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From the stab to indigestible shrimp: all the good stories we could tell our grandchildren

Imagine o atentado contra Bolsonaro contado por um John Le Carré. Ou o caso recente do camarão contrado por um Proust tupiniquim.
Imagine the attempt against Bolsonaro told by a John Le Carré. Or the recent case of shrimp contracted by a Tupiniquim Proust.| Photo: Bigstock

As much as I try, I can’t let it to see reality through the eyes of the fiction writer that I am almost not, but one day, oh, one day I will be. Take the horrific attack suffered by Jair Bolsonaro in 2018, for example. In the hands of a good writer or screenwriter, what an incredible story we would have! And yet, what prevails is the attachment to the sordid and, let’s face it, unbearably boring fact.

If Bolsonaro’s rise did anything, it was to overturn the myth that we are surrounded by highly talented artists in literature, drama and music. On the contrary, Brazilian culture has revealed itself to be what it has been since the beginning of the 21st century: a desert inhabited by Mafia Bedouins who from time to time put their camels to drink in the Lei Rouanet oasis, giving poor devils lost in the insurmountable dunes of the leafletry leftism the false impression that they were consuming art.

There are many proofs of this. I have already mentioned, for example, the curious absence of a summer mega hit that spoke of the pandemic. You can’t read a good and politically disinterested book about a character like Sergio Moro, once an unmistakable national hero and today, for many, a traitor. Nor do you see a film or a fictional series that explores (without giving in to pamphleteering, please) the many aspects of a family whose members occupy seats in the City Council, Federal Chamber, Federal Senate and,

last but not least, the Presidency.

The explanation is not only in the scarcity of artists with capital “a” and gothic, but also in the pamphletary tone it seems have addicted producers and consumers of books, movies and music. As there is no room for subtlety and honest exploration of reality, we are doomed to be satisfied with the paranoid “real” debate or, at most, satires that generate more anger than reflection.

By the way, I’m glad I mentioned the satires. Thanks to myself. Because I really see this tendency to satirize everything, and when it comes to literature or cinema “based on reality”, someone soon comes along to suggest a satirical or farcical version of that same reality. But not! When I think about the potential of the stab, what comes to mind is a deep investigation into the soul of those involved in such a plot. After all, from the idealizer to the perpetrator, everyone is a human being whose complexities should interest artists. That is, if artists weren’t so busy doing pamphlet politics on social media.

Imagine, for example, the fictional stab conspiracy told by a John le Carré or Graham Greene. Or even a Ken Follett or Stephen King. Imagine the story of the Bolsonaro family told as a saga à la “The Godfather” or “Succession”. Imagine all the gaps in characters Moro and Dallagnol fulfilled by the virtuous fantasy of someone capable of making the reader/spectator wonder “what would I do in his place?”.

The same goes for the case of undigested, poorly digested or indigestible shrimp that would have been the cause of the president’s rushed hospitalization. If we had a really favorable environment for the artistic exploration of the case, oh, how many possibilities beyond the crude and superficial humor of the perverse tweets and memes. I close my eyes for just a second and I can imagine Bolsonaro, or rather a character inspired by Bolsonaro (let’s call him Enzo Aparecido – whatever!) 439114799 remembering a lifetime of mistakes and successes while eating portions and more portions of shrimp, as if the delicious crustacean were a madeleine (not Lacsko; the dumpling).

For this to happen, however, it would be necessary not only artists weaned from Rouanets and others laws to encourage culture that, in practice, created a whole generation of artists who are independent of the public. For this to happen, it would also require an audience prepared to absorb works of fiction without the crutch of easy, passionate and necessarily hostile political interpretation. A tolerant public with the edges that sometimes remain (and hurt!) in this work of carpentry that is literature.

In the absence of these things, I fear it is for the imagination of our grandchildren. After all, good works of fiction that could be being written or performed tend to be replaced by bad works of fiction, those recorded in textbooks or performed in classrooms by teachers committed to the rewriting of history.

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