Brazilian Bits and Pieces

    Brazilian Bits and Pieces

    Too much fuss about Lula putting on a baseball
    cap bearing the Landless Movement’s logo. The last gimmick on the catwalks
    is having models wear the bikini top as a bottom and the bottom as top.
    And a pleasant development: females blowing whistles and flashing cards at
    football’s naughty boys.
    by: John Fitzpatrick

     

    Here are a few bits and pieces which might give
    readers a feel for what is going on here at the moment. …

    If the Cap Fits…

    Our President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is being
    attacked from the professional chatterers because he put on a baseball cap
    bearing the logo of the MST landless peasant movement during a meeting with its
    leaders recently. The MST is the bête noire of much of the Brazilian media and
    it is quite nauseating to see how much hostile coverage this organization gets
    from the mainstream press. Should any of its national leaders be murdered some
    day then the Brazilian press will have to bear the blame for the sensational way
    it presents them.

    The MST has made itself unpopular by invading private
    property and its motives are still suspect. However, by meeting their leaders
    and putting on a baseball cap for a photo opportunity is Lula doing anything
    worse than when he sits down to cut a deal with the likes of disgraced Senator
    Antonio Carlos Magalhães or the Senate leader José Sarney whose daughter
    Roseana, the former governor of Maranhão state, has still to explain where she
    got the piles of cash to finance her failed bid to become a presidential
    candidate last year?

    Catwalk Capers

    Oh no, it’s that time of the year again—the São Paulo
    Fashion week. This overexposed event, which is slavishly followed by the media,
    provides acres of free publicity for the crop haired, ear-studded precious
    little dress designers who produce clothes no normal person can afford or would
    be seen dead in. The nightly TV Bandeirantes news was so excited about this
    non-event that it rushed us live coverage so we could “ooh” and “aah” at the
    latest gaggle of scrawny, skinny waifs strutting along the catwalk to ecstatic
    applause from the great and good among the invited audience.

    The gimmick this year was some designer’s idea of
    having models wear the bikini top as a bottom and the bottom as top. The
    result—a glimpse of miniscule boney bunda cleavage—would probably turn on
    the Latin teacher at a minor English public school for boys (and the designer of
    course) but not macho men like your correspondent.

    As usual, although Brazil is crammed with stunning
    black and mulatta girls, the overwhelming majority of the models were white. The
    only black model given any prominence was Naomi Campbell who is not even
    Brazilian, while Brazil’s top model, Giselle Bündchen, is of German descent. Had
    Ira Levin’s novel The Boys from Brazil been more politically correct
    Giselle would certainly be “The Girl from Brazil”.

    Oh Whistle and Ah’ll Come Tae Ye My
    Lass
    1

    When I first came to live here I looked forward to
    following the local football scene. After Brazil’s victory over Italy in the
    1994 World Cup, in which Romário was outstanding, I expected to see some high
    class entertaining sport. I was quickly disillusioned. Maybe it was the fact
    that virtually all the top players were abroad or there were too many games
    involving too few good teams but, instead of being glued to the television on a
    Sunday afternoon I started switching off.

    I decided to support not São Paulo or their rivals
    Corinthians, but Palmeiras because this made me neutral in São Paulo-Corinthians
    arguments and also because Palmeira’s green and white colours were the same as
    those of my own hometown team, Glasgow Celtic. Maybe I even brought Palmeiras
    luck because they ended up winning the São Paulo championship with a team that
    included Rivaldo at that time.

    Even then, I could muster little interest and
    gradually stopped watching. However, over the last year I have started to follow
    the game a bit more and have been particularly impressed by the young Santos
    team. Unfortunately Pele’s old club blew their chances recently against Boca
    Juniors of Buenos Aires who annihilated them 5-1 on aggregate in the Liberators
    Cup final. Besides that, there are also quite a few good players around at the
    moment, such as Robinho, Diego, Kaká, Alex and Ilan although the chances are
    that most will end up playing overseas.

    However, one extremely pleasant development has been
    the sight of female officials on the field blowing their whistles and flashing
    yellow cards at naughty boys. In the recent game between São Paulo and Guarani
    the referee and the linesmen (sic) were women. One really sexy lineswoman, Ana
    Paula de Oliveira, is becoming every male fan’s favourite and I now check out to
    see whether she will be appearing. Football fans always say that women’s
    football is boring. Well maybe it is but having three wenches on the field
    livens up even the dullest match. It would also be interesting to see if the
    presence of ladies makes the thugs and brutes who make up so many of today’s
    players behave themselves a little more.

    São Paulo Stood Up Once More

    Oh dear, São Paulo has been jilted once again in
    favour of that hussy, Rio de Janeiro. This time the snub came from the Brazilian
    Olympic committee which wants to bring the 2012 games to Brazil. The committee
    voted by 23 to 10 that poor little Sampa should not be the Brazilian candidate
    and plumped for Rio instead. The São Paulo presentation made by state governor
    Geraldo Alckmin and city mayor Marta Suplicy highlighted the size of this
    megalopolis and the support the state and city governments were giving the bid.
    This must have had committee members yawning their heads off. Since the meeting
    was actually held in Rio one wonders why the São Paulo delegation did not see
    the writing on the wall.

    The Rio presentation focused on the beauty of the
    city and its surrounding. No mention was made of one of Rio’s favourite sporting
    activities—shooting—or the speed with which the city’s athletically-minded
    thieves sprint through the streets after snatching bags and cellulars from the
    pedestrians. Rio may be more attractive than some of the other
    candidates—Toronto, New York, London or Paris—but the chances of a visiting
    athlete or spectator being shot at or mugged in these places is distinctly less
    than in the “cidade maravilhosa” so I think we can forget having the
    Olympics taking place in Brazil nine years from now.

    I’m Just a Jealous Guy or Is It Jealous Gay?

    According to a recent British study, Brazilian men
    are the most jealous in the world. Can this really be true? I have heard
    Brazilian and foreign women say their men are more tender—carinhoso is
    the usual cliché—than us brutish northern Europeans, but never jealous. If the
    Latin lover exists I think he is in Argentina, Italy or Spain because from what
    I have seen of your average Brazilian man is a cuddly, little hand holder who
    lets his wife or girlfriend walk around the beach virtually naked for every
    other guy to drool over. Also, after claims that 800,000 people took part in the
    “gay pride” event in São Paulo recently I am beginning to wonder if there are
    any macho men around here at all—apart from us foreigners that is.

    1 Ballad with words by the Immortal Bard,
    Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s answer to Camões.

     

    John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish journalist who
    first visited Brazil in 1987 and has lived in São Paulo since 1995. He writes on
    politics and finance and runs his own company, Celtic Comunicações www.celt.com.br,
    which specializes in editorial and translation services for Brazilian and
    foreign clients. You can reach him at jf@celt.com.br

    © John Fitzpatrick
    2003

     

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