By Brazzil Magazine
On newspapers, books and on TV famous women are talking
about sex, writing about sex, answering questions about sex, while acting sexy. At age 24,
Anna Bárbara Xavier Mendes is a rising star on Brazilian TV. She is famous mainly for
being able to talk with finesse about delicate sexual themes such as erection, impotence,
masturbation and orgasm. Best known as Babi, she emcees Erótica, an MTV prime-time
program and soon will be doing double duty at SBT probably in a late-night interview show
similar to David Letterman’s program on American TV.
People generally think of Babi on her favorite set: a round bed
where she receives her guests. Babi started as a model, starred in some TV ads and had a
little part as Aninha, a secretary on Por Amor (For Love), a TV Globo novela
(soap opera). The host, who confessed having lost her virginity when she was 15, answers
question from teens who call from throughout the country. Some of the questions: should a
woman fake an orgasm; is it normal for a man to go limp on the first time? When a young
man asked singer Baby Consuelo, one of her guests, if she had ever participated in a
bacchanal, the singer answered: "Thank God, no. What is a bacchanal?"
Former model Monique Evans, 42, also uses a bed on her
De Noite na Cama (At Night in Bed), a daily TV show on the Shoptime channel.
"Here nobody has to feel embarrassed. I use a typical Carioca (from Rio) language and
show that the program is a big funny game." Evans job is to sell erotic products. She
doesn’t see any conflict with her work and the fact that she is a practicing evangelical
and explains: "I talk in a natural manner indeed. We can accept Jesus without
changing our way of being." So, Monique doesn’t even blush when she praises the
virtues of an erotic vibrator, saying: "Wow, this is cool. It gets into
On her popular program on Bandeirantes TV, Sílvia Poppovic seems
to talk only about sex. "Why I Gave Up Being a Whore", "How I Went to Bed
With My Neighbor", and "I Love Sex with Fantasy" are some of the themes
discussed in recent shows. Besides often being rude with her guests, Poppovic is famous
for her verbal intemperance. During one of these shows while discussing lesbianism, she
remarked: "Man and woman complete each other. It’s the pinto (dick) that goes
inside the xoxota (pussy)."
Psychoanalyst and sexologist Regina Navarro Lins reaches her
public through the newspaper and books. In Na Cabeceira da Cama (At the Bed’s
Head), there are 100 short chapters dealing with all kinds of sexual themes: infidelity,
divorce, bisexualism, sex without love, and cybersex. She also wrote A Cama na Varanda
(The Bed on the Porch).
Says she, "I like to talk about sex in order to break taboos
and eliminate prejudice. Sex is mediocre in the occident. We are a patriarchal
society in which men pursue the male ideal of strength and power. Worried about failing,
men are more interested in penetrating fast than in pleasing his partner."
Dispensing sexual advice is something that Navarro has been doing
for 25 years in her practice. More recently, she has found another outlet for what she
seems to consider a mission: a weekly column on Rio’s daily Jornal do Brasil. You
can also visit Navarro on http://www.cama-na-rede.psc.br
Scatology Is In
On a parallel front, Brazilian TV, which for decades has been
doing ads that would never be shown on Yankee tubes has entered a new era in
laissez-faire. No bad manner seems to be bad enough to be excluded from the ad grid.
Cursing, nose-digging, burping, everything is fair game. In one commercial for an Internet
provider a handsome young man starts to pick his nose in front of a group of girls. The
more talked about piece in this area is a spot for Silidron, an anti-gas medicine. The
commercial opens with a well-dressed couple having a romantic dinner in a restaurant.
Suddenly, the lady, unable to control her urge to fart, provokes an accident with the
waiter while she gets prompt and sonorous relief.
"We are human, this is an everyday problem," explains
Antônio Carlos Crippa, vice president of Z+G Grey, the ad agency which created the
commercial. And, he adds, "The competition is much more famous and we needed to
create an ad that the public would remember."
