One hour he will no longer sign decrees



For the president, a pen is worth less than a gun

After all this is over – and sooner or later this will all be over, it will have to be over – what will become of the image of the old BIC pen? She, with her hexagonal transparent plastic body, her little blue cap, who is going to rescue her from the garbage of History? The insistent and offensive use that the President of the Republic has been making of the poor thing, is there a way out of such a mess?

What a harrowing fate befell her. At every official ceremony, those that are framed by the white marble of the Planalto Palace, with the colors of the Coat of Arms of the Republic in the background, or on the side, or above, or below, there comes the fussy and talkative guy, grinning as if they were smiles , pulling a BIC out of his pocket to sign this and that, in front of everybody. It's been like this so often, with so much impudence, that people die of pity, embarrassment and shame.

Incredible that no one protested the kidnapping. There she is, defenseless, in the daily news, lending her innocent ink to acts against forests, against native peoples, against peace, all kinds of atrocities. What a sadness. Soon she, who had nothing to do with it. Just her: it's not fair.

We should think more about it. Few things say as much about the Brazilian sewer as the serial usurpation of the old ballpoint pen. Why did the head of state decide to take it as a phallic extension? What was going on in your head, where nothing good goes? The answer is simple, yet heartbreaking.

The BIC is a perfectly fungible tool. It is the penalty devoid of individuality, more or less like a hamburger fast food or a piece of chalk. No one inherits a BIC from their father. No one keeps a BIC as a keepsake, as there is nothing about it that differentiates it from any other like it. BIC is like a gas cylinder. A beer cask. If three people mix up their BICs in a meeting, none of them will know exactly which one was theirs.

The most intriguing thing is that, thanks to its fungibility, its extreme impersonality, it did a lot for the school. It helped to teach people how to read and write, it made writing, in a way, a little more accessible: promoting children who learned to write in pencil and then could move on to pen became more affordable. And how solemn it was to draw the letters in ink, even if the ink was from a BIC. How good it was to go with the same BIC until the end of the load. When it failed, it was enough to bring the sphere close to a matchstick flame, being careful so that the tip did not melt. It worked.

Imitation brands appeared. Bad. There was also a time when they launched high-end innovations, such as the BIC Clic, but nothing surpassed the original. BIC was good because it belonged to everyone. Rich and poor alike wrote with her. If there was an object that crossed social classes without bothering any of them, that object was the BIC. Priests used BICs. Prisoners. Lawyers. Whores. Teenagers. Even illiterates. The BIC tube was used for tracheostomy and to save lives. The same tube was used to spit chewed paper balls at classmates. BIC was democratic – that was before democracy imploded from the inside out.

So, this guy came along – the one you thought of, the one over there, the one over there. Why did he choose BIC for Christ? (Let's go back to the question, which was forgotten back there.)

No, it wasn't because of what was cheap and good about her, but because of what was cheap and vile about her. He chose it to show that never, ever, at any time, not a single day, not a single afternoon, never at all, did affection pass over his handwriting. He didn't have a superstition about pens. Not even sympathy he had, has or will have. He doesn't know what that is. He won't even know. Others might like to feel the inkwell quill gliding over the roughness of the craft or tired. He no. Others may think that signing a book with that same porous tip will be good luck. He doesn't (goes without comma). Others can sense it on the back of a Rollerball ancient the still warm fingerprints of a departed scribe. He no.

Always like this: not him, not him, not him. For him, writing is empty of symbolism and spirit – and the BIC is a way of declaring that a pen is worth less than a firearm. When it comes to armaments, one must distinguish models, must have preferences and even estimations; he should know the difference between rifle, cartridge belt, carbine, rifle and shotgun. As for the pens, for him they are all indistinct: all the same crap, all BICs, all generic. He signs the decrees as if he were slapping someone who values ​​culture in the face, because he sees culture as disposable rubbish, like a disposable pen. He chose BIC to say that he discards culture.

Where BIC meant simplicity, he invented the representation of contempt, and with his contempt he humiliates letters, knowledge, compassion, democracy and the child that we are until today, when he asks: what will become of our BIC?

* 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. Paulo.


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