disfigured sense

Image: Action Group


Bolsonaro is the biggest stimulator of the tension that spreads and tends to flow into acts of physical aggression.

“Do you know what figurative sense is? You know what it is? Did you study Portuguese in college or not?” Thus scolded the President of the Republic, at the Planalto Palace, when asked a question he did not like. We understand the context.

The argument took place on Monday, July 11, two days after municipal guard Marcelo Arruda was shot dead during his birthday party in the city of Foz do Iguaçu (PR). Recorded by security cameras at the commemoration site, the crime won the electronic screens, from prime-time newscasts to family groups on WhatsApp. The killer invaded the hall shooting, while shouting: “This is Bolsonaro!”. The victim, a member of the Workers' Party, had chosen former President Lula as the theme for his birthday.

With such a partisan burden, the tragedy acquired an eloquent political meaning – a Bolsonarist shoots down a PT supporter, on the eve of the elections. Hence the question: what do the president's hateful pronouncements have to do with this murder? Because that's what the reporters wanted to hear from him. During the quick interview, someone recalled a speech by Bolsonaro in 2018, during a rally in Acre. On the occasion, the then candidate borrowed one of these tripods used by photographers and videographers and held it as if it were a machine gun, making his arms tremble, as if distributing gusts in the northern air. Then, taking back the microphone, he shouted, almost laughing: “Vâmu shot the petralhada here in Acre”.

When he heard mentions of his incitement to the shooting of PT supporters, uttered four years ago, the current head of the Executive became irritated. That's when he used figures of speech as a shield: “Do you know what figurative meaning is? You know what it is? Did you study Portuguese in college or not?”.

It is not common to offer Portuguese subjects in colleges that teach journalism. Professionals in this field try to study the language throughout their lives, but they will hardly find classes in grammar or narrative forms in their undergraduate curriculum. The President of the Republic does not know this, of course, just as he does not know what “figuratively speaking” means. If he invokes the expression, he does so only to escape a responsibility he has. He is not immediately blamed for the shootings in Foz do Iguaçu, but he is the main stimulator of the tension that spreads and tends to lead to acts of physical aggression.

Certainly, Jair Bolsonaro has no idea what that “figurative meaning” is; its prosody of exacerbations, averse to any form of aesthetic elevation, only distorts the meaning of symbolic representations. Where language triumphs over carnage, its roars bring back the rough stone that crushes the spirit of every word. The things he says, and he says them very badly, the cursed things that come out of his grumbles or his infamies produce, without circumvention or mediation, the generalization of violence. Responsibility is direct, raw, there is no way to disguise or disguise it.

It is strange, even disconcerting, that so many people go around talking about polarization. The polarization is gone; it broke out before 2018 and then became another animal. Although its residues remain, what is in our face today is no longer the result of a polarized debate, but of a unilateral and unbridled fascistization. That's what we're dealing with right now.

(A parenthesis here. Political scientists avoid using the term fascism to describe the present picture; the historical circumstances of Italy in the 1920s do not coincide with what is happening now in our sad country – besides, Mussolini, in his beginnings, defended labor rights, while Bolsonarism chews them up like a hyena – but what is eating away at the Democratic Rule of Law from the inside and degrading the entire political culture from the outside is, yes, an anachronistic fascism, itself disfigured, hollow, a fascism kneeling before financiers and politicians for hire.)

Fascist disaster, as we used to know, lives in the “guard on the corner”. It was like that in Italy a hundred years ago and it's like that now in Brazil. It is these anonymous people, armed by the government's public policies, the collectors of blunderbusses and deaths, who feel increasingly called upon to take the initiative to slaughter dissidents. Today, as before, fascism is the empire of mediocre, insignificant and obscure killers who see themselves authorized to end the lives of luminous people.

This is the coup that is coming, which has already begun and which will cost us even more blood. The unburied fascism of minor beings, let's not deceive ourselves anymore, was produced by the disfigured speech that our people elected four years ago. It is shocking to see that so many still bend to this political malaise. It hurts my spine to see so many wealthy voters vow to double down. The repressed call for more repression. Dull devotees, a hundred years ago, as now, huddled in the cold nerve of evil.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of The superindustry of the imaginary (authentic).

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul.


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