Banco Bandeirantes is promoting itself among youngsters with an
ad in which a boy during a family dinner, mad with all the prohibitions, lets escape a porra
(a vulgarity meaning sperm) which is very close to the ever-present "fuck" in
American conversation. The piece was created by the ad agency Giovanni, FCB, to sell a new
checking account for the pre-15 crowd. Rynaldo Gondim, from the company’s creation
department explains: "For the age-group we want to reach we have no choice but to use
this kind of language. Less than that would be considered dumb."
This Call Is For You
Does the Carioca (someone from Rio) like to be cursed at?
Apparently yes. A collection of insults taped in a voice-message service called BR Telecom
became a big hit. So many people called at the same time that the service went down. The
game goes like this: someone gives you a telephone number saying that somebody called and
needs to talk to you urgently. When the number rings a man with a very educated voice asks
who wants to talk. Rarely do people notice that it’s a recording and give their name and
wait. Suddenly a man in a very angry voice starts screaming: "Ah, is that you, you
son of a bitch," and then for close to one minute he dumps a ton of obscenities and
The number soon spreads because nobody wants to be the only one
to be caught and he passes it to a friend. When BR Telecom closes the box, it just pops up
someplace else on the service. Since people can open these message boxes without
identifying themselves and don’t have to pay anything upfront, this kind of trick is very
easy to play. There is a number where the recording is a woman screaming her head off and
saying obscenities as if she was having the best and wildest orgasm of her life.
In another box, a man, who changes his message daily, plays a
horny and suave Don Juan, having imaginary sex and telling the details to whomever calls.
A woman who used to call everyday told daily O Dia, "He says he is making love
in the bathroom, on a field, on the beach. He says what every woman would like to hear,
mainly those in need." This lady writes the telephone number, leaves it on the desks
of her colleagues at work and then stays around to see their reactions when they call.
Learning in School
In Goiânia, capital of Goiás, a teacher has discovered that
love poems and pornography are a great aid in teaching mathematics to teens. Uislei
Marques Pereira, who wrote Poemática compares learning mathematics to romancing.
"To teach mathematic is like making love," he told daily Diário da Manhã.
"The teacher needs to love it and have a hard on so students will have an orgasm and
experience pleasure in what they do. Without this there will be limp members and total
Pereira uses mathematical concepts and formulas to make poems
full of double entendres as when he writes in "The Trigonometric Passion:"
"I am gonna trace the bisector in order to find out the value of its
hypotenuse". He wants students to use malice, since traçar (to trace) in
Portuguese means also to screw. He says, "When the students hear this they start
thinking about pornography, an essential theme to stimulate students’ interest. But soon
he will find that bisector is just a straight line that divides an angle in half and that
hypotenuse is the largest side of a triangle."
Word by Word
In Brazil the name Aurélio is synonymous with dictionary. So
famous is the Aurélio dictionary that the publication, which was first released in
1975, has sold in its quarter-of-a-century career 15 million copies, much more than any
book published in Brazil except for the Bible. Despite this tremendous success the work
had not been updated for 13 years. When we look at the fast-paced, new terms which have
been added to the languagejust think about technology and Internet in
particularthis period might seem more like a whole new era.
For thosemost Brazilianswhose only
Portuguese-language authority is the Aurélio, the wait is over. The new version of
the book, which is now called Novo Aurélio Século XXI (New Aurélio Century 21)
has just been released. 100,000 copies were printed with 300 pages more than the previous
edition. 28,000 new termsfor a total of 168,000 words and phrasesare included
in its 2,160 pages.
The new Aurélio will cost around $50. Initially 55,000
copies were printed, but 50,000 more should be on bookstore shelves soon. The new edition,
the same as the previous, has a CD-ROM version. The dictionary will also have a version
for children with games and multimedia resources. It also can be accessed on line at
Aurélio Buarque de Holanda Ferreirauncle of famous
composer Chico Buarque de Holandathe philologist from the state of Alagoas who gave
name to the dictionary personally led the effort to put together the previous two
editions. Since his death, however, in 1989, the mission was taken over by Marina Baid
Ferreira, a Holanda student who became his wife. The second edition of the Aurélio had
been dedicated to her.
