Diogo Mainardi: No Offense


An eye for an eye, a slur for a slur: Crude metaracism from the Web site of Daniel Pipes, noted neoconservative Moonie and crusader against “tenured radicals” in academia, on the Danish caricature flap. In fact, one of the cartoons in question showed the Muslim prophet with a bomb in his turban, suggesting that terrorism is inherent in the Islamic “mindset.”

“Prejudiced statements against Northeasterners I have already heard and seen, even from opinion-makers. Paulo Francis once, on the Jornal do Globo, even said that Northeasterners were subhuman,” Mandarin writes. “But I kept on watching him, after all he was well-informed. When he said crazy things like that, I just laughed.”ConJur on Judge Mandarino

The delusional is no longer marginal. –Bill Moyers

Consultor Jurídico, a Journalism 1.0-style trade magazine for the Brazilian lawyer run by the Estado Group, follows up on a weird little court case involving one of the most deplorable characters in Brazilian “journalism,” Veja magazine’s Diogo Mainardi. One of the most deplorable figures on the global scene, really, outside of Rwanda’s Radio RTLM.

Brought to you by Disney! As seen on MTV!

See also

The interest of the reporter focuses on the judge’s decision in the case, which recommends that we should all just have more of a sense of humor about Mainardi’s lunatic rantings. Brazilian judges can be astonishingly injudicious at times. This may not be one of those cases, however. Or perhaps it is. You be the judge.

The real problem, I find, is that I have often heard otherwise intelligent and well-educated people repeating Mainardian nonexistent facts — and there are so many — as truth.

“We live,” as Richard Edelman says, “in an age of constant partial attention.”

Mainardi is something like a Brazilian version of our shock jocks, I suppose you could start by saying. Glenn Beck, one hears — I do not actually consume this dreck — is the new fire-breathing, mouth-breathing specimen of the month.

Except that Mainardi and his neo-Lacerdist colleagues out and out lie and libel a lot more than even our most rabid Limbaughs normally dare to do. American broadcasters — even Fox News — do still have to keep one foot inbounds when it comes to standards and practices. Even with one of their own lobbyists in charge of the FCC.

As you know, Brazilian public prosecutors have from time to time filed what I tend to think of as a sort of anti-SLAPP suit — public-interest civil suits in favor of public participation. See Brazil: The Boobs Talk Back to the Tube.

In this case — see Mainardi March Madness for some of the bare facts — they seem to run up against the limits of that strategy.

And I admit it was hard for me to see from reading the early reports on the case what exactly was legally objectionable about the remarks in question. It seemed like it might be something of a local political stunt. But really, I have no idea, to be honest.

Mainardi had said there were places in the country — Northeastern states and cities, in particular — where he would not like to visit. Insinuating, as is his habit, that the places are full of primitive mud people who marry their cousins and will never achieve the status of omniscient and deeply virtuous philosopher-kings with USP sociology Ph.D.s , that sort of thing.

I remember reading an interview in Caros Amigos a few years back with a São Paulo city official in charge of public housing in which the man observed, without blinking or blushing, that people crammed into cortiços [“vertical slums”] have a well-known tendency to fuck their own children.

Which explains their intellectual inferiority.

He said that. City public housing official. I kept the clip.

At any rate, veja só the standard Veja magazine approach to the promotion of civility in a society racked by social and racial tensions (and lousy with death squads who execute people for existing while off-white or wearing Snoop Dogg T-shirts and baggy shorts).

I wrote to Mainardi once suggesting that he read Henfil’s Memoirs of a Cockroach, about the famous Brazilian counterculture cartoonist’s sojourn in New York in the late 1960s, to treat his hemophilia.

The book has partly to do with growing up in a country where Henfil was considered part of the ruling white minority, only to find himself getting treated like a mud person by redneck NYPD officers all of a sudden.

My wife has been through this experience as well. In Brazil, in some eyes, I am married to the bourgeois honky oppressor (and so is she). On the Upper East Side, I am slumming it disgracefully with the kitchen help, according to one surgery-sculpted, fur-draped, turkey-necked old buzzard of an Upper East Side matron I once had to give a piece of my mind to on the subject in a neighborhood bakery near the Guggenheim, which was featuring a (incredibly badly curated) exhibition on “Brazil” at the time, as I recall.

Which is why would we like to invite Mainardi over to Brooklyn one of these days to have a drink or two and meet some of our friends at Moe’s (the “Duff on tap” is actually Miller, I think) and Frank’s.

