Abraham Weintraub's “imprecisionism”

Image: Elyeser Szturm
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By Alex Frechette*

Distorting the memories of the dictatorship, attacking civil rights, questioning the 1988 Constitution, apologizing for authoritarianism and trying to dehumanize the left are some of the characteristics of Bolsonarism on social networks.

Impressionism was an artistic movement that used technical principles to understand the phenomena of light and color, and that a posteriori had the intention of linking the painting to the scientific laws of the study of vision. Impressionist painters left their studios and took their tripods, canvases and paints to the streets, trying to capture as quickly as possible the differences in daylight in the landscape. The name of this movement is derived from the work print: sunrise (1872) by Claude Monet.

As a possible incipient movement, “imprecisionism” seems to be a political activity arising from Bolsonarism that uses openly non-scientific principles to provoke all kinds of misunderstandings. Bolsonaristas, who idolize ignorance, left shyness aside and went to the internet, using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, among other tools, to publicize their absurdities. The name of this possible movement is derived from the tweet that became known as “Impréção” (2020), by Abraham Weintraub.

In this tweet, Weintraub responded to a compliment from Eduardo Bolsonaro, who wasted no time in once again exposing his fixation: the “defensive use of weapons”. Eduardo suggested including this topic in the new program created by the Ministry of Education.

Abraham's response: “Dear @BolsonaroSP, I appreciate your support. More impressive: there was no research area in Public Security. Now, master's, doctoral and post-doctoral researchers will be able to receive grants to research topics, such as the one mentioned by you, that generate crime reduction”.

I don't even know if it is necessary to say that, of course, there is an extensive academic production in public security, including financed by Capes. But the minister's simplism is part of one of the rules of Bolsonarism: saying one thing and then explaining that it wasn't quite like that, that we are the energetic ones, us and Paulo Freire. Another example was when Bolsonaro said, on July 30, 2019, in a televised interview: “The question of 64, there are no documents that killed, did not kill… That is nonsense. There is nothing written that it was this, it was that”.

Then Bolsonaro said that the father of the president of the OAB, Felipe Santa Cruz, had been killed by a leftist group. Questioned, he said he had heard about it and that was his “feeling”. Fernando Santa Cruz's death certificate, issued a few days before Bolsonaro's speech, said: "... due to an unnatural, violent death caused by the Brazilian State." The report also included a statement by Claudio Guerra, former delegate of the Department of Political and Social Order (DOPS-ES), who, in a statement in 2014, said that the body of Fernando Santa Cruz Oliveira had been incinerated at Usina Cambahyba, located in Campos dos Goytacazes.

But going against the memories of the dictatorship, attacking civil rights, questioning the 1988 Constitution, apologizing for the use of authoritarianism and trying to dehumanize the left are just some of the characteristics of Bolsonarism arising from the deep web of WhatsApp – and one can include in this guard -bolsonarista rain the possible Imprecionist Movement of Weintraub.

The impressionist movement and the movement created by Weintraub thus seem to be completely antagonistic. The creator of this last movement has already said that his dog was leftist (dehumanization strategy) and that his “proposals” he threw in the trash. That Paulo Freire was “ugly”, talking about a monument in his honor, suggesting that the image would serve as a Halloween decoration – and offering us, free of charge, his well-elaborated aesthetic theory.

It reminded us of Paulo Guedes, another esthete, who, reaffirming Bolsonaro, said that Brigitte Macron was “really ugly”. Weintraub already told a follower that his mother was a “mangy and toothless mare”, he attacked “suspension” and “paralysis” on Twitter and, from Kafta, instead of Kafka in a conference, he stated that the federal universities of Brazil have plantations extensive amounts of marijuana to the point of needing a pesticide sprayer, without having any proof.

On January 13, Weintraub said that public tenders select people with a leftist bias, in a video published by Bolsonaro. The latter, signing below, wrote: “Indoctrination and lies even in competitions”. Guilherme Boulos then highlighted one detail: “Weintraub was selected by public competition to teach at Unifesp (incredible as it may seem). His problem is not just with the Portuguese language. It is with logic, morals and a sense of the ridiculous.” That is, according to the logic exposed by Weintraub, perhaps he himself is on the left. But this is according to our interpretation, we who cling to the “traditional” logic. Bolsonarist epistemology, that is, the way in which one believes in what one believes, wants to transcend logic.

They are always above the facts.

The European impressionist artistic movement (formed between 1860-1870) had names such as painters Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro and Sisley. Says Giulio Carlo Argan, in his book Modern Art (Companhia das Letras): “Pissarro was on the left; Degas, conservative; others, indifferent”.

I will insist here on trying this dissimilar analogy (impressionism versus impressionism) since reality and consciousness were the main issues of the artistic movement. These issues (reality and conscience), under the opposite bias – the fight against reality and conscience – seem to be the main motto of the political activity proposed by the minister. Therefore, Weintraub is the executioner of the folder he commands.

The invention of photography (1839) brought about a crisis in the art world. Photographers began to construct images more quickly and cheaply than painters. At first, photography was seen by some as something faithful, which represented the truth, impartially. But soon attention was paid to the fact that the cameras needed to be operated by someone who had his own vision of the world. The theory was then flawed.

The story itself is also not told without the historian’s intimate inclinations, but he cannot draw conclusions based on a “feeling”, as Bolsonaro says. Its interpretation is based on documentary material, and the greater its rigor, in principle, the greater the possibility of taming one's inclinations.

The historian's brake is on the assessment of certain evidence. For example: before photography, there was a doubt about whether horses ran with all their feet off the ground or not. Some paintings portrayed these animals with their legs outstretched, as if gliding over the ground. After the sequence of photographs by Eadweard Muybridge, it could no longer be denied that the horses could, yes, for a few seconds, remove all their hooves from the ground, but Muybridge showed that the front legs of the horses were as if being pulled, and the rear they were like pushing their front paws. The beginning of cinema was marked. Reality and consciousness intertwined.

The impoverishment of language and never its development is suggested by “impressionism”, but I must point out that its meaning is not generalistic, where we understand that we are all prone to error – and spelling mistakes are common, and mistakes can lead to interesting things. A spelling error can be easily revealed if the person who makes the mistake is not the one who holds the post of Minister of Education.

We could promote a great discussion, including about linguistic prejudice, for example, or about the issue of textbooks (which “have a lot written on it”, according to the president), or even about intellectual prejudice. But how to do all this in this scenario guided by reductions, “intuitions”, “feelings”? When the government uses mockery as a rule and disclaims any responsibility for anything (including the Portuguese language), how can you not react ironically?

Some theories indicate that Bolsonarism, the intuitive “politician” movement, only creates traps and smokescreens, and we are hostages to it – just like it is to us, which is clear in its anti-left and monothematic discourse. Does the new “conservative empowerment” (an expression by Esther Solano) that privileges religion, militarism, morality, also end up reducing our critical complexity?

*Alex Frechette is an artist and writer.

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