The Aurélio first edition came out in 1975 with the research
work having been started in 1968. For the latest edition the research effort started in
1986 led by Holanda himself who continued the effort until his death in 1989. The team,
which has seven linguists and more than 40 experts in several areas, is already busy
preparing the next edition although there is no anticipated date for its release.
When Holanda finished his research in the mid ’70s and went
looking for an editor he heard many negative comments before Carlos Lacerdaformer
Guanabara’s governor who had been stripped from his political rights by the military that
had taken over the Brazilian governmentdecided to publish the dictionary. Lacerda
was then the chief of the Nova Fronteira publishing house.
The Aurélio is not the most complete dictionary in Brazil. The Michaelis
Moderno Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa, for example, has 201,174 terms, 30,000 more
than the Aurélio. While the Michaelis has 2,259 pages, the Aurélio has
2,160. Since its release in 1998, the Michaelis, however, has sold less than 90,000
copies. Using numerous examples and literary citations_its trademark_the Aurélio
continues to win the popularity contest. Antônio Houaiss, the man who translated James
Joyce’s Ulysses into Portuguese has been researching for years what is considered the most
ambitious dictionary ever in Portuguese language. But nobody knows when the Houaiss will
be making it to the bookstores.
The new words introduced in the dictionary are slang, as well as
medical, scientific and computer terms which have appeared in the last 13 years. Two
thousand new words are Africanisms. Sorbonne University professor Michel Lapan was in
charge of Africanisms, those terms borrowed from Africa and Portugal’s former colonies,
that have been incorporated to the everyday language.
Among the new slang is roubada (stolen), a term that now
also means a bad deal. Among computer terms just borrowed from English there are: download
Professor Margarida dos Anaw6kx, who together with Marina Baird
Ferreira, coordinated the new edition, stressed that their goal was to incorporate into
the dictionary words already being used in books, newspapers, radio, and TV. "The use
is what makes the language and the terms used in computer books and the media were
ratified by us. The scientific terms are the consequence of discoveries that occurred in
the last 13 years."
Despite the fact that Aurélio and dictionary are interchangeable
in Brazil you will not find the term aurélio in the Aurélio. Just a case of
modesty. "My husband was very modest and he didn’t want to include his name in the
second edition," explained Marina. She simply followed his lead.
Editora Nova Fronteira, the dictionary’s publishing house, used a
thinner paper and a different typeface in a way that the new Aurélio has the same size
and is lighter than the 1986 version even thought it has 25% more terms.
The Voice of the Hill
He was born José Flores de Jesus, then became Zé Quietinho de
Bento Ribeiro, and finally Zé Kéti who recorded in 1946 "Tio Sam no Samba",
his first single. He was already considered first-rate by other celebrated musicians like
Monarco, Ventura, and Paulo da Portela, but it was with "A Voz do Morro," in
1955, that Zé Kéti became famous. The classic goes like this:
Eu sou o samba
A voz do morro sou eu mesmo, sim senhor
Quero mostrar ao mundo que tenho valor
Eu sou o rei dos terreiros
I am the samba
The hill’s voice it’s myself, yes sir
I want to show the world I have value
I’m the king of the courtyards
"A Voz do Morro" became a hit thanks to movie director
Nélson Pereira dos Santos, who after being introduced to the composer at Rio’s
Vermelhinho bar, decided to use the song in his Rio 40 Graus (Rio 104° F) movie.
The film would also become a classic and the first example of the Cinema Novo wave.
In 1998, Zé Kéti received the Prêmio Shell, a life-achievement
cultural prize. On the occasion he referred to the award as the first ever in his career.
