What's the difference between Léo Lins and diarrhea?

Image: Suvan Chowdhury
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By ACAUAM OLIVEIRA*

If we really want a society free of fascists, we will have to persecute them, corner them, make their existence undignified.

First move: position yourself. With regard to the controversy surrounding the removal of the comedy special by comedian Léo Lins from the YouTube channel, at the request of the Public Ministry, comedian Fábio Porchat – who came out in defense of Lins – is wrong. The interdiction of Léo Lins' violent jokes is not a case of attacking a generic and baseless “freedom of expression”, but rather part of a broader and necessary process of interdiction of Brazilian fascist discourse, of which the standard of bullying expressed by this model of humor (the same as that of Danilo Getilli, Young pan, MBL and the like) is a fundamental component.

It is not the prohibition, but the fascist discourse itself that prohibits other modes of existence and that, therefore, is incapable of existing in society. If we really want a society free of fascists, we will have to persecute them, corner them, make their existence undignified. In that sense, what I want is more for that Léo Lins guy to chip away at all. Because either we are serious about ending fascism here, or we accept the nonsense that we need to give it time and wait for society to “evolve”, just as we evolved from slavery to the most narrow, perverse and violent forms of racism the Brazilian.

Second movement: problematize. Starting with the adopted narrative model. It would help a lot if we told the story correctly: You saw that there is a Galician with a light eye who is always doing bullying with a well fucked up crowd? He only takes the ones who are in the shit to beat, coward. The other day he made fun of the mother of a girl who has cancer! And a bunch of suckers cheering. And did you see that he went to take a crazy person and got slapped in the face? Yeah, I also think he was beaten a little. That way, all the dots on the ies.

But here we opt for a much more complex strategy, albeit apparently simpler: the aesthetic debate. What contents are valid in relation to humor? What can be laughed at or sneered at? What is your ethical limit? An aesthetic and, above all, moral debate, whose origins probably date back to the first examples of the genre. Aristotle himself was already grappling with this issue and since then the subject has never left the agenda.

The “problem” of humor, from a moral perspective, is precisely the fact that there are no contents that cannot be attributed to it. No list of prohibitions and limits resists its corrosive force. Humor, for better or worse, cannot be tamed, no matter how well-intentioned one is. He is vile, wicked, dirty and vile. Either the humor is rotten as life, or it's a joke tap tap. Care Bears. Infantilization and escape.

I quote a true episode that, for obvious reasons, did not make it into the final edition of the Pentateuch. It is said that immediately after the reading of the Ten Commandments by Moses, a funny man farted. General laughed – including Moses himself, downtown. Even if the episode was wisely excluded from the official biblical version, for centuries Catholics would have been intrigued by the jokers. No wonder: the word of God was barely defeated by the oldest chemical weapon produced by man. Behold the festering (and stinking) power of a well-placed joke.

Remove the perversity of humor and kill the best Brazilian humor. Eliminate poor jokes and remove the most important source of popular culture. Eliminate black jokes and end the best black tradition of humor. Without perversity against those below, Chaves, Chaplin, Quixote, Cavalo Marinho would not exist. Only court literature.

Em The Devil's Church, Machado de Assis tells us that he, the capiroto in person, realizing that Christians really liked to sin, decided to found a church in which everything was allowed, except the Christian virtues. Quick and immediate success, as you can imagine. Over time, however, the devil began to realize that many of his faithful were secretly practicing Christian virtues. Respecting father and mother, chastity, humility, etc. Conclusion: the people really like to sin, despite the particular contents of vices. Humor is a relative of sin, and as soon as the list of topics that cannot be joked about is completed, we will see the number of sinners grow exponentially. Nor does humor possess ethics: it is a chemical weapon that is given to those who can pay the most.

But there are indeed intolerable contents, right? For that is precisely the reproach: not for humor – that is the source of its power, which serves all spectrums. Let us remember the sign at the entrance to Auschwitz, which bore the inscription “work sets you free”, the most perverse joke that could be made in a concentration camp. By the way, this is the territory of Léo Lins' humor, which participates in the same order of violence – humiliation of fragile subjects to the limit of subjective destruction (the worse the humiliated person feels, the more successful the comedian will have been, as in the case of bullying).

A humor whose perversion content is so great that it adheres to the Nazi dehumanization project itself, as its most perfect symbolic complement. However, here's the point: there is no way to prevent humor from adhering to horrors like this, because it is humor's characteristic to subvert any ethical models. Humor is a tool and, as such, can work in the hands of all subjects, including Nazis. We can spend all our saliva explaining why making fun of slavery is wrong. At the end of the explanation, someone will fart. From a humor perspective, the wrong thing would be not to make the joke (rather lose the friend). He lives to destabilize speeches, whatever they may be. That is the reason for its form.