I will be sure to e-mail everyone the man’s work in translation first — especially the Spike Lee Brooklyn buppie component of that crowd.

The dreadlocked bartender at Moe’s, for example, has actually spent a lot of time in Bahia exploring his negritude, he tells us — we get a frozen mojito on the house on account of our Brazilian connection — and he is an extremely big and fierce-looking dude. He is a very friendly, courteous fellow, not menacing at all.

But call him a “nigger” to his face and you might well discover the limits of his commitment to civility. In which case we would probably choose to go outside for a smoke by the old “Bloomberg bucket” and let the ensuing discussion take its own course.

It could be a very instructive evening in differential cultural tolerance for Mainardi. Once enough English-language readers got a fair sampling of the gentleman’s work in translation, I tend to think that Mainardi’s brand of humor would not be as big a crossover success in the multiethnic stew of Brooklyn, the Bronx, or the East Village as, say, João Gilberto’s recordings with Stan Getz and Toots Thielmann.

In Brazil, Northeasterners have historically been the subject of intense racism — and during the influx of Northeastern industrial workers into São Paulo, for example, the target of neo-Nazi skinhead gang violence and death squads.

São Paulo just had another (technically polished and well-coordinated) death squad-style killing of young black men — with no criminal antecedents, as the local papers made a point of reporting — on a city street last week.

The current president of Brazil is a Northeasterner — pretty ostentatiously so, in terms of his physical type, speech patterns, cultural tastes, and life history.

So pra inglês ver, I suppose the latest Mainardi case might actually be interesting to compare to the borking of “shock jock” Don Imus for his remarks about members of a championship women’s basketball team here.

Imus, you recall, called the players “nappy-headed (with tightly curled, African-style hair) hos (whores),” imitating the diction of rap music artists and black street slang.

Vigilante consumers made the guy unpopular with the advertisers, who threatened to pull out. He was borked by the network.

God bless America: We tend to prefer market solutions to tortuous torts.

Now, here in gringoland, the Jim Crow laws are for the most part long gone, both in principle and in practice. And fewer and fewer people are nostalgic for them these days. A Ku Klux Klan rally on Wall Street a couple of years ago featured a few dozen sheet-draped white men and thousands and thousands of counter-protesters — among them, the ACLU lawyer who fought to get the Klan its parade permit in the first place.

So if there is a certain degree of leeway allowed for ironic uses of racist discourse here in the States now, it is because crude racial humor no longer shares the headlines with frequent lynchings, as it used to. (The South Park animated series gets away with having a black character named Token, for example — making fun of the fact that television series often insert a single black character in the interests of being “representative.” And then, of course, there was that “the N-word guy” episode.)

None of that is the case in Brazil.

See, for example, Maranhão: Death of a Repentista.

There is a folklore of racial democracy, and then there are those bar conversations with perfectly nice people, just like you, who suddenly come out with the same kinds of jaw-droppingly racist conversation gambits you used to hear from blond, blue-eyed South Africans you knew back in the early 1980s.

They like The Police and the B-52s, just like you. They surf, dude, and do bong hits, yo, gnarly, bro. They also share the worldview and rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan. Holy jumpin’ jebus. I didn’t see that coming.

At any rate, file the case as part of a new line of NMM clippings under the heading of “Philistines of relativism at the gates.”

O colunista Diogo Mainardi se livrou de mais uma na Justiça. Alvo de ação civil pública, foi absolvido da acusação de preconceito contra o povo de Sergipe e de Cuiabá. O Ministério Público Federal em Sergipe pedia a condenação do jornalista, com base em escritos de Mainardi publicados em 2005 na coluna que assina na revista Veja e em afirmações feitas no programa Manhattan Connection, do canal de TV por assinatura GNT.

Columnist Diogo Mainardi has got himself out of yet another legal jam. The target of a public-interest civil suit, he was absolved of prejudice against the people of Sergipe and Cuiabá. The Sergipe federal prosecutor wanted the journalist found guilty based on columns Mainardi wrote in 2005 for Veja magazines and statements made on Manhattan Connection, on subscription-TV channel GNT.

