(NOTE: Most of the articles linked within are in Portuguese from Brazilian media. The images and video contained may be disturbing.)
Powerful institutions in Brazil are force-feeding that nation’s young on pornographic images, and many angry Brazilians have reached their limit. A headline in the New York Times was as innocuous as possible given the subject: “Brazilian art show sets off dispute that mirrors political battles”. The one in the UK Daily Mail following a subsequent “exhibition” was a bit more difficult to water down: “Fury as a girl, four, is encouraged to touch a naked man in Brazilian art exhibition as politicians call on judges to prosecute the artist”.
As could be expected, neither article was able to tell the full story of the depravity of each production, nor did they fully capture the emerging fury of a Brazilian populace that is tired of seeing the results of an overly sensualized culture and the hypersexualized status quo. The stage for both these events, and others in between them, seemed to be set in place two months ago by a seemingly unrelated yet no less controversial media event, again aimed at kids. Here begins the timeline up to September 29th of this year:
– (August 1, 2017) HBO Brasil generated a backlash by broadcasting “Festa da Salsicha” (the Brazilian version of the all-but-X-rated “Sausage party”) during the afternoon children’s prime time television hours. Christian psychologist Dr. Marisa Lobo and others organized a “Boycott HBO” social media movement. Within the month, HBO stopped broadcasting Festa da Salsicha during that time period and was also fined $2 million Brazilian Reals (around $632,000 USD) for displaying “pornographic content at inappropriate times and not making clear what the content was about” on the company’s channel, web site and social media.
– (September 6, 2017) An article appeared about an LGBT-themed exhibit called “Queermuseu” titled: “Santander promotes pedophilia, pornography and profane art in Porto Alegre” (WARNING: link contains artwork depicting not only nudity but various types of graphic sexual acts). Porto Alegre is the southernmost large city in Brazil, in an area which could be said to be the most “Europeanized,” given the high numbers of residents with ancestry from many other nations outside Portugal, particularly Germany. The project was sponsored by Santander Bank, under the auspices of Brazil’s “Culture Incentive Law” (read: “heavily taxpayer financed”).
– (September 10, 2017) Santander Brazil cancels the Porto Alegre exhibit, issuing an apology “to all those who felt offended by some work that was part of the show”. Dr. Lobo’s church immediately closed their Santander accounts, and on the following day the Brazilian Baptist Convention encouraged any of their other members to do likewise.
– (September 11th, 2017) It was reported that the Queermuseu promoters had sent out promotional material and guides for teachers to schools throughout Porto Alegre (Brazil’s tenth largest city, whose metropolitan population of 4.2 million citizens is roughly equivalent to that of greater Phoenix). It is unclear how many schoolchildren actually toured the exhibit.
– (September 12th, 2017) Estadão, the second most popular newspaper in São Paulo (population: 12 million) and fourth most-read newspaper in Brazil published a fascinating editorial by multi-time Brazilian volleyball Olympian Ana Paula Henkel, in which she said that the Queermuseu art exhibit would not be able to pass the American Miller Test of obscenity, and hoped that friends in her adopted home of California would understand her displeasure with the exhibit.
– (September 13, 2017) Reports begin coming in from elsewhere in Brazil about public art exhibitions involving nudity, from Boa Vista (in the far northwest, in a Brazilian state bordering Venezuela) and Campo Grande (in a state bordering Paraguay).
– (September 29th, 2017) – Despite a ruling by the Federal Public Ministry that the Queermuseu art exhibit doesn’t contain pedophilia (but should include “information or protection measures for children and adolescents with regard to possible depictions of nudity, violence or sex in the works exposed”) and in spite of protests by pro-Queermuseu supporters, Santander refuses to reopen the exhibit. In the meantime, venues in Belo Horizonte (Brazil’s sixth largest city) and Rio de Janeiro (second largest city) express an interest in hosting it.
On the same day, news begins to break about “La Bête” (translating from French to Portuguese as “the bug”, but which my high school French teacher decades ago told our class also means “the stupid”) – a Brazilian art show again underwritten with public funds and sponsored by Banco (bank) Itaú, which took place at the Goethe-Institut Brasilien in Salvador (Brazil’s fourth largest city), where thid picture was taken featuring the nude Wagner Schwartz, a 45 year old artist and choreographer from Rio de Janeiro state, holding hands with the four schoolgirls.
When the video below surfaced of Mr. Schwartz’ naked body being touched by the four year old girl in front of a subsequent “La Bête” audience at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM), Brazilian social media ignited as if a lit cigarette had been tossed into an Amazon River full of gasoline:
The little girl’s mother was in attendance for her daughter’s fateful “star turn.” The far left received immediate blame by many throughout the nation, with protests at the MAM venue and calls from more conservative politicians for investigations. The hashtag #PedofiliaNaoeArte (“Pedophilia isn’t art”) immediately became one of Twitter’s hot “trends” on September 29th, and is still quite active as of the time of this writing.
No matter how over-sexualized Brazil’s culture is or has been, there are many Brazilians who have had more than enough of it. They hate when telephone booths in Rio are plastered with “for sale” pictures of prostitutes for kids or other family members to view. They despise their nation being considered for the beyond-dubious honor of overtaking Thailand as the world’s premier “sex tourism” destination for children, adolescents and adults. They are ashamed that there are known child sex trafficking points for every 10 miles of a highway like the BR-116 (the length of the Interstate road between New York and Los Angeles via Chicago). And most importantly, they know that there is for all intents and purposes an institutionalized system, via many in the arts, media and even political communities, of grooming children (and adults) for a lifetime of enslavement to sexual addictions and sin for whatever purpose, as Bruce Walker recently noted so eloquently on this site.
Kurt Wayne is the founder of Pornografia Destroi (“Pornography destroys” in Portuguese), an online ministry fighting pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual abuse and the hypersexualized culture while working to help those leaving the grip of sexual addiction in the nations of Brazil, Angola, and Portugal, as well as the rest of the Portuguese-speaking world.