Sunday, December 9

On Populism

"(...) Populism is always a form of identity politics (though not all versions of identity politics are populist.) What follows from this understanding of populism as an exclusionary form of identity politics is that populism tends to pose a danger to democracy. For democracy requires pluralism and the recognition that we need to find fair terms of living together as free, equal, but also irreducibly diverse citizens. The idea of the single, homogenous, authentic people is a fantasy (...) And it is a dangerous fantasy, because populists do not just thrive on conflict and encourage polarization; they also treat their political opponent as “enemies of the people” and seek to exclude them altogether. 
This is not to say that all populists will send their enemies to a gulag or build walls around the country’s borders, but neither is populism limited to harmless campaign rhetoric or a mere protest that burns out as soon as a populist wins power. (...)
Populist governance exhibits three features: attempts to hijack the state apparatus , corruption and “mass clientelism” (...) and efforts systematically to suppress civil society.  
Of course, many authoritarians will do similar things. The difference is that populists justify their conduct by claiming that they alone represent the people; this allows populists to avow their practices quite openly. It also explains why revelations of corruption rarely seem to hurt populist leaders (...) In the eyes of their followers, “they’re doing it for us”, the one authentic people."

What Is Populism?, Jan-Werner Müller

Friday, November 16

"If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches and poor men's cottages princes' palaces."

The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare

Saturday, November 10

Thursday, October 25

People stopping, staring

I'm going where the sun keeps shining
Through the pouring rain
Going where the weather suits my clothes

Thursday, October 18

Que las hay

"(...)Sabe que a vida há-de ser
apenas um subúrbio da alegria,
a necessária tralha fútil, o alarde,
coisas de emprestar e devolver."

Miguel Mochila

When life beats you up

Oh but today, today was not one of these days

Thursday, October 11

Lost in translation

I love to write, and yet I forgot about it. I do not even know what language to write in anymore, stuck between home and a broader understanding less grammatically correct. I am very confused, and not just about writing, about a lot of things. Yet simple... What is the word for it? Translating the verb "despoletar", so seldom used in Portuguese, is a difficult task. A visit to Linguee solves it quicker than I thought, the word I am looking for is precisely trigger. A simple trigger, such as a movie or a short story, has such an incredibly long reach. Watching someone cooking for a passion made me think about my passions, other people valuing their husbands make me value my love, that last powerful sentence ("Big as he was and important as he was, he still knew that a boy should always listen to his mother") made me think about my mother and my never completely fulfilled desire of telling her how much she means to me.

Not that I think that I have the talent to do it, far from it. One of these days, as I was rumbling about my ghosts and general theories to him, I used an old expression, stolen from someone else. As a big part of me is, undoubtedly and for as much as dread it sometimes. I do not regret it or deny, it is just... It is hard to grow up following a shadow that will, inevitably, disappoint you.

But none of that matters. The expression I used was "I am a reader, not a writer". Being such a made-up notion, I had to explain it to him, naturally, past his disbelief (disbelief, such a beautiful word - suspension of disbelief, a beautiful, wise concept). When you've read a lot, and read about reading, you've felt that amazement only provoked by true masterpieces, and you know how to differentiate it from mere average writing skills. You reread yourself and you know it's just not as good as you wanted it to be, and it is not because you are overly humble or critical, it just isn't what you are looking for - if you don't enjoy reading yourself, who will? And I truly still believe it. Beginning a sentence is a nightmare, and yet... How I wish it was different.

But do I really? I do not know. I know very little, nowadays.

Friday, October 5

Love Poem to No-One in Particular

let me touch you with my words
for my hands lie limp as empty gloves
let my words stroke your hair
slide down your back
and tickle your belly
for my hands, light and free-flying as bricks
ignore my wishes and stubbornly refuse to carry out my quietest desires
let my words enter your mind
bearing torches
admit them willingly into your being
so they may caress you gently

Mark O'Brien

Thursday, September 20

Have I told you lately

Ease my troubles that's what you do

Tuesday, September 11

A thing of beauty

Is a joy for ever. I am sorry this world does not understand you, Habibi.

Saturday, September 1

Thursday, August 23


Que fazes por aqui, ó gato? 
Que ambiguidade vens explorar? 
Senhor de ti, avanças, cauto, 
meio agastado e sempre a disfarçar
o que afinal não tens e eu te empresto, 
ó gato, pesadelo lento e lesto, 
fofo no pêlo, frio no olhar!

De que obscura força és a morada? 
Qual o crime de que foste testemunha? 
Que deus te deu a repentina unha
que rubrica esta mão, aquela cara? 
Gato, cúmplice de um medo
ainda sem palavras, sem enredos, 
quem somos nós, teus donos ou teus servos?

Alexandre O’Neill

Sunday, August 12

Es ella mas que yo

E qué sí, que era, que es.

We are among the ruins

"Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen."

D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover