River Plate vs Boca Juniors

Image: Cyrus Saurius


Considerations on the discourse of the “exempt”

If you believed that I would discuss football, you were wrong. I'm not a good full-back, defender, midfielder or center forward; not have expertise or diploma in the subject - which distances me in three hundred thousand deaths from the Brazilian fan pro Covid, which not only encourages competitions with absolute physical contact, but also celebrates the achievements of “its” team by crowding together without a mask in the midst of the biggest health crisis in the country.

It could also: in the absence of example(s) of conduct by the federal authorities, nothing more coherent. If my memory serves me right (another proscribed word in these parts), he was not chosen, anchored by the fake news who cast the pearl that "freedom is worth more than life"? Do the reader, the reader doubt? Or have they “forgotten” again?

Whatever the option, take advantage of the time when you “coward” (instead of “facing” the virus) and “leaf through” the newspapers. In this case, it doesn't matter: it can even be a traditional vehicle, if you believe that only corporate media – full of graphics and specialists discussing politics (from the null state), economy (ultraliberal) and business (for entrepreneurs) – are serious and reliable[I].

It is quite true that the Internet allows editing news, articles, materials, editorials, etc. We know very well that many of them are corrected, denied or erased, without there being any record of this (more or less as it happens in the novel 1984, by George Orwell). But, that being the case, it would not be difficult to verify the maxim uttered by the subject – elected thanks to the alleged “very difficult choice”[ii] between a former minister, former mayor, researcher and university professor (with a degree in law, a master's degree in economics and a doctorate in philosophy) and the denialist, bomb-wielding (who has done nothing in 28 years in the chambers), the trigger of bravado that is there, pretending that deaths are inevitable.

The fact is that (almost) every Brazilian has a soccer team to call “his”. The phenomenon is curious, because some subjects become supporters of the River Plate (or rather, the Sao Paulo soccer club) pretending to have conditions and money they don't have to circulate in Morumbi and “live together” among the club's members. I don't know much about football, I told you; but I know of the fame that surrounds opposing fans in Buenos Aires and in some Brazilian capitals.

I often hear that there is a relationship between the team you support and the socioeconomic profile of the revelers who frequented the stadiums (once or twice a week) or the great avenues of this megalopolis (on Final days). For those who turned football into an overwhelming passion – and a favorite topic of circumstantial dialogues between “experts” – it is possible to deify players and make the sport sacred and give life some meaning.

Yes, because we all (re)produce and consume narratives with which we agree. What would become of speaking beings if they could not talk about themselves or judge the lives of others? For example, there is this narrative that identifies fans with the team that best represents them. Amazed, Internet user, in São Paulo – “land of work”, of the neobandeirantes and agribusiness barons –, some teams from the Paulistao are fondly associated with less irrational animals than fanatical cheerleaders.

São Paulo also exhibits a peculiar fauna. I am referring to the “good citizen” who only admits to “discussing” politics every 2 years, especially when he is called upon to give a new opportunity to the ultraliberal (and supposedly “center”) dynasty that he has blindly supported for three decades. On these occasions, he takes the opportunity to repeat platitudes invented by the caption, endorsed by the “mainstream” media and inoculated (like antiophidic serum) by the “peers” with whom the creature admits to coexist: “I am not a radical”; “neither extreme right nor extreme left”; “neither genocide nor welfare”; “football, taste, religion and politics cannot be discussed”. It might not even argue; but vote. And if he justified the vote, he took sides.

In São Paulo – a piece of land that I believe I know a little better than Buenos Aires – it is easy to listen to the speech of the exempt. You know him, because every exempt person believes in meritocracy (because he doesn't see social differences) and has a party to call “his”. The point is that, because he “belongs” to another class and radiates greater “refinement” of taste (like that lady who can only walk on Avanhadava Street), he does not “mix the seasons”.

For this being, words like “union”, “party”, “economic assistance”, “labor law”, “social security”; "community"; "occupation"; "solidarity"; “work card” are proscribed. Instead, he prefers to talk about what he doesn't know either: “collaboration in the company”, “negotiation with the boss”, “each man for himself”, “God helps those who get up early”, “don't give up; teach the fish to fish”; “gender ideology”; “Racism does not exist”.

If I were the owner of a communication vehicle (like the one based on Rua Barão de Limeira, which lent cars to persecute people during the dictatorship), I would launch a survey full of colorful graphics, to entertain headline-consumers. newspaper and provide elegant conversation topics during the brunch remote from the “good citizen”. In illustrative terms, I would ask: 1) What team do you root for (or would you root for)? 2) What creed do you profess (or would you profess)? 3) Which party do you vote for (or would you vote for)?

I suspect that the answers to the very brief questionnaire would reveal: the place that the São Paulo citizen occupies (and presumes to occupy) in the social pyramid; the thirst for distinction of the upper and middle classes in relation to the “unoccupied”, land invaders, poor and miserable; pride in being an entrepreneur and your own boss; blind trust in the “exemptness” of newspapers and magazines; the “patriotic” speech of those who dream of living in Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

The most relevant data would reflect the way in which São Paulo citizens in general reveal the constant frauds of the candidates of the party for which they voted or would vote (purchase of reelection; monthly monthly allowance; meal mafia; kidnapping of education funds; scrapping of municipal and state hospitals; outsourcing of day care centers and essential services; homelessness, in the land that has the most empty properties etc., etc., etc.).

Using the football metaphor, the exempt person is the non-uniformed supporter who pays for admission to the numbered seats; he would leave the car (which he pays in installments) in the parking lot; he would enter the stadium fifteen minutes before the start of the match and, depending on the result of the dispute between the gladiators on the lawn, he would feel yet again the power to celebrate the victory or silence the defeat of the team he “does not support”, but pays for to see.

*Jean Pierre Chauvin is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP.


[I] https://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/politica/2020/12/4894598-bolsonaro-nossa-liberdade-nao-tem-preco-ela-vale-mais-que-a-propria-vida.html

[ii] https://revistaforum.com.br/midia/vera-magalhaes-responde-a-criticas-sobre-escolha-muito-dificil-entre-bolsonaro-e-haddad/

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