CXXXVIII (Re)leituras -- Carmen - Carmen Miranda, a vida da brasileira mais conhecida do Séc. XX, by Ruy Castro, comments by André Bandeira

She died young, such as Gloria Swanson, Marylin Monroe or Montgomery Clift. Some commentators I heard say that she stands as a symbol for the gay movement. She was not gay but she had a kind of repertory which allows the confusion and exasperation of categories, something quite advantageous for the advancement of their «revolution». That is secondary, anyway. Carmen has always been portuguese, not because she was born in Portugal, but also because she never applied for brazilian citizenship. That is one of the grounds for her to be attacked by so many journalists, both at he inception of her career, as at the end of it. She attracted very much the US public, because she portrayed the latin-american identity which was needed for the american people to stay away from european conceit. After all, «Latin» was the first blend of european with mediterranean and north-african, something that the US citizens of her time didn't manage with their own natives. Racism is always a dissimulation of attraction, notwithstanding a vicious and jealous exclusivity, able to reduce human kind to a pet. The americans needed to import a white woman, of catholic background, just to have a simulation of a latin component among them. Carmen was also a product of the war -- she was cultivated to further a «good neighborood» policy with white southerners of european descent who, otherwise, would leaning on the side of Mussolini and Hitler.The book amounts to a cathedral of biographic documentation and it is a genuine report on History. But one quickly understands why so many living public figures, in Brazil, sue the selfmade biographers who haven't been previously authorized to write about them. The book gestures to replace History, with some kind of Byohistory. Notwithstanding the  matters of fact, the narrative is pushing an ideological agenda. For example: the detail around the fact that the child Carmen used to make fun of a young neighbor with a limp in his leg, or the comment on the match-making of her sister, who had the same handicap, emerges at a very precise juncture, just to prophetize the unhappy marriage of Carmen with Dave Sebastian, who had one leg shorter than the other. The book also displays some degree of ignorance, when it wonders about the fact that, sometimes, Carmen was cast for a character were she would play the daughter of a Latin and an Irish. The book ignores completely the very conspicuous celtic roots of the portuguese region where Carmen was born and who bear fruit very vividly, both in her coreographies and in her style. The book almost commits suicide in her last paragraph: it describes Carmen's death as a kind os scenic whisk, in the honor of entertainment, because she died with a massive infartus, in the upper room of her mansion, while her guests -- as usual -- were having fun downstairs, till late in the night. On drugs and booze she was, as well as under one of the heaviest family reponsabilities, voluntarily taken upon her shoulders, Carmen has been exploited till her death by one of the most obscene and warlike subsystems of free market: the wild capitalism in Hollywood. The author seems to write with a superb self conviction, because he thinks he has read and searched everything possible about «the best-known brazilian woman of the XXth century». That's why he just describes, and doesn't even explain why Carmen bursts out crying when once welcome by a group of portuguese, dressed in their traditional clothes. She was stumbling in portuguese everytime, beginning with her family and their acquaintances. But those clothes were the image of a colour and of a gaiety which brazilians thought was purely brazilian, that means, an anacronic dividend of their former slaves' culture. Yes, as a matter of fact, all through her life, Carmen Miranda was, after all, the best known portuguese woman of the XXth century. She was brazilian, yes, but she never relinquished of being portuguese, despite the lack of subtility of her biographer.


CXXXVII- (Re)leituras: The demoralization of Western Culture, by Ralph W. Fevre, comments by André Bandeira

This is a book on Sociology, with a preface of Zygmunt Bauman, the inventor of «postmodernism» and its ferocious critic. It's already 14 years old. How can these books be secluded by the press? How can modern democracy pretend they do not exist? I suspect these books are deliberately obfuscated because they moderately denounce the swindle which the Left has operated in the West, in order to serve the most unconfessable purposes. The book has a small, modest objective: to clear the way for a re-moralization of society. It doesn't come out of fundamentalism, neither extremism, nor it claims to show its democratic credentials as some totalitarian turncoats do. The book cannot be placed neither in the Right, nor in the Left, nor even in the Centre. It is a book openly against common-sense. Most of all, it stands against the tiranny of economic rationality, which it claims to have been extended to all levels of life. The fault may be either attributed to science, or to bureaucracy. There are obviously things, which cannot be known -- despite what (bad) science claims -- since using science where one should weigh feelings and sentiment, is non-sense. I'll never know why I fell in love for someone. If I insist in knowing, I'll end up collecting divorces, and measuring my satisfaction with my partners, as a pornography athlete. And it is already too late: women began thinking as men used to think. There are no «opposite sexes» anymore, so there are not anymore room for completion of anything, nor even between parents and children, exception made for the incoming vindication of the legalization of incest. The author advises us to extol from politicians (or fire them) that they warrant us time for sentiment, time for being with our children, instead of devoting overtime to the bosses. He quotes an important study, led by Lawson, among women who came of age in the 70's, and proves how they decided to become faithful to their husbands, probably too late, after a series of bitter experiences. He accuses the Kinsey report of being based on fraud. The book navigates in a nightmare, the one of relativism, and tries to find the appropriate mix of sentiment and reason, in order to make us get out of hell. It describes the idealism in Hitler and the designs of Marx, proving how bad was the science both of them chose to found their doctrines on. Neither Darwin said what Hitler contended for, nor Economics was what Marx said it was. In both of them there is an old idea: the triumph of Mephistopheles over Faust. Faust was a lowsy scientist, as Goethe was, a sort of wreckless alchimist. I read all this but I confess it is too late: in the affair Clinton-Lewinsky, the american public decided, first to accuse the President, just for perjury and then, later, the american public abdicated of any moral judgement. Clinton even got more popular than before, neither because he was having sex, as the actor Jack Nicholson once celebrated, nor because he managed to wash his hands in the Senate, and Monica took her blue dress to the laundry. He became more popular because he proved that, in practice, common sense made moral maxims null and void. Should we re-moralize our society? The author ends his book telling that people, after all, they don't run and die for money. They run for things that people used to run, before, when there was no money, and death used to cut short our chasing around. Neither romantic love was invented by the Bourgeosie. Its roots go back in our History to the Middle-Ages and much before. The trouble is that the agressive noise of modern democracy, where the Left invented «anti-capitalism» or even «capitalism» to engineer a future Paradise, while releasing all our sensuality in our lifetime, makes this reading, to short, too late. Even the author states, at some point, that we were condemned to make our living with labour, that incuding the labour of birth. We signed a Pact with the devil, and the collector is knocking at every door. This game of words betrays how carried away we may be by the magma of of a sensations vulcanoe and signs, while trying to surface and jump out of the furnace. In the many books and articles which are being bribed or outright faked, as science and democracy are, we have to read between the lines. As the soothsayers, once, were able to read the future in the tea leaves, so we'll do with the leftovers of a boiling cauldron.


