Saturday, 24 November 2012
By Alexandre Figueiredo
The most of cultural problems happened in Brazil are results from a serious social values crisis, brought since the coup of 1964. The worst thing is that, since the 70's, brazilian intelectuals were formed by neoliberal ideologies worked by social cientists as sociologist and former brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Therefore, brazilian cultural thinkers rised to media defending the "mass culture", making the opposite way from the path traced by worldwide known thinkers as Theodor Adorno, Guy Debord, Pierre Bourdieu and the still alive and active Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky.
Otherwise the Europe and North America tendences to have intelectuals questioning the "mass culture", having no fear to overthrow totems blessed by the media entertainment, brazilian intelectuals prefer to defend the brazilian "mass culture" icons, accusing anyone who question these icons as "prejudiced".
"Prejudice" is the fashion word, in the latest ten years. And brazilian intelectuals use this word to the extreme. And there's two main intelectuals who have commitments to defend the "mass culture", for the pretext and pretension to ensure the "folklore of the future".
And what's the brazilian "mass culture" from the nowadays? This "mass culture" is so called by me as "brega-popularesco", the "brazilian mid-of-the-road". There's a pretending culture, not really from popular roots and not very national-made identity.
The "brega-popularesco" was emerged from the "brega" music succesfully played in the radio stations in the mid and late 60's and 70's. The early "brega" music consists of false boleros, diluted country music, pastiches of caribbean music and ridiculous forms of the disco sound.
The "brega" music was a soundtrack from the dictatorship period, and was diffused by radio stations who supported the militar government at that times. But one intelectual, a historian researcher and writer Paulo Cesar Araújo, had very popularity in his midst after releasing his thesis that the "brega" or "cafona" idols were seriously censored by brazilian dictatorship.
Of course. There's so much difference about to be censored by politic ideas and to be censored by talking about sex. The "brega" stars talked about love frustrations, sexual situations, patriot exaltations and childish poetry. Meanwhile, Paulo César Araújo insisted that the "brega" idols, as Waldick Soriano, Odair José, Paulo Sérgio, Benito di Paula and others were censored by the same reasons like the protest artists.
Not really. These "brega" stars exactly equaled, in Brazil, as the well-behaved 50's teen stars as Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Neil Sedaka and Paul Anka. Odair José is the brazilian equivalent of Pat Boone and Benito di Paula is Paul Anka's equivalent. Just reasonable hitmakers, not genial artists.
But Araújo, in his book Eu Não Sou Cachorro Não, insisted that "brega" idols were revolutionary and he tried to prove that they were so rebel and "wronged" in popularity. He lost several pages of his book to prove that the song that gave the book title, Waldick Soriano's "Eu Não Sou Cachorro Não" (a false bolero with lyrics about love frustrations), was a protest song.
To reinforce the delusional theory, Araújo described a students group classwork from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica college from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, made in the 70's. According to Araújo, the students interviewed common people, including construction works and maids, and "concluded" that the lyrics from "Eu Não Sou Cachorro Não" can be viewed as the working class people's frustrations song.
Very pretentious thesis. The song intention is to say about love frustrations, and that's all. But the conspiratory thesis from Araújo comoved so much readers and it became to be the official thesis. "Brega" music is officially known as "brazilian protest song", leaving aside true protest singers as Geraldo Vandré, Chico Buarque, Sérgio Ricardo, Taiguara and others.
The Araújo cry pulled other intelectuals became to do widespread campaign for the brazilian "mass culture" of "brega-popularesco" rhythms and idols. Monographs, documentarys, articles, news reporting and other discursive resources begun to defend the "brega" tendences and its derivatives.
One of these intelectuals is anthropologist Hermano Vianna, brother of brazilian rocker Herbert Vianna, guitarist and singer from the power-trio Paralamas do Sucesso. While Paulo César Araújo concentrates his attention to the old "brega" stars, Hermano goes to mind about the recent derivative tendences, specially the "funk carioca", the brazilian translation of the US Miami Bass.
