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January 31, 2008



I know these are, by now, old news, but I was surprised to see that no one commented it. Even from a distance I noticed a lot of talk about it in Brazilian news. I'm not a "carioca" (on the contrary, I'm from São Paulo, their eternal rivals), but I've seen one or two "carnavais" along my (not so) short life.
Actually, there were some depictions of slaves in previous years, specially around the 100th anniversary of the slaves liberation. And I believe that the dictatorship tortures was mentioned as well, though not openly yet, but not because of the victims, but because many military still say "that there was no torture at all", and they are still very close to the power. So it still a "tabu". But I doubt that those victims (or their relatives) would make any strong objections to be depicted.
But these are all ok, since these are brazilian affairs, and we all understand them and even lived them, mostly the poor people of the "favelas", who generally descend from slaves and weren't treated so nicely by the dictatorship.
But, of course, the holocaust is not their (our) business, and they (we) surely shouldn't play with it in "private party", even with good intentions. The same way they don't like when americans (for example) talk about our inner problems.

What puzzles me is that, usually, the only "foreign affairs" depicted in the parades were ancient gods from Greece and Africa, or the XVIth century Portuguese nobility. The fact that the "samba schools" are escaping from the almost inevitable Brazilian History themes and tackling in some more contemporary issues (which, I say again, is none of their business), reveals that "globalization" has already reached the "favelas" for good. And that it might have gone too far...

But I remember, when I was young (so long ago...), there were another "scandalous" case of censorship: despite all the myths of "absolute freedom" during the festivities, the full frontal nudity was officially forbidden one year, even in the statues, and one of the Samba Schools had a float with an image of Superman in the toilet. There were some attempts to protest but, at the last moment, afraid of losing points in the contest, they decided to use the Man of Steel's red cape to cover what was not supposed to be shown. The depiction was a reference to a cover of a brazilian tabloid censored during the dictatorship, but, anyway, maybe Superman was also none of bazilian business as well. ;)

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