CXXXVI (Re)leituras - Getúlio, by Lira Neto (2nd)Volume, comments by André Bandeira

Second volume of the biography of former dictator Getúlio Vargas, of Brazil, by the journalist Lira Neto. The former volume was published last year. It is a pleasure reading it.Major findings: the cover has two quotes, one by the former President Fernando Henrique Cardozo and the other from his follower, the also former President Lula. Both of those quotes completely ignore the fact that Vargas was a dictator and had blood in his hands. Well, who cares? Blood in the hands seems to give that little bit of tone which makes our interest and curiosity more compelling than our responsibility. We are not reading to change the world. We are reading to enjoy it, otherwise we wouldn't set aside some of our time, to let the eyes navigate in the graphics. Other major findings: this second volume confirms the idea that, in Brazil, the Left and the Right have both the same origins,that means the young lieutenant movement in the twenties. I had a discussion on that matter with two brazilian labour leaders: one only kept me asking whether the distinction between Left and Right was so clearcut in Europe. I answered him that it depended on the countries (in Spain it was clearcut, but in Italy one couldn't ignore neither that the most radical and beloved Left wing leader, Benito Mussolini, had been the founder of Fascism, nor that he was no lonerider in that endeavour, by all means). The second of both of my occasional interlocutors, sort of excused himself by saying that the brazilian state was a very centralized and authoritarian one. The other finding amounts to no novelty: the dictator Vargas worked as a family clan, transferred from the South, with his sons and daughters placed or led to in key-positions. The cronology is easy: «liberal-democrat» movement in 1930, which takes Vargas to the top and casts away the old republic; 1932, reaction by the cosmopolitan middle-classes and oligarchs from S.Paulo; 1936, military movement led by the communists; 1938, attempt by the fascists to seize power and kill the dictator. All along, Vargas always manages to hold the reins and act as the «Time» once described him, a «democratic opportunist». The author shares the strange cult of Vargas: he emphazises that, in 1936, he managed to outwit the military and prevent the comunists to line up in front of the death squad. On the other hand, in 1938, the military lined up the fascists who assaulted the President's residence, and shooted them against the wall, on the spot.Here, the author seems to alleviate Vargas'responsibility.In conclusion: somewhere in the western shores, where there was room to procrastinate some decisive duels, settled in Europe, fascism and communism where no twin ideas. They were the very same idea.They also shared some genetical military nurturing. Moreover, in the genealogy of ideas, the most enthusiastic defenders of Nazism and Fascism, managed to show up, in the last days of the Second World War, as enthusiastic defenders of the re-democratization. The historical leader of the Communist movement, the once lieutenant Luís Carlos Prestes, nicknamed «Knight of Hope», was released from jail by the dictator and openly supported him to stay in power, against the US push. It is not impossible that Vargas was playing the soviet card against Washington, in 1945, the same way he played the nazi card in 1939, and the US card against Rome and Berlin in 1942. The author depicts us a dictator who wanted to modernize Brazil, resorting to alternate foreign reserves. But he did believe instrinsically in a republican authoritarian tradition. He has been more than once, close to commit suicide. Was he a patriot? At the very inception of his ideas he despised tradition and he cherished authoritarianism. He was deeply convinced that the Education he received and the conclusions he got to were self-evident and that, despite being a small, secondary child of a patriarch he had been unctioned as leader of an imperial Republic who, despite his tiny features, lectured History and Nature on the revenge of human humilliation. That's why he looks like so much as Buster Keaton. He is the revenge of a silent movie against radio stars such as Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler, or Mussolini.


CXXXV (Re)leituras -- Memorial de Aires, by Machado de Assis, comments by André Bandeira

This is a Memoir of a retired diplomat, who -- according to his own words -- decided to retire in order to believe in the capabality of others of being sincere. He also states, at a certain point, that he doesn't have neither the wearinesses of office, nor the hopes of being promoted. Again, Machado de Assis, who, this time, writes his Memoir as a diary, confronts us with the weight of death, or, in other words, he depicts the resilient presence of death in a life which is withering away. At a certain point, he conjecturates that dead have the strength of fighting the living, who, in he following, never fully cast them away. The plot is difficult to follow, once it is fragmented in annotations, comments, entries. In the end, one sees that there was a widow, Fidélia, who never really managed to overcome the attachment she has to her deceased husband. She is named Fidélia, as the protagonist of Beethoven's Opera. One sees that the narrator, Aires, cherishes the hope of marrying to er but, finally, it is a young doctor, devoted to Politics, and a good man, who takes the prize. He just takes note of that, he retreats with no feeling of jealousy, whatsoever. He is an old man, young people have the right of loving each other and being happy. He even helps as a confident and a kind of oracle interpreter. His own fantasies just blow away, as anacronic fallen leaves in the spring wind. The final scene depicts two oldmen, among his acquaintances, who wait for him, as some previously deceased friends, lining up on the receiving bank of the river of death. They try to smile and exhibit some contentment. According to the ending, they try to get some consolation from the memory of themselves, as two images looking at each other on a mirror. It is a very pessimistic book, albeit some kind of philosophy prevailis in it. Machado de Assis is this high civil servant who reached glory in Literature and who never travelled away from the capital, farther than 120 Kms. He was a man who liked to seat at one peer of Rio's port an stare at the open sea. He was hard-working, early riser but distant and meticulous in human approach, as his language testifies. Still his phantasies and sensitive heart emerged very clearly in the fluence of the language, alongside the narrative.He sees death coming along and he wants to close his reflection with some embedded conclusions and an inherent wit where everything tends to corroborate the inevitable end. His maxims just make the ending lighter, running faster to the aim before this one has been really attained. They find some life and variety in the considerations which raise and fall in a narrowing final room. In the conclusion they are symbolized by the two oldmen, a kind of twins who populate, in a way, the final desolation, with some stupid irony. That's it: there is no beyond. There is just a duty to be followed till the very end. There is no final scene. There is only the one-before-the-last scene. All this novel is an eulogy of the final power of death in pulverize everything.But before reaching that state, the presence of death, the widowhood's rules, the contrast between fresh flowers and tombs, all of them set the pace of time and keep us wonderfully tied up as Machado de Assis, the child of a former slave, wanted to see a whole epoch and a society he managed to master. He was really the «old witch of Cosme Velho» and, besides being competent, he was just delighted in exerting his power. Maybe he got all his life, sick, because of that but he was to primitive in his worldview. Life casts all these kind of compensations: Machado de Assis was primitive in his feelings. So life gave him a superb writing in order to conceal his feelings. A man cannot throw hell over the society of his time without some elegance, otherwise he would be totally burned out by that very hell. That is why we tend to differentiate Beauty and Good. In an ongoing calvary, they are, indeed, different concepts.


