The culture that is Brazil? (and Nazi Germany)

A video in which Brazil’s culture minister uses parts of a speech by Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s propaganda boss, has sparked outrage.

In the clip posted on the ministry’s Twitter page, Roberto Alvim details an award for “heroic” and “national” art.

Lohengrin by Wagner, Hitler’s favourite composer, plays in the background.

Reacting to the controversy, Mr Alvim said the speech was a “rhetorical coincidence”. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been urged to fire him.

Mr Bolsonaro, a former army captain with a conservative social agenda, has frequently accused Brazil’s artists and cultural productions including schoolbooks and movies of “left-wing bias”. He has not commented.

In the six-minute video detailing the National Arts Awards, Mr Alvim says: “The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and will be national, will be endowed with great capacity for emotional involvement… deeply linked to the urgent aspirations of our people, or else it will be nothing.”

Parts of it are identical to a speech quoted in the book Joseph Goebbels: A Biography, by German historian Peter Longerich, who has written several works on the Holocaust.

Here is the full story.


Hail whoever, hail victory.

Honestly, who cares? He has been fired anyways already. Few people admire totalitarian propagandists, regardless of where they live.

It's as daft as Joe Biden plagiarising Neil Kinnock.

Especially when you think that Kinnock was involved in the deaths of millions due to his unwavering devotion to the idea of racial superiority.

Black lung?

The World that is Brazil

Good point.

You have to fire him for the plagiarism, and because the Jewish community and many others are going to be distraught at the thought that an admirer of Nazis is a senior member of the government. But the sentiments expressed, if paraphrased instead of quoted, are not in themselves especially objectionable. It's OK for a government minister to call for more nationalism in art supported by the nation, or to express his preference for the heroic. It may make for bad art, but nationalism can be good politics. If Germans can separate Wagner from the Nazis, presumably Brazilians can too.

Oddly, the Israelis have a much harder time separating Wagner from the Nazis.

But at least the dismissed minister was correct concerning this observation - “When culture becomes sick, the people become sick, too,” Alvim said in the video.

I love that Soviet era art - ugly women in dowdy clothing driving tractors. It's exciting.

Here's a nice piece in that style right in DC:

Socialist or nationalist realism is a legitimate style of art, but saying "or it will be nothing" is a threat, and Bolsonaro was right to fire him. Good for him - he could have easily let it slide.

I bet it excites you deeply. I really do.

Neo-Classical architecture is probably a hatecrime. I hope there's a law for that.

It's hilarious how the Left's and the Right's roles have changed and now the Left are all the sour, frowning schoolmarms lecturing everybody on what they're not allowed to do. Don't eat meat. Don't smoke tobacco. Don't look at that. Don't touch that. Don't flirt. Don't speak that, don't even think it. Don't drive that. Don't buy that.

The Left is now populated by women and feminine men, so not that surprising.

That's like a lurid, Margaret Atwoodian fantasy about masculine men.

The left is a bunch of violent bullies. They think Antifa crowning themselves
as judge, jury, and executioner is ok. They love chasing unbelievers out of restaurants and pouring water on political opponents.

I wonder, "what will conservative civil disobedience look like?" Virginia?

'Don't quote literal Nazi propaganda word-for-word in your speeches.'

Yeah, stupid leftists.

Come on Tyler!! Just once will you H/T the excellent Thiago when you post these??

And so many comments too from Thiago, in 3 different names.

If only he lived in Brazil. Or had ever been there, even.

Probably just a strong Caplan preference.

According to some biographers, Hitler's favorite composer was Edvard Grieg.

A man also notable for not composing a single opera.

Bayreuth was a major part of the Nazi scheme of uplifting das Volk - certainly those fighting for the Nationalsache.

Would saying that Wagner was Hitler's favorite operatic composer pass muster?

How many men are notable for not composing a single opera?

But how many composers as gifted as Grieg have not composed an opera? Though I must say Beethoven really shouldn't have bothered.

As we all know, no one is allowed to have national pride or art and architecture that exalts a nation and its achievements except those designated as 'being allowed' by leftists. Non-leftist approved art and architecture is instantaneously nazified. Someone didn't get the memo.

Strangely, it appears that this Brasilian disagrees - “The secretary of culture has crossed the line. It is unacceptable. The Brazilian government should urgently remove him from office,” tweeted Rodrigo Maia, lower house speaker of the rightwing Democrats party, who is third in line to the presidency.

I can remember when finding Goebbels unacceptable was something shared by just about everyone.

Times change, it seems. Though more slowly in Brasilia, where it was the right that kicked a Nazi lover out of office.

>Non-leftist approved art and architecture is instantaneously nazified.

Very true.

And naturally, Germany is on the approved list. But Britain is right out.

