Who fears art and culture?

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), Prisons of the Imagination, 1761.


The deconstruction of art and culture is so that they do not propagate practices of emancipation from oppression


The subversion of freedom

The idea of ​​“freedom” is subverted in Bolsonarian rumination. The end desired with the prestige is an exception regime in the country. The means to reach the goal implies assuming a dubious subjectivity, between hypocrisy (when it hides the intention to deceive) and cynicism (when it shows the intention to deceive), in the daily work of undermining institutions.

Freedom attacks itself, in Bolsonarism. It prohibits exhibitions of artistic works that problematize the values ​​of colonialism (racism) and patriarchy (sexism), with intimidating methods - vandalization of pieces, aggression against artists and the public at exhibitions. Obscurantism does not dare to call into question its own worldview. Protests by religious groups and the Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL), after 2013, canceled several events in the name of normoheterosexuality and traditional hierarchies of command / obedience. Sympathy was thrown at the mill of the extreme right and cancellation in the creative impetus.

Marighella’s biopic, directed by Wagner Moura and with Seu Jorge’s talent in the lead role, released and awarded in Berlin in 2019, only landed in Brazilian cinemas in 2021, due to alleged “bureaucratic problems”. The guerrilla fighter was considered Public Enemy No. 1 of the military dictatorship. The character was transformed into Public Enemy N°1 by the Secretary of Culture, from Inominável. It is now pursued not by the Department of Political and Social Order (DOPS), but by the National Film Agency (Ancine). Hence the delay in debuting on home soil. In the meantime, the right sought to disqualify the film under the allegation fake that the co-founder of the National Liberation Alliance (ALN) was white. It was a lie, he was black, which increased the thirst for revenge on the part of the furious slave-owning elites, challenged by the Bahian man.

The democratic values ​​embodied by the revolutionary leader questioned the imposition of a “tyranny” in the national territory, the reason for the revolt of the political groups that took up arms to regain democracy. It is due to one of the founders of liberalism, the principle of the “right to rebellion” of the governed against the rulers who assume State power, without having the explicit consent of the people, reads in the final chapters of the Second Treaty of Civil Government (1662) by John Locke. Marighella did not need Marx to legitimize the option for guerrilla warfare, it was enough for her to evoke the liberal icon. Unjustified was the cowardly dictatorship.

In favor of the domination of capital, the olive reaction fought idealist courage. Intolerance has turned back the clock of civilization by twenty-one years. The contradiction of conservatives, yesterday and today, lies in inhabiting a society in motion and thinking that they can stop the cycle with ahistorical assertions in the face of political, social and customs changes. “Bolsonaro’s project, to be executed with ingredients of blood and death, depends on the use of mechanisms of control and coercion on society”, says Heloísa Starling, in: Language of Destruction (Companhia das Letras, orgs. H. Starling, M. Lago and N. Bignotto). Get out of the way, people.

Cynicism appeared in Vice Hamilton Mourão's speech about the skirmishes for the return of the barracks regime. The general made use of nonsense, by applying the predicate of freedom of expression to end democracy. He pretended that freedom is out of context from the cumulative process of civilizing values, when the coup appeal against the Magna Carta was obvious. Is this what you learn at the Escola Superior de Guerra (ESG)? Reinaldo Azevedo is right: “Bolsonarists believe that freedom of expression confers the right to commit crimes”.


The Wrath of the Premoderns

The remnants of pre-modernity do not rest. In his insomnia, there is always a fear of egalitarian advances in the face of the dynamics of progress. It is not surprising that they were outraged by the painting by Gustave Courbet, at the Musée d'Orsay, focused on the woman's womb and sex. A origin of the world it is the most censored plastic creation in centuries. Proof of the existing intersectionality between capitalism and the immemorial repression of the feminine.

Painted in 1866, the work was made public in 1995. Censorship prevented it from being admired even in a living room. insurance. The canvas belonged to Jacques Lacan. The family donated it to the French State after the psychoanalyst's death. There are images of an artist who, with her back to the frame, opens her legs and exposes her genitals. Museum security guards try to cover her up, bystanders applaud her.

Art has a cathartic function (purgation, tension relief), for some. For others, political awareness. In common, the questioning of reality. For Martin Heidegger, the role of art is to reveal the truth of an entity, reveal its being and open a perspective that displaces the observer and situates him in history. The attacks on art and culture are not surprising.