His memory was already betraying him. He received several prizes during his life, most of
them during the ’60s, his golden decade. The composer was living in Rio’s Conjunto dos
Músicos (Musicians Condominium), a modest building that sheltered other musical geniuses
in the past, like Clementina de Jesus and Pixinguinha, when his heart stopped on November
14, 1999, at the age of 78. He died from kidney and lung complications at the Hospital
Ordem Terceira da Penitência, in Tijuca, in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro.
His most famous song is a Carnaval marchinha from 1966
called "Máscara Negra." Year after year it is one of the favorite songs when
Tanto riso, oh, quanta alegria
mais de mil palhaços no salão
Arlequim está chorando pelo amor da Colombina
no meio da multidão.
Foi bom te ver outra vez
tá fazendo um ano
foi no Carnaval que passou
eu sou aquele Pierrô que te abraçou
que te beijou, meu amor…
So much laugh, oh, so much fun
more than one thousand clowns in the ballroom
Arlequin is crying for the love of Colombine
amid the crowd.
It was good to see you again
it’s been one year
it was in the last Carnaval
I am that Pierrot that hugged
that kissed you, my love
"Mascarada," "Malvadeza Durão", "Meu
Pecado", "Nega Dina", and "Diz Que Eu Fui por Aí" were some of
the other hits he composed. In the ‘ ’60s, Zé Kéti together with João do Valle
contributed to the success of Opinião (Opinion), a legendary show directed by
playwright Augusto Boal with singers Nara Leão and Maria Bethânia. That was in 1964,
soon after the military took seized control of the country. From this show we get his
well-known song "Opinião", with such incisive verses:
Podem me bater,
podem me prender,
podem me deixar até sem comer,
mas eu não mudo de opinião"
They can beat me,
they can jail me,
they can live me without food,
but I will not change my mind
He was 13 years old when he started hanging around the Mangueira escola
de samba to listen to the samba club’s rehearsals. In the early ’40s, however, he became
an officer with the military police. His first Carnaval song, "Se o Feio Doesse(If
the Ugly Hurt)," appeared in 1943. His last CD came out in 1996. It was 75 Anos de
Samba (75 Years of Samba) a collection of his best-known songs.
He never finished third grade, but this didn’t prevent him from
becoming Brazil’s most important playwright besides Nélson Rodrigues. He had abandoned
school unable to cope with the pressure from his teacher who forced him to write with his
right hand even though he was left-handed. Plínio Marcos de Barros, who died from a heart
attack at the age of 64, on November 19, created a world Brazilians weren’t used to
hearing about peopled by cynical and tough characters from the society’s under-world:
prostitutes, criminals, drug-addicts, and transvestites. The writer was diabetic and had
undergone four bypasses in 1995. In August a stroke impaired his memory. He died in the
Instituto do Coração of São Paulo’s Hospital das Clínicas.
Born on October 29, 1935, in a lower middle-class family in the
coastal city of Santos, state of São Paulo, Plínio Marcos had a series of odd jobs
before and after becoming a celebrated author. He was a clown known as Frajola (Tricky), a
soccer player at Portuguesa Santista, a soldier, peon, and handyman. He confessed being as
a child "envious of the clown’s power of seduction over women." He admits,
however, the job of street peddler was the only one he did with proficiency.
The playwright was 22 when he wrote Barrela in 1957. It
was his first play, which was first staged in 1959. Barrela, a story inside a jail,
was made into a movie and is being shown now at the Teatro de Arena in São Paulo. Fame
would come in 1966 with Dois Perdidos numa Noite Suja (Two Lost Men on a Dirty
Night), the crude-language tale of two men in a room acting as if they were in a boxing
His most staged play, Navalha na Carne (Razor in the
Flesh), appeared in 1967. Its crude language and story about a prostitute and her
masochistic relationship with her gigolo irked the censors who forbid the play to be
shown. Reporting to his chief, one censor wrote that he had found a "profusion of
obscene sequences, dirty terms, anomalies and morbidity." The text was only
exonerated by the intercession of respected actress Tônia Carrero, who argued, "If I
am doing the play it cannot be pornographic."