Someone often cites as an example of “good humor” the series Chaves, as an example of humor that pleases the whole family, free of profanity and therefore perversity. But is it really a good example? On the contrary, wouldn't the base of the show's humor be the cycle of violence and humiliation distributed abundantly among the poorest? Everyone is screwed by the program, including the capitalist landlord (Mr. Barriga), who owns a ramshackle tenement that is so sleazy that he has to go personally and collect the rent from his defaulting tenants, in addition to having a son who studies there. school for the poor.

However, it is precisely because everyone is screwed that micropowers become even more relevant: the pole with greater economic capital (Dona Florinda and Quico, who have heritage) and cultural capital (Professor Girafalles) concretely and symbolically humiliates the pole with less capital (Chiquinha, Chaves and the eternal symbol of the Latin American precarious worker, Seu Madruga). These, in turn, alternate between humiliating those who are even weaker (Seu Madruga hitting the children, Chiquinha hitting everyone), or retaliating with malandragem (Chaves hitting Seu Belriga every day). There is a lot of perversity in Chaves, and part of his strength derives from making fun of the conditions of degradation typical of the peripheral Latin American context, in which an acute vision of class struggle is not absent.

So we can't do anything about this model of barbarism disguised as a joke? Should we silently accept the argument that “it's just humor”? We can, yes, do something, as long as we carefully observe the target to be attacked. It is beyond the reach of the progressive camp to rid humor of its organic attachment to perversion. What's more, it's not desirable to do so. Humor needs to be structurally close to violence so that it can remain dangerous. Violence that can assume very positive functions in dealing with the pains of the world.

It is no coincidence that the internal humor of marginalized communities is often ultra-aggressive, leaving people like Leo Lins in the dark. Want to find the heaviest anti-Jewish jokes? Follow Jewish comedians. The same goes for blacks, people with disabilities, etc. Leaving the simplifying horizon of “places of speech” (who can or cannot what) it is obvious that humor in these cases is the instrument that allows dealing with a pain that would be much more unbearable if it did not become an object of laughter. In some cases, the worse the better, as if the subject finally had power over what corrodes him. Killing the acidity of humor would be a great perversity towards these subjects. Humor is the purgatory that allows you to move from hell to paradise.

No matter how hard we try, it is simply impossible to make the perversity of humor work only in its “positive” dimension, whatever that means. Precisely because it is perversity that is at issue, and even the perversion of good is still perverted. That is why the groups that strive to discipline humor – on the left or on the right – always sound straight and conservative, like bedels of morals and good customs. It is perversion not to give a damn about things we like so much (or pretend to like) as "the right side of the story". Perversion wants to be on the right side of the whip.

There is only one way to control the uses of humor: by assuming the role of the police and imposing your own set of rules on a fist-to-pound basis. This is how, historically, the black has become an object of scorn and the white has not. The colonial power imposed, by force, the pattern of mockery. Hence the success of this police-like posture among minorities on social networks, a space in which we can perform a force that does not necessarily exist. The problem is that, in this case, the saint is made of clay, no matter how frighteningly well his uniform fits him. After all, it will always lack the main element to move from farce to tragedy: power.

As the partner Renan Oliveira said in the exchange of ideas that generated this text, the great challenge of the left today is to forge an anti-fascist model of perversion, instead of fantasizing its own utopia as a space free of all evil, pretending to be a baroque angel . Christians by default.

“Soca flufo” is such a good humorous expression because it establishes a perverse tension: at the same time that it acts directly on the fantasy of male virility to dismantle it, it indirectly affirms the positivity of virile maleness that at first it was intended to attack. Soca forte is its obscene fantasy, which is at the base of the violence it intends to combat. It is in this irresolvable tension and little concerned with ethics (since there is something greater at stake) that its strength lies. Humor does the dirty work that needs to be done. As progressive as our principles are, we all need this ability of humor to wallow in human scrotum.

That said, I don't think Léo Lins didn't get what he deserved, or that his violence should be ignored under the typically fascist veneer of "it's just a joke". To say that all humor is perverse does not mean that all its perversities are justifiable. In this case, the criminalization of the comedian's violent videos is part of a broader context of criminalizing fascism – therefore, liberal fears that this process will extend to all types of humor do not make sense. What is being attacked is the fascist pattern of existence, which presupposes the death of the Other. However, it is only when we accept the articulation of humor with evil as a positive fact – that is, when we adopt a less Christian point of view and closer to Exu's dialectic – that the ways of organizing the struggle and its means change completely.

How did that joke on the Auschwitz sign get banned as immoral and banned from circulation, at least for a while? Apparently it was Nazism, not the joke, that became indecent and immoral. This is the only way. Replacing the joke with more realistic or pious signs would not solve the Jewish problem. Making Nazism immoral yes.

It's Léo Lins and his role model bullying little fascism that must be made immoral, indecent, unworthy of existing. A movement that demands a profound redefinition of our social fabric. And no, the problem cannot be solved with the liberal utopia of democratizing a first-world model of education. What has been happening in Europe with the increase in cases of ethnic and racial violence is proof that what solves racism is to end racists, not to educate them.

*Acauam Oliveira Professor of Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian Literature at the University of Pernambuco.


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