CXXXIV (Re)leituras) -- Iáiá Garcia, by Machado de Assis, comments by André Bandeira

Powerful novel by the one I'm tending to consider, more and more, as the greatest novelist of the world which speaks in Portuguese. But we need Poetry to relieve us from the witchcraft of a novelist. The plot: there is a passion looming in Jorge's heart, for Estela, a woman of an inferior social condition. Maybe she loves him back, but she is too proud (or considers herself too proud) to follow that feeling up. Jorge decides to volunteer to the front in the war which Argentina, Uruguay and The Brazilian Empire, are waging against Paraguay, a tragic country, led by a visionary dictator, Solano López. It was an infamous war, which the paraguayan resistance extended beyond human understanding and Paraguay never raised again, ever since. Jorge returns covered with glory. Estela has married to a widower, who maybe never expected to marry again and who devoted all his love and care to his young child, an exuberating girl called Lina, and nicknamed Iáiá. All the women in the novel are stubborn, determined, brilliant (there are only two, but they are many). Jorge still calls on his old acquaintances, that means he visits Iáiá -- who's becoming a beautiful woman -- and her new stepmother,Estela, who still manages to enter the room and detonate Jorge's heart. Finally Jorge falls for Iáiá and he get's engaged to her. But Iáiá knows her merits and wants to be sure. She has really managed to make out of her stepmother, a motherly confident. At some juncture,both her and her father find one letter that a passionate Jorge once wrote to Estela, from the frontline. There they find that Jorge's heart is no virgin in this troubled matter of passion. She turns to hate him, and refuses to marry, maybe because the only model she may conceive in love and affection, is Estela's husband, that means, her father. In the meantime, that father is dying. But Estela convinces Iáiá, while phrasing the explanations as if she was the author -- and that with a cirurgical ferret -- that she had some pity for Jorge, once, and never loved him. Everything gets solved in the last chapter. Too violent. Iáiá's father, the widow who remarried to Estela, finally dies and Estela keeps the flowers fresh in his tomb. The author concludes that the pity she had for her husband survived all the wrecks of desillusion. Let's see: this time, Machado de Assis doesn't trick us for posterity about the real feelings which were at stake. Estela did love Jorge. Jorge was a very valuable man. But Estela married Iáiá's father, a mild man, because her own father went on being a milder man, even a subordinate to Jorge, in the road of pre-determined social conditions. Men are weak, no matter the love they deserve and earn, because of the natural delicacies which glow from their merits. After all, love is not earned. It happens as the methalanguage of all human methalanguages, as the voice of an oracle which fends off the diversity of facts. Women are there to keep the oracle. And Machado de Assis -- the witch of Cosme Velho -- exconjurates all the ligthnins and thunders in the last chapter, just to condemn a society based on injustice and human fatality. He makes vengeance feminine, just because one wouldn't expect vengeance from the only veto bestowed on women, that time, the veto to a bridegroom. It is Procópio, the ugly, elegant merchant, who loved Iáiá and who expected to marry her, who proclaims the social laws and who almost estranges Iáiá from the feeble lover Jorge. Still he doesn't avoid the marriage but he manages to keep the unfinished love of Estela for Jorge, forever on. Machado de Assis was no socialist, where social compensation is supposed to make everybody content. Neither he was a christian who believed in the final strength of pity. Much less was he a classical who returned to the obedience of Fate. As a matter of fact he wanted all their characters -- and the real people they stood for -- burning in hell. Those aware burning of consciousness, and those unwares, walking stupidly towards the abyss. The slavery wound cannot be healed, by committing the power of justice to the former slave. As Paulo Freire said later, a liberation without education makes the oppressed desire only, to replace the oppressor.


CXXXIII (Re) leituras -- Recordações do Escrivão Isaías Caminha, by Lima Barreto, comments by André Bandeira

This is the first novel of the brazilian writer Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto, a very good writer of the first quarter of the XXtieth Century. Its title could be translated as «Memories of the clerk Isaías Caminha» and it implies that, besides being a Memory of a clerk, this latter remembers as if he was the Profet Isaiah,on pilgrimage. It is his first novel and it describes the life of a young offspring of a negro woman and a portuguese catholic priest, who has been carefully educated in the countryside and, at a certain point, he departs to the capital, Rio de Janeiro, in order to study Medicine. He is an idealist, somewhat dreamer and ignorant of the racism which prevails in Brazil,in the early XXth century. He happens to meet some people who work at one of the main newspapers, he calls «O Globo», incidentally the name of one of the most important newspapers in contemporary Brazil, but which probably stands for the «A Noite», a daily where the author, himself, had been a reporter. In few years, the protagonist thouroughly forgets what he was up to in Rio, he misses the political connections he had there in order to get a decent job and start studying, he even forgets his hard-tried mother, he doesn't have a clue, anymore, of the basic knowledge he had acquired thanks to the strife of his estranged parents. He gets a job as a clerk in the newspaper, he watches the unfolding of the scenes which blend the glamour and the filth of the politically influential press and, at a certain point, thanks to the capricious and dictatorial Director,of which secrets he happens to be up to date, he's promoted to reporter. His numbness about having a sustainable life in Rio, and being part of all that human show, gravitating around the newspaper, suddenly ends up when he realizes he has been stolen of his notes, by a fellow reporter. He recovers them with his fists and he rapidly concludes that sometimes, one has to be violent to get his due.He doesn't get further. The image he gets from the political and social life in Rio is the one which ends up in the newspaper's sink. He only remembers one thing earnest in that amalgama of cowardice, tiranny, frivolity and nepotism. At a certain point, one of the columnists, a diplomat who stayed for a long time in Paris, nicknamed Floc, gets into a real gordian knot, while wording his article on an important lyric «Première». He doesn't manage to assemble the right words in what seems to be a matter of sense of life, for him, and commits suicide over his desk.Here, the author makes a full stop and the novel ends up as if he had married,had a child and finished peaceful and philosophysing in the Rio suburbs, even holding some golden sinecure. As a matter of fact this first novel of a genious who died young and tragically, has very much of autobiographic, but has in it many futures which did never happen. Besides, the bucolic ending has no connection with the reality, whatsoever.Booze and the feeling of guilt, as well has a real insurmountable opposition from a society which kept its racial prejudices in a whirlpool of frivolity and cultural sincretism, made headway in advance. The photography which remains from this novel that is undoubtedlly the manipulation and genetic tiranny which looms behind the so-called public opinion and the oldest institutions of the so-called «open society».


CXXXII - (Re) leituras -- The world until yesterday -- what can we learn from traditional societies ?, by Jared Diamond, comments by André Bandeira

