Friday, September 20, 2013

Everything ends in pizza - São Paulo

Yesterday morning I sat down to read the Folha de São Paulo at my local bakery. Folha, as most of you know, is the daily newspaper that I love to ummm, tweak. If you want to know why I am biased against it, you'll have to look back at a little editorial they ran a few years back about how the city being largely without internet for three days was a "Technological 9/11". One might see how an American would not find humor in that image since internet failure vs. people throwing themselves out of buildings is really not the same level of distress.

But I digress. I opened up the paper and there was a huge photo on the front with headlines about the Mensalão scandal. Again, I would be out of my league to try to give the details of the scandal, but the general idea is that some politicians who were very corrupt were convicted as being very corrupt and sentenced to prison. Then the supreme court re-looked at some of the charges, and the last judge who waffled around for a few days (unlike the US, apparently judges can come back with their decisions at separate times) broke the tie with a vote for "yes", let's re-look at these charges and maybe some of these bad guys won't have to go to prison. They can spend a few years under house arrest. Judgement on this is not expected until early next year.

This is a big deal. This is not Dilma saying no, I won't break bread with you, Mr. Obama, because you read my e-mail. This is justice at its worst. And yes it happens in the US too. I is an emotional and disastrous result of a long and seemingly certain road to bringing bad politicians to justice for corruption. Now they get to stay in "home prison" and probably eat pizza.

Speaking of pizza, let me look at that first photo again. It is a protester chucking pizza at the supreme court building. What? Not eggs? Pizza? What a waste. I am laughing about this, and then realize I must be missing something. An email is sent off to the Brazilian husband (who is out of the country): Is there a significance to throwing pizza? Yes, the response is, there is. Turns out there is a wonderful expression in Portuguese that goes like this "Everything ends in pizza." I like it even before I know what it means.

Where did it come from? According to my online sources (of middling to high confidence level), the phrase came from a newspaper article about a political dispute in the Palmeiras Football Club in the 1960s. No, I don't know if Folha was responsible. Though I'd like to find out.

Look, I digressed again. Wow, I am going to get in trouble for defamation one day. Anyway, there was huge fight in the Palmeiras club with lots of accusations flying from both sides. While the reporter was there watching the fight, the two sides finally made their peace. And to celebrate the peace, they went to a pizzeria to celebrate. The next day, the newspaper published an article with the title "Briga no Palmeiras termina em pizza. ("Fight in Palmeiras ends in pizza" )

Over time the expression began to be used for political scandals that build into huge fights...and then work out in the end to be just fine for all parties involved. So the protester was saying "hey nice for you politicians, it has again all ended in pizza all around." No one pays for their corruption.

Apparently the expression has even changed from an earlier version of "everything ends in samba." Either way, it is a brilliant image of an unhappy protester. Tudo termina em pizza.


  1. It's really frustrating to see the Mensalao process come this far and now this happens. As much as I try to look at all the positive changes that have happened (and continue to happen) in Brazil, it's disheartening to see that some real negatives are not likely to change (in my lifetime, at least).

    As for Folha's editorial, if a simple (albeit unfortunate) reference like that rubs you the wrong way, how do you feel when so many more innocent dead Afghanis and Iraqis are referred to as "collateral damage"? Can you tell I'm opposed to the "War on Terror"? Not to mention companies like these:

    1. We all have our biases and touchy subjects. I am rather horrified by that "commemoration" remark at whatever Trails. I will try very hard to tamp down my disappointment with an objective news source (I am NOT crossing my fingers) that would publish something so out of balance with reality. I can forgive them four years later. Maybe.

      Collateral damage is a disgusting euphemism. It's a military term and probably should not be spending its time being bandied about by news sources. The only reason it is not called murder is that the person is killed as a result of military action. It's not right. There are more people affected by the so-called war on terror (wait, didn't Dubya say mission accomplished? Aren't we done?) than Afganis and Iraqis--not just the dead, but those wounded mentally, emotionally and physically.

    2. I for one will stop putting up defences for Folha lest you think I work for them. I did work for their sister company UOL many years ago but that's as close as it gets.

  2. If you get a traffic ticket, you can appeal against it. Why wouldn't the same right be granted in case of a major offense? Besides that, it would be unfair to change the rules after the judgement has started, as some justices tried to do.