The current spat between France and Brazil just took a turn for the weird.
French President Emmanuel Macron is a wonkish guy who married one of his teachers. She is quite older than he is. Okay, a tad odd but actually no big deal. I mean, who cares, right? But apparently it has become ammo in the international argument with Brazil over environmental policy.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is President Trump on steroids. Yes, he is more Trump than Trump, and if you read his regular statements as I do, you’ll see that description is almost an understatement. I kinda like the guy.
I’ve been to France many times over the years, have relatives there. It’s a fine place with friendly people and an amazing culture. You’re now saying, bull**it. No, really. I know the stereotypes and found them largely inaccurate, especially in the north of France where Americans are very popular. Never been to Brazil. But since its national heritage includes one of my favorite types of music, bossa nova, I have some knowledge of the culture. And as I said, their president is cool in an over the top sort of way.
But one thing Latins are touchy about is national pride. One thing the French elite do almost as a matter of course is patronize. So when France offered to help Brazil fight wildfires raging in the Amazon but then added it was an “international crisis,” implying Brazil couldn’t handle the problem, Brazilian hackles were raised.
Bolsonaro called the French ploy “reminiscent of the colonial mindset” and then his supporters unfavorably compared the looks of the French first lady to the Brazilian first lady via Facebook. Bolsonaro “liked” the meme. Bizarre retort in a diplomatic to and fro? It gets worse.
During the last weekend Brazilian tourism ambassador, Bolsonaro ally, and former MMA star Renzo Gracie enters the scene and says on a Twitter video he’s going to choke Macron and further insults the French first lady by comparing her to a flying monster. Among the stranger lines from Gracie are calling Macron “a clown,” saying the Frenchman has a “chicken neck,” threatening to throttle said neck, saying Macron is a “female chicken” (the Brazilian’s poultry fixation is more than a bit disturbing), that “his manhood is questionable,” and added “I’ve met gays more manly than this imbecile.”
He goes on asking, regarding the French first lady, “Would you do her?” Gracie finishes off with incoherent locker room banter, “The fact that he is sleeping with the dragon does not make him a fire expert. She’s ugly, my brother.”
At last report Brigitte Macron was not seen swooping about the Eiffel Tower spouting flames, her long barbed tail wagging in the wind. Thus the dragon line is probably a squinch off the mark.
The French have not responded to the trans-species sex claim and perhaps would be better served by demurring on that one.
Just another chapter in modern Latin politics. It’s the kind of thing that, during my own adolescence, turned me into an anglophile. Always nice, even forty years later, to have my cultural biases confirmed.