People tend to make comparisons between vivid experiences they recently had, and reality as they see it. But it was'nt always like that .The way we see our experience also depends on the way we see imminence, emergence, and how we cope with reality. In the Middle ages, in Europe, people used to come across more often with the supernatural. In a world shaped by an atheist, of jewish background, such as Jared Diamond, reality is no epiphany of whatever supernatural, but just a neverending postponement of an overwhelming pain, simplily able to switch off our mind, for good, at a certain point. Jared is old, he won't be around for very long. He is no Darwin, maybe he was a little bit coarse in denouncing tribal wars in New Guinea, with names on it, which caused a lot of fear, as the western society began to take control of some, hitherto, «savage areas». This book is no emulation of that rhetorical device which mankind, compared to an woman called Earth, in her forties, is an event wich began happening some minutes ago. I seems to take the same path, when Jared explains how traditional societies display what we have been doing most of our time, as Homo Sapiens Sapiens, on Earth (60.000/100.000 years long). He takes samples of these once called «Primitive contemporaries», in the arctic regions (Inuit) in Africa ( the !Kung), in Bolivia(the Ashe) and, most of all, among the New Guinea mountain people, where he spent years in a row, as an ornitologist. But Jared, who would never be any Darwin, in a world of round-the-clock communications and self-expressive narcisism (where reflexion tends to be replaced by guess-work and obnoxious reactions), shows an incredible degree of egocentrism. This is no ornitologist book, neither an anthropological or geography one ( now, the once self-described, bio-geographer Jared Diamond, is teaching Geography in UCLA, the time when geopolitics has been resuscitaded, after the beheading of the double-headed tiranny of the Cold War). Among many reasonable advices, such as not allowing the remaining world languages to die out (poliglotism is, f.i., a preventive against Alzheimer), replace our proud civil rights, litigant-happy judicial system, with conciliatory mechanisms, and drastically change our diet, Jared Diamond doesn't put forward any compelling new theory. Should he do it, as a scientist, and not merely a Pulitzer Prize winner? The fact is that, between the lines, he furthers a very typical doctrine and a proud agenda. Therefore, if he, by all means, remains ideological, still he deserves to be challenged because he has fundamental flaws within whichever theory he made close tight to his field-notes In this book, he came a long way from being an ornitologist, as far as a social-engineer of self-help. Once got in here he just sounds as an old priest preparing his tomb in a closed building, while walled by determinism, scientific arrogance and a strange stubborn dyslexia. I give you just an example: all his work is in accordance with the late american anthropology, in the sense that the primitive societies were no paradise as the democratic and revolutionarist Europe assumed to be, all that with a tipping point at Rousseau´s influence. Honestly, there is no «state of Nature» besides a never-ending state of war. But he says that in New Guinea, the best show-case for those kind of «states of nature», there is an incredible number of living languages with completely different origins, being spoken in a very narrow, albeit until recently secluded area. All these languages seem to derive from very different sources. Well, it doesn't even cross his mind, while reading his carefully taken notes, that if that region has been secluded from the western civilization, may be it has also been crossed by ancient migrations and a complex archaic History which we're not discussing yet, perhaps because we can't take notes thereof. In conclusion: these «primitive societies» seem to be so primitive as our own primitiveness in a World History where we keep restraing the sources, for the sake of a ruminating heavy consciousness, and put it directly in the foundations of our Academy. No wonder that the new doctrine which the officiant of a tentative new world order, not strange to ecologist tiranny, has labeled it as «constructive paranoia». That means, we should take care with the potential lethality of things we do everyday in our ordinary lives. Yes,we should. And one of those lethal things we do, indeed,everyday, it is taking notes as in a detective story, without putting under scrutiny how much we load of ideological contamination, every step of the way, since we decided to have research, as a purpose in life. Jared Diamond didn't see it and he made us all look in just one direction. One day we'll all suffer from some kind of sclerosis. But some of us won't be longing any more for recognition as a hindsight. That his a step toward thought sclerosis: what we see well, that's only what we compulse from our notes.

CXXXI (Re)leituras -- La Arqueologia y la Etnohistoria - un encuentro andino, Edit. by John Topic, comments by André Bandeira


This is the ultimate in Archeoloy and Ethnohistory on the Andean region (Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina) that means on the Inca civilization. It is a common task undertaken by the « Instituto de Estudios Peruanos» and the Institute of Andean Research, in New York. It is also an honour to the most famous ethnohistorian of Peru, Maria Rostworovsky. What do we learn about this? First, the book is built on a cumulation of field reports, produced by Archeologists, as well as reports made by Ethnohistorians, which are followed by the stocktaking of their discussions. Second: one learns more, by reading the final pages, than all the -- I would say forensic -- support reports from the field. Third: the conclusions are full of ideology, something which builds a rather steep contrast with the punctillious description of the field work. As someone states in the end: ethnohistorians have to transform words (in the documents) in words ( both in the discussions and in the conclusions) whereas Archeologists have to transform pottery and fragments in words, and, then, words of Archeology, again, in words of History.What are the main points? Well, what mostly caught my eye was the following 1 - The so called «socialist Empire» which, once upon a time, the cold-war Historian Arnold Toynbee (one of the creators of the most recent and influential ideological synthesis of History) was not what ideologues really wanted to, in their sociological endeavours. The Inca came a long way, from a hunter-gatherer background, to incremental agricultural communities and, then, state enterprises, but they managed a high degree of pluralism, and even put into practiece what Toynbee praised, in his theory of Empires' rise and fall.They entertained a vague border, where alliances and conquest set different standards. So, there is no reason for calling the Inca Empire as any reason for a looming latin-american national socialism.2 -- Maria Rostworovsky (I hope that nobody comes up with any suggestion that she «must be jewish»...!) says that in Ethnohistory, especially if one has to resort to mithology, there are much more things in common among the andean cultures, that in Economics, where one is confronted to a wide variety of patterns.3 -- The ending is perhaps much ideological, though. Rostworovsky ventures that andean myths have an absence of the patriarch, or of the father-model. Andeans prefer myths where the relationship between mother and child, and brother and sister, are much more vivid than that one of the father, who either is absent, he has died, or has been slayed. She states that neither the universal prohibition of parricide nor incest are visible in andean myths. She adds that the isolation which andeans have experienced, for centuries long, cuts them off from the asian and european pathway, despite having been built on a harsh struggle against deserts, droughts, tropical climate shifts, forests and huge natural barriers.

Conclusion: as a matter of fact, Maria Rostworovsky steps on the train of the previous ideological interpretations she criticizes. She only widens the ideological buzz floating about a still fragmentary archeological evidence. She even finds support in psychoanalysis, a very recent practice, which has so much successes spread around, as the millenia-experience of the andean people remains unknown. This book makes me so fearful of the «studies» which are always evoked to support a new ground-breaking ideology as the one of «marriage for all». Here, one can read extensively on a variety of clues to support incestuous relationships, as well as a case for a kind of extensive family appertunance, out of which no individual life is conceivable or even sensible. Ideology cannot be avoided, and there it is at full steam. Take care.


CXXX (Re)leituras -- A Study of History, by Arnold Toynbee, comments by André Bandeira

