Category Archives: rants

Nota de esclarecimento: a quem incomoda o projeto Fluência Participativa?

Muitos sabem que me formei na Universidade de São Paulo, mas poucos têm a referência da Escola Estadual Olga Cury, onde estudei da quarta à oitava série. Antes disso, tive uma infância onde enfrentei a separação dos meus pais, aos 9 anos de idade; a perda do meu avô Paulo para um câncer e muitos conflitos familiares. Meu pai tentava dar rumo à vida dele, mas minha mãe não se dava bem com a família Escobar. Nessa época, 1999, ele tinha 37 anos. Ou seja: se eu tivesse seguido o caminho dele, teria sido pai aos 27 anos de idade, considerando que tenho um irmão um ano e meio mais velho. Mas não é exatamente assim não: eu tenho uma meia-irmã mais velha. Se não me falha a memória, ele foi pai aos 18. Essa foi a idade em que ingressei no trabalho como professor de inglês, em 2010, num programa de monitoria pela FFLCH/USP. Perdi contato com a minha mãe, a ponto de passar vinte anos sem saber se ela tinha trocado de nome, e com isso, não conseguir dar prosseguimento à minha pesquisa acadêmica, por falhas nos dados enviados e verificados junto à Receita Federal (o CNPq é coisa séria, e quem corta verbas é o governo Bolsonaro). Mas quando segui, com 3 projetos consecutivos de mestrado pelo Departamento de Letras Modernas, uma levou à minha desistência — e em seguida uma crise de saúde mental e falta de moradia, num período onde passei fome e não tinha comunicação com ninguém, inclusive dormindo na rua e pedindo por dinheiro e cigarro no bairro pobre do Santo Antônio, no Guarujá. Tinha assistido o movimento estudantil fazer barulho, mas as causas eram verba para reforma do prédio de Letras e horários do ônibus circular no campus, nada a respeito do CRUSP, onde morava, e preços de passagens para estudantes de outras cidades. Pagava, na época, cerca de 20 a 25 reais pela passagem de ida mais a de volta, e estava junto com a minha namorada, Olívia. Eram 100 reais só de ônibus intermunicipal, toda semana. Enquanto se fala do perdão da dívida estudantil nos Estados Unidos (já mostrei dados de como uma universidade americana chega a custar mais de 300 mil reais), a bolsa que recebi tinha o valor de 250 reais ao mês. Como não tinha dinheiro para as passagens, ficava em São Paulo. A grande estratégia (e o grande crime) foi trazer marmitas para o restaurante universitário (que não pagávamos, pois tínhamos auxílio alimentação), pedir mais para quem estava de servente, exatamente como uma pessoa de rua, e depois usar o adicional como refeição no fim de semana — mas às vezes se recusavam a dar o adicional, e tínhamos que comer o pouco que éramos forçados a dividir para sobreviver no final de semana. Assim, economizávamos 100 reais nos fins de semana. Perdíamos as xerox de materiais essenciais, e ficávamos só com a audição das aulas. Não tínhamos os textos, que todos os alunos acompanhavam, numa sala com mais de 100; mas anotávamos tudo e conseguimos passar de ano, com notas abaixo da média, mas suficientes.

Já em 2007, minha namorada começou a trabalhar numa escola da Barra Funda. Eu fiz um processo para professor, onde trabalhava uma monitora do programa da FFLCH, mas fui recusado. Ela continuou, e depois foi para a monitoria. O trabalho dela nos garantiu alguma estabilidade, com a ajuda do meu pai. Não tínhamos um relacionamento muito bom. Quando eu tinha 14 anos de idade, saí de casa e fui morar com ela. Briguei com a família inteira, e nunca mais os vi. Só voltava, de vez em quando, para a ocasião do aniversário dos meus avós ou o nascimento das minhas primas, Mariana e Marcela. Meu pai ganhou o benefício de aposentadoria por invalidez, mas na verdade não ganhou foi nada. Passou uma década inteira com dores permanentes nas hérnias que o impediam de ter uma boa noite de sono ou se movimentar com qualquer facilidade. Acordava sempre com dores que o faziam lutar para chegar até o banheiro, e após muito anos narrou, humilhado, que não conseguia se limpar porque não alcançava e doía demais tentar. E eu passei por situações não equivalentes, mas parecidas: faltava papel higiênico no dormitório, peguei piolho, não tinha roupas de frio (e chegava a fazer 6 graus Celsius em São Paulo), e ainda, em 2011, quando já deveríamos ter alguma liberdade, a Olívia teve um aborto. Na verdade, decidimos por fazê-lo, mas foi um acidente: a camisinha estourou, e ainda nos precavemos com a pílula do dia seguinte, mas ela não funcionou. Ela comprou comprimidos na clandestinidade, ingeriu um e colocou outro dentro dela. Continuamos trabalhando. Também já narrei isso, mas o departamento comercial queria nos demitir, por alguma razão (e depois soube que a franqueadora era associada ao movimento pró-vida, e contratou um missionário americano para dar aulas junto com a minha namorada). Um dia, estávamos em Santos, e ela acordou com dor. Eu estava ansioso e muito confuso (tínhamos brigado sério pela primeira vez, talvez, em 7 anos de relacionamento, por causa de uma menina que eu conheci na internet, a Suzan). Estava pouco consciente. Ouvi ela chorar no banheiro de casa, que ainda era a nossa casa — e hoje sou forçado a ver todos os dias o estado em que ela se encontra, o lugar onde cresci. Quando entrei, vi ela segurando um feto em suas mãos. Ela chorava, tremia, e dizia: “ele tem olhinhos”. Pegamos uma toalha, eu peguei uma pá, e o enterramos no quintal. Foi ainda mais pesado: ela teve sequelas psicológicas muito graves, incluindo espasmos involuntários e camadas da placenta sendo evacuados durante o que acho que foi um mês inteiro. Um dia, isso aconteceu enquanto ela dava uma apresentação sobre literatura, numa universidade em Osasco. Éramos muito capazes, mas poucos sabiam o que tivemos de aguentar. Isso fora os conflitos de ensino fundamental e médio, que incluem tentativas de agressão em bando, além do bullying constante comigo, pelo fato de ter cabelos compridos mas também pelas performances musicais, que incluíam maquiagem e roupas exóticas, com os covers de música japonesa (que aliás, nunca ninguém deu valor), e ela por conta do que nem chegava a ser obesidade, só umas gordurinhas, que eu sempre gostei e digo isso até hoje. Nos amamos demais. E é tortuoso lembrar disso tudo, e pensar no quanto avanço e volto no tempo, pulando capítulos inteiros, inclusive o do suicídio do vocalista da minha banda, o Fábio da Plaise, e depois, a morte da Karen, uma amiga com quem me relacionei em 2016, depois da minha desgraça familiar e profissional, que sofreu um acidente de moto e depois não quis contato comigo, mesmo após eu insistir.

