Brazil: an Almost Postmodern Novel by Felipe Diógenes

Brazil: an Almost Postmodern Novel by Felipe Diógenes

Writing an article about the political situation of Brazil is something a little bit peculiar, because since the beginning a poor boy is taught to think of soccer to be one of the only ways of becoming socially included. The interesting thing is to write about this when the Brazilian soccer identity seems to be deconstructed. Then raises the question: what is the actual Brazil? The dear reader would also ask: “I was expecting to read something about the political situation of the country, why am I reading about soccer?”

For the cliché or simply political incompetence I can’t think of another way of starting it. In New York every time I say I’m Brazilian I automatically become a soccer player or a professional samba dancer. I think all these compliments represent political compliments. According to the playwright Bertolt Brecht “the worst illiterate is the political illiterate” because “he doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions.” Justified on Brecht my ordinary decision to speak about the soccer situation, I mean, political situation of Brazil.

Brazil’s identity was deconstructed in 2014 when the Brazilian team lost to Germany in the Soccer World Cup. What would have happened to the poor weak warriors, the Brazilian players? I nowadays believe that poor players need more than only feet swing to become a Brazilian member team, because of all the corruption behind this green field business. Soccer moguls put only the players they want in every team they wish to. Then, an almost impolite team as the Brazilian one could not win a well organized Germany team. Impolite for sure because it leaves the poor people outside, as from the team as from the audience. Dear New York friends, I couldn’t go watch any games during the World Cup, because I am a professional of education, I mean, low salary and not a dollar currency.

This is the reality for the majority of the Brazilians. They are left outside their own houses, an Ark with no Noah, a ship with no pier, a country with no map, an almost postmodern novel. It’s true that a Brazilian poor person doesn’t fit in a post modern novel; I don’t even know what “postmodernism” means, do you? Maybe it is a country where the majority is poor; the education fails because of social inequality issues, police authoritarianism, and because of the almost fair meritocracy. It is fair, but only according to mass media and some politicians, responsible for sparing it as if good news. Aécio Neves, for example, the presidential candidate from the PSDB party defeated in the last election, strongly declares that meritocracy is fair to everyone. He states it means equal opportunities to anyone to show his talent and to ascend socially.

The rule of quotas created for universities, based on the obligation of federal institutions of reserving places for black and Indigenous population, coming from public schools, seem to bother the small population that shape Brazilian upper and also middle class. They seem to be uncomfortable with sharing the same college or flight to a foreign country. The wisest professors say “race” is not an issue. This way many understand that prejudice does not exist in any country, others understand that what matters is the human race, which is very kind. However, the majority of population does not understand anything because they do not know how to read or know how to read without context. Usually, these almost philosophers socially ascended and they speak through a lens called high salary paid by the federal government. The salary is not bad; it pays a trip to the first world to taste how an organized audience that does not scream or sing behaves.

About atmosphere of the audience I prefer the Brazilian one, I mean the one who enjoys a pick-up game in the Sir João’s field, because it is for free. I dislike the audience who watches the official Brazilian team games. I don’t like them because they don’t know how to play politics the right way, it means, to be quiet. Instead, they swear the elected president, Dilma Rousseff. Playing politics the right way means to watch the game in silence as well as we must watch the politicians do whatever they want: quiet. After all, the president is already elected and to buy beans, tickets to the world cup (how about my not Olympic Games?) and have lunch at McDonalds are the same.

Don’t say anymore that Brazil economic and education is worse than ever. I studied at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and there are several stories told by professors who used to work there during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s (PSDB party) presidential mandate, from 1995 to 2003. They related a very bad situation about the university environment, lack of both money and toilet paper. Nowadays there is a lack of money that nobody wants to explain its source. People in general tend to blame the actual political party, PT, I suggest that it is not that simple. I think we don’t need to blame only one player when the whole Brazilian team has not been playing good football for decades.

Meanwhile the upper and middle class keep beating their pans from their cabins, trying to draw attention from the means of communication in order to try to take Dilma over his throne. The pans are like chorus, symbolizing the way they feel unstable in the status quo. Now the poor people have more opportunities to go to the university because of the social-political programs that have been kept by the actual government. It is not more than a right for any citizen. Citizenship means having places for everyone both on the public transportation or to the private World Cup that happened inside my home where I could not watch on television because a teacher salary that barely pays the electricity bills.

I would not like to end without explaining the title. According to Umberto Ecco, “the postmodern reply to the modern consists of recognising that the past, since it cannot really be destroyed, because its destruction leads to silence, must be revisited; but with irony, not innocently.” When people clap their pans on their cabins or apartments, it demonstrates they are afraid of losing their social status. It strongly symbolizes the destruction caused by the silence from a population who does not visit the house where they were born, being unconscious of the past. The unconsciousness is the sickness that doesn’t let a player like Garrincha to be born again or the reader to play with the irony that is like the brilliant ball this old player used to play. In addition, I found out that public transportation in Brazil got higher taxes again, bringing people out into the streets to protest. As you know, everything is related to politics and unfortunately public services in Brazil are very expensive as well as football, I mean, soccer games if you prefer.

1. Clapping pans: protest by a middle and upper brazilian class that do not approve the actual mandate. The claping pans act is commonly named “panelaço”.

2. Garrincha: Manuel Francisco dos Santos was a Brazilian footballer well known by his way of dribbling.


Topic Exploration Pack: Practioners: Brecht. Cambridge 2015 p. 11

(GEYH, Paula et al. (ed.), 1998. p. 622)