It's a long, long way to Tipperary. This classic on History was so much political! The more we write, on an Internet sheet, the more we go beyond books, where a kind of thourough thesis was supposed to be laid within covers. After all, Internet has helped us to write and read continuously, as it happened once with radio and TV. We swim in a kind of plasma which has only changed its consistency, since the times people were leavening their bioma, through words, gestures and expressions. We call it citizenship, «modern life», contemporaneity, whatever. I really think that the invention of printing made things more difficult, by means of facilitating them, since we didn't change our minds, we just amplifyied them. After all, Toynbee is no genious. He still tells History with a narrow set of moving characters. He masters Ancient Greek and Latin, but he cannot express India, neither Asia in his western History, albeit his extensive resources. This «Study of History» (not «on History») is no philosophical work, but it has a lot of religious. He sums-up History in 16/21 Civilizations, he spells them with three kinds of achievement, and he leads all that through a kind of weaving texture, better expressed by the ancient chinese dualism of Yin-Yang (first Yin, of course, otherwise he wouldn't have his Yang as the thing which is always present and never visible or, in other words, there is always a foundation for the tiranny of «whateverism», when freedom for anything doesn't leave one sole thing up). Let's say that Toynbee dances on a one-two/one-two/two-three step. He is superb in finding the intertwinement between «universal state» and «universal religion». He really manages to find the cultural forces which really define periods in History, thus satisfying Voltaire's claim that History shouldn't be a recitation of Kings and battles only (neither solely Civilizations). Of course he doesn't fall either in a continuum of tables of numbers, as the marxist «École des Annales» did. But he doesn't suceed in. Toynbee, despite being an anglican, still remains too much papist, a kind of stubborn hegemonist, a gambler who lost his bet but didn't lost his grip. Reading this classic of the Cold War, only urges us to look for other Civilizations which Toynbee didn't account for. I don't care if they are Civilizations lowsly deffameted by UFO chasers and other storytellers. After all, Caral in Peru, with its solid 3000 years B.C. was still unknown to Toynbee. It goes the same for the inception of the Maya culture, 1000 years before what was acknowledged, when Toynbee wrote. There are other things which the «unarmed civilian» of Cold War, who Toynbee was, couldn't guess at all. The older globalizations in archaic History, and this latter itself. Still, Toynbee got to be read again. He has three volumes devoted to the intertwinement of Civilizations, something he coined the difference between limes and limen (the military borderline which ultimately works against any Empire vs. the transitional room by which civilizations accommodate among them). In a world of immediacy, so typical of a Civilization about to commit suicide, there was some Samuel Huntington who devoted to this very matter only one volume, from time to time way misinformed in History and other times unreliable.


CXXIX(Re)leituras -- Die Hanse, von Karl Pagel, Bemerkungen von André Bandeira

Die Hanse, der kaufmannische, militär und politischerVerband, von Brügge, in Flandern, bis zum Nowgorod in Russland, den ein Maximum von 77 deutschen Städte aufgebaut haben, hat wegen einer drei Jahrhunderten Zeitstrecke, gedauert und hat die europäische Geschichte brandmarkiert. Warum dieses Buch, das von einen nicht-Historiker, in 1938 geschrieben wurde und in 1941, in der nazi Deutschland, ohne die Schaden des Zensurs herausgegeben worden ist? Das kann geradeaus antwortet werden sein: weil alles was in  Deutschland geschehen ist, ebensosehr in nazi Deutschland, war nicht eine Terrorerzählung die nur in Hollywood, als dämonischen und magischen Zeiten darstellt werden kann. Das Buch ist seriös, umfasseden und tief. Dieses meint weder keine nazi Nostalgie noch keine deutsche kollektive Schuld Kultivierung. Aber was interessant ist -- falls wir eine unabhängige Analyse vorstellen -- kann nicht, ebensowenig, ein historische Beweis, irgendeiner europäischen Zukunft. Ein seriös Schrifsteller darf die Hanse akkurat beschreiben, ohne irgendein «Wofür?» zu befolgen. Was kann man davon lernen? Die Hanse wurde von Lübeck allmählich geleitet. Die hansichen Städte haben Ausnahmen in dem Netzwerk des Hoheitprivilegen und Steuern des Feudalismus des kaiserlichen Imperiums gewahrleistet. Sie wurden von Rathausleute geleitet, die obwohl kein Aristokraten waren, eine starke soziale Differenzierung inzwischen die Städte, ebensowenig auf keinen Fall vernachlassen haben. Je «die Luft in der Stadt frei mächte», desto die Regelungen des täglichen Lebens strenger wurde. Obwohl die Hanse viele Kontoren in Ost und Westsee gehabt hat, die Mischung mit der einheimischen Völker, fast verboten war. Die Kontorn wirkten als extraterritorialen Botschaften die die ausländischen Sprachen zu lernen vermeidten und nur durch Dolmetschern, mit der Eiheimischen, Kontakt machten. Das Feudalismus hat immer von dieser Ausnahmen profitiert, um Finanzierung zu finden und gelegentlich und routinerweise es zu bedrohen, entweder durch  die Wiederherstellung  der feudalen Rechte oder die Hanse durch die Seeräuberei zu plundern. Aber die Hanse hat ein Leibild gefordert: wenn Schottland und England sich organisiert haben, sie haben auch die Piraterie verlassen und sie wandelten um die Seefahrt. Die hansischen Städte haben die Reform angenommen, deswegen sollten sie durch das Gehege von Karl den V. zu halten. Aber die Struktur des kaiserliches römisches Imperium hat, Frankreich und England andersweitig, niemals einer Nation entwickelt. Gleicherweise, die Hanse, die niemals eine nationale Solidarität entworfen hat, und die in dem Friede von Utrecht, seinen Spitzpunkt bekommen hat, wurde in der dreizig Jahre Krieg zersplittert. Es ist zu leicht, die Hanse als zuständig für das Pflügen des Kapitalismus zu darstellen weil es gibt kein Kapitalismus als geistliche Bestimmung, oder Beruf der Geschichte. Ohne die teutonische Orden, und seinen Ausdhenungdrang, die Hanse wurde ummöglich sein. Was Kapitalismus gennant wird, war, in der Hanse, nur die Umwandlung der feudalistischen Privilegen zu die kollektiven Zünfte die die Hanse gefuhrt haben. Es war die ritualistiche Strutktur dieser Zünfte, die später Recht gennant wurde die selber die, gleichfalls der Organisation des Handwerks selbst, eine Lage in der sozial Hierarchie, für die Handwerker fand. Es gibt keine Entwicklung des Feudalismus. Die Hanse war nur eine Ausdehnung der hierarchischen Lösungen die die Folge vom Krieg und Friede enthalten haben. Und die Beschreibung der Versammlungen der Rathaus Zünfte, die das Buch uns angibt ist nicht anders von heutzutage Zeremonie inzwischen der Firmen Aufsichträte.


CXXVIII (Re) Leituras - Evil in Modern Thought - an alternative History of Philosophy, by Susan Neiman, commenst by André Bandeira