Tive um período até longo de atividade profissional intensa. Ninguém fala que tinham festas com drogas e todo mundo queria sexo, mas não é pra falar mesmo. Ninguém quer saber que a minha coordenadora passou mal no mesmo colchão onde eu dormia no CRUSP, e eu limpei a sujeira, bêbado mas ainda obedecendo às ordens. Gostava dela. Pessoa muito competente, mas infelizmente foi uma das influências para que eu me apegasse ao tabagismo. Como sofri com bronquite e pneumonia dupla na infância, precisando de inalação diária com medicações que me faziam tremer aos 9 anos de idade, e sangramentos nasais constantes, que precisaram ser remediados com suplementos de cálcio, minha saúde não era boa já naquela época, mas pelo menos me alimentava bem. E é aí que eu quero chegar. A minha vida em São Paulo, a partir do momento em que comecei a ganhar bem (o que, pra nós, era pouco mais de um salário mínimo), comecei a comer fora e frequentar lugares, com o perdão do lulismo, que o pobre não tinha condições de frequentar. Mas não viajei de avião, e bem que queria. Quando fui demitido, desisti do mestrado, mas ganhei a rescisão. A mãe do meu melhor amigo na época, um rapaz que se tornou o marido da Olívia (que apesar das mágoas, não é qualquer um, e o nome dele é Daniel), pediu um dinheiro emprestado por algum motivo, e eu simplesmente transferi cerca de 5 mil reais. Ela devolveu. Em seguida, comprei cerveja cara, maconha de 50 reais, besteiras, mas também quis limpar a casa inteira, cuidar dos pets e renovas todo o vestuário e os eletrônicos. Comprei livros, me preparando para os estudos. Comprei acessórios e instrumentos musicais. Mas me esqueci que poderia ter viajado para ver a pessoa que decidiu o fim do meu relacionamento, a Julianna.

Hoje, a história é muito diferente. Desde então, vivo com a minha família, apesar do hiato de 2015, quando confiei em uma pessoa, a Paula, que não me levava muito a sério, e o desastre de 2014, quando comecei tratamento psiquiátrico. Já em 2016, conheci a Emma, com quem falo até hoje, mas as expectativas não são as mesmas. Durante nosso relacionamento, procurei muitas pessoas que poderiam me fazer companhia, e num dado momento, não foi o suficiente estar com ela. Não tínhamos assunto, e ela provavelmente só sabia que eu procurava meninas, todas elas mais novas, além de assistir pornografia demais para alguém que se pretendia um acadêmico de uma universidade pública. Apesar de tudo, montei meu projeto, todos os conteúdos de blogs e postagens, e construí minha presença. Mas minhas dores foram ignoradas, inclusive pela última pessoa com quem me relacionei presencialmente, a Iasmin. E foi um bom relacionamento, mas veio a morte do ex-namorado dela para nos separar, e algumas experiências pouco unificadoras.

Resumir minha história é complicado. Perdi meu avô em 2011. Perdi minha avó Zilma em 2018, se não me engano, e minha avó Áurea em 2021. Com isso, minha família ficou sem auxílio financeiro (e escrevo isso enquanto passa um helicóptero), e o projeto Fluência Participativa é o que sustentaria a mim, meu pai e meu irmão. Há histórias que não conto, de violência doméstica, mau-atendimento hospitalar, ameaças, roubo, golpes cibernéticos volumosos, e muito dor no coração. Mas acreditava que poderia oferecer algo de significativo para a educação brasileira, e talvez para o mundo. Hoje, minha arte é renegada, censurada, caçoada e denunciada, ao mesmo tempo. Meus blogs levam a medidas corporativas, e sou banido de plataformas. Ninguém do passado se habilita a comentar os acontecimentos.

O meu único desejo é que, numa economia da interação, as pessoas sejam capazes de conhecer melhor o outro pela conversa, e não pela análise de dados. Essa é a missão do projeto: não conectar o mundo para roubar informações sobre usuários e vendê-las para anunciantes, mas sim proporcionar condições de estabelecer laços de afeto entre pessoas de todo o mundo. Uma pessoa que sofreu o que eu sofri poderia simplesmente pedir dinheiro. O que eu peço, no entanto, é que não tratem os outros como me tratam. E é isso que incomoda tanto.