O juiz Ricardo Mandarino, da 1ª Vara Federal de Sergipe e ex-membro do Conselho Nacional do Ministério Público, entendeu que, embora possa ter havido em um trecho ou outro manifestações preconceituosas ou desrespeitosas, não causou dano moral a nordestinos ou cuiabanos. “Entre tolerar pequenas ofensas e limitar a liberdade de expressão, prefiro a tolerância em nome da liberdade, mormente quando se verifica que o dano inexistiu”, disse Mandarino. A ação do MP também era dirigida à Globosat, Editora Abril e Globo Comunicação e Participações; e pedia a condenação ao pagamento de uma indenização de R$ 200 mil por danos morais causados à coletividade nacional.

Judge Mandarino of the First Federal Bar of Sergipe, a former member of the Public Advocate’s national board, ruled that, although some passages might have been prejudiced or disrespectful, they did not slander Northeasterners or the citizens of Cuiabá. “Between tolerating petty offenses and limiting the freedom of expression, I prefer tolerance in the name of liberty, especially when no harm has been committed,” Mandardino wrote. The civil suit also named Globosat, the Editoria Abril and the Globo holding company, asking for damages of R$200,000 for moral offenses to the national collectivity.

I tend to agree, of course.

I am a card-carrying ACLU member, after all.

The problem is that neither Globo or Veja provide access to dissenting points of view.

You will not see Globosat’s (gabbling) Manhattan Connection inviting on a guest who will take Mainardi to task for his attitudes, forcing him to publicly defend them on the air. A televised interview by Mainardi of the culture minister, Gilberto Gil — a professed Bahian Rastaman. Live, with no cuts or other artifice, moderated to give equal time to both sides.

That I would like to see.

As it is, if you want equal time from Globo or the Editora Abril, you have to sue them to get it. It has always been that way, and if they have their way, it will always be that way.

Here in New York (Freaking) City, meanwhile, we have a little cable news channel called NY1, with an excellent little political talk show called Inside City Hall. Where no talking point goes unchallenged and no point of view is excluded. Examples can be multiplied.

The Globosat show is specifically designed to sell the image of New York sophistication to Brazilian viewers, but the tenor of the show is actually more like Bull Connor and Friends (Birmingham, Alabama, 1963.)

Mandarino também recomendou uma dose de bom humor para ler e ouvir as irreverências e ironias do colunista da Veja e faz um paralelo com Paulo Francis, jornalista da Folha de S. Paulo, já morto, um dos inventores do estilo literário-jornalístico que garante o sucesso de Mainardi. “Manifestações preconceituosas contra os nordestinos, eu já ouvi, li, inclusive de formadores de opinião. Paulo Francis, certa feita, no Jornal da Globo, chegou a afirmar que os nordestinos eram uma sub-raça”, conta Mandarino em sua sentença. “Continuei a ouvi-lo, afinal ele era bem informado. Quando falava bobagens como essa, eu me divertia.”

Mandarino also recommended a dose of good humor when reading the irreverent ironies of the Veja columnist, comparing him to the late Paulo Francis of the Folha de S. Paulo, one of the inventors of the journalistic-literary style that Mainardi successfully employs.

I have read quite a bit of Paulo Francis, actually. As time went on, his work was emptied out of journalistic content — respect for the facts and the Reality Principle, mainly — and all that remained was the literary style. See also

“Prejudiced statements against Northeasterners, I have heard and seen, even from opinion-makers. Paulo Francis once, on the Jornal do Globo, even said that Northeasterners were subhuman,” Mandarin writes. “But I kept on watching him, after all he was well-informed. When he said crazy things like that, I just laughed.”

O procurador Paulo Gustavo Guedes Fontes, que assinou a Ação Civil Pública contra Mainardi, argumentava que o jornalista ofendeu a população de Sergipe na coluna veiculada na edição da revista Veja de 19 de janeiro de 2005. No texto ele falava do então presidente da Petrobras José Eduardo Dutra. “Dutra não tem passado empresarial. Fez carreira como sindicalista da CUT e senador do PT pelo estado de Sergipe. Não sei o que é pior”.

Prosecutor Guedes Fontes, who filed the public-interest lawsuit against Mainardi, argued that the journalist offended the people of Sergipe in a column published on 19 January 2005. In the article he spoke of then-Petrobras president Eduardo Dutra. “Dutra does not have business experience. He is a unionist from CUT and a PT senator from Sergipe. I am not sure which is worse.”

I suppose you could charitably read that as Mainardi ripping on the man’s party affiliation rather than his regional identity. As J.J. Rendón teaches, semantic ambiguity is of the essence in this style of pseudocommunication.

