The King(in) of Peeves

Clara Figueiredo, Mercato Domenicale Porta Portese, Balilla_ one for 15,00, three for 30,00 euros, Rome, 2019
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By JEAN PIERRE CHAUVIN*

Still president, the messiah of cynics, delivery people and fools, he learned nothing from the position he held

In resentment, the time for revenge never comes
(Maria Rita Kehl. Resentment, 2004, p. 11)

            In 2018, half of “useful” voters crowned the lawfare, took over the fake news and put in the maximum power a guy who spent the four years of his mandate (useless) fighting public affairs. At the helm of the ship of madmen, there was the mismanaging captain; his first mate was a chicago boy who did not perceive a conflict of interest in being a high speculator on the stock exchange and minister of the economy. In addition to the histrionic aberrations that occupied ministerial portfolios, the second mate was a former judge with scant knowledge of his area of ​​expertise and who, in the name of the supposed “anti-corruption fight”, agreed to the scandalous agreement to exchange the promised (but not fulfilled) leadership of the STF for the arrest (with “conviction”, but without any material evidence) of the presidential candidate who was facing the most lunatic, cynical and sadistic wing of national politics.

As expected, in four years the current president of the republic has done nothing for the people, including a significant portion of his mythomaniac electorate. Otherwise, he squandered public money (although he called himself “against the machine”). He lied thousands of times: he claimed as his own the works started during the Dilma government; pretended that the pix was his personal creation; protected militiamen, loggers and land grabbers; he shielded his children and friends from numerous investigations. Anchored in Paulo Guedes, he withdrew labor rights; he told absurd tales at the UN about the supposed fight against the pandemic, without any shame. He mocked patients with shortness of breath infected by the Covid-19 virus (which he never took seriously); pretended to read scientific articles (without citing authors or journals where they would have been published). And, of course, he claimed to be fighting communism… Defeated in the first round, he bought millions of votes across the country, appealing to supporters who occupied the most remote and reactionary city halls; he threatened voters, claiming that Brazil was in danger of taking a dangerous path, like some neighboring countries.

The last acts of the saint of the hollow wood (cutting funds, cutting funds, cutting funds), between November and December 2022, had certain targets: education, health, civil defense and… water. Yes, cut off whose water? Of inhabitants of the arid region, in the Northeast region. Defeated at the polls for the second time, on October 30, the mythomaniac spent seventy and hard hours in silence, perhaps to attract attention, but also with the expectation that pseudopatriots would support an attempt at self-coup. While the group of delinquents (under the soft eyes of the public force) took rain, wind and lightning, calling for "federal intervention" (with messages addressed to the USA and aliens), one of the president's sons was caught celebrating World Cup games in Qatar on-site visit.

This mixture of resentment, delirium and impudence has been ingrained in our history at least since the 1910s. One of the most eloquent contradictions of the Republic is the coexistence of the modernizing discourse, in the name of progress, with the reactionary and conservative rage. Progress for whom? Modernization in what way? Conservation of what? In recent months, the saying that “Brazilians do not need to be studied has been circulating on social networks; he needs to study”. In fact, both operations are necessary, as they are complementary. Between the 1930s and 1960s, part of intelligentsia national painted Portuguese colonization with the colors of supposed racial harmony; next, they assumed that emotions harmed the Brazilian's rationality and translated the conflict that cemented the cordial man; then maintained that there would be a ethos national.

The claim to explain where we come from, why we are and how we act persists. But, at least since the 1970s, it is suspected that those attempts are pretentious because they are totalizing and euphemistic: will anyone be able to understand the contradictions of the country where they live until they recognize the personal inconsistencies? Without any pretensions, perhaps it is more productive to highlight certain traits that guide the behavior of the powerful and their opponents in the country, starting with the generalized authoritarianism, which “founds” the alpha-male posture against women (which they claim to provide); of the military against civilians (whom the uniforms claim to protect); of politicians against the people (which graduates pretend to represent); of religious uncertainties against the faithful (who pretend to glorify in the name of god).

Alongside the mania for command is the conservative rage, which raged amid the destruction of the country, to the benefit of the military and economic powers, always willing to protect us, in the name of “freedom” and “democracy”. Aside from the cultural veneer, more glossy among the reactionaries of the 1930s, there is effectively no great distance between Integralism and Bolsonarism. Ninety years of coups inside and outside parliament, financial speculation and rent seeking were incapable of awakening class consciousness and any form of solidarity – apart from those carried out by exceptional people.

While still president, the messiah of cynics, delivery men and fools, he learned nothing from the position he held. He remained in the realm of fantasy, dazzled by the power to say “I'm in charge”. Like a perverse child, he criticized and dismissed anyone who was more important or popular than him. Pirracent, resentful, tyrannical, he used and abused blackmail on national television, converting public issues into personal offenses. He even created lists of enemies of the republic, which certainly implied acknowledging that the six hundred names were right to criticize the arbitrariness practiced in his government – ​​guided by capachismo vis-à-vis the USA; the scandalous refitting of the armed forces; encouraging deforestation and the cultivation of pesticides; and, above all, complicity, not to mention protagonism, in the face of genocidal practices.

The king of peeves wasn't elected and kept in his corner of the mess, or in the playpen, thanks to God's designs; but rather because of the impudence and sadism of the men and women who elected and funded him. He is a product, but he also reproduces, part of the scrotum of the subspecies that conducts the shadiest business in the country. The still-president seemed to confuse self-respect with dignity, to the benefit of his family and the detriment of everyone else. The lack of a national project, combined with megalomania, kept it in the harsh, exclusionary and elitist stratosphere.

Now, unlike a selfish and unscrupulous sixty-year-old, healthy children soon understand that there is no point in keeping the ball, the cart or the doll: it is much more advantageous to share the toy with others, to create a better little world.

*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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