The unspoken benefits of neutrality

In Brazil, as of September 2022, talking about politics will make people fear for the upcoming months, days and hours; or it will produce a contagious exhilaration around the prospects of winning or losing a battle that this or that side might have chosen. Maybe you’ll notice relative apathy in other situations, not particularly here; but some people stayed on the job during this now predominantly controlled pandemic, with vaccinated people who took at least 3 shots in their arm, like myself, and in some cases go out in the street still rarely, but with tranquility. We think that going out is safe again, but the reasons are related to public health and what’s not so often discussed: instead of working from home, living your life in front of a computer or staring at your phone, at home. You go out, everyone has a different thing to do, and you think that’s fine, but who are they, completely unaware that you’ve started fights with 30 different businesses in the past 2 hours, retweeted journalistic vehicles of great and historical circulation, making acid comments and ironic, often insensitive and disrespectuful remarks on credibility and people’s assumed character? Why aren’t they all doing the same, to fight the power and take it back, and you seem to be the only one concerned with the battle for winning the internet debate, elected medium and modus operandi of the attention economy? And now you can watch candidates debate on the internet, and that is literal; but everyone else is already commenting, and you’ve lost on this one, because it doesn’t matter what you have to say. The frontline is the frontline. Fireworks at midnight, no big deal — there’s soccer every day. Neighbors turned crowds of possible perpetrators of property damage, and subtweetibg in real life, in the form of shouts. It seems pressing to ask: “what the hell is happening?”

What’s happening is that people are put to a test every four years in the majority of the countries of the world. But hang on: our most important elections are in a month, and Britain just changed the Prime Minister. The American elections are held in the midterm of Brazilian elections, for example. The selection for governors happens right before, and I should say that between Charlie Crist and Ron deSantis, at least the latter is able to fulfill his agenda; he’s just lame, while the other candidate is partnering with a “god-fearing” woman (as per Twitter bio) who’s supposed to change the deSantis program against gender ideology and critical race theory, all the while banning masks in schools because it has never required them in the first place — which is way too hard to believe, but seems to be the truth. DeSantis calls his opposers “The Woke Party”. Nobody told him that maybe Florida isn’t a dream, and we know Trump properties are being targets of investigation. I would go further, talk about Disney and Miami, mention Orlando, basketball, soccer and a Netflix series called Startup. I would tell personal stories, and give a shoutout to my old colleague now living in Auburn, not Jacksonville, saying “how’s your hacker friend and the gay gossip column guy?” But we’ve heard some of these things before. One day, on LinkedIn, I saw an old student of mine repost a video saying that Disney knows how to “enchant” like nobody else, and then you had an intervention in some kind of commercial center where people were interacting with the shadows of Disney characters who mimicked them, behind a panel. For each person in front of the screen, a specific character would show up as a sort of reflection of them. At the end, they’d reveal themselves and everyone would applaud. But in college, some other facts came to my knowledge, like work exploitation and a friend who dreamed of working there, but was the first person I met to be following Bloomberg. I won’t get into detail, because that involved another niche: the foreign music exoticness judges and who they give praise to. For the average Brazilian, does any of that matter?

In your family, you learn to suck it up. You stay quiet to avoid conflict. But sometimes, you do pick up a fight. An uncle is never going to be actually phisically aggressive with a nephew, is he? Sorry to break it to all, but my personal history tells otherwise, very clearly. And so do my conversations with teenagers, who report abuse in the family with a certain frequency. And the answer doesn’t seem to be a short story that does not mention this fact at all. It’s like posting fake news — because the narrative has been manipulated from the very starting point, not as of yesterday. You’re just a dummy. To wrap it up, and I refuse to talk about Europe: if you don’t take a stand on the internet, you have a chance to take a stand in real life. How does that sound to you? Because, to me, it sounds like a good plan. Except I know what Brazil would say: “Elogio é caridade”. Care to translate? Of course you don’t. And that’s fine. But maybe we should focus on the good instead of the bad, and real life sucks, while the internet can lead you to a better place. Are we voting on that?

Revenge porn: accurate or misleading term?

If you clicked, I’m sorry. You’ve probably been threatened by someone online with the release of your private information and files. Of course, today, Microsoft’s main goal is to lead the cloud business, and we have companies like Snowflake that were valued at record stock prices in their IPOs… but nobody cares about the “initial public offering”. We’re talking about “initial private messaging”. There’s a big difference. You know, you meet a guy, he says hello and sends an emoji, the emoji isn’t a horny devil, he asks if you’re busy and sends a picture for you to make sure you know he’s real and looks decent (aka not like a psychopath). But some people operate differently. We’re in the midst of a discussion over making decisions about our bodies, for Christ’s sake. Except that Jesus Christ might be brought up for the wrong reasons, and when I say we, I mean women mostly, because I’m actually a dude. So let’s situate ourselves: we know some stuff about tech, but we wanna use simple mechanisms to communicate with people. Maybe a little more? The answer is a little more than conversation, not a little more tech; but it seems that this is where the lines are drawn.

Every girl looking for flirting in 2022 will look at what someone looks like before making a move. Girls make moves, everyone. But what kind? I can’t fail to mention that one time I was on Omegle and this young girl from Slovakia said she knew where I lived. This is way before I realized Jeff Bezos wasn’t worried about Wishlist privacy, but technology journalists were, and so they followed with investigations on Ring, which Vox reports: “[provides] information to government entities if the company believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person, such as a kidnapping or an attempted murder, requires disclosure without delay”. Adult world. So it happens that every teenager on Snapchat is GPS trackable, and that’s never been controversial, has it? Now, about the report, here’s what you should expect from this blog: a bit of debunking.

