10 quotes of Brazilian self-hate

Photo by striatic/Flickr

We, Brazilians have a love/hate relationship with ourselves and our country. Sometimes this is revealed in a bitter comment, but other times the comment is so witty and funny that it is almost irresistible, even to the most chauvinist among us.

1 – O brasileiro é sueco com a mulher dos outros e mineiro com a própria mulher / Brazilians are Swedish with other men’s wives and mineiros with their own wives – Ronaldo Bôscoli (composer and record producer)

Comment: men from the state of Minas Gerais (mineiros) are considered extremely macho, in the worst sense of the word. They are known to repress (sometimes violently) their wives and insist in being the only master of their homes. In other words, they want lots of freedom but offer none. I have no idea where this myth comes from and suspect it is just that, a myth, although from time to time we hear from a certain Movimento Machão Mineiro, and of ugly crimes committed by mineiro husbands against their wives. Is this above the national average? Probably not.

2 – O avião é mais pesado que o ar, tem motor a explosão e foi inventado por um brasileiro. E você ainda quer que eu entre nele? / The airplane is heavier than air, has an explosion engine and was invented by a Brazilian. And you still want me to fly in it?  Vinícius de Moraes (diplomat, poet, composer)

As you probably know, Brazilian (and many foreign academics) consider Alberto Santos-Dumont, and not the Wright Brothers, the inventor of the airplane.

3 – A história do Brasil não é a mesma no Paraguai. / Brazilian history is not the same in Paraguay – Millôr Fernandes (irreverent writer, artist, humorist)

In the worst military conflict ever registered in South America, between 1864 and 1870, Brazil and his allies, Argentina and Uruguay, reduced Paraguay’s population in at least 20% (some sources speak of 90%) and destroyed its economy.

4 – No Brasil não existe filantropia, o que existe é pilantropia. / This one is an untranslatable pun. In Brazil there is no philanthropy, only thiefthropy. Herbert de Souza, also known as Betinho (civil society activist)

Pilantra is an adorable slang meaning crook.

5 – O Brasil é um asilo de lunáticos onde os pacientes assumiram o controle. / Brazil is an insane asylum managed by the patients – Paulo Francis (controversial journalist)

6 – No Brasil, quando o feriado é religioso, até ateu comemora. / In Brazil, when there is a religious holiday, even atheists celebrate.  –  Jô Soares (comic, writer and TV host)

7 – No Brasil o fundo do poço é apenas uma etapa. / In Brazil, the bottom of the well is just an intermediary phase. – Luis Fernando Veríssimo (writer)

8 – O Brasil não é para principiantes. / Brazil is not for beginners. – Tom Jobim (composer)

9 – No Brasil, quem tem ética parece anormal. / In Brazil, the ethical ones seem to be freaks. – Mário Covas (politician, former governor of São Paulo)

10 – Um povo que não sabe nem escovar os dentes não está preparado para votar. / People who cannot even brush their teeth are not prepared to vote. – general João Batista Figueiredo (the last military ruler of the country, in the early eighties)

Another lovely quote by Figueiredo: “I prefer the smell of horses to the smell of the populace”.

Sources: O Melhor do Mau Humor (book by Ruy Castro) and Wikipedia

Guys, do you remember others?


4 thoughts on “10 quotes of Brazilian self-hate”

  1. This is freaking hilarious.
    About the Santos Dumond versus Wright Brothers controversy, the issue is that the Brothers flew a very primitive version of a plane only a few feet off the ground and crashed, plus, they were on a farm in the middle of nowhere without media or any reputable cientific community as witness.
    Santos Dumond flew his more sophisticated airplane for over an hour around Paris, even going around the Eiffel Tower, all in the presence of the media and many members of the international scientic community. 🙂

  2. Ray, I understand there is another difference between the flights by Santos Dumont and the Wrights: correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the brothers needed some sort of external launching device, which is even a bigger deal breaker to me.

  3. Regina,

    You are correct, and I agree, the whole Wright Brothers story sound very suspicious to me and there is plenty of controversy surrounding the subject.


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