As menções desairosas a Sergipe e aos sergipanos não pararam por aí, segundo o procurador. No programa Manhattan Connection, veiculado pelo GNT em 9 de março de 2005, onde se comentava sobre o presidente da República, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, o jornalista fez a seguinte observação: “Ele não é pragmático. Ele é oportunista. O episódio do Pará agora é muito claro. Quer dizer, uma semana ele concede a exploração de madeira, na semana seguinte, ele cria a reserva florestal grande como Amazonas, Sergipe, sei lá eu… por essas bandas de onde eles vêm. Isso é oportunismo”.

The disdainful references to Sergipe and its residents did not stop there, said the prosecutor. On Manhattan Connection, aired by GNT on March 9, 2005, Mainardi was commenting about President Silva and made the following observation: “He is not pragmatic. He is an opportunist. The Pará incident makes that clear. I mean, one week he permits the cutting of lumber and the next week he creates a forest as big as Amazonas, Sergipe, I don’t know … one of those places. This is opportunism.”

Diz o procurador que, na semana seguinte o jornalista ofendeu a população de Cuiabá: “Seu principal artista é o comediante Liu Arruda. Além de protagonizar a memorável campanha publicitária do Supermercado Trento, Liu Arruda também se tornou conhecido por interpretar personagens como Creonice e Comadre Nhara (…) Não gosto de me vangloriar. Creio, porém, que fui a notícia mais excitante de Cuiabá nos últimos 20 anos”. Em outra ocasião Mainardi afirmou que pagaria qualquer coisa para não ter de colocar os pés em Cuiabá.

The prosecutor said that the following week the journalist [ripped on] people from Cuiabá: “Their main entertainment figure is the comedian Liu Arruda. Besides that famous ad campaign for Trento supermarkets, he is know for such characters as Creonice and Comadre Nhara … I do not like to brag, but I think that I was the biggest news story in Cuiabá in the last 20 years.” On another occasion Mainardi said he would pay any price never to have to set foot in Cuiabá.

My favorite is the running skit on Globo’s Casseta e Planeta, “The cafofo [home sweet home.] of Osama [‘I Bomb-a’ bin Laden].” Playing on rumors that Islamic terrorists operate out of Brazil, the skit imagines Osama married to a nagging harpy of washerwoman and living in a Rio favela.

The bearded prophet of apocalyptic nonsense — and why is this guy still alive after all these years, anyway? What are we actually getting for our half trillion bucks a year in GPS-equipped spies and robotic stealth weapons? — is apt to be interrupted while filming his latest propaganda video with screaming demands to “take out the trash and get a job, you bum!”

That just cracks me the hell up.

A defesa de Mainardi contestou a ação. Alegou a ilegitimidade ativa do Ministério Público por entender que a ação não se enquadra na categoria de interesses difusos e coletivos. Argumentou, ainda, que não havia ilicitude nem conotação discriminatória nas afirmações do jornalista. Chamou atenção para o fato de que o jornalista é conhecido por manifestar seu pensamento de forma ácida, contundente, utilizando, por vezes, dos recursos da ironia e da jocosidade para fazer suas críticas, o que constitui uma garantia constitucional.

Mainardi’s defense team contested the suit. They said it was illegitimate because the action did not address diffuse or collective interests.

In other words, not a legitimate class-action demonstrating a concrete, what do they call it, tort.

They said there was nothing illicit or discriminatory in what the journalist said. They called attention to the fact that Mainardi is know for manifesting his thoughts in a caustic, blunt manner, sometimes using irony and a jocose mode of expression to make his criticisms, which is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Absolutely.

It’s when the guy lies his ass off, and spreads unfounded, gabbling accusatory rumors, that he gets into legitimate trouble.

O juiz reconhece que conquanto possa ter havido, em um trecho ou outro, manifestações preconceituosas, desrespeitosas até, nada disso causou qualquer dano moral aos sergipanos, nordestinos ou cuiabanos.

The judge recognized that while there may have been some prejudice expresses, none of it caused moral damages to Sergipeans, Northeasterners or Cuiabanos.

Rio de Janeiro’s Riotur, the state tourism agency, as you might recall, sued The Simpsons over an episode in which (1) escolas de samba are dancing academies run by sleepy-eyed Argentine pimps who teach the tango and lambada, (2) Homer — who is seen reading a guidebook called How to Loot Brazil on the calçadão while frightening people with his thong bathing suit — gets kidnapped by a gypsy cab driver, (3) monkeys attack people on the street, and (4) the cops are frighteningly crooked.