Guys make moves. When I was laid off of a company that literally installed cameras inside classrooms just to send a signal that employers were watching our online activity (and only the first class employees caught on), you can imagine that I put on my best performance, but regardless, I turned my laptop on and went looking for girl profiles. Not on Facebook, of course. This would be an interesting debate if anyone’s interested to know how some people had over a thousand friends in the year of 2010 or so, but we’re over that, aren’t we? And honestly, depending on who’s reading the blog (because of how educational it is), what was your favorite brand of baby formula back then? Now, fast forward. While Ring, a home device from Amazon; Windows Hello, a not-so-new feature of Windows; and even big banks like Santander (and many others, mind you) use facial recognition as security, we fail to connect the dots. Facial recognition technology is reported to have been in use in smartphones since Android’s 4th version (released in 2011; but pay attention: in October), then it grew exponentialy in effectiveness with efforts from, guess what, the big four. The 3D capabilities were disclosed in 2018, but 4 years ago, nobody had a banking issue because of a hacked camera. Wait… they hack cameras? Oh my God! What’s next? Streaming with no permission? It’s *my* Fortnite! Mine!

Most people get confused by lack of context. Writing a pedagogical text in the field of journalism, in 2022, should be considered a great merit if successful. And that is to say the least. But that’s not even about me. The tech reporters saying back in 2018 that facial recognition capabilities were growing exponentially couldn’t have predicted that hackers with ethnic cleansing intentions could target the program. And that is hypothetical. Worth mentioning that EFF has contributed a lot to the facial recognition debate and you can see for yourself, but personally, I don’t have knowledge of all they’ve done, especially considering a federal lawsuit. But we started with something way more simple, way softer: revenge porn. It’s not that your ethnic group is deemed inferior by my ethnic group; it’s that the boy you were sexting has a smaller dick and I can’t believe you gave him attention instead of me. It’s that the girl you were videocalling while my message remained unanswered had such a ridiculously flat pair of tiddies, and mine are two big fucking Everest mountains. And with that sense of sexual tension in mind and at scale, would you look at what they can do with Hunter Biden. Do you really think both parties (men and women) are amicable and standardly trust-worthy? Is it the web? Where, how? And what are the contexts?

Investigating the context is essential, but the web is only getting bigger. A leak has been called a leak for a long time, but then came the GDPR (too little, too late). My criticism of GDPR will continue: everyone made us sign digital documents saying we agreed with terms of use that go against data protection: that is, not in our favor. GDPR is a legal loophole for data-driven companies to overperform with marketing operations that are arbitrarily defined by how much a client is paying. Simple, but hard to swallow — and we’re doing it in glowing fashion. But when a girl gets a nude leaked (which is likely to get her more followers, who happen to be potential harrassers) or a guy gets less opportunity (which is likely to be because of conversations, and you’ll have to excuse me, but I’m not the one to crack down why it works that way), we should be thinking: why do we share? This culture is the culture of people who have no respect for privacy. They’re the ones checking your every move; sometimes, with a higher motivation of control, at higher levels. The answer is not recording more and leaking more; the answer is ignoring surveillance, and making your words count. Say what you mean, mean what you say, everyone. Paraphrasing, we don’t mean half the stuff we say online. But what we do has consequences. I can rest in relative peace knowing I’ve never participated in leak culture. I’m glad for the journalistic investigations, sure. It keeps me informed, more aware, but it’s not going to make me a fan of a company or a State that protects user rights at all costs, because these simply do not exist. What I know is everyone should be able to protect their reputation, not live under the threat that the simplest mistake might ruin it forever. Back to my hook: everyone watches porn; some people even make it for a living. But revenge?

Revenge is an ugly concept. We’re supposed to believe in justice. Of course, the justice system has problems, serious ones (and I’ve talked enough about the tech issues; time to focus on the human side). If you call me names, I don’t care. If you started going out with a girl I used to hang with, I’m probably happy about it, if you’re cool. No big deal, seriously. Life goes on. But for whom? It seems some people’s lives don’t. Why? Because of revenge porn? No. Because of revenge. People want to make justice with their own hands, and that’s why law enforcement exists. That’s why facial recognition exists, that’s why GPS exists. Every technological tool we’ve created works for a better well-being, and if the percentages of it are not fairly distributed, we’re on our way to address that too. But taxing the rich is not revenge. It’s justice. Moving on from an abusive relationship is not revenge, and it has nothing or little to do with justice: it’s about self-respect, and a hell of a struggle. Getting over the fact that people like to talk about you is very far from this debate, and closer to a K-12 requirement now; but apparently, politicians want to pay for advertising so their own ideas about what education kids should have will thrive (kids that they teach to make gun gestures here in Brazil) and on both freaking sides of the aisle, they do it with teens too (whose lives they monetize with zero criticism and an odd mixture of freedom of speech and anti-imperialism, on TikTok). Imagine if teens didn’t have other people’s businesses to mind. Hard to believe that, right? But they’re not business owners. And the actual business owners will always, inevitably, have a hard time explaining how such and such thing was allowed on their platform. What they fear is not revenge (a lawsuit against them, a basic anti-monopoly federal hearing broadcast internationally, and so on); it’s userbase dropping. It’s the faithful cusstomer that they want. They don’t give a shit about the nudes. And when you look at the bills you need to pay, maybe you should consider having the same posture.

Image: Pexels

Precedents and predictions: how stable are democratic values in 2022?

As I tend to, I’ll reiterate on something I’ve said earlier: my Bumble profile describes me as a moderate. I thought about it for a while. The other option was liberal, and I’d heard so many people attacking economic neoliberalism and comparing it to far-right fascism that I was just afraid of mislabeling myself as a patriot who thinks a good thief is a dead thief. Not liberal: moderate. They found another reason to complain on this internet where nobody knows who’s watching, but someone always is: how can I consider myself a moderate, when, in terms of morphological awareness (I can’t escape linguistics), I’m constantly the target of moderation? My comments aren’t easy to digest, and they’ve been soaking timelines and feeds with an odd mixture of lemon juice and destilled ginger, which are the best metaphors I can think of for something that makes you feel like you just drank detergent. In fact, I have horrible feelings when I go out the street and someone working for the condo is cleaning the sidewalk. The product they use makes me feel like a rat who just realized it has seconds to find a way out or die in the gutters. And we’re not here discussing sanitation.