Neville de Almeida adapted Navalha to the cinema in 1997
with actress Vera Fisher getting the juicy part of Neusa Sueli, the story’s prostitute.
Tônia Carrero once again was praising Plínio after his death: "He deserves all the
honors of a great author, which he is and always will be. Few people wrote as well as he
did. Nélson Rodrigues had a broader view and Plínio was more local. No one better than
him knew how to describe the poor of Brazil.
During the ’80s, although his plays continued to be performed,
Plínio Marcos used to sell makeshift editions of his own plays to survive. He also
started to read Tarot cards_something he learned during his stint in the circus. The
author received his clients at his single flat in the Copan building, in downtown São
Paulo, where he lived for two decades. The bohemian and prostitution area was the favorite
for his plays. For many years he was a mascot of plushy restaurant Gigetto, where he could
drink and eat without paying.
Only in the last two years, his wife, journalist Vera Artaxo,
convinced him to move to a bigger apartment in the exclusive neighborhood of
Higienópolis, the same are in which President Fernando Henrique Cardoso owns an
apartment. He also started to dress a little nicer after years of walking the streets like
a bum. Plínio Marcos was able to buy his apartment only because writer Márcio de Souza,
as president of Funarte (a foundation dedicated to promote art) acquired the copyrights of
his work for a ten-year period. The playwright had three children with his first wife
Walderez de Barros, one of whom is actor and writer Léo Lama.
Plínio Marcos wrote more than 40 plays as well as novels and
short stories. Brazzil published an excerpt of his novel, O Assassinato do Anão,
in August 1998 (https://www.brazzil.com/shoaug98.htm). All of them had a problem with the
censors and Plínio Marcos was jailed several times because of his writing. Barrela,
the first play he wrote, for example, was only released in 1980, like most of other works
written in ’60s and ’70s. Plínio was already 32 when his first play was staged. It was Dois
Perdidos numa Noite Suja. But after a few presentations it was also closed down by the
military censorship. The author was often confused with the characters he created and the
image he himself portrayed in interviews. While he used to call himself an illiterate,
Plínio Marcos was a self-educated man who devoured books.
His most famous plays:
Barrela (1958): The action based on a true story happens
inside a prison. After being raped by his cellmates a young man kills one by one all of
Dois Perdidos numa Noite Suja (1966): The two lost souls
in a dirty night are Paco and Tonho. The first resigned to be a criminal, the latter
struggling to be an honest person.
Navalha na Carne (1967): The love and hate relationship
between a prostitute, her violent gigolo and a homosexual.
Abajur Lilás (Lilac Lampshade) (1975): Giro is a
homosexual sadist and Dilma, a prostitute, whose young son is a prude. The action is set
in a whorehouse.
A Dança Final (The Final Dance) (1994): At their 25th
wedding anniversary a husband notices that he has become impotent.
Less than one month after launching its Brazilian operation,
Yankee Internet provider America Online has already changed its president, after a less
than promising beginning in which the press announced that the AOL installation kit was
altering the configuration of computers and in some cases preventing computer owners from
using their machines entirely. The company also had to answer to Procon, the government’s
consumer protection agency, which acted upon several complaints by disgruntled AOL
This wasn’t the script AOL had written though. The Internet
giant, which has 19 million users around the world, entered the Brazilian market as if
going for a stroll, confident that in a few months_one year at the most_it would be king
of the market. Despite all its might AOL came too late to use what would be its natural
internet address: aol.com.br. They couldn’t arrive at an agreement with the people who
bought the name in hopes of making a killing and instead opted for br.aol.com and
In early December, president Francisco Loureiro was fired and
Charles Herington, AOL’s president for Latin America, temporarily took over. In an
interview with Computerworld Online, Loureiro stated that he was sent packing for
financial reasons. Herington, however, declared that Loureiro’s departure was due
"exclusively to philosophical differences in conducting business." The interim
chief as expected also said that AOL is growing more than expected, but didn’t give any
numbers about growth or expectations, "for strategic reasons."
