Silvio Almeida at Brazilian Carnival

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By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL*

Whether or not you like carnival is not the defining element of anyone’s Brazilianness

I haven't heard much about Minister Silvio Almeida. It seems that he adopted a somewhat ambiguous stance in the fight against Zionism, which is regrettable for someone who is in the Ministry of Human Rights, but it is sparse information that I see in the press.

He was at a samba school in São Paulo on Saturday and paraded last night in Portela, in Rio de Janeiro. Interviewed, he spoke the usual platitudes on these occasions and said: “Liking carnival is liking Brazil”.

Does that mean I don't like Brazil, minister?

What carnival, after all, is Silvio Almeida talking about?

Of the samba schools linked to misdemeanors? From the millionaire boxes? The overpriced abadás, the fencing of the streets so that only paying people can jump?

Or will it be the carnival of “TikTok blocks” – yes, because now the naming rights Did they invade everything?

Maybe the carnival of sexual harassment, lack of bathrooms, hot and expensive beer?

In all this should we see a reflection of “liking Brazil”?

The scoundrel politicians who perform their populism in samba schools and the destructive capitalists who get drunk in the boxes – are they examples of love for the country?

Researcher Luiz Antonio Simas hyperbolically described carnival as “a collective celebration that confronts individualism and the decadence of group life; set of rites that revive ties contrary to community dilution, strengthen belonging and sociability and create social protection networks in the cracks of disenchantment”.

It is sonorous, although exaggerated, one-sided, romanticized and tinged with a perhaps problematic communitarianism. But how much of the tourist-commercial spectacle of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo or Salvador corresponds to this definition?

Is there an affront to individualism in the stars who negotiate millionaire fees to sing in the blocks? Is there a reaction against the decline of group life among sub-celebrities competing for space on television or in Caras magazine? Is there a revival of community ties in companies developing their momesco marketing strategies? Are belongings strengthened by gambling bankers and their promiscuity with public power? Is the social protection network better signaled by a stolen cell phone or a forced kiss?

You can enjoy the party and the show just for the sake of it, without adopting all that nonsense.

How can someone who builds his public persona as a sophisticated intellectual, like minister Silvio Almeida, so happily promote the equivalence between the abstract carnival (the popular festival) and the concrete commercial event?

Does the fact that I don't like carnival diminish my love for Brazil?

I do not like carnival. I've been taking advantage of the holiday to read literature (foreign, how horrible!) and watch operas on video. I don't like football either. Not even on the beach. Should they revoke my nationality? Or am I entitled to reprieve because you like feijoada?

In its own way, Silvio Almeida's speech is as discriminatory as that of the Nazi who was Jair Bolsonaro's Secretary of Culture, who thought that Brazil needed to “civilize” itself and start listening only to Wagner.

A good carnival for everyone – for those who want to jump, for those who want to rest and also for the many who are forced to work on these days.

This simply does not define our Brazilianness.

* Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB. Author, among other books, of Democracy on the capitalist periphery: impasses in Brazil. (Authentic) [https://amzn.to/45NRwS2]

Originally posted on the author's social media.


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