Jornal do Brasil, Sunday , 9/10/2006

The city, p. A22, “Rio’s affairs” (Fred Suter)




Rio de Janeiro’s TRE keeps arrested four posters reproducing and illustrating pieces of Machado de Assis’ short story The Devil’s Church, published in 1874, and taken on September 3rd, with no official documens for the arrest. Since then, there’s no deliberation from the court about the case.

          Members of the court’s office denounce the irregularity as a violation of the Constitutions’ 5th article.




O Globo, Tuesday, 9/12/2006

Opinion, p. 7, Luiz Garcia


The Devil on Vieira Souto Av.


          Tired of being beaten, one day the Devil decided to establish his own church. The doctrine was simple: to condemn all virtues and stimulate al sins. It made a hell of a success, to use an adequate adjective. Everybody joined it.

          Nevertheless, as time goes by humanity begun to practice virtues – timidly, at the beginning, but, soon, openly. Astonished, the Demo complained with the Lord, who, from the heights of his long experience, comforted him: “It’s the eternal human contradiction.”

          This, up there, is an abstract of a famous Machado de Assis’ short story, “The Devil’s Church”, published in 1874. It inspired cariocas who stuck in their heads the madness of attempting to induce the community to think with some originality. A few days ago, they performed a, let’s say, Devil’s little church on Vieira Souto Av. Some of the posters they’ve carried made the apology – obviously ironic – of buying and selling votes. Others reproduced parts of Machado de Assis’ story, with the name of author and year of publication. The inspiration was as obvious as the intention.

          One of its organizers latter explained: “What we do are artistic actions that we set up on public space, with no announcement, promotion, or authorship vindication. Incident over a local reality, not rarely these actions face difficulties for its setting.”  

          In the Vieira Souto case, the difficulties were serious. Called by astonished ipanemenses, two TRE (Regional Electoral Court) officers, who introduced themselves as Arimatéia and Alex, dissolved the manifestation and arrested all the posters. Latter, in TRE, the judge Adriana Moutinho confirmed the arresting. When one of the protesters tried to argue that there was no crime on the episode, the judge, literally, asked if he knew with whom he was talking to.

          For the judge and the officers the group was – and may still be: the arrested material was, until yesterday, kept by the TRE – guilty for the apology of the electoral crime of vote buying and selling.

          It would be funny if not serious. Vote buying, and selling, certainly occurs in the Brazilian elections. But persons with responsible functions on the electoral justice should be able to suspect that the practitioners and defenders of this peculiar commerce usually have the knowledge not to do it openly. As well as the prudence to avoid defending it publicly.

          Whoever spends an effort to expose the existence of this shameful commerce, on the streets or in the media, only does it, obviously, to denounce it. When the denunciation is ironic, with a help of an irony master of Brazilian Literature, the civil act tends to be more efficient – as the blade is more efficient to kill than a hammer.

          Possibly, in the judge’s view, this last sentence makes the apology of homicide.





Jornal do Brasil, Sunday, 9/24/2006

The city, p. A22, “Rio’s affairs” (Fred Suter)


Risky culture


After three weeks without a legal justification for the arrest, the Regional Electoral Court still keep ‘kidnapped’ four sandwich-man type posters showing extracts from Machado de Assis’ short novels.

          The court does not inform, justify, or return the posters, thus perpetrating an abusive censorship and a flagrant crime against freedom of expression. The owner of the posters made the effort to enumerate some chapters of the Individual and Collective Rights and Duties on the Federal Constitution, remembering that the expression of intellectual, scientific and communication activities are free, independently from censorship or license. It was worthless.





Jornal do Brasil, Saturday, 11/4/06

The city, p. A18, “Rio’s affairs” (Fred Suter)


On screen


          After the last month’s arrest in Ipanema of sandwich-man type posters showing pieces from Machado de Assis’ stories, is now time for Rui Barbosa to be remembered.

          The TRE officers, who arrested the posters, certainly never read any of the two authors.