This one comes from Princeton, and was written in Israel. The author has an intriguing sentence at some point, when one turns the page. The classics have doubted of the existence of the world we see, not because they thought it could be unreal, but because the real world could be frightfully real.And, here, the author sets the scene with a dramatic move, disguised in thesis. Some hundred pages further, there is a recurrence, when she states that, in something taken as a disputed hypothesis, it was not a possibility which was in balance, but the Impossible which was incrementing its probability. The book reviews all main  Illuminists, goes as far as the Frankfurt School and John Rawls, displays a anti-hegelian flavour, idolizes Hannah Arendt, and establishes two landmarks in the historiography of  the question «Why Evil?»: the Earthquake of Lisbon, in 1755, and Auschwitz, in the Second World War. The book addresses what we may call «complex metaphysics», criticizes the seductive doctrines with totalitarian consequences and aims at sketching an alternative History of Philosophy, by recentering it in Theodicey. It also widens the human objective responsibility, at the sources of Evil (or tells us not to discuss natural Evil and concentrate in man-made Evil), and ends up in resuscitating the metaphysical tradition, where the philosopher elegantly gives the floor to the cleric. Calling attention to the modern complexity of Evil is never out of place. It is not because something gets consensual, that it turns out not being completely forgotten by media demagogy. Unfortunately, this is one more attempt to usher judaism in a Noah's Arch being built in th West. If it is true that totalitarianism may easily descend from seductive philosophical fashions -- and that explains the degree of european collaborationism with the nazi Evil -- it doesn't explain why nazism itself had deep cultural and psychological roots in Europe, long before illuminism and even before Christianity emerged. This means, that a good critique of the enthusiasms in western illuminism, leaves many important things, in western mind, out of hand. No wonder, the admiration for Hannah Arendt, who in «Eichmann in Jerusalem» managed to inculpate as far as the death penalty, the not so crude Eichmann, for his petty but decisive responsibility, as bureaucrat-in-chief of the Holocaust. As a matter a fact, Arendt was in a state of euphoria, when she advocated the sole official death penalty carried out in Israel, so far. And, as she concedes, probably she had her soul empty. What does this mean, «soul»? Perhaps, that such a certainty in the rhetorical flux of arguments, such brilliance in a theological debate, keeping in mind, at any moment, all what has been accounted for, leaves us completely dry, debating in a cemetery. The book juggles superbly with the rhetorical tricks who made famous many western philosophers and ends up with a conclusion which may well be brilliant: at some junctures, Providence is excrucitingly invisible, as in the Book of Job. We have to be acquainted to not being at home, even within ourselves. All this is very «sexy» in Philosophy, especially when this latter is a political cover-up. «Sufficient reason», as the jesuit Luis the Molina has, once, manufactured, maybe is  what we apport to an unreasonable reality, but reality -- no matter how unreasonable -- is sufficient in being real. Instead, it is love in practice, pure emotion as the summing-up of all vital energies, which replaces all suicidal attempts in either conceiving God, or keep staring at His finger. Maybe Philosophy, instead of returning to a psychologically westernized metaphysics, should find out what was creative and original in the western thinkers, besides hard core bibliography. The gadgets of human living engineering are worthier than any universal wisdom, mostly when this latter arrogates to be encyclopedic or available in a network. First and foremost, even a philosopher is due to create, and  then the historian may talk about it. Philosophy is no background reporting. Philosophy is no judicial expertise. In trying to interrogate Good, we just perfected more Evil, got heavier and more dyslexic, and tainted even more our hands with blood. Definetly, we have to revisit the classical greek double mind and stop being olympic pagans, disguised in five o'clock tea conversation. In the imminence of any asteroid fallout on Earth we still would have an Eternity to complete our Humanity among ourselves.


CXXVII (Re)leituras - I Sofisti, da Mario Untersteiner, commenti da André Bandeira

Questo è un libro che fa la genealogia della Democrazia e non più, la sua etimologia (demos: popolo; kratia: potere). Scritto nel 49 da un erudito in Filologia classica, non deve essere  venduto, comè si di un libro di Filosofia si trattasse. È un resoconto materiale. Mario Untersteiner scrive nel 49, quando l’Italia era dominata dei antichi partigiani comunisti che non salirono al potere, semplicemente perche Stalin ha eseguito gli accordi da Yalta, lasciando l’Italia sulla sfera occidentale. Si può riconoscere la tradizione illuminista del’Alto Adige, che ha prodotto gente come Filangeri, però anche come Gianbattista Vico, equidistante sia della tirania illuminata francese, sia del’imperialismo settario anglosassone.  La Democrazia nasce della Guerra, in particolare, in questo caso, quella de Atene nel Peloponeso. Percioè, la Guerra contro i Persiani fa qualchi Sofisti, come Gorgia, vedere che, aldilà della solidarità fra le famiglie dei aristocrati greci, e, doppo le riforme di Sólon ( e la conseguente perdita di potere in favore dei cittadini marinai) c’è una stessa natura che stabilisce un arco comune tra gli adversari. L’uomo è la misura di tutte le cose, sì, anche tra greci e persiani. Serve misurare, perche il uomo che percepisce è una realtà tra i fenomeni che fluiscono e la cosidetta filosofia pré-socratica aveva  esagerato gli esempi de fenomeni  incommensurabile.  Sotto Il segno del’Apollo delfico,  questo vuole dire che ci sono «logoi» (veritá/raggioni) contraditori e che la vera sapienza è, primo, la riconoscenza dell’umanità inesorabile di tutti fenomeni e, secondo, la collezione di tutte le esperienze, la Storia (una Storia arcaica che, oggi, sconosciamo). Non c’è, qui, nessun cetticismo. Per questo,  da Hippia si diceva che, in un tempo dovè c’era bisogno di argomentare velocemente in piazza, lui aveva sviluppata una tècnica di memorizzare grandi quantità di datti. Si diceva che Gorgia aveva uma dottrina secreta, imparata dei magi persiani, che contradiceva la sua filosofia relativistica predicata all’aperto. Crizie, dove Il padre era stato uno dei quattrocento oligarchi, ed anche lui stesso, con Calicle, diventerebbe  il constituzionalista dei trenta tiranni, completava cosi la riputazione dei sofisti, come aristocrati testardi che avevano simulato l’apertura sulle piazze, soltanto per manipolare la folla, persino  iniziati nelle arti più secrete dell’enemico. Contro questa dottrina, è stata finalmente sollevata l’utopia totalitaria delle idee platoniche, oppure la majestà senza identità de Aristotele ed Alessandro Il Grande. Si è vero che i Sofisti erano aristocrati chi, in tempo di crisi e pericolo mortale, giocavano al fuòco perche la folla aveva distrutto la memoria dell’esperienza più antica dei greci ad altri popoli attichi, Socrati non è stato capace di rifiutare la bevanda avelenata della città. Infatti, Socrate è stato molto più democratico che i sui enemici, i Sofisti, però, qui, esserene democratico significa essere fatto a pezzi. Lui si è sottommesso à la cità, dove la Democrazia, la voce dei cittadini, è stata fatta la soprana assoluta, più importante che la vita umana, oppure non fosse lui un antico soldato. Invece, i Sofisti, hanno considerata la ricchezza della memoria più importante che la città e, per quello, hanno provato vivere la crise permanente della democrazia, nonostante ne fossero incredenti. In conclusione, i Sofisti – chi, secondo Il autore, discendono del’virtuosismo magico dei pitagorici – si sono mischitatti nella folla ed hanno data la forza (kratia) della magia, al popolo (il demos). Fuorchè l’etimologia, questa è la genealogia, invece: democracia è, di nascita, la forza camuffatta.


