike. Not even […] he resorted to that shadow of virtue that is hypocrisy; exceptions existed, respectable, as everywhere, but in general there was a large proportion of doubtful characters, with a visible predisposition to evil. […] There were no public schools (it is feared that soon there will be none…), nor any other establishment for the instruction of children”. […] In the disorder of incompetence, embezzlement, tyranny, greed, the most common rules in the management of public affairs were lost. […]” The men of government succeeded one another at random, without any compelling reason for the indication of their names, except that of the conveniences and cabalachos of politics”.

Brazil and Brazilians have already been maliciously described as rascals, indolent, not very serious, mongrels, fools, fundamental cretins. But the new strain of Brazilians that goes out in devotional motorcades to the chloroquine president, threatening those who do not adhere to death, from STF judges to the octogenarian mother of an opponent, a strain that distinguishes itself from afar because it loves to wrap itself in yellow-green cloths and shoots (for the time being only metaphorically) name-calling, this hydrophobic strain of 'those who are not with me are against it, and stick to it'", observed in numerous and growing cases, such as that of the psychiatrist who goes after the patient because she committed a crime of contempt by asking to be attended to after hours of waiting, or the boy who was badly beaten by a relative for defending the vaccine against chloroquine, so many, many similar cases that pile up daily, lead us to conclude that Prado was indeed right, he just lacked the nomenclature. The last two years consolidated an unexplored trait of Brazilianness: the boçalidade came out of the closet.

Boçal, in a dictionary I was given, has 33 synonyms referring to its three meanings: without culture, without sensitivity and devoid of human feelings. Blunt, stupid, boorish, ignorant, boorish, rustic, alarve, bootian, animal, impolite, barbarian, beast, brute, brute, cavalry, discourteous, uneducated, boorish, thick, idiot, ignorant, imbecile, impolite, uncivil, uncivilized, uneducated, jalofo, nerd, lousy, ill-mannered, obtuse, dull, coarse. I would add two others: pimp and rabble.

I miss Macunaíma's “oh, what a lazy” song, the ferocious Nelson Rodrigues, Fernando Sabino. But the writer who immediately comes to mind as a master portraitist of this malodorous strain is a Frenchman, Ferdinand Céline, pen name of Louis Ferdinand Auguste Destouches. Far-right and collaborationist, Céline wrote two anti-Semitic pamphlets that take aim at the “Negroid Jew against the white man”: Bagatelles pour a massacre e The school of corpses.

Céline is not the only extreme right-winger in the pantheon of celebrated writers (see Ezra Pound). But already in its inaugural Journey to the End of the Night, from 1932, its style and rhetorical force (highly praised by Henry Miller), exude an atmosphere of worship of abjection, turpitude, degradation, a visceral veneration for what is fetid and infamous. This is not pessimism. It is not that contempt for the “community of imbeciles” portrayed, for example, by the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran. Pessimism about humanity is almost a condition sine qua non of the great, from Leo Tolstoy to Shakespeare. Céline's jabuticaba, which makes him unique, is the lust with which he wallows and enjoys with and in the detritus of humanity, his apology for degradation. Céline's narrator, his alter ego, is the boça par excellence (in this case, erudite).

You, who are overseas in a country whose monuments do not do justice to the greatness of the immense Empire that it was, in a country that decreed and enforces a lockdown, with empty streets and spared lives, you certainly know that the flourishing of boçality is not an attribute of the former colony. See it everywhere. Viktor Orban's migrant safaris in Hungary or Rodrigo Duterte's death squads in the Philippines are of the same ilk.

What form of government would correspond to this ilk? Let's forget for a moment Bonapartism, populism, and other isms that beckon with the fight against corruption. About corruption and the trick to hide it, by the way, let’s go to the “Sermão do bom Thief” by Father Antonio Vieira:


“The thief who steals to eat, does not go, nor lead to hell; those who not only go, but take, with whom I am dealing, are other thieves, of greater caliber and of a higher sphere, which under the same name and the same predicament, St. Basil the Great distinguishes very well[…] They are not only thieves, says the saint, those who cut purses or stalk those who are going to bathe, to collect their clothes: the thieves who most properly and worthily deserve this title are those to whom kings entrust armies and legions, or the government of the provinces, or the administration of the cities, which both with cunning and with strength, rob and plunder the people. — Other thieves rob a man: these rob cities and kingdoms; others steal at their peril: these without fear or danger; the others, if they steal, are hanged: these steal and hang. Diogenes, who saw everything with a keener eye than other men, saw that a large troop of sticks and ministers of justice were leading some thieves to hang, and he began to shout: "There go the big thieves to hang the little ones." —Happy Greece, who had such a preacher! And happier the other nations, if in them justice had not suffered the same affronts! How many times has Rome been seen to hang a thief for stealing a sheep, and on the same day a consul or dictator to be carried away in triumph for having stolen a province. And how many thieves would have hanged these same triumphant thieves? Of one, called Seronato, Sidônio Apolinario{…..} said with discreet opposition: Seronato is always busy with two things: punishing thefts, and doing them. This was not zeal for justice, but envy. He wanted to take the thieves out of the world, to rob him alone ”.

And still:


[…] is what St. Francis Xavier specified best, saying that they conjugate the verb rapio in all manners. […] they begin to steal in the indicative mood, because the first information they ask the pilots is to point out and show them the paths through which they can cover everything. They steal in the imperative mood, because, as they have a mere and mixed empire, they all despotically apply themselves to the execution of prey. They steal in the mandatory way, because they accept what they are ordered, and, so that everyone can order, those who do not order are not accepted. They steal in the optional mode, because they want what seems good to them and, boasting about the desired things to their owners, out of courtesy, without will, they make them their own. They steal in the subjunctive mood, because they pool their little wealth with those who manage a lot, and it is enough that they pool their grace, to be at least sharecroppers in greed. They steal in the potential way, because, without pretext or ceremony, they use potency. They steal in the permissive way, because they allow others to steal, and they buy the permissions. They steal in the infinitive mood, because the end of stealing does not end with the end of the government, and they always leave roots there in which the theft continues. These same modes conjugate for all people, because the first person of the verb is yours, the second your servants, and the third those who have industry and conscience for that. They steal together for all time, because from the present — which is their time — they reap what the three-year period gives them; and to include the past and the future in the present, from the past they unearth crimes, which they sell the pardons, and forgotten debts, which are paid in full, and from the future they pawn the rents and anticipate the contracts, with which everything fallen and not fallen comes into their hands”.

Let us ask Aristotle for a date, who was an apologist for tradition and hated invention, and let us invent a term similar to his aristocracy (government of those who have earring, Excellency), oligarchy (the decay of this), monarchy (which can degenerate into tyranny) and republic (which can lead to the unwanted, demagogic democracy). How about talking aboutRaletocracy”, the government of the rabble for the rabble, who in some cases make up a third of the population?

The tyrant can ally with the people against the nobility, and fall; the oligarch can fall into the error of favoring only one faction, and the problem with Aristotelian democracy is that it appears to be the government of the poor, but is led by the rich. already the Raletocracy does not run the risk of corruption, as this is its essence.

In this letter, however, I have more doubts and hesitations than any intuition. It is an effort and test of understanding, a certain medicine to relieve us of anguish.

Boçality preferentially affects the right, and always totalitarians. Stalin, Hitler and Mao Tse Tung might even be called psychopaths, but there was a tragic element to those epics that the vulgar but not insipid one lacks. raletocracy. For example: the carnage of the pandemic in the country is not a tragedy, as it is not an inescapable evil (as was the inescapable parricide committed by Oedipus, who did everything to deviate from the destiny laid out for him). It is a deliberate policy, steeped in ignorance, but also ingenuity (therein lies the paradox). I don't need to repeat the chronology or the facts, you know. But what really scares me is the militia-like suicide march towards suffocation, which never ends.

We will be diving into the eighth and penultimate circle of the “hell” of Dante, the one of Fraud, having already surpassed the one of Greed?

Paulo Prado, help! How to prevent the country from disgrace itself once and for all, because of “a cute patriotism, laws with gibberish, laziness, rust, ants and mold”?

Hugs from overseas.

*Marilia Pacheco Fiorillo is a retired professor at the USP School of Communications and Arts (ECA-USP)


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