I have seen the monkeys of Rio de Janeiro. They are squirrel-sized, ring-tailed and shy and stick to the forest. And as Jackson do Pandeiro notes, “samba não é rhumba.” (Nor, as Larry Rohter wants you to believe, is candomblé the same thing as voudon.) But some of the rest of that is not entirely off the mark. “Torn from the headlines,” as it were.

“De minha parte, enquanto me agradar, continuarei assistindo ao Manhattan Connection e lendo as crônicas do Sr. Diogo Mainardi e, sempre que me for dado, assegurar que ele possa dizer o que pensa. É o que importa. Aproveito e convido-o, se ainda não o fez, para visitar Sergipe. Não se arrependerá”, conclui Mandarino.

“For my part, as long as I still get a kick out of them, I will continue to watch the show and read Mainardi’s columns, and hold that he can say whatever he thinks. That’s what matters. And I take the opportunity to invite him to come to Sergipe. He won’t regret it.”

Sergipe is an astonishingly lovely place.

It has death squads, yes. See Brazil: “Northeastern Death Squads Share Modus Operandi”

But they probably would not bother Mainardi as long as he wore his Guess jeans and carried his iPhone. That would make him a pessoa de bem. Unless he made some deal with the devil that he tried to welsh on. (My grandfather was Welsh, so I naturally object to the use of our leek-eating heritage as synonym for weaseling out of promises!)

In his ruling, the judge writes at some length on racist attitudes in Veja magazine and the Brazilian media in general, over the entire march of history, which I also found instructive.

Esse tipo de visão deformada jamais se afasta dos nordestinos na visão preconceituosa de setores da mídia. A imprensa, sempre que algum político do Nordeste não se comporta com o decoro indispensável, busca atribuir a essa circunstância o fato de ser nordestino, daí porque os denomina de “coronéis”. Entretanto, sem entrar no mérito, se a alternância foi positiva ou não, nas últimas eleições, em Sergipe e na Bahia, houve mudança de comando político. A Revista Veja, numa reportagem extremamente infeliz, ridícula, preconceituosa, identificou os governantes eleitos como os novos coronéis.

This type of distorted view will never never cease to plague Northeasterners in the prejudiced view of some sectors of the media. The press, whenever a Northeastern politician is not behaving impeccably, tries to attribute this fact to his being Northeastern, which is why they call them “colonels.” Nevertheless, without getting into the merits of that characterization, there was, for good or ill, a change in political power in the last elections in Sergipe and Bahia.

The Carlists out. The PT and the PSB in.

Veja magazine, in an extremely unfortunate, absurd, biased report, identified the elected governments as “The New Colonels.”

Parece não ter jeito. Quando os governantes saem das lideranças tradicionais, são os velhos coronéis. Quando saem de novas lideranças, são novos coronéis. Há sempre um preconceito, há sempre um comentário pejorativo. Veja-se o exemplo de Pernambuco. Miguel Arraes, em 1962, rompeu com as velhas oligarquias, derrotou o pessoal ligado ao que tinha como mais atrasado – os usineiros – entretanto, quando o peso da idade caiu sobre os seus ombros, recebeu a pecha de velho coronel.

There seems to be no way around it. When governments come from traditional leadership classes, they are the “old colonels.” When they come from new leadership classes, they are the “new colonels.” There is always prejudice, always the perjorative comment. Take the example of Pernambuco. Miguel Arraes, in 1962, broke with the old oligarchy, defeated the forces he identified as the most retrograde — the sugar-mill owners — and yet as the burden of old age descended upon his shoulders, wound up tagged as an “old colonel.”

A pior de todas as manifestações preconceituosas eu li, se não me falha a memória, na Folha de São Paulo. Tenho uma certa lembrança do nome da jornalista, mas não irei nominá-la, porque não quero ser leviano. Mas eu li, dessa jornalista, por ocasião da morte da Sra. Elma Farias, um artigo elogioso à figura da mulher, da esposa solidária, que tudo suportou ao lado de PC Farias, um homem execrado pela opinião pública. O artigo era muito bonito, emotivo até, não fosse o final que concluía mais ou menos assim: “Não dá para entender porquê uma mulher se apaixona por homem baixo, careca, barrigudo, feio, corrupto e nordestino” .