CXXVI - Winston Churchill, by Sebastien Haffner, comments by André Bandeira

A short biography, for adding to so many. The author begins with describing the life of Sir Randolph Churchill, Winston's father, who arguably was «mentally ill». And the report ends up with the coordinates of Winston Churchill's tomb, side by side with his father. Randolph was an unfortunate politician, with some talent, cut short by an early death. Winston admired him very much, as any young boy who takes his father as an idol, but his father never really shared very much with his son and, the few he cared, always left a pessimistic imprint. Winston stayed an agnostic but he believed in Destiny. He was superstitious and 1/4 of his blood, from his mother's side, was american indian. He picked a personal fight with Hitler, who, mesmerized by Karl May's novels, spent many of his young free time, playing cowboys and indians, where he always chose to be an indian, and won. The result of this duel was the end of the British maritime Empire as well as the design of a continental empire in Europe. At the center of this bet, there are two indians, one real and one imaginary, as if the victims of one of the worst genocides in History had put a spell on the cubs of a ruling race. Winston Churchill seems to be the result of a political culture where Tradition floats at the top of changing waves, with no clear distinctive line between their flow and ebb. He certainly belongs to an elite, a very well constructed one, where many diverse individuals step in, but where the entry remains narrow. Nevertheless, their life has no easy ways. The champions sleep light and with their weapons unseathed, as in Carlyles's designs. That doesn't make them more noble -- they sound just like an uneasy imitation of some ancient contentment, a sort of Roman Antiquity played by the people who threw down the Empire. Churchill oscillated between a left-wing liberalism (when there was no socialist in the Commons) and -- according to the author -- a pre-fascist reactionarism. Since he became one of the major players of WWII, and in its outcome, he still tried to exploit what happend after the war came to an end, basically trying to restore a conservative Europe, he used to know. He didn't get it from the USA, besides all he stocked from them, during the war. He even went to Stalin, to get his share unscathed, and he got there fulfilled commitments as by no any other power. The author is seduced by the tremendous role played by Churchill in History (there would be one until Churchill and another, afterwards) but he measures the unintended consequences of any personal imprint in the flow of events. And he states that Churchill, by allowing the emergence of a new order, he contributed to the Revolution. What kind of Revolution he's referring to, besides ephemeral designs during the Cold War and the ensuing fragmentation of the contemporary world, remains obscure. Churchill didn't contribute to anything he didn't want. Many things happened despite his will, but his achievements are most of all in perfecting his different and timely interventions, as if they had been designed before, in his subconscious belief in Destiny. In conclusion: Churchill basically got what the wanted, even adjourning several times Death. But if the british political Tradition always enhanced these poliical dynamos above the line of cumulative traditions, it never prevented its own entropy  either. It is as if it was burning out all its stock of personality, while exchanging a slippery foothold in reality, with moral superiority. But morals are there to be followed, not just  to be admired.


CXXV - Dog sense, by John Bradshaw, comments by André Bandeira

Should a pitbull be sacrified after it had slaughtered a child in the house where both lived? The author tells us that there is always a scandal, in England, everytime it comes about to media the liquidation of a dog for whatever reason. And, of course this extends to other animals. There are millions of animals being slaughtered, round the clock, for our nourrishment, as well as other human beings, at the end of a causal chain where a human purpose or conscious neglect may be identified. This book is written by a Bristol specialist who fostered an Anthropozooic Institute to care about the conviviality among Human and dogs. The book may easily be inserted in a market cluster where dog trainers compete among themselves to improve (and also certify) that conviviality. The competition erupts in the media, comes back to books, slides into Law and involves Science. Where does Ethics have a say? Everywhere, everytime. One thing is certain: the market cluster tends to be regulated as the rest of the markets, but definitely depends on some kind of power institutionalization which defines the enclusterd market.The market is no human condition, but a cultural and civilizational choice. It didn't always exist, it won't exist forever. Nevertheless, since we found our base in a Civilization, what is sick in it, and what symptoms emerge here, in this fever surge? Animal Rights campaigns are normally based in an analogical reasoning, which surpasses the dignity of one sole species, and extends it to an universe of sentient beings (sometimes even going beyond the partition into «species») and thereon, it works in terms of general Welfare, as did Jeremy Bentham. This path is contemporary of the levelling of criteria concerning minorities' statutes, where some relevant characteristics are enhanced in order to institutionalize a new set, or universe, where the injuctions are at hand of any sovereign citizen. It is a path generally taken by what some mirror as «Left» (but not only so, due to the intrinsic vagueness of the concept), it resorts to some extra-civilizational elements, notably religious ones, and follows the rules of the political market. One of the «Market» virtues dwells in the provision of information, normally in the reverse sense of its processing. It answers a human need, it is a human achievement but, as it happens with many species, Human kind is still in the middle of a huge vital experiment, of which inception and aims, doesn't master very well. The author gives us notice of very fragmentary and isolated data about registered dangers involving pittbulls, as well as recent efforts for a specific legislation on this race. He's very optimistic about the future of conviviality between Man and dog but his optimism sounds too simplistic and marketing, taking into account all his premisses. Mankind has only managed to domesticate about 20 species, the studies on animal conscience and mental faculties are still very much un-holistic and raise a lot of still unanswered questions, in a field where science is young. At a certain point, in a recent debate, some said that the life of a dog (or «my dog») would be worthier than the one of Hitler or the one of Breivick, the terrorist. They did it, replying to some who pondered that the dog should be liquidated because any human life, the most repulsive it might be, would always be worthier than the one of a dog. Of course this all should be inserted in different strategies, or policies, in the market-place of ideas.The face-valued emotions have a provocation element, to catch by surprise the indifferents and get a stage. But the sudden eruption of the debate may set a very frightening scene. Hitler himself was a vegetarian, he certainly cherished more the life of his dog than the one of many of his kin, or enemies. In the USSR (but not only so), there have been carried out many experiments with human beings and Nature in general, to prove theories such as the one of Lyssenko, which was a forgery. If the modern western society (and not only it) stands, in practice, for a field of social, political, and moral experiments, where what is true depends very much on human mentality trends, should it be there other criteria than the one of trial and error? Is it really there an innate right of self-defense when  both the concepts of «self» and defense have been eroded in such a way that Sodoma and Gomorrah are just an oppressive dam, adjourning the flow of a major flood, as the narrative in the Bible implies?


CXXIV - O Homem, by Aluísio Azevedo, comments by André Bandeira

This novel has the same characteristics of «O Cortiço» (The bee-hive,  harbinger of the modern «Favela», the contemporary urban slum). Indeed, it had been written before. It is set out from the same naturalistic premisses, that means, it has a character, the physician Dr. Lobão, who knows everything about what is going to happen to the protagonist, Magdá, the daughter of an old aristocrat, who, by disgrace, won't manage to get married. The woman is beautiful, has a good dowry, but she had been brought with a half-brother she thought to be just a stepson of her widowed father. Having been brought up together, when they come of age, they swear each other what the feelings were already hatching, till the old man states that any marriage between them, is impossible. The secret he kept for so many years has to be revealed, he pronounces both of them brother and sister, and the son departs to Europe, from where he'll never return. The novel intends to be naturalistic, and is immediately set by the Physician who -- in a modern way -- sums up all the bibliography predicting Magda's future hysteria. But the way how the young adolescent, in love with her stepbrother, shifts to brotherly affection, at the revelation, is simply not convincing. The brother dies in Portugal and, then, it begins the familiy chase for a bridegroom. In a sequence, Magda refuses a rich but ageing bachelor, a brilliant, but sick bureaucrat and a dandy. Then, in an episode, she happens to be carried in the arms of a robust portuguese quarry worker, who is about to marry one of his own, in the slum nearby. She simply cannot stop dreaming of his robust arms, flat belly and proeminent breast. The rest of the novel, which had been incepted at the pace of a grouchy physician, mixes up the reality of a distant worker who's going to get married, and an aristocratic bachelor who dreams, in her delirious letarghias, that she got married to him. As a matter of delirious facts, it is not him. In her dreams, chased by an authoritarian father so onirical has her dreams, the workman is no workman, but a sophisticated aristocrat who desguised himself as a quarry worker just to get close to her. Magda gets crazier and crazier and when the happy marriage happens in the slum ahead, she invites the freshly married couple. Then, pretending to make them taste a fine wine, poisons both of them to death. She narrowly escapes to be lynched by the mob, thanks to the same grouchy physician who had predicted almost everything, and shields his patient with his body. Questioned by the Police, and before being committed to a Psychiatric Institution, she reckognizes the corpses, she states that the man was her husband and that she killed him because he had cheated her with that woman liying aside. The novel is a promise of a naturalistic proselytism when suddenly it mouths in an almost real, golden delirium. Did the author want to prove that natural erotical inclinations have to be fulfilled, despite parenthood, or did he want to describe that there was a paralel romantic world that no Physician, albeit very prepared, could never avert? Maybe the Physician was the author himself and he loved the romantic madness that, in Émile Zola's Paris would be wiped out by the next local revolution. The author became a diplomat of Brazil and, being already one of the most successful novelists of his time, never really wrote again.


