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Lobão | “A Rock & Roller Turned Reactionary”


Source:  Lobão e o marketing da censura | GGN.

Lobão, the new columnist for Veja magazine, has a hot topic to play with for the next  few days: the “censorship” supposedly imposed by YouTube, Google’s video sharing service, which suspended his account after allegations that the account user had exhibited explicit sex,”which “violates community standards.”

This was enough for Lobão, the newest neocon on the block, to raise an enormous ruckus on his Twitter  account, complaining of  “censorship” which, according to him, targeted him because of an interview with Olavo de Carvalho, a demagogue whom no one on the right or left take seriously.

Olavo de Carvalho, a self-appointed informal  Brazilian ambassador in exile in New England who spends his time tending to a modest flock of like-minded minds of the extreme right and seeking funding from Red State NGOs organized under an article in the tax code, 501(c)(3).  Think of him as a wannabe anti-Chomsky with a vibe reminiscent of William Burroughs.

He once appeared frequently in the opinion pages of the major dailies, but not after he was given the bum’s rush by Zero Hora over a forged Web site set up for a straw man argument. 

There were even those who  said — and were continuously  retweeted by Lobão — that this  censorship is “the beginnings of a Civil Code for the Internet with the support of Dilma.”

The following day, YouTube acknowledged an “error in evaluation” and reactivated Lobão’s account. Personally, I have no reason at all to trust the word of YouTube, not to mention Lobão himself.

Since the Salman Rushdie affair in 1989, I have learned that censorship is the best marketing scheme ever invented for a work or author. In case you are unfamiliar with the case of the Anglo-Indian writer, he was condemned to death by a Muslim leader in Iran for publishing his The Satanic Verses. which allegedly contained blasphemy against the Islamic faith.

The fact is that the writer, subject to this notorious “sentence, conquered the world and supercharged the sales of his book.

Obviously, although the happy ending here was involuntary, it was a source of  annoyance and a blow against freedom of expression.

The fact is, however, is that censorship makes for excellent publicity — whether through the stupidity of the censor or the cleverness of the censored.

That is quite a cynical streak our young pamphleteer reveals.

We may speak of “censorship” on Facebook, which is real. But just between you and I , Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others were never “social networks.” They are corporations which, if they see fit, can suspend any account that offends or angers its owners — and its partners, allies, sponsors and so on..

As is the case with the media in general, the only concern these companies have over censorship is that it stains the facade of “democracy” of which they are so fond.

Returning now to Lobão, some of his fans have reposted the same video — the conversation with  Olavo de Carvalho –- but dressed up as allegedly “censored” material.

… What is curious — or perhaps laughable — in the case of Lobão’s interview with Carvalho is that  at certain moment he says, in all seriousness that “buying a book by Olavo de Carvalho in a bookstore is like operating a drug sales operation. It is something subversive.” In this way he found a way to transform similar pearls into  “subversion” — claiming he had been censored. .

Lobão is quite good at turning controversy into a profitable  business — attacking persons or  ghosts and straw men of his own creation. Readers of Veja must enjoy this. After all, repeating his one-note samba aimed at demonizing the left is something all of Veja’s columnists do. 

The Blog do Miro  — the leading “dirty blog” in my estimation, using simple techniques of exploratory social network analysis — laments the choice of his colleague.

I was somewhat disappointed with the announcement of Lobaõ’s column in Veja. Not that it came as a surprise, given the nonsense he tends to spout lately. I had hoped that this diarrhea of the mouth was just a passing sickness, or a desire for public notoriety, but apparently it is a serious business. Lobão is taking an eraser to his history as a native rock and roller to become a columnist for a reactionary magazine that is divorced from reality. He has taken the first step in the direction of artistic ostracism. 

Lobão’s music helped me to form my musical tastes. I was a kid in the 1980s and grew up singing his hits. I was not a fan, but his songs were always present among the cultural references of the time. Ironically, it was through hime that I had my first contact with Che Guevara, through the lyrics to “Panamericana”.

Later, I admired his stubborn stand against the music industry and fomenting an independent music scene. My favorite song of his was from this phase: “One More Time” from the album Life is Sweet. 

It remains to be seen whether Lobão will mean something to the generation that is just now learning to listen to rock. I will risk a guess, taking Arrisco Almeida as a model. With a precious voice and a reputation as the foremost interpreter of Noel Rosa, he is best known publicly for his service on the jury in that program by Silvio Santos. 

If  Lobão continues down this path, he will be remembered as a partner to Reinaldo Azevedo in a crazed crusade against the Communist menace. …