That’s one of Brazil’s problems. But they’re many, and rampant. The hunger ressurgence, the violence, the ineffectiveness of law enforcement, corruption in this system that today I can assure you is not only discourse, and the protections proposed in law and well-spread through media vehicles to convey this impression that Congress is doing something for better livelihoods. It’s not. I myself haven’t been a beneficiary of any social program that hasn’t been a process of humiliation, while others thrived in success and luxury, with maybe a little bit of great sex just to make it even more appealing. But these are personal stories, for the last part. The comparison, though, should raise some eyebrows. I was, indeed, a beneficiary of social programs, including psychosocial care and financial aid through the pandemic. I had my social security money withdrawn from the companies I’ve worked with. It was lack of planning and lack of priority that led me where I am, but today, my plans and priorities have no chance against a project of power that uses predictions of behavior to control the masses. Media is definitely a problem in Brazil, but you’d have to see the data in other countries.

Speech freedoms are under attack, but among other things, the concept of freedom involves, for the globalists, a debate on whether or not I can carry an assault rifle. That is, in my view, inconceivable. Then you see how much of a “moderate” I really am: rephrasing someone on Twitter, profits are unpaid wages. To relate that to gun control is not making an ideological salad; systems of oppression need denouncing. The approval of purchase of guns is a vile system, but documentation seems almost unimaginable until you see it exists. Let’s suppose it’s the wages. The time I’ve spend working on my own is supposed to be compensated. Should I stop? That might be the case, but it’s my work and someone else’s profit, unless I find out my visibility is among the powerful, and I have negative impact. Nothing concrete points toward that direction. I’ll make a Google account and agree to the terms. The terms are: you renounce that this is by any means your property. You say yes. Simple as that. Agreeing to the terms of use is mandatory to use them. There’s no freemium for Google. And of course, they can claim it’s for the better, but then face misinformation accusations. How is it not possible to search for an email and find its activity? It’s a simple task, but nobody would want to open that Pandora’s box. They even say that “incognito mode doesn’t really work”. What does, then? Suppose you’re an internet influencer, and people stalk you. Let’s say 10 thousand people. Not a big influence, you see. But you wanna watch some porn. Do you? It would probably feel like these 10 thousand people are forcing you to have sex with them all at the same time. And you can’t attend to so many genitals. Somehow, though, that is a problem associated exclusively with women — hence, the moderate label. The economy relies on relationships between people to make deals, based on inferred results. But the same happens with countries. And when it comes to oppression, imagine that you’d have a document saying you authorize a person to perpetrate violent acts against you on camera. That is the entire porn industry in America. But not only in America, I’m just not quite sure about the documents (which they exhibit on these channel’s opening scenes, along with the previews or at the ending). When you buy a residence, a percentage goes to the municipality. That is called the Urban Territory Tax here in Brazil. You already bought it, but you have to keep paying. Along with electricity and water, plus the essentials, like gas, TV, internet. Imagine a world where these “assets” would be community granted? Don’t you think that could be arranged? And if you argue that would break companies down, take a moment to think about how much people would spend if they didn’t have to pay for these. Do you see that this is real social change? Do you realize that private companies have fought this possibility thinking about their profits, while even kids today consider the internet an essential for their lives?

But they created crypto with this sort of non-governmental ideology. The financial markets and politics are too closely related, maybe tied together. There is, for the liberal, a separation between State and Private Initiative. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s a basic thing I’ve learned. I also learned that is discourse. Google will show you what media companies who paid for space want to show you. Repeat for every “private” company. The money they spend comes from where, you’d think? The financial markets are tied to bigger initiatives because they could grow tentacles. There’s a thing people say about companies that are too big to fail, but look at Yahoo. And honestly, look at Facebook. With China now at the frontstage of media, that of course with the rise of TikTok as the main app on the planet according to various data analytics companies, but also the parent company Tencent, who owns messaging platform WeChat, and other initiatives, like retail giant Alibaba, you’d start to see that there are other models than what you see in an afternoon show at Bloomberg’s Balance of Power or Julia Chatterley’s First Move. In fact, they address these issues, embrace diversity… but do they, really? I refuse to talk about media figures who have blocked me on my professional account because I don’t want to lose touch with my target audiences, who aren’t the haters and the organized bullies, but the people looking for quality information and insider perspectives; but do we truly belong in the democratic process if we can’t choose which apps we use, who we talk to, when to post, what to eat, who to date, where to throw a cigarette butt?

You’d expect me to address women’s rights more directly. That has been done. The last item is just an example. There are tolerable levels of civil disobedience, but to categorize that as such, you’d need an aberration of a legislative body to say that the problem is throwing the cigarette butts away, with fines for the user who’s risking getting cancer, and not the tobacco industry. But guess what? That’s exactly, precisely what happens. And mind the inflation! The pack I bought without sanitary approval for 2, then 3 Brazilian real at the newstand is now 5 real, with the approval, new branding and all. There’s cigarette brands that never mention health factors — notoriously, Eight and Gudam Garang. It seems like a total lack of perspective, but I remember the Wikipedia entry I saw for the latter brand and a trillionaire revenue. Does anyone do anything about the ports? Of course not. And if they do? Forget democracy. Company profits dropping, pressure comes to prioritize their activities, or else. And then people show their true selves. It’s not that Bolsonaro is a liberal. He wants liberation of guns. It’s very different. It’s not that Trump wants America First. It’s that he wants his crimes and associations to be hidden from public sight while exposing his adversaries, who happen to chase the truth, with smear campaigns and fake news, often with a lot of technology aid. And sometimes, let’s be honest, he doesn’t even hide it. Famously, as reported recently in the January 6 hearings, he’s stated that “maybe [people] haven’t been following the internet [like he has]”. And so he releases his own brand. And the brand is Truth.