CXXIII - Socialisme libéral, by Carlo Rosselli, comments by André Bandeira

It is very exciting to read this book, the only one Carlo Rosselli wrote, this said in 1930, in French, speciallly when the copy one has in hand, had been signed by Carlo Rosselli himself and even contains one important correction he wrote by hand ( about Mazzini's intentions). Carlo Rosselli was an oppositionist to Mussolini, who fought in the same volunteer italian force, during the spanish civil war, side by side with italians such as Berneri, this one having been slaughtered by the communists. He himself, died, in the aftermath of the spanish civil war, victim of a pay-back with french rightists, in the south of France. Rosselli coined the term «liberal socialism» as Mussolini had coinded the expression «totalitarian». Basically, Rosselli takes a distance from the marxist dogma in socialism, he says that Marx was wrong in his catastrophism, in his theory of the plus-value and in his deterministic image of «class struggle». He honors Marx for waking up the workers who didn't have neither the culture, nor the means for reacting to a society which condemned them to live and die like beasts of burden. But he points out that the working class has, in the meantime, made so much progress as the capitalist society itself, in such a way that the vindications of socialism have to be more on the cultural side, striving for more individual freedom and morals. Thus, Socialism has the same aim of keeping a freer and freer society where the fundamental rights are respected and the mechanisms of a liberal democratic society are an end in itself. Of course there is always the bourgeois liberalism in the way, but the Burgeoisie itself is plural, with segments open to innovation and more freedom, coexisting with other segments who just want to conserve the privileges taken from the Aristocrats. In theoretical terms, he subscribes to Bernstein, the revisionist, telling that, in Socialism « die Bewegung ist alles» (the movement is everything) and the aim is open, depending on any individual and social filling. Politically, he lines up with the Labour Party, in England, and Proudhon's tradition, in France. Rosselli, who wrote this 80 years ago, and who paid with his life, for his commitment, is balanced, tolerant, precise and very civilized. He comes from a jewish familiy from the North of Italy, has a strong connection with one of the world's cultural capitals, Florence, and he even could anticipate the socialist outset for gay rights and animal rights. But there is something disturbing in this very civilized character: he boasts that everything that Mussolini was doing in Italy would cater for the italians surpassing their primitive and fragmentary political society, to rationalize Italy and give birth to a liberal society after the fall of the dictator. This proved to be optimism: Rosselli describes the fascist movement as «groups of outcasts, criminals, hallucinated,  and also idealists at the forefront of a political and romantic delirium...». Then, he describes the italian national character as one lacking autonomy of thought, with a «very rich inner life, although very much one-sided» and «morally lazy». I' d rahter think that it was this kind of «british» vision which catered for Mussolini to stay in power, to be demoted in 1943, while still keeping on his side a large portion of the italian population, and fight a civil war that some say only ended up in the sixties. Two final remarks on this very consensual and obviously remarkable man: when he says that the fight of the oppressed should be mostly for Education, he has a biased idea of what to educate about, and he leaves a slight scratch on those ones which, by lack of words, have to consent in being labeled as «ignorants». Second, he says, something that has been attributed to Churchill: the speech on «blood, sweat and tears». Apparently,  it was Garibaldi who said something very similar, in a much riskier situation for the speaker, 70 years before the astute and resourceful Churchill had done it.


CXXII - A Vida como ela é, by Nelson Rodrigues - Comments by André Bandeira

«Life as itself is», could well be the translation for the title of this collection of short stories by Nelson Rodrigues, probably the most important playright of Brazil, during the second half of the XXth Century. He was born in Recife, in the sub-equatorial Northeast, but it was in Rio, as a journalist, where he got most of his fame, and where he died, in 1980. The short stories are a masterpiece, both in sequence as in the pace of gathering critical mass. At the end of the first dozen, or so, one gets stricken, if not revolted, with the pessimistic layout, almost obscene, of the emotional and social wounds, and one hesitates in proceeding to the rest. Almost every story turns around love, sex and marriage (I would say in this order) and they are staged in the traditional Rio families from the suburbs, or the middle class which was moving up to the Copacabana waterfront, in the fifties. They have much of criminal chronicle, which was a job that the author himself, exerted, as a matter of fact, for many years, as a journalist. As he was confronted with a corpse, in a crime scene, probably in the first place, or at the same time as the forensic Police, his short stories have a scent of tragedy and we get addicted to them, as crime novels. Notwithstanding the weight of the North-american crime novel of that time, Nelson Rodrigues’s short stories don’t have the same aim of power rattle and moral cleansing which underpinned authors, such as Dashel Hammet. He is much more humble in his scope. It seems that, by the gathering of  almost identical sories, despite the variations in the plots, that he is proclaiming the doomsday of family and marriage, as institutions inherently contradictory with the hearts and minds of the Rio’s society of that time. In a way, he implodes the building of society, behind the façade and, thereby, he protects a society which was probably at the disposal of the rest of the world’s wildest dreams and perversions. Death very often plays the role of liberation in the intricate web of patriarchalism, coarseness and irony which sets the scene in society, as it did, probably, in the long flow of slavery, immigration and indian mutilation in brazilian History. Nelson Rodrigues is not advocating death, as other latin-americans  novelists could do, because he has a touch of irony and awe, which are able to disarm almost any conclusion jumping. But he seems resolved to leave an almost black-african Magic of bitterness, which sets the night on fire, and which could almost lead him to repeat the same themes into eternity. That is why it is said that theater began by being a ritual and it stayed so, even in the most seductive brazilian soap-operas. In conclusion, a quest: did Nelson Rodrigues believe that there was a guise of love – I mean physical and spiritual love, merged in one and only «natural love»-- which endures all social formats and follows its path, no matter the consequences, as a vital imprint? In that case, theater, both in art, as well as in political engineering, would be the only way of keeping our bodies in peace, away of the human sacrifice of the tribe.