So approvingly quoting an actual Nazi is not a sign of being one?

He has been fired. The whole thing was ridiculous and it doesn't really have anything to do with nazism. It's more about how uneducated and stupid part of the government there is (it reflects the populace so no surprise there). This is now being exploited by the opposition who is basically as bad as the current government if not worse (Lula had a famous singer as "Minister of Culture" who basically did nothing but praise Fidel). By the way, this kind of position should not even be a thing. It is a useless, wasteful position that accomplishes nothing. So yeah, Brazil has many serious problems. Nazism is not one of them.

1) In first place, Mr. Alvim saaid his staff research made a mistake. He asked them to search about "nationalism and art". Unbeknownst to him, parts of Goebbels' sentence found their way into his speech.
2) Besides firing Mr. Alvim, Brazil's President, Captain Bolsonaro, has called the Minister' speech unfortunate. 3) The Tourism Ministry has launched a wide-ranging investigation to identify and punish the guilty parts. Heads will inevitably roll.
4) Many Brazilian high-ranking officials are Jewish, eg. Brazil's Education Minister Mr. Weintraub.
5) Brazil fought against Nazism and helped the Allies in the liberation of Italy. Brazilian soldiers and American soldiers fought side by side against german Nazism and later againat Soviet totalitarism. Brazilian president Vargas and American president Roosevelt met in Brazil to plan a joint offensive against the Axis:
6) Mr. Olavo de Carvalho, one of Mr. Bolsonaro's top advisors, repudiated Mr. Alvim' speech and said he might be non compos mentis.
7) Brazil famously welcomed refugees from Nazism while the United States sent Jewish refugees (even children!!) back to Hitler's ovens. American companies such as IBM and Coca Cola made money serving Hitler's murdureous machine. All things considered, I do not think we have any right to try to link Brazil to Nazism. Therefore, answering the title question, no, it is not the culture that is Brazil.

* "said his research staff made a mistake."

Here one can see a friendly note Mr. Roosevelt sent Mr. Vargas after their meeting:

Hi Thiago.

Nazis hid in Brazil after the war. No Brazilians fought against the Nazis side by side with anyone.


In late 1944 Brazil sent an expeditionary force of 25,700 to fight alongside Americans in Italy.

OTOH, after purging Communists in 1937, Vargas instituted the "New State" that openly emulated Mussolini-style corporatism and admired his regime. It was the entry of the US into WW II at the end of 1941 when Vargas decided the US was more important and he should side with the allies. Of course by 1944 it was clear the Axis powers were going down hard, so not that hard to get in for the victory at the end.

"According to experts, Brazilian co-operation may have shortened the war in Europe in two years."

It's stuff like this that makes The Thiago Show my favorite show.

The universal revulsion throughout Brasilia at a minister quoting Goebbels does seem part of the culture that is Brasil, actually.

Good for them, one might unreservedly add.

Sure, but the BBC article tries ro link Brazil to Nazism.

Wait a minute. If recollection serves, wasn't Goebbels a German-speaking German? Did Avrim give his talk in German? Or was it in Portuguese, the common language of Brazil? If this be the case, he could hardly be quoting Goebbels, since the two languages are not even remotely the same. This is a perfect example of Pelosian fake news, which has slithered its way southeast to Brazil.

So, this isn't quoting Goebbels? "One is never sure which of two characteristics is more prominent in the American national character and therefore of the greater significance: naivete or a superiority complex. When for example they say things about our region, our surprise at their ignorance is surpassed only by annoyance at their stupid insolence. The less they know about a matter, the more confidently they speak. They really believe that Europeans are eagerly waiting to hear from them and heed their advice. They took our strategic decision not to discuss their shallow culture before the war as a sign of admiration. Their greatest technical accomplishments are refrigerators and radios. They cannot believe that there are cultural values that are the result of centuries of historical development, which cannot simply be bought." - God’s Country by Joseph Goebbels

A man whose contempt for America was flagrant, even in translation for ignorant Americans.

Interesting quote. Thanks.

I never knew how much of clockworkprior’s ideology lined up with Goebbel’s.

Here is more, demonstrating that Goebbels certainly knew how to put those left wingers in their place - "We really have the wrong image of America. Hollywood films are mostly to blame, since they present the life style of the upper ten thousand, which most Americans themselves experience though films. American observers waver between unlimited admiration and deep contempt. Superficial observers admire it, real experts always hold it in contempt. There is certainly much that is at first glance impressive in this new part of the world still in its adolescence. The height of the skyscrapers is, however, no measure of the level of culture. This land that wants to protect intellectual freedom in the ancient cultures of Europe and Asia itself has no permanent theater or opera. A private concern like New York’s Metropolitan Opera survives in peacetime only on German and Italian operas and had to close its doors for financial reasons once the war began.