Several intelectuals decided to made their campaign. The Folha de São Paulo's dedicated pupil, Pedro Alexandre Sanches, defends the same themes of Hermano Vianna but evoking some approaches from Paulo César Araújo.
Inspired by Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Francis Fukuyama ideas - Sanches rigorously translated the End of Story theory to brazilian music, placing this "end" at the Tropicalia beginning in 1967 as Fukuyama placed the "end" at the Berlin Wall overthrow in 1989 - , Sanches tries to be a pretentious left-side intelectual, but his ideas were clearly inspired by neoliberal theories applied to brazilian culture.
Ronaldo Lemos, attorney and technology specialist from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas college, is other intelectual dedicated to the "brega" culture. He diffused the "tecnobrega" phenomenon from Belém, the capital of the brazilian state of Pará, doing several expositions and writing a book, Tecnobrega - O Pará reinventando o negócio da música, with the collaboration of Oona Castro.
Other thinkers and propagandists, including musicians, movie makers, celebrities, social scientists and others goes to make a big campaign for this brazilian "mass culture". It seems convincing and credible, but everything these intelectuals do is to defend market principles leaded by brazilian radio and TV broadcasts and label industry rules.
The true popular culture will be injured, because "brega" never matches to the real popular traditions and the real culture based from the community relationships. "Brega" is just a "popular culture" brought with the help and support of the media executives.
Unfortunately, rare is the person in Brazil who doesn't need to think the society with mercantilist eyes, and can make differences between the "mass culture" and the authentic popular culture.
Sunday, 18 November 2012
By Alexandre Figueiredo
There's something going wrong at the womankind view worked by brazilian media. In part, the well-known "popular women" have represented by the media as sex objects, doing nothing but a mere body exhibition, have nothing important to do to the brazilian people.
Since the success of the Bahia's group É O Tchan in the 90's, resembling the previous success of the ass-worshiped entertainers like Gretchen and Rita Cadillac (former dancer from the presenter Chacrinha's TV shows) in the late 70's, the brazilian sexist media market developed to seduct the poor men stimulating her sexual wishes to the extreme level.
In the 70's, it was very private to the adult people, but in the 90's it grew by the astonishing way. In first, muses like the former É O Tchan dancer, Carla Perez, have shown her booty dance even for children. There was no moral control, families allowed their kids to enjoy and imitate Carla's dance. To being worst, one of É O Tchan songs is called "Dança do Bumbum" (Booty Dance).
Carla Perez left É O Tchan and then married Harmonia do Samba's singer Xanddy, when she was replaced by Sheila Mello, who joint the group beside the brunette dancer Scheila Carvalho. The Sheilas, as the female dancing duo were known, left the group in their reputation crisis, when intelectuals considered É O Tchan one of the main icons of the cultural crisis in the Brazil's late 90's.
A little bit before the É O Tchan success, some muses have sctrict popularity in a TV show. The Viva a Noite show, presented by Gugu Liberato and transmitted by SBT network - owned by presenter and TV entrepreneur Silvio Santos - , had an attraction called Banheira do Gugu (Gugu's Bathtub), when one man and one woman dive in a bathtub, disputting a soap bar. The competitors usually clung to obtain possession of the object.
The Banheira do Gugu section revealed muses as Solange Gomes, Renata Banhara, Helen Ganzarolli and Nana Gouvea, who recently caused controversy posing for photos in the places in New York affected by the hurricane Sandy, which made a tragedy in USA and Central America.
But another intelectual generation was raised not to contest the cultural crisis in Brazil, but to support and applaud, using as pretext an alleged prejudice by the organized society. Those intelectuals, formed by sociologist and former Brazil's president Fernando Henrique Cardoso ideas, defended the cultural mediocrity as a "expression of the 'periferias'".
"Periferia" is an expression used by the intelectual brazilian mainstream to define the poor suburban areas mostly occupied by "favelas", lots of irregular house constructions resulting by poverty and estate social exclusion.
And the campaign to reaffirm the cultural mediocrity as a "real popular culture" carried a type of "popular women" with median beauty and a body shape usually exaggerate. This type was leaded by the É O Tchan dancers heiresses, the "funk carioca" (brazilian Miami bass) dancers and entertainers, the well-know "mulheres-frutas" ("fruit-ladies").