The worst of the expression of prejudice I read, if memory serves, was in the Folha de S. Paulo. I recall the name of the journalist, but I am not sure, so I won’t mention it. He wrote, when PC Farias’ wife died, a complimentary account of a woman who stuck by her husband, a man execrated by public opinion. it would have been a lovely article, moving even, had it not concluded more or less like this: “It is hard to understand how a woman could fall in love with a man who is short, bald, fat, ugly, corrupt and from the Northeast.”

Os preconceitos existem até de forma menos danosa. Muitas vezes, o preconceituoso é vítima do seu próprio preconceito. Certa feita, comentando com um colega Juiz, acerca do livro “Lanterna na Popa”, de Roberto Campos, ouvi dele que jamais leria qualquer coisa do autor. Disse-lhe à época: “Pior para você. Roberto Campos é um dos maiores pensadores da economia no Brasil. Você está deixando de aprender muita coisa”. Naturalmente que se tratava de um preconceito incutido pela esquerda nervosa da época da ditadura militar, quando surgiu a versão de que Roberto Campos – Bob Fields – por ser liberal em matéria econômica, defendia os interesses do imperialismo americano.

There are even more harmful forms of prejudice to be cited. Often, the prejudiced person is the victim of his own prejudice. One, commenting on the book “Lantern at the Bow,” by Roberto Campos, I hear him say he refused to read anything by that author. I said to him at the time: “Too bad for you. Campos is one of the best economic thinkers in Brazil. You are missing out on learning a lot.” Naturally this was a prejudice instilled by the nervous left during the dictatorship, when the rumor went around that Roberto Campos — “Bob Fields” — because he was an econonic liberal, was defending the interests of American imperialism.

Seems a bit like alhos com bugalhos, that point. Apples and oranges.

Saí, aparentemente, do objeto da ação, para ilustrar, com exemplos, alguns históricos, outros vivenciados pessoalmente, numa tentativa de demonstrar a razoabilidade de toda a discussão, o sentido da demanda, a sensibilidade do Procurador da República Paulo Guedes em trazer ao debate, um tema da maior importância para os brasileiros vítimas de preconceito.

I have digressed outside the scope of this lawsuit to illustrate, with examples, some historical, some personal, in an attempt to demonstrate the reasonableness of this debate, the sense of urgency, the sensitivity of the federal prosecutor in bringing us this debate, which is of the highest importance to Brazilians who have been victims of prejudice.

Dessa forma, se, por um lado, identifico uma ponta de preconceito do requerido em algumas das suas manifestações, identifico também, por outro, que o seu estilo literário é extremamente ácido, inteligente e assim o faz basicamente quando comenta sobre os políticos, especialmente os do PT, os que integram o atual governo e quando comenta a postura de colegas seus que aplaudem o governo. Há uma tênue linha entre uma postura e outra.

But if, on one hand, I do identify a hint of prejudice by the defendant in some of his opinions, I also perceive, on the other, that his literary style is extremely acid, intelligent, and so he proceeds when he comments on politicians, especially those of the PT, those in the current government, and the position taken by fellow journalists who applaud the government. There is a thin line between one and the other.

Regularly reporting nonexistent facts, no matter how good your grammar is or the sprezzatura you command, can hardly be called a sign of intelligence.

Confesso até que aprecio os artigos do Sr. Diogo Mainardi. Ele tem o mérito de não integrar o grupo de jornalistas sempre deslumbrados com o governo do momento. Ele não compõe a “unanimidade burra” a que se referia Nelson Rodrigues. Isso não significa dizer que concorde com tudo o que ele escreve e que, por conta disso, estaria julgando o pedido improcedente. Assim o faço porque entendo que, conquanto possa ter havido, em um trecho ou outro, manifestações preconceituosas, desrespeitosas até, nada disso causou qualquer dano moral aos sergipanos, nordestinos ou cuiabanos. Vejamos.

I confess that I even like Mainardi’s articles. He has the merit of not being a part of that group of journalists that the government is always spotlighting. He is not part of the “idiotic unanimity” to which Nelson [“woman love to be beaten”] Rodrigues used to refer to. That does not mean I agree with everything he writes. If I did, I would not have accepted the case in the first place. I accepted it because I understand that there may have been manifestations of prejudice, even disrespect, in some passages, but I find that none of this caused “moral damage” to the citizens of Sergipe, the Northeast, or the good folks from Cuibabá.