The American Internet provider was presented to Brazilians as
"a revolution in the Brazilian Internet market," when it was officially started
on November 16. They even brought Hollywood actor Michael Douglas to spice up the opening
festivities. AOL Brazil is using the same tactics of saturating the market with CD-ROMs
containing the company’s installation kit as it did in the U.S. The company is investing
200 million dollars in what should be the initial push to conquer Latin America.
The plan is to distribute 20 million disks when there are 3
million Brazilians connected to the Net today, and this number should rise to 5 million by
2002. For a massive national campaign they used well-known names from the entertainment
world, including dancer Carla Perez, veteran actress Dercy Gonçalves and composer
Carlinhos Brown. AOL is charging $18 for unlimited use. The provider also partnered with
IBM to offer an Aptiva computer in easy installments and two years of free Internet
The competition didn’t take it lightly and moved fast to match or
beat AOL’s prices and offers. Market leader UOL (Universo Online), which has 500,000
subscribers in 115 Brazilian cities, announced a partnership with Compaq to sell a
computer with the right to free unlimited use of the Internet for one year. The other two
biggies, ZAZ (300,000 subscribers) and Starmedia, the third biggest provider, also
announced sweeter deals than the ones they usually offer. Reacting to AOL’s noisy start,
Starmedia’s president Bob Wollheim commented: "It’s not enough to invest in marketing
to be the leader in this market. No one is going to be leader by press release. We have
the money to make the investments needed. If someone has to be worried it is AOL because
we are not here to play."
On Top of the World
With blue eyes, curly brown hair, an impish freckled
face, a big odd nose, and generous breasts, Gisele Bündchen, 19, has become Brazil’s most
famous and most beautiful export product. Bündchen was just chosen model of the year at
the VH1-Vogue Fashion Award, an event sponsored by celebrated fashion magazine Vogue.
She’s twice been on the cover of the publication this year; by herself and together with
the world’s top models like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.
The Vogue recognition was an award to top a year of
successes for the girl of German extraction from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.
In May she had her first nude pictorial. It was shot by photographer Irving Penn and once
again for Vogue.
A few weeks ago Gisele left the Elite modeling agency to work for
IMG, the competition. Her move infuriated John Casablancas, Elite’s owner and the man who
made her a star bringing her to New York in 1996, when she was still 16, and developing a
detailed plan for her career. The ever-so-polite and suave Casablanca lost it this time,
accusing his former protégé of being stingy and power-hungry. In an interview with Veja,
the snubbed Casablancas said: "Gisele is a predator. She sold herself as Judas to
IMG. She is the most selfish and greedy creature I’ve ever met."
He even accused her of smoking pot, something she vehemently
denies although confirming her Franciscan habits that include cleaning her own Manhattan
apartment and cooking.
Gisele was a mere 14 when she finished first in the
1994 Elite Model Look. This was the regional competition, which happened in Horizontina,
the little town close to the border with Argentina where Bündchen was born. That was her
ticket for the national competition in which she won second place. Despite her second
place finish, Casablancas chose Gisela to participate in the world competition.
Since then she has been a constant presence in Europe,
modeling clothes for all the biggest names in the fashion world including Armani, Calvin
Klein, Gianfranco Ferré, Ralph Lauren, Valentino, and Versace.
How is Miss Bündchen, who was just the cover story of Brazil’s
most read weekly magazine, Veja, dealing with fame at 19? Not very easily as
revealed in her talk to the publication: "You wouldn’t believe how suddenly everybody
thinks he is my friend, that he saw me being born. This is hell."