XCVIII - (Re)leituras - À margem dos 500 anos : reflexões irreverentes», (org. de Maria Lígia Coelho Prado e Diana Gonçalves Vidal) - Comments by André Bandeira

I read this book, issued in 2002, while researching on brasilian Baroque. It is intended to be a handfist of irreverent comments, put «aside» for the occasion of the 500 years of portuguese presence in Brazil. Some of the comments are very radical and journalistic, indeed. The one I regret the most is the one on multiculturalism, which defines brazilian society as an adjourned multiculture, where the quest for an even more diverse diversity, prioritizes psychological facts over social ones. The contention blurs the difference, between Political Sociology and Psychology. One of the author's (should I say publicist?) gets carried away by his own sensivity, and threatens to burn out any project of reflection. It is relevant to note, for instance, the contention on a «solitary way of living one's own erotism», which seems to replace knowledge with whatever vindication. «Erotism» becomes an aprioristic category and a country's trademark, something boastful and coarse.
Today it is probably the last day we, Portuguese, enjoy the 1st of December, the aniversary of our liberation from the spaniards in 1640, as a national holiday. In the book, there is also a contribution, as for scorning the rigt-wing idea, that brazilian Baroque had been a fusion of native, african and european Culture. It argues that way, notwithstanding the admiration shown for a supposed italian Baroque aristocracy, allegedly copyrighteous about «portuguese counterfeit». As a matter of fact, the Revolution of 1640, in Lisbon, which shaked off, for the second time, the iberian hegemonism, was crafted in Brasil, during the indigenous front against the dutch invasion in the Northeast. Maurits of Nassau's, as well as the Western Indias Company, despite their metropolitan closing-in with Portugal in the fight against the spaniards, was first and foremost solidary with their own greed. At that time, the Parliament, in England, also thought of sending Oliver Cromwell on the same latitude, to prize him as «Emperor of the West Indias». Notwithstanding, it was the brazilian Baroque, with its taste for motherly sculptures and sentimental carved woodcraft, which blended indians, africans and portuguese against the dutch invader and kept them fit for choosing a portuguese, independent way. After all, the portuguese liberation from the spaniards, who were putting up with the Dutch, in Brazil, was a very baroque mouvement. And this Baroque was trully the convergence of three main ethnic groups in Brazil, no matter the hipocrisy that modern experts associate with Baroque. In full-steam Baroque times, french badass military didn't mind of crying in public, in order to make their feelings clear. These men probably didn't challenge any colonial system, but they held to universal feelings in order to pave the way for their integrity. They digged their heels in their roots against a rationalism which, among other greeds, arogated to hold the key of the Bible.


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