The only true societal value is that there are top and bottom positions. You can choose what you wanna be and work hard for it, but you can also be granted with something you never deserved. You can work all your life and be granted nothing. These are historical reparations to be made. But Truth Social, brought to you by the guy who said neonazis were fine people, makes you think genocide is cool. And let’s not even start with the pandemic, nobody wants to hear about it. When did people forget that history counts? It’s not just the documented history, and moreover, it’s not because recent history has been more widely documented that we’re going to be lazy and not look at it because what matters is the future. Progress as a synonym of profit, in pure “liberal” fashion? Let’s remember this progress comes with moderation. And the precedents we’ll find are in how society responds, or has responded. These are things that need cohesive organization, but respecting morals and principles. These are the reasons why I wrote down in my Master’s Project a quote from an Arts scholar and a quote from a Law scholar. Paraphrasing, “innovation faces resistance”, Pedrosa would say. But “as new challenges arise, new solutions are needed”, Czerna warns. Notice how the roles are inverted, and do more than posting a meme about that.

Image: Creative Commons

As mudanças na minha vida são visíveis, mas e o meu futuro?

Em um vídeo recente no YouTube, lanço uma frase que por si só é uma aberração discursiva: “partfluency is not a party”. Me referia, é claro, ao projeto pedagógico de ensino de inglês para a maior participação brasileira no contexto internacional. Mas há pelo menos duas interpretações crassas, que podem não ter ficado claras, mas mesmo sendo identificadas, publiquei: a primeira, “party” (como partido ou uma festa), a segunda, a ideia de “parte” (de um todo). O que a semiótica poderia fazer com isso, não? É um vídeo de cerca de 10 minutos, e falo sobre os diversos temas que gostaria de abordar. Hoje, penso diferente. Poderia, sim, abordar o que bem entendesse; mas o fato de que não assistiram ao vídeo nem passaram perto de pensar em fazer uma doação me faz querer desistir. E é essa a tônica da última década. Desistir. Alguns pensam que, na minha vida, desisti de uma carreira acadêmica, de uma banda, de uma relacionamento, de uma posição como coordenador de uma grande franquia educacional. Mas é muito mais do que isso. Cada uma dessas coisas não faz mais sentido, no contexto de hoje. Em resumo, desistiram de mim, apesar de eu continuar aqui, e produzindo consideravelmente.

Mas antes de 2013, com as famosas jornadas de junho, que o colega José Uchôa, que começou a pesquisa acadêmica no mesmo lugar que eu (o Departamento de Letras Modernas da USP), escreveu livro a respeito, algo mudou na minha maneira de pensar. E parece um grande clichê. É aquela coisa de se decepcionar com o PT que a geração mais nova ouve e acha intragável (F1 pode ser, isso aí é coisa de fascista); meu pai, que votou em Jair Bolsonaro, assim como o irmão com quem tenho conflitos graves, conta que meu avô João fez campanha para Jânio Quadros. E eu penso: será que eu compreendo a dimensão da política, ou melhor, as dimensões em que a política coloca a nossa vida, que deveria ser tão simples?

Eu me lembro de certas coisas a respeito da vida em São Paulo. A ida para a rodoviária. Virar na Conselheiro Nébias com muito sono, e saber que a João Pessoa daria mais alguns minutinhos de descanso, até virar na praça e descer. Era o caso de ficar alerta, pois naquele horário, muitos se levantavam para ser os primeiros a comprar passagem, enquanto alguns esperavam mais 20 minutos até o próximo ônibus, isso tudo às 6 da manhã. Metrô Consolação, que antes da Linha Amarela, fazia você pegar a baldeação com a Ana Rosa para seguir até a Consolação, e dali um Butantã USP ou Cidade Universitária, que descia a Avenida Rebouças, passava o shopping Eldorado, a Faria Lima, e entrava na Vital Brasil, muitas vezes demorando muito para entrar no campus, devido ao trânsito. Largar as malas e ir pra aula. No trabalho, pra mim, era andar a raia, atravessar a ponte e ir da estação da CPTM ao lado do campus até a estação Vila Olímpia. Isso antes das subidas à Teodoro Sampaio, onde trabalhei por um tempo, no Metrô Clínicas. Idas ao Pão de Açúcar, ao Cine Belas Artes. Depois, a Funchal e a Gomes de Carvalho. Tinha um boteco que apelidamos de quatro e cinquenta, que era o preço do litro da cerveja (veja o papel da inflação). Às vezes fazíamos algo de diferente, mas logo ficamos pela Paulista, o Metrô Brigadeiro, idas ao Bar Asterix e ao Café Creme para um wrap vegetariano, ou ao Gopala, não que fosse muito frequente. Eram de fato comuns visitas à Livraria Cultura. Raramente, à Vila Madalena. Me lembro de algumas ocasiões. Uma dessas lembranças me remete à Rua Augusta, onde desci com uma pessoa a quem tenho muito apreço (ela de salto, eu bêbado, de braços dados com ela, um gesto muitíssimo afetivo) a ladeira até encontrarmos um bar com cerveja barata e sem povoado. Foi difícil, mudamos umas 3 ou 4 vezes, mas conseguimos. A fama era outra. Sem contar que, naquele dia, a cerveja espumou demais.

