Send in the Ambush-Interview Clowns: The Commedia Dell’Arte of Public Debate (NMM(-TV)SNB(B)CNN(P)BS)

Two things only the people anxiously desire: / Bread and circuses. –Juvenal, Satires, No. 10, l. 80-1.

Mouse and Mandoki: Trash TV & Alt.Cinema in Mexico & Brazil (Daily Motion)

Imagine if U.S. presidential candidates, instead of debating one another, all sent designated circus freaks to debate the public controversies of the day in their place. This is basically the approach to public discourse taken by the wildly popular Ratinho show, an excerpt from which I was wanting to show you. Also, a snippet from an Astillero.TV (Mexico) interview with Luis Mandoki, whose “Fraud: Mexico 2006” will reportedly screen in the United States early next year. How do these two go together? I can’t think of a gimmick to make them go together at the moment. I just subtitle snippets I am interesting in talking about in the order received. Mass-media versus alt.media south of the Rio Grande?

On Ratinho, see

On Mandoki, see

Actually, now that I think of it, perhaps a useful connection between Ratinho and Calderón could be made by examining the role of Televisa’s Brozo the Ambush-Interview Clown in mustering support for the Calderón candidacy. See

The Ratinho episode shown here — whoever posted it to YouTube did not provide information on its air date — illustrates a common feature of Brazilian trash TV (and Globo journalism as well): Controversy for controversy’s sake.

Ratinho, introducing INRI Christ, insists on this point, chanting it like a mantra: “He’s controversial! Here comes a man who is very controversial! Controversy follows him wherever he goes!

Likewise for Father Quevedo, whose shtick is debunking the sleight of hand used by “faith healing” charlatans, who is equated with INRI Christ in terms of how controversial he is.

Wikipedia on Padre Quevedo:

Oscar González Quevedo, conhecido como Padre Quevedo, (Madrid, 15 de dezembro de 1930) é um padre jesuíta, devoto de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe e parapsicólogo, radicado no Brasil desde a década de 1950. É um católico moderado e dedica-se a combater superstições e crendices, o faz desde o seminário, utilizando-se da parapsicologia. Fundador do Centro Latino-Americano de Parapsicologia (CLAP), está periodicamente na mídia, especialmente em programas de auditório, onde costuma travar debates acalorados com praticantes de religiões mediúnicas, a exemplo do espiritismo e das religiões afro-brasileiras. Padre Quevedo é também teólogo defensor da doutrina católica e por isso muitas pessoas por preconceito não o considerariam um cientista apesar de sua imparcialidade.

Known as Father Quevedo (b. Madrid, December 15, 1930), he is a Jesuit priest, a devotee of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a parapsychologist based in Brazil since the 1950s. He is a moderate Catholic dedicated to combating a number of superstitions and folk beliefs, which he does from the seminary, using parapsychology. A founder of the Latin American Parapsychology Center (CLAP), he appears in the media from time to time, especially on “auditorium” shows [like Ratinho’s], where he frequently engages in heated debates with religious mediums, such as practicioners of spiritism and Afro-Brazilian religions. Quevedo is also a theologian who defends Catholic doctrine, and for this reason many persons, out of prejudice, do not consider him a scientist despite his impartiality.

From the Desciclopedia, a Wikipedia parody using the WikiMedia software:

Júlio César Ananias Quevedo nasceu em um sitio maligno na Espanha, em uma data desconhecida do século XIX.

Quevedo was born in a some nasty little spot in Spain on an unknown date in the 19th century.

Desde pequeno já mostrou que era um garotinho diferente. Padre Queiroz Vedoin nasceu envolvido por uma massa verde, com letreiros de neon “Eu sou o escolhido!’. Aos 13 anos de idade, ele ganhou um fiat 147. Mal saberiam seus pais que isso mudaria sua vida pra sempre. Ao convidar Dercy Gonçalves para dar um passeio pela pracinha da cidade, ele levou um fora historico, e prometeu seguir e desmascarar seres como Dercy, Hebe Camargo, Thomaz Green Morton, Mister M, David Cooperfield, Bill Gates, Cid Moreira, Tati Quebra Barraco, Karl Marx, Bozo, Zé Arigó

Already as a child he demonstrated that he was a bit different. Father [recondite satirical reference] was born enveloped in green goo, with flashing neon lights reading “I am the chosen one!” At 13, he got his first Fiat 147. Little did his parents know this would change his life forever. Upon inviting [centenarian Brazilian actress] Dercy Gonçalves to take a stroll through the town square, he received a historic refusal, and set out to debunk the likes of Dercy, Hebe Camargo, Thomaz Green Morton, Mister M, David Copperfield, Cid Moreira, Tati the Homewrecker, Karl Marx, Zé Arigó …

Hebe Camargo is a sort of Brazilian Oprah, the Malufist muse of the Cansei astroturf movement, last seen here interviewing Mônica Veloso:

Cid Moreira is a sort of Brazilian Walter Cronkite — only not really. The long-time anchor of the Jornal Nacional on Globo was last seen in these virtual pages reading out Leonel Brizola’s acid right of reply to the Silver Venus with the look of a man suffering a proctological examination:

Antes de ser padre, o jovem Quevedo exerceu a medicina, ficando conhecido como “El Proctologista de las Asturias”, tendo o dedo mais famoso de toda a Espanha; ele era o terror dos camponêses espanhois, ele dizia ” Non ten ninguna prostata em toda la España capaz de doblar mi digito”. Sendo severamente perseguido pelo governo e finalmente expulso da Espanha, Quevedo em tom desafiador declarou pela primeira vez a não existência de algo: “El gobierno de la España non ecziste!” e partiu para nunca mais voltar.

Before becoming a priest, young Quevedo practiced medicine, coming to be known as “The Proctologist of the Asturias,” and wielding the most famous index finger in all of Spain. The terror of the Spanish peasantry, he use to say “There is no prostate gland in all of Spain capable of bending my finger!” Severely persecuted by the Spanish government, and finally expelled from his native land, Quevedo, in a defiant tone, declared for the first time the nonexistence of something: “The government of Spain does not exzist!” Whereupon he took his leave, never to return.

Demonstración del poder de la parapsicologia psicodélica y manifestación del ectoplasma
Quevedo

Atualmente, Padre Quevedo não acredita em mais nada! Ele duvida de sua própria existencia. Assim como duvida da existência de todo o mundo e universo (42) da qual ele constantemente afirma ser “Coisa do Psiqué”. E mesmo que certos fatos desacreditados por ele, venham, por ventura a existir ele destroi, com seus olhos de raio Laser, comprovando sua frase: “Isso non ecziste!”. A única coisa que ele pareceu acreditar até hoje, foi a existência da Igreja Universal, da qual ele é pastor e se sustenta, desde que sua fama na televisão cessou.

Currently, Father Quevedo no longer believes in anything! He doubts that he himself exists. Likewise, he doubts the existence of the world and the universe as a whole, of which he is constantly saying, “it’s one of those tricks by so-called psychics!” And even when certain facts debunked by him somehow turn out to be true, he destroys them with his laser-beam eyes, proving what he always says [in that funny accent of his]: “This does not exzist!” The only thing he seems to have ever believed in, to date, was the existence of the Universal Church, in which he is a minister and which supports him, every since his fifteen-minutes of fame on the boob tube expired.

Quevedo’s frequent appearances on Globo’s Fántastico — a prime-time Sunday “news magazine” that consistently sets a global standard for mind-numbing crass stupidity — might help explain this astonishing Videodrome moment regarding the psychology of antisocial behavior:

When I first started hanging out in Brazil, I kept hearing from local critics that Brazilian TV, and Brazilian TV journalism, were among the very worst in the world.

Surely they exaggerate, I thought.

I started watching.

They were not exaggerating.


Above: Felipe Calderón of PAN receives crucial support from Brozo the Televisa ambush interview clown. Note Calderón’s trademark “Mussolini fist pump” gesture. Source: YouTube. The Brozo videoscandals — part of a bid to impeach and disqualify Calderón’s main political rival — were bogus in their vast majority.

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