Painting the 7th of September

Clara Figueiredo, series_ Brasília_ fungi and simulacra, national congress, 2018.


Hopefully this year's national holiday comes in a different mold from those we saw in the period of denialism, conspiracy, swag and militia

The greatest of national holidays is just around the corner. Two more weeks and we will have to go through that cloistered morning in parades, with the inexpressive recos marching and playing the bugle at the same time and, to top it off, the authorities on top of the platform squinting to bear the asphalt light. As it has been for two centuries, military parades, little children flying flags and speeches that no one can hear will mark the civic date. Nothing new under the almost spring sun, therefore.

Nothing new, except for the meaning of the colors. This will have to be different. Of course, the look will be the same, based on the duet between the old green and the unfailing yellow. The meaning, however, will have to change. The auriverde can no longer continue to be the symbol of illegal camps outside silent barracks. Canarinho T-shirts can no longer be a scam password.

This is the question that plagues the federal government. It's a semiotic question. It's a serious matter. On Tuesday, the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported that the Presidency of the Republic is investing BRL 3 million in the preparation of the “civic-military parade” with the objective of promoting the “rescue” of the homeland, today a prisoner of darkness. The expense may be high, but the cause is more than pertinent.

It is an agenda of the highest public interest, even if the problem to be solved has, here and there, the appearance of a bad joke. When we think of the dondocas and tchuchucas dressed as starry labaros playing soldier march in the Army parking lots, it is inevitable to think of a silly comedy. The past government's anti-systemic delirium, given its exacerbated degree of ignorance and unpreparedness, was never dissociated from a somewhat slapstick script. But let's not let it go. It all really threatened us. With their laughable bids, the scammers weren't kidding. For this reason, attempts at quartering, even if ridiculous, will have to be taken seriously. Democracy must remain firm in the investigation and punishment of those responsible for attacks against the rule of law.

For the same reasons, we cannot neglect the meaning of the symbols of the Homeland. What alternative do we have? Leave the colors of the flag hijacked by the reactionary infantilization of the little fascists on WhatsApp and by the stupidity that destroyed palaces in Brasília on January 8th? No. Either we turn the page on sign disorder or minimally informed citizens will continue with a hint of inhibition when it comes to unfurling the banner. It is necessary to paint the 7th of September on new bases.

If we work well, the uniform of the Brazilian soccer team will once again embody a positive feeling. In fact, it was like that in the past. Let us not forget that the color of the Diretas Já campaign, in 1984, was yellow. in the samba by the tables, Chico Buarque made a record of those demonstrations. “When I saw everyone in the street wearing a yellow blouse”, sings the composer, who is not referring to the coup-mongering hordes of the upper middle class, but to the people who rose up against arbitrariness.

The sense of colors was once very different. In the 1990s, there was a huge national flag covering an entire wall in the magazine's editor-in-chief's office. Caprice, which was the affective primer for Brazilian teenagers. The director who worked in that room was Mônica Figueiredo. An exuberant personality, with a rebellious and eccentric creativity, Mônica had nothing that resembled a barracks. She did not praise coups d'état and did not go along with censorship. Mônica never suggested that a notorious torturer should deserve a place of honor in the history of our country. She was the opposite of these illnesses of the spirit: an unmanageable editor, who did not salute anyone.

At that time, some 30 years ago, the magazine Placar, which operated in the same building as Editora Abril, in a narrow lane on Avenida Berrini, had its logo redesigned by designer Roger Black. The inspiration came directly from the “tassel of hope”, which, for that generation, was a sign of joy, lightness and freedom, like the yellow of Diretas Já. Everyone there liked the flag. We waved the flag.

These memories go here to say that there is nothing wrong with dreaming about such resignification of national colors. There is nothing impossible in this claim. The flag does not have to be a stamp on the facade of a building to indicate that a guy lives there who has guns in his house and is sexist, racist, xenophobic and petty. The flag may well represent another, opposite, better and superior message. In a word, civilized.

As a self-respecting nation, Brazil has to take this goal upon itself. It will do us good. I hope that the 7th of September this year comes in a different way from those we saw in this period of denialism, conspiracy, muamba and militia. It would be a fair tribute to Mônica Figueiredo, who died on Sunday, in Lisbon, from lung cancer.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of Uncertainty, an essay: how we think about the idea that disorients us (and orients the digital world) (authentic).

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