Quando voltei pra Santos, era a Bernardino de Campos. Eram lugares que eu desconhecia, ainda mais com a japonesa e o americano ali no meio. Pouco antes, ainda havia música. Tocamos em alguns lugares, e um belo dia, enquanto esperava alguém me ligar pelo Skype, chegou o novo casal, e eu não vestia nada. Soube ali que a minha vida iria mudar. Saímos, e falei a uma amiga: “acho que faz uma semana que eu não estou sóbrio”. Ela só respondeu um “nossa senhora”, e enquanto eu atravessava a rua, sem ver que um carro se aproximava, ela me segurou. Saí com ela algumas vezes. Foi esclarecedor. Assim como conversas com minha prima Pamela. O que se seguiu foi confuso. Depois de 2 empregos onde as amizades pareciam gostar de jogar algum tipo de jogo onde você não sabe as regras, mas supostamente tudo é uma conversa que você precisa prestar atenção mas nunca responder, e aí o fato de ficar calado é usado contra você, fiquei de antissocial, e daí pra baixo. Rolou muita maconha, o que me fez parar num tratamento psiquiátrico. E isso começou em 2014, e continua até hoje, com todo o histórico da COVID mais duas avós que perderam a sanidade, mobilidade e a vida para o Alzheimer. Da casa da minha mãe, perto da Fumio Miyazi, até o hostel na Castro Alves, e dali até o Santo Antônio, de volta para a Presidente Wilson lá em São Vicente, a pé, debaixo de chuva, achei que valeria a pena. Adivinhem? Não valeu. E não vale até hoje, mas ainda procuro contato.

Um dia fui visitar um amigo de um camarada, vizinho que me dava o que comer durante os fins de semana. Um comentário: “é isso mesmo, pussy cat dolls?” E ali estava uma sementinha: subtweet é o novo normal. Anos depois gritariam na rua referências cruzadas. No caso, era o kik da minha namorada online, que começava com “pcd” exatamente por causa do grupo. Ou seja, era isso mesmo. Falavam sobre mim. Mas como eu respondia? Não respondia. Minha resposta foi, por muito tempo, o Twitter. Mas quem tem paciência pra verificar quando ou como isso foi posto de lado, enterrado, eliminado? Ainda viriam incursões à Oswaldo Cruz, ao Centro, e depois andaria a Pedro Lessa, o Gonzaga. Perderia o caminho. Receberia ameaças, iria ao hospital, tomaria uma série de medicações, enquanto alguém posaria num aplicativo de namoro com uma foto de gin tônica, dizendo que “é o destino” se você gostar também. O cúmulo foi ler sobre deep fake e metaverso, após saber que o Facebook se usava de uma rede canadense para obter informações sobre usuários entre famílias, mas não conseguir provar nada disso. Uma rede aberta para hackers, mas ninguém admitindo nada. Uma rede pronta para o ataque. Hoje, a propósito, a pessoa que mais se usa da rede é um spam ucraniano; antes era uma amiga minha, russa, e mais um monte de gente. Mas com ela, tive bastante contato. E ela me lembrava alguém… uma cantora famosa. O tom de voz dela me lembrava a minha primeira namorada virtual. E foram 3, mas aí veio o Snapchat. Ou melhor, veio o Faceflow. Depois, não veio mais nada.

Eu não sei se é o caso de apontar dedos. Tudo bem, eu fiz uma conta alternativa no Skype. Depois, usei o kik como spam, ou melhor, como um aplicativo de namoro, que na verdade era só para sexo. Mas isso veio muito depois… ainda tinha conversas legais no kik. Quando finalmente acessei o Snapchat pra procurar sexo, os adolescentes já faziam isso desde o início. Desde quando o Instagram foi inventado, nem Gifyo nem Pornhub, nem Skype nem Messenger valiam de mais nada. Por que? Não sabemos. Hoje temos o TikTok. E querem que a gente não preste atenção à essa narrativa. De fato, é difícil para o estrangeiro compreender o que custa andar do Bar do Chinês até a Biquinha, mas se falamos de tecnologia, os detalhes vão ser esquecidos com argumentos de que a versão tal do Android foi lançada dia tal; isso foi antes do Windows 10 (ou 11). A Apple não tinha entrado na briga com a Epic Games. Ninguém nunca tinha ouvido falar na Huawei. Eu insisto: e na minha ex da internet? O fato de a menina ser tão natualmente linda que a Billie Eilish ter sido lançada por causa dela e da semelhança com ela, mas a CNN ter desviado a atenção de todo mundo com uma tal de Donna Brazile, é surreal. Ron deSantis não é um cara legal, mas assista ele falando e você perde audiência: confie em nós.

A verdadeira história está aí: eu sei muito bem que a minha vida mudou a partir do momento em que me deixei influenciar (constantemente, diariamente) pela mídia televisiva dos Estados Unidos. Não era a mídia tradicional. A mídia tradicional era a NBC, passando o SNL. Ou a ABC, passando How I Met Your Mother. Ambos foram legais de assistir até um ponto na minha vida, em que precisava de algo um pouco mais maduro. Mas a falta de maturidade política para compreender a rapidez das decisões e o poder da audiência foi um fator decisivo na minha vida, e não tem mais volta. É claro que tem: não assistirei mais os canais estrangeiros, pois temos que poupar dinheiro para as despesas básicas. Mas veja… meu convite está pendente; uma outra pessoa acaba de fazer uma conta, e no dia seguinte estou suspenso. Começo a achar que os meus direitos online estão sendo atacados diretamente, e não é de hoje. E é por isso que publico, mesmo que em fragmentos: minha história não pode ser mudada. Quem se incomodar, que se pronuncie, e encare de frente. Só duvido andar do Bar do Chinês até a Biquinha, debaixo de chuva.