The "mulheres-frutas" don't absolutely have a fruit nickname. Some have fruit nicknames, as Mulher Melancia (Watermelon Woman), Mulher Melão (Melon Woman), Mulher Moranguinho (Little Strawberry Woman) and Mulher Maçã (Apple Woman). But there's dancers with meat nicknames, Mulher Filé (Fillet Woman) and Mulher Caviar (Cavier Woman), and similar with non specific nicknames, as Valesca Popozuda.
Other alleged-popular muses are the Panicats, stage assistants and dancers from the comic show Pânico na TV, originally transmitted by Rede TV! network and currently transmitted by TV Bandeirantes network, renamed to Pânico na Band.
The first Panicats generation were included Nicole Bahls (pictured above) - who had some photos published by foreign celebrity portals as Egotastic and Hollywood Tuna and had a brief love affair with the american rapper Akon - , Dani Bolina, Lizi Benites, Dani Souza, Babi Rossi and former Big Brother Brasil (a TV Globo franchising by Endemol's TV show) Jacqueline Khury.
The Panicats have the status, in the alleged-popular brazilian muses, compared to the Victoria's Secret in the fashion world. But the apparent sophistication doesn't go to the point to make those girls so smart, they're just relatively cool for their scene.
Other muses like then are the Miss Bumbum and Garota da Lage competitors, the Big Brother Brasil former muses - as Priscila Pires, Anamara, Lisa Khey and Maíra Cardi - , football and MMA muses (respectively known as Musas do Brasileirão and Ring Girls) and particular cases like the former Universidade Bandeirantes (Uniban) student, Geisy Arruda.
Geisy was popularly known in 2009, when she went to a class in Uniban, in São Paulo city. Using a slinky, Geisy Arruda was booed by the college roommates. The fact, however, became a factoid, and the controversy produced made Geisy's rise to fame, being one more muse to make her fame using the sex appeal as an end in itself.
Those popular muses had several serious problems, because they just appear to make sensuality and not do anything important in show business. They almost never show theirselves wearing discreet clothing and, in some cases, they make gaffes with the intention to pull sensationalist media notes.
One example. In a walk around a Rio de Janeiro's airport (probably the Santos Dumont airport), former Big Brother Brasil star, Maíra Cardi, made a lot of pouting expressions and showed her cleavage out of context, and smiled so silly moreover.
Compare this notice to the cases when brazilian actresses, models and journalists popularly considered sex symbols, as Juliana Paes, Deborah Secco, Luana Piovani, Alessandra Ambrosio and Patrícia Poeta, walk in the airport ambients. They look so discreet and so simple, and not necessarily wear sensual clothes.
The actresses, models and journalists sexual and afectively desired by men can be so sexy, but these women don't rely on their sex appeal to make their fame and notices. If necessary, they can dress so discreet and talk about other subjects that don't be always about sex, love relatioships or body gym.
The alleged-popular muses, unfortunately, only depend to make their fame around sex, love relationships and body gym. They live for their bodies, and Nicole Bahls, for example, was called a whore by some celebrities as Dani Bolina and TV actress Luana Piovani. Nicole plans to sue then and she affirms she's not a whore.
Alright. But these "popular" muses don't make anything so different. They only use discreet clothes when the winter brings so cold. They are able to show cleavage even in the catholic masses, but they are not able to talk about politics and sophisticated culture.
Another example. The brazilian journalist Elaine Bast, from TV Globo network, who lives in New York and is a fan of alternative groups like Sonic Youth and Jesus & Mary Chain, is known for her impressive beauty. But Elaine can give an interview to just talk about politics, journalism and rides around New York, doesn't needing to talk about sex and body gym.
Nicole Bahls has not its privilege. She can't give an interview avoiding to talk about sex and similar subjects. She can't give an interview to only talk about politics and culture. Her image is very associated by the cult of body, no matter she is or not a whore. The fact to her showing her body without a specific context says anything.
