I don’t believe I heard any blonde jokes before the Web made its debut in Brazil. So another cultural icon is fighting to hold its place in Brazilian culture, the stupid Portuguese. We have hundreds of Portuguese jokes here the same way English speakers have Polish ones. We usually translate Polish as Portuguese in the joke department.
Lots of people search for Polish jokes and convert them into Portuguese ones. So maybe the blondes are fighting a battle for the kingdom of stupidity on both fronts since the Polish won’t give up their presidency of the United States of the Stupid that easily, either, no pun on the US intended. And even though I don’t have a degree in morology, I can tell it is a vast kingdom with millions of subjects all over the world.
I wonder who the stupid are in other cultures and how they gained the notoriety.
But anyway, do you have any animal that stands for stupidity? In Brazil that animal is the “burro”, jackass or just ass in English, that’s why we say “loira burra” (LOIdda bOOha), stupid blonde. But the word “burro” (bOOhoo) has become so widespread in this usage that “estúpido” (izTOOpidoo) in Brazilian Portuguese usually means “rude, impolite, crass, uncouth,” and not lacking in intelligence or with a supply scarcity in the brains department.
And “mal educado” (mow edookAHdoo) means “rude and not “ill educated”. Most people understand ignorante (ignorANGti) as rude and impolite and not ignorant, even though it has this meaning as well, so be careful if you call someone “ignorante” here.
I know calling the Portuguese stupid is a generalization. When people say they are stupid they mean most of them are, not all of them, naturally. If you find a clever one, they’ll say he’s the exception that proves the rule. Once a stereotype sets in, it is hard to get rid of the stigma. I don’t take it seriously, it’s just a stereotype, like many others. But I do wonder how they got that reputation.
Some say it’s because they traded gold for clothes with the English, others have different explanations. But Joaquim (zhoahKING), Manuel (mungnooEHoo) and Maria (maDDEEa) have been parts of the Brazilian culture for a very long time. They don’t make up a threesome, it’s just that all the women in the jokes are named Maria.
Do you know why these exemplars of foolishness are called Joaquim and Manuel? Because, people say, 80% of the Portuguese male population are named either Joaquim or Manuel; all the women are named Maria. I guess I’d have to check their phonebook to find out whether that’s true. Maybe if you name someone Joaquim, Manuel or Maria in Portugal, you are practically predetermining their coming to Brazil.
That’s one of the mysteries nobody can explain. I guess that one “só Freud explica” (saw Frawi dizPLEEka), only Freud can explain, (another way to say God only knows), but “ele foi dessa para melhor” (Eli foi dehssa pra meliAWR), but he went from this one to a better one, in other words, he died, in English people would say, “He went to a better place.” Unless he took the elevator down, of course.
Although, I don’t think the Portuguese can be overthrown. For instance, we have a one-liner that goes like this: somebody asks you, “Do you know how the Portuguese have oral sex?”
“They stand in their bedroom and shout at each other, “F**k you!” (Excuse my French)
Yes, it would be hard to convert that into a blonde joke unless we made them lesbians. Yeah, I suppose it can be done since the gay movement gains momentum every year. So I guess Joaquim, Manuel and Maria have their days numbered.
But we have some jokes with mustached women, and Maria sometimes is the butt of it, in other words, she’s the one that “toma no rabo” (TONGma nooHAHboo), takes it up the ass, and in Brazilian Portuguese that’s always unpleasant, even if you’re gay, at least, as an idiom.
I can’t imagine a situation I’d make a joke with a mustached blonde, but there aren’t many of those jokes anyway, as I said the Marias are not depicted like that so often, so I guess the blondes can take over.
Joaquim and Manuel always sport a voluminous mustachio. Again, I guess if a Portuguese is named Joaquim or Manuel and they wear a mustache, odds are they’ll come to Brazil, or as soon as they get here, they’ll grow one.
There is a joke honoring the Portuguese mustache.
Somebody goes to the bathroom,”passa um fax” (PAHsa oong fahks), sends a fax (euphemism for defecates), wipes his behind with his finger, goes to a Portuguese guy sleeping on the couch and smears his mustache with the product of his bowel. What a shitty thing to do, wouldn’t you say?
A few hours later, Manuel wakes up to an overpowering stench all around him. He can’t believe the smell. He goes to the bathroom, no crap in the toilet. He goes to the yard, no dog doo-doo. He looks around the garden, no, the pigeons haven’t been crapping like there’s not tomorrow all over the place. So he thinks for a moment, and it finally dawns on him, “Shit, somebody crapped in the whole wide world.”
Those caricatures of a people are really funny, come to think of it. How come the Portuguese are always of middle-height, wear a mustache, and are hairy and stupid? If somebody can explain that to me I’d appreciate it.
By the way, if you’re Portuguese and are not named Manuel, Joaquim or Maria, come say hi.
But I wouldn’t mind trading an old mustached Portuguese for a beautiful stupid blonde, and I believe the Portuguese see that as something good, too. But maybe a stupid Blonde Maria will come along and become the unequaled, consummate ultimate Queen of the Stupid.
And then we’ll all say, “Long Live Queen Maria!”
Author: My name is José Moreira da Silva, but I prefer Joe because José is too common in Brazil. I live in São Paulo. I’m Brazilian and work as a teacher and translator, as well as a freelance subtitler and editor for Rede Globo, Globosat and several other TV channels, such as Fox, etc. Check out my blog on http://joedasilva.wordpress.com.