The U.S.A. has no poets, no painters, no architects or composers of world stature. Whatever culture it has is borrowed from Europe. The land lacks its own language, culture, and civilization. It has borrowed everything, generally debasing it by Americanizing it, never improving it. Americanization is a kind of kitschification that gives every cultural value an American stamp, turning a mature language into slang, the waltz into jazz, a work of literature into a crime story."

Goebbels poisoned his children before killing himself, marking himself as a true loser, unable to understand what makes America truly great.

Lemme guess. Jeremy Corbyn?

I’m glad you’ve come to terms with the fact that clockworkprior aligns with Goebbels.

A fired GMU public affairs employee became a Nazi propagandist follower in such short order. Virginia and their racists, amirite ?

Glad we’ve settled it.

Could Goebbels have been so ignorant as to suppose the radio an American invention?

Sounds like DeGaulle, or countless other Europeans.

A translation of a statement can't, by definition, be a "quote". A quote must be in the same language as the statement or it's not a quote.

So, the very possibility of quoting the Bible is just a delusion then?

No, you could "quote" a passage from the Bible. It would be possible to read that passage from the particular version of the Bible in question. What you couldn't do is quote something that was ostensibly said by a person and reported in the Bible. For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his soul –Mark 8:36 is the quote in one version of the Bible, What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? appears in a different version. Which is the actual quote of what Jesus said? Of course, he didn't speak English at all, neither is accurate, no one knows what he actually may have said in any language.

This is a truly intriguing perspective.

And weird in a way that TC would undoubtedly approve of.

The Ten Commandments cannot be quoted unless one speak Hebrew, it appears. Don't let Roy Moore hear that, he will be heart broken to know he lost his job because he was too stupid to realize he was not actually quoting them.

So, do let those involved with the Oxford Dictionaries know that there is likely a mistaken example in their definition of quotation, though it is certainly possible to quote Goethe in the original (a term you may have never run across, though one trusts the people at the OED are familiar with it).

quotation noun
1 (informal quote) [countable] a group of words or a short piece of writing taken from a book, play, speech, etc. and repeated because it is interesting or useful

The book began with a quotation from Goethe.

a dictionary of quotations

Two short quotations will illustrate my point.

I was in São Paulo during the Biennial about a year ago and was very impressed with quality and range of the art. And a lot of it was ‘national’ in the sense that it was coming out of Brazilian culture, and proudly so. But much like Trumpsters, whose vision of America excludes half of all Americans, I don’t think that vision of Brazilian national identity is what Alvin desires.

Well sure at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art you can see masterpieces by Di Cavalcanti and Malfatti that compare favorably to the Chagalls and Picassos in the collection, but Brazilian art as of late is in something of a slump. Many of the galleries in Inhotim are filled now with third rate USA hacks. As in the USA, a new generation of creative talent is being stifled by hyper-partisan art school conformists. The art will continue to suffer in both countries until original thinkers have room to practice. And don’t kid yourself, you know nothing about Trumpsters.

Here one can see a Brazilian painting representing the Batalha do Avaí, when Brazil defeatedthe invading Paraguayan forces.

I mean, here:

Wow, it is an amazing painting.

Magnífico. Obrigado.

You are welcome.

Peter Adams my a$$!

Hi Thiago!

This is where we link the Gettysburg Cyclorama:

It is indeed magnificent, in a traditional heroic style. But I enjoy Di Cavalcanti more (much more).

Di Cavalcanti is good, too.

Oh I know a lot about Trumpsters. You never know, I may even be one myself!

The refferences to francoism, salazarism and other forms of european fascisms are common in this government.
The ApB has the same motto of 30s brazilian fascists.

It looks like nazism is the line.

"Mr Bolsanaro .... has not commented." Silen e implies consent?

So . . . Bolsonaro is better than Trump, right? I mean, he did fire one of the Nazis.

Honestly what he said sounds like a position state capacity libertarianism would take towards art.

Man these comments are always so toxic. Ya'll are some weird people.

The guy literally quoted the head of Nazi propaganda, word for word.

Can you give the contrarianism a rest for a second and not reflexively rise to his defense?

I don't see much defense of Alvim here. What are you referring to?

The stream of attacks on the left, and how the left are the real Nazis is glaring in a number of comments/threads.

Along with the people condemning the left apparently having zero problem with a minister quoting Goebbels - or not really quoting Goebbels, as the case may be.

Tyler has recently said his comment section is basically a sewer.

Then he posts something that proves it again.

You do have to admire the true weirdness of saying that Goebbels was not really quoted, since the person quoting him was not speaking German.

Brazil has nearly 60,000 murders a year — here’s a map to put that number in perspective

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