the worst denialism

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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

When the highest authority in this burning land goes to the UN and pronounces everything he has pronounced, in our name, and nothing happens to him, it is a sign that someone here has abdicated the dignity

In the aftermath of the debacle that was the speech by the Brazilian president at the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations, on Tuesday, in New York, we are overwhelmed. The degree of embarrassment surpassed the worst expectations. Amid offensive lies, stupid distortions and apology for abstruse drugs, the barrage of nonsense convinced nobody and embarrassed the whole world. The speaker's countrymen – said to be a myth, but, in fact, a mythomaniac – could only swallow their humiliation. “Shame” – this was the title of the newspaper’s editorial The State of S. Paul, in its September 22 issue. Word well applied.

We are a shamed nation, with our backs turned to our own failure. At the rate at which the forests of this country smoke deliriously, hope turns to ashes. The ecological disaster and the health tragedy are compounded into a depressing political failure. When the highest authority in this burning land (“like the bonfire of Saint John”) goes to the UN and pronounces everything he has pronounced, in our name, and nothing happens to him, it is a sign that someone here has abdicated his dignity.

At these times, it is of little use for the subject to pull out his cell phone and “post” on the networks that the head of state is genocidal. The whimpering restlessness of the disaffected is their triumph. Spitting sulfuric acid, he parades over corpses of people and dreams. Called a denialist, he shows his teeth: denialists are you.

Maybe that's right. As has already been noticed, the worst denialism is not his, which rejects science, knowledge and dialogue, but that of those who refuse to see that we are facing a declared enemy of democracy, obsessed with preparing a coup d'état. The worst denialism is to accept the permanence of the ruler who is there and, in that tacit acceptance, sign a blood pact with the dictatorship project he intends to put into practice.

The worst denialism thrived (and still thrives) at the tables of unprincipled financiers, who decided to turn a blind eye to what they had the optical resources to see. Fatefully, but not exactly by chance, the worst denialism found ways to spread throughout society, contaminating even some arteries of professional newsrooms.

The contamination was already evident in the 2018 campaign. The current president, then a candidate, climbed onto platforms to idolize torturers, curse freedom of the press and praise the military dictatorship. With that posture, he directly affronted the foundations of our democracy. Although he fulfilled the legal formalities to obtain his regular registration in the Electoral Court, as if he were a normal candidate, he declared war against the democratic rule of law. This fact – strictly a fact, not an opinionated inference – was left unrecorded.

Let's be more precise. The 1988 Constitution, the base document of the fragile democratic order that this country was able to establish, may have its internal contradictions and its poorly sewn accommodations, but it is based on a stony consensus to which all political forces owe loyalty. This consensus materializes in a triple refusal: the rejection of dictatorship, torture and censorship. Now, it was precisely to glorify these three forms of barbarism that that candidate launched himself in the campaign and, nevertheless, he was treated in a good part of the coverage of the electoral campaign as if he were, apart from his fascistoid intemperance, a candidly normal candidate. There is denialism. Jair Bolsonaro's victory is for Brazilian democracy what the victory of an avowedly Nazi politician would be for German democracy. It was not and is not commonplace. It is not normal.

The most distressing thing is to see that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, the worst type of denialism does not give way. He is repeatedly demoralized by events, but he does not give in. Its shards, like ideological debris, are scattered on the media floor and soon regroup, in successive and ridiculous attempts to give credence to the unbelievable. One of the most recent came in the wake of the September 7 coup acts.

On the holiday, at rallies anabolized by foreign money, the president promised, loudly, to disobey the determinations of the Federal Supreme Court. The next day, to escape the trials to come, he staged yet another of his cynical retreats and signed a poorly written text promising to respect the separation and harmony between powers. As usual, he renounces it shamelessly, as if we were a nation of fools. Even so, his surrender document was warmly welcomed in certain corners of journalism. Without memory and without character, the denialism that benefits the denialist is restored.

As for the alienated moneyed, who decided to believe in the ghost of communism with the same fervor that they devote to digital profit, there is nothing to be done. The head of state, when reading those barbarities in the UN, represents them faithfully. The press, however, which has a rational life, could think a little more about it, even if it is too late.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of The superindustry of the imaginary (Autêntica).

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul, on September 23,

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