|José Simão - "In the country of the easy joke"|
When I moved here for the second time, more than five years ago, we started received the Folha de São Paulo, the largest circulating daily in Brazil. In general I would flip through the first section (world) but mostly skipped it because I got most international news from US newspapers, read the business section, get shocked by metro life in the local section, peruse sports and then breeze through Illustrada (Arts & Entertainment, I suppose). I would never stop to read a daily column by José Simão which is always filled with exclamation points and inside (Brazilian) jokes about politics or sports or daily events. I couldn't understand the jokes and I really thought the guy was borderline nuts.
José Simão is now my favorite Brazilian columnist. By far. The BH has a preference for a man named Helio, but he's far too serious. And correct, by the way. Helio, not the BH. Anyway. I won't be able to show well most of why I love José Simão because of course he writes in Portuguese, the jokes are about Brazil and heck, it's taken me five years of living here to understand roughly 70% of his jokes. Okay, 50% if I have to be honest. But let me share what I can.
He always starts his columns with "BUEMBA! BUEMBA! Macaco Simão Urgente!" Buemba must be jungle drums because a macaco simão is a Simian Monkey, and of course a play on his last name. And he always ends his column with "Nóis sofre, mas nóis goza! Que eu vou pingar o meu colírio alucinógeno!" which I translate as "We suffer but we enjoy it. I am going to go take my hallucinogenic medicine." I can't help more with this but that's where it is.
He also ends many of his paragraphs with Rarará which is "ha ha ha" in English (the "r" in Portuguese is pronounced as an "h"). There is something about this Rarará that makes me laugh every time.
Here's a column of his from 22 November 2013 where he spends 2 paragraphs making fun of the huge Mensalão corruption scandal. What made me spit out my coffee were his comments on house arrest for the bad guys. He says he too would like house arrest as long as it was in Maluf's house, where everyone is rich and no one gets sent to prison. Maluf is one of the most corrupt politicians ever to "grace" São Paulo streets, yet lives out his later years in complete freedom and huge wealth.
Then he goes on to talk about the São Paulo vs Ponte Preta soccer game where SP lost to Ponte Preta. Apparently Ponte Preta's nickname is the Macaca, or female monkey, and Bambi is the nickname of São Paulo. Now if I read the title without knowing Brazilian slang, I would have thought that a monkey had eaten a deer. But that is not exactly right. At all. You don't want to know what the title of the whole thing means but needless to say, it is more than a little racy.
If you are one for political correctness, this is not going to be the columnist for you. And yes, I do think he goes over the line more than once in a while. Fortunately for his lawyer bill (incidentally he was a law student at USP before dropping out), he attacks everyone and anyone so it's hard to say you are singled out.
One of my favorite things about being fluent in Portuguese: understanding José Simão. Oh, you can run him through google translate if you'd like but I'm guessing that's not going to get you anywhere...