Social networks – or rather the people who use them – are very weird. Between July 4th and 6th, 2022, anno Domini, internet users across the country decided that Washington Olivetto had published a revolting, insulting text . I went to a pet profile that I use to find out what’s on these people’s minds. It wasn’t very explanatory. It brought a good resolution photo with the text and the caption: “How can someone write a text like this public????” In the responses, everyone was outraged. “Unbelievable,” says one, while another speaks in support of meritocracy. At least the text was there. The title is a cliché: “Rio de Janeiro is still beautiful”. It described the arrival of the young Theo, son of the author, from the USA to Brazil. Before starting a university course in that country (film course), he came to Brazil for a walk with gringo friends. They were welcomed by the former nanny, who had become part of the family, and had a lot of fun with a given script. At the end of his stay, Theo concluded that he had completed a postgraduate course in life. From my outdated leftist, the only problematic thing there was to say that the ex-nanny was part of the family. “If she is part of the family, she is entitled to the inheritance”, it is said, and not without reason. I myself have seen a gentleman call the servants in uniform, with little apron and all, and introduce themselves as “part of the family”. This sort of thing exists and it embarrasses others, but I don’t know about Washington Olivetto’s life to know if he treats his ex-nanny like a dear spinster great aunt – who has no right to inheritance, by the way -, or if put her in a little apron and pay a minimum wage. I suspect it is the first case, since in the second case she would live in a favela and would not be able to receive the boss’s son. The only moral judgment that occurs to me is that I would be disgusted if I had a son Theo, a film student, graduate in life. I would hide it, I would never put it in the newspaper. But perhaps Theo Olivetto is for Theos what Enzo Celulari (1997) is for the Enzos and Luã Mattar (1997) is for the luans. Moral of the story: if you’re famous and influential, don’t name your child weird, otherwise a crowd will imitate and turn tacky (by the way: don’t you think this implies a certain change of mindset on the part of parents? Before, it was the name of a child with a view to someone important – be it an emperor or the child’s grandfather. Now a child is named with a view to the child of someone important. It is still a self-homage of the parents, therefore Instead of saying “I want my son to be like Alexander the Great”, they say “I want to be myself like Claudia Raia”).
It is mandatory to be unhappy left
The search was not fruitless. I found out that Uóston Oliveira, a black columnist® for O Globo, had written a column in response (let’s use a trademark symbol, because the corporate world doesn’t accept every black person as black, not every woman as a woman, etc. Some are black® and others they are only black. I am a woman, but I am not a woman®). The text is a cry about how his son’s life in Rio is suffered, as he lives on the run from the police. Any sensible parent would be afraid to say that their child runs from the police, but progressives swear by the law that the police only chase blacks, and chase blacks just because they are black. In the text, he says that his son suffers a lot because he doesn’t have money to go to the Mengão game, so all that remains is to go to the funk dance, where he has fun singing prohibitions until dawn (proibidão is what cariocas call the funks that make apology for of factions). If I were the boy’s mother, I would die of shame for my son to participate in funk dances with suspicious sponsorship, held without the residents’ knowledge, which prevent workers from sleeping. But progressives believe that poor people like funk dances, and that playing music at dawn on other people’s doors is not an abuse of the parallel power that reigns in favelas, thanks in part to Edson Fachin.
In any case, the message is: Washington’s son Olivetto can only be happy in Rio because he is white and rich.
What is noteworthy is that the black columnist® naturally I didn’t write for blacks in the favela. From this I gather that traditional middle-class or upper-class leftists need to look for a justification for their unhappiness. Alas, they already are. It remains to look for some noble reason to wash away this unhappiness. Perhaps they read the text of rich Olivetto and discovered that his son who lives in the USA came to Brazil to enjoy simple pleasures and be happy. Therefore, happiness is within their reach: they would not need to change the government or leave the country to be happy. There are only two options: either they accept that they are responsible for their own unhappiness, or they manage to say that Washington Olivetto is wrong for being happy. Ah, if he weren’t an alien, he would be unhappy too! Want to see only? Read the text of this black man here®.
Actually, Washington Olivetto is one of the worst people to call himself someone happy because of his wealth. He’s a famous kidnapping victim, come on, and fearing specialized gangs is a prerogative of the richest. The police are by no means the most fearsome thing in Rio de Janeiro; and the rich have much more to fear than someone from the middle class.
Unhappiness on the right
You can be happy on the right, because happiness (at least so far) is not a violation of a moral obligation. Still, Brasil Paralelo’s documentary Entre Lobos leads to a similar sentiment. The statistics are true; the worrying data about the legislation, idem. However, the lesson passed on to the spectator goes beyond the data: throughout Brazil, violence reigns and the citizen is trapped between wolves. So, you can’t be happy. An asshole. I even commented on this on a social network and there was no shortage of people calling me alienated.
Here I am, happy. In my most recent text on the Bicentennial, I talked about the festivities and briefly related my day with friends, which included leaving the town hall of Cachoeira and going to lunch next to the ruins of the Convento de São Francisco, in a rural district. If I were crazy (or “conscious”, as you wish), I could take the statistics of violent deaths in Bahia and say that you can’t be happy in Bahia. If you can’t be happy in Bahia, I won’t invite any friends to come here, nor would I give you ideas of remote places to go. And see that Bahia is countering the national trend of falling crime. In addition, Rui Costa concentrates policing in Salvador and there is nothing here most of the year. Nevertheless, I live in a house without fear of being robbed. And more: many people have a house here without actually living, leaving it closed with everything inside, without an alarm or anything. These people generally live in Salvador and come to spend parties or weekends.
There is traffic here, as in every Brazilian city of any size. However, any minimally thoughtful person knows that it is one thing to live in a dominated favela, another to live in middle-class areas and another, still, to live in a rich building full of protocol to enter. Of the three, the best situation is the middle-class neighborhood. If it’s in the countryside, even better, as robberies are a frequent problem in cities big enough for everyone to be anonymous.
Of course there is violence in my city – the other day I they spoke of two dead men left in a canoe to be seen. At the same time, it is true that the priest goes out with silver on a procession day. If the whole of Brazil were the chaos that Entre Lobos says it is, this would be impossible.
I will be “conscious”
But let’s say that I imbue myself with critical consciousness and let go of my alienation. I’m not going to leave the house anymore, I’m not going to walk around Bahia or Brazil. The safest thing is to stay at home: I’m going to put lots of bars on the windows and become the only person on the street with an alarm, calling the attention of all the bandits in the region and sending them two messages: that I’m fearful or that I have exceptional value. In fearful people, thieves mount.
I’ll be unhappy, trapped, inside the house, afraid of invaders that I inadvertently attract. I’m just going out to buy food. My window to the world will be the internet. In it, I will gather irrefutable evidence that Brazil is horrible, Bahia is horrible, and my decision to stay at home is based on Science. When they invaded my house, I would use the fact to prove that the Rui Costa government is really horrible, that the PT is no good, etc.
Then, traumatized, I would go to Zoom therapy. I’ll handpick the most catastrophic psychologist so I don’t have to change my lifestyle. As a woman, I’d find a whole lot more dreadful statistics to prove that I was right to be unhappy. And I wouldn’t have to become a feminist for that, because I watched the interview given by the new president of Caixa to Pingos nos Is and heard a barrage of statistics like this, including that a quarter of women are victims of domestic violence.
Then I would beat everyone in terms of conscience and no one would call me alienated. But, as this is not the objective I chose for my life, I can be happy.