In the end, the "popular" muses got less advantage to women who are sexy but not show their sensuality everytime. It means that sensuality cannot be an end in itself, but an interesting detail for a woman's profile, a small element that never can replace the intelligence and talent. Real women don't be sexy without contexts, but when they show their sensuality, they do better than vulgar muses.
Sex is a thing that can't be shown anytime. Sex is a question of surprise and context. To show so much female bodies - there's a brazilian slang, "mostrar demais" (to show to much), usually diffused by sexist media - locks the feminism way, because it restricts the image of women as mere sexual objects, and it makes so tiring, so boring and so tedious, and not shows the real essence of woman nature.
Sunday, 11 November 2012
By Alexandre Figueiredo
US and UK press recognize that there's an expressive difference between entertainers and artists. Brazil media have not this notion, and the word "entertainer" have no brazilian portuguese translation.
Entertainer is the term used to define performers who aren't necessarily committed to product culture and art values. In music, an entertainer is just a singer, musician or a group who works for the consumption music products, and generally includes superfluous elements to call the crowd attention in the easiest way.
If the entertainer is a singer, as we see in a typical example like Madonna, there's so much dancers around, a little bit more of backing vocalists, so much synthetisers supporting the singer and a big visual spectacle, a very impactful wardrobe and makeup, everything made to hide the weak music quality.
If the entertainer is a vocal group, they must to be also the dancers group. But if the entertainer, in other case, is a musicians group, they must to be accompanied by attractive backing vocalists and the stage must to be served by sensational illumination structure.
There's some examples. There's others. But it helped to understand that the entertainer doesn't want to do art and bring culture, but make the public to spend fun time as a mere consumption process. Nothing to make spirits grow, not to bring any condition to the social and cultural progresses.
An artist works to posterity, an entertainer works to the present situation. Art is knowledge, social progress, cultural beauty, but not necessarily an sensationalist spectacle. True art is a social communication and not a consumption process, because it don't make market products, but social values.
Commercial music is made for during some months, this popularity can be enormous, but then it dissolves as a sand castle, never leaving marks.
Brazilian commercial music, which its most popular example is the axé-music star Ivete Sangalo, is benefited by the confusion about entertainers and artists. Ivete sounds as a brazilian Madonna, but the brazilian singer pretends to work a sophisticated image, that made her to be wrongly known as the "Queen of MPB". It's wrong, although it seems likely.
There's so much brazilian female singers better than Ivete Sangalo, singers who deserve the title "Queen of MPB", as Marisa Monte and Roberta Sá. But the confusion about entertainers and singers can't allow this. And Ivete Sangalo, the brazilian Madonna, gets for free a reputation that have no sense to her, because she's not artistic, she's merely commercial.
But Brazil's a pretentious country. How pretending gold it can be produced in this country...
Saturday, 10 November 2012
Hello readers!! This blog will tell you the uncomfortable situation about the popular culture in Brazil, specially the Brazilian Popular Music (MPB, in portuguese initials).
The brazilian music suffers currently the commercial slavery determined by the big media power, with the support of associated intellectuals.
This blog will show you outside Brazil the problems related to the cultural crisis. Brazil has one of the most rich popular culture patrimony, but this patrimony is banned from its own owners, the brazilian people.
The culture patrimony is replaced, by the media pressure, with doubtful cultural expressions, related to the music or to the entertainment business, who manipulates the poor people desires, wills and beliefs attending to the usually known "media barons" interests.
There's a very serious situation. Pseudo-sambas replaced the true ones to the popular taste, for example. Business made idols from "popular" press, from the pretending-popular music, from the female fetishes, idols that give no progress to poor people lives in Brazil.
The problems are very known in Brazil, although the intellectual pressure works to manipulate the public opinion and gives the false impression that there's no problem in popular culture. But outside Brazil, doubtful idols as Alexandre Pires, Michel Teló and Ivete Sangalo are shown as "MPB raising stars", but they never do MPB, but merely commercial music without cultural and artistic value.
This blog is weekly updated. And we'll try to inform you about anything of this crisis. Brazil can save the popular culture, and people have to recover the contact to the popular roots that the media forbidden to them.
Have good reading.