The most prominent representative of contemporary conservatism, Roger Scruton, in New Left Thinkers (Accomplishments), refutes Sartre's conception that considers the free action of individuals capable of generating themselves and the surrounding world – throwing one into the other. The objection uncovers the anti-humanist core of the Scrutonian position.

“Any adoption of a value system, which is represented in such an objectively justified way, constitutes an attempt to transfer my freedom to the world of objects, in order to lose it. The desire for an objective order (where we can choose) is proof of bad faith and loss of freedom, without which no moral order would be conceivable”, snapped the irritated fellow from the British Academy. Humanism would lack transcendentalism.

Freedom would have presuppositions that are not subsumed to the rationality of choices in reality. After all, what is the place of God in the architecture of existential decisions imagined by the French thinker? None. Freedom does not reside in the possibility of free will, but in the commitment to the transcendental. The criticism is typical of conservatives, who resort to divine instances to explain moralistic acts on issues such as abortion or euthanasia. The antidote lies in historicization to de-perenify their convictions, with the resource of dialectical reason.


The drive for destruction

“Bolsonaro's speech is directed at those who have power, even if within a subordinate situation. It is the owner of a bar who has power over the waiter, the garage door pastor over his faithful, the husband who wants to subdue his wife, the corner guard who has power over passers-by, the motorist who has power over pedestrians and cyclists, the pimp who has power over the prostitute, among others. Bolsonaro whistles for those who have power and the message is clear: don't be afraid to exercise it ", debunks Miguel Lago (on. cit.). The Sartrean leans over his conscience to decide. The Bolsonarian exercises the will to power.

The closure of more than three hundred Pontos de Cultura and the veto of the Paulo Gustavo Law, which directed R$ 3,86 billion from the financial surplus of the National Culture Fund (FNC) to the states and municipalities, for the promotion of cultural activities and products, moved fear of being stimulated at the level of thinking/feeling against a frontal counterpower to the pasteurization of perceptions. The meager contributions to education and science in 2020, 2021 and 2022 were the lowest since the 2000s. (BRL 720 billion). Without the holder of the folder tugisse. In the Ministry of Education (MEC), research resources decreased (78%) in the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and in the National Research Council (CNPq). Data from the Brazilian Legislative Observatory (OLB), from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). “Brazil is not for amateurs”, commented Tom Jobim.

The destructiveness that unites neoconservatism with neofascism and neoliberalism is devastating. Chaos is planned. Everything goes from bad to worse because everything is going well, capiche?

The current president is nostalgic for the rumor of boots, guided by the drive to destroy the political and social model that designed the 1988 Constitution, after a decade marked by the greatest popular mobilizations ever seen in the trajectory of the Federative Republic. Without which the ingenious Unified Health System (SUS) would never have come to light. Educational and cultural policies are emblematic of the belligerent logic that guides the fight against intelligentsia.

But nothing evokes the deconstructive impulse more than Bolsonaro's factual power, in revenge, over the eight thousand military personnel in the central administration, including generals. All owing salute to the lieutenant disqualified for indiscipline, and retired as captain at the age of thirty-three. Only by subterranean injunctions, he was not expelled from the Armed Forces.

“The uniforms repeat in a protocol way respect and consideration for republican values. However, in moments of crisis, their speeches reveal the authoritarianism and anti-republican spirit that surround their hearts and minds”, notes Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo (Capital letter). Return to the barracks; Politics is for civilians. It is hypocrisy to want to count votes in elections. Better to count trees in the Amazon, before the Militiaman-in-Chief hands over forest riches to multibillionaire Elon Muskas. For now, with the militias of prospectors and illegal loggers, of farmers and agro-industrialists invading indigenous and public lands.

Bolsonarism subverts the concept of freedom to lie about the actual effect of things. The devastation of the Amazon, which stuns the planet, is denied by the United Nations (UN). “The fact that it's a humid forest, it doesn't catch fire”, said Pinocchio. Of course, spontaneously, it doesn't start, unless someone starts the fire. Four years after taking office, the president’s speech in March 2019 in the United States was the only prophecy, in fact, fulfilled in a mandate in which nothing was built: “We have to deconstruct a lot”. The deconstruction of art and culture is so that they do not propagate practices of emancipation from oppression.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.


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