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

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,
which specializes in editorial and translation services for Brazilian and
foreign clients. You can reach him at

© John Fitzpatrick


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