Quando o escritor afirmou, referindo-se ao Presidente Lula, no programa “Manhattan Connection que “Ele não é pragmático, ele é oportunista. O episódio do Pará agora é muito claro. Quer dizer, uma semana ele concede a exploração de madeira, na semana seguinte ele cria uma reserva florestal grande como Alagoas, Sergipe, sei lá eu…por essas bandas de onde eles vêm. Isso é oportunismo”, evidentemente que a expressão “por essas bandas de onde eles vêm” pode ter uma conotação pejorativa, preconceituosa, embora a expressão seja muito comum na literatura e na linguagem coloquial. Mas não se trata, evidentemente, de um termo capaz de causar dano moral a nenhuma comunidade, muito menos à comunidade nordestina.

When the writer affirms, with respect to President da Silva, on Manhattan Connection, that “he is not pragamatic, he is opportunist. The Pará episode makes that clear. That is, one day they open up logging, the next week they create a forest reseve as big as Alagoas, Sergipe, whatever … one of those places those people come from. This is opportunism,” it is obvious that that “one of those places those people come from” has a perjorative, biased connotation, although the expression is common in literature and colloquial usage.

Living in New York for over a decade and then watching Manhattan Connection’s depiction of life in the Big Apple is a bit like waking up one morning, looking into a mirror, and finding a giant cockroach looking back at you.

It’s a startling Manhattan disconnection. They might as well be describing Rangoon for all it resembles my own daily commutes over the last decade on the G, L, 1-2-3-9, A-C, F, and other subterranean urban transportation routes.

See also

De outro lado, quando o jornalista afirmou que “Dutra não tem passado empresarial. Fez carreira como sindicalista da CUT e senador do PT pelo estado de Sergipe. Não sei o que é pior(…)”, ele não quis ofender o estado de Sergipe, tampouco os sergipanos. A sua ofensa foi dirigida tão somente ao então Senador Eduardo Dutra e ao Partido dos Trabalhadores. É razoável aceitar a explicação de que a expressão estado de Sergipe foi um mero complemento da circunstância fática do Sr. Eduardo Dutra ter sido Senador pelo estado de Sergipe. Nada mais. A ofensa foi ao PT, frise-se mais uma vez.

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É certo que o jornalista, ao comentar, na revista Veja, sobre esta ação, pode ter sido irônico, ao mencionar o pujante estado de Sergipe. Mas isso é problema dele. Aí, a vítima do preconceito, se houver, será somente ele, porque de fato, Sergipe é um estado pujante. A sua pujança evidencia-se pelo senso de organização e pela altivez do seu povo. Já tive oportunidade de dizer e repito.

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Sergipe é um exemplo, para o país, de civilidade política, posto que os poderes funcionam de forma independente e existe alternância. Na condição de magistrado, jamais tive dificuldade de fazer cumprir uma decisão judicial frente às autoridades locais. Isso é o reflexo de uma sociedade civilizada.

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Nada disso é recente. Lendo, certa feita, sobre a História do Poder Judiciário estadual em Sergipe, verifiquei que, desde a sua criação, houve uma cultura de respeito do Poder Executivo – sempre historicamente o mais desobediente, o mais autoritário em face dos demais – com relação ao Poder Judiciário.

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Quando menciono acima que o jornalista Diogo Mainardi pode ter sido irônico é porque acredito verdadeiramente que é uma mera possibilidade. Pode ter sido e pode não ter sido. Afirmo porque, em outro trecho, também comentando sobre esta ação, o requerido diz que não entende bem da geografia nordestina. O fato de tratar-se o escritor de uma pessoa altamente intelectualizada, torna-se difícil acreditar numa afirmativa dessa. Tenho certeza, no entanto, que está sendo sincero.

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Certa feita, viajando pelo sul da Espanha, em companhia de colegas magistrados e membros do Ministério Público, diante do calor infernal que fazia à época, ouvi, de um Promotor de Justiça, a seguinte “pérola”: “Para você este calor não diz nada, afinal vivendo no sertão brabo de Salvador, já deve estar acostumado!”. Eu lhe respondi: “De fato, Salvador é uma cidade de clima quente, mas não fica no sertão. Você precisa estudar mais geografia. Salvador fica no litoral. É uma península situada bem ao leste do país, entre o Oceano Atlântico e a Baia de Todos os Santos”. Confesso que me arrependi pela extensão da fala. Pensei comigo mesmo. Será que, depois de tanto tempo, ele ainda lembra o que vem a ser uma península?!

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