Reputation: more than credit scores and impressions

I remember exactly the moment I thought I’d been hacked. I had smoked weed, not for the first time, after having gone through college with a number of experiences to remember vividly and a busy worklife, plus a relationship of mutual trust and a band that was a reason for joy and moments that made everything matter. But it’s not about my story. This story isn’t about my story, and if I ever do this again, you can totally cancel my blog. I just wanna start there because we, adults, tend to think a cautionary tale might not work anymore; so instead of talking about the girl who never disobeyed her parents and played in the rain so she never knew what it was to get wet all of a sudden (which, to be honest, is not even so plausible these days), we tell something that happened to us so that they’ll remember. And at that moment, the daddy is the daddy; a mom is a mom. Anyway, I think I got hacked in June 2013. That was precisely when The Guardian covered the NSA bulk collection of data from American citizens and abroad. The story includes the classification of the documents as “top secret” and the term “telephony metadata”, maybe a first admission that internet service providers were “managing” the web based on inferred indentity, but were still able to operate with addresses and physical identification, including location trackers, to make a list of all the accounts you’ve ever made and do whatever they wanted with that information — from selling you a better pillow to advising you to start couple’s therapy. My first reaction, when I learned about it, was to delete my Pornhub account; but that wasn’t a series of events I ever looked at in more detail: I’d made very close contacts with a lot of people from Gifyo, one or two in particular, a site prior to Instagram and Snapchat, where you made gifs of yourself and had a social-network-like profile, including private messaging. The slogan was: “your life in motion”. My conflicting interests, especially having found out about the site on Pornhub, quickly became an issue; but not for me, because I can’t remember ever enjoying myself as much as back then. Of course, I didn’t know what people already knew, and then came the suspiscion that one of the “random contacts” was actually leading a hate group, full of leaks and sensitive information. I deleted my Gmail and all the apps associated with it, then started over. That’s when the adult account was finally gone, but nobody even knows I met this person, who very likely threatened me with every word she ever spoke, including this one time when I lost the last bus from Sao Paulo to Santos and stayed at the bus station overnight, Skype on my tiny Samsung Pocket Android. Internet speeds were terrible, so the service provider wasn’t very helpful, and they sure didn’t show me a notification for free Uber, because in case you don’t remember, it didn’t exist yet. The girl’s name was Jessica, apparently.

Jessica didn’t know a lot about my life. But she went as far as visiting my university, despite not being a student, to meet some people. Who were they? I have no idea. The campus was big. Including post-graduation, almost 50 thousand people gather at the University of São Paulo’s biggest campus in Butantã, West Sao Paulo neighborhood, according to data from a 2018 story promoting research on student well-being, that starts with an open question: “what does well-being mean to you?” For me, it used to be music, beer, a good class, good sex and fun trips. Is that confusing? Maybe for some. You could just replace your area of work. Instead of a good class, which is what I tried to do from 7am to 11pm, you could say taking care of families in distress was your thing, or injecting medicine in a patient’s arm to heal his or her pain, getting creative with copy, serving all tables and seeing everyone likes the restaurant or bar where you work. For me, it was my measure of control: I had a schedule, tried not to get lost, but I really thought I had mastered the art of going through the day changing subjects and contexts rarely mentioning what else was going on in my life. Until I had to. That was for students who seemed friendly enough, and I somehow trusted — because, even at work (and especially there), it’s all about human bonds and deals. How this surveillance narrative affected not just my job but America’s reputation and my entire personal life is a theme to be debated more extensively — but I believe it has. You don’t wanna read another story on how people spy on you, right? In 2022, you’ve probably heard Shoshanna Zuboff talk about Pokémon Go. She says a few other things too:

Prediction continues to evolve and competition continues to intensify. Pretty soon, there’s a new realization: the most predictive data comes from intervening in your behavior and in the state of play, in order to nudge, coax, herd it in the direction of the outcomes that we are guaranteeing to our business customers; herding your behavior in the direction of our revenues and, ultimately, our profits. What is new here is that at no other time in history have the wealthiest private corporations had at their disposal a pervasive global architechture of ubiquitous computation able to amass unparalleled concentrations of information about individuals, groups and populations, sufficient to mobilize the pivot from the monitoring to the actuation of behavior, remotely and at scale.

Totalitarian power, according to Harvard scholar Shoshana Zuboff (on YouTube).

Why mention that this lecture was given in Amsterdam? That doesn’t seem relevant. But one of the interesting things Zuboff says (I mean every word) is that “human future markets should be illegal” because “the illegitimate, secret, unilateral taking of human experience for translating into data should be illegal”. This extends to finance and to social media as we all know it: an opportunity land. In reality, as the scholar mentions, we came to believe knowledge was offered to us, but in fact, it was being offered to the companies all the time. Besides the theoretical point, there are many aspects where we remain in the dark: how does a fintech assess my credit, and what is the number on that “score”? How do I know who’s actually accessing my content, and why do I not trust that my “impressions” are actually real? There are many points I want to discuss, but I’ll go further on two of these sections, for readership ease and maybe (at ths point, I really don’t know) pedagogical purposes.

1) What’s legitimate?

Let’s suppose internet influencers are now listed in job seeking sites as it’s become a standard, very common profession. Let’s compare two people. Hannah is a 21 year old who barely posts on Instagram, but is smart enough to say hello more than 2 days a week. Her stories are rare, but she always finds cool things in the videos she took from the algorithm. When she gets bored from trying to find the one that’s more likely to cause impact, she spends 20 minutes with her make up, rehearses a few poses in front of the mirror, tests the camera (which works perfectly and is high definition, by the way), and then takes 10 pictures, the famous carroussel, to post on her account with a number of hashtags. The result? 1k likes and 100 more followers every time, repeat until she’s at the 100k mark. Eventually, people start approaching her for collaborations. She starts to make money to post her body on a social network that expressly bans sexual content and sexual interactions. Bob, on the other hand, is a guy who’s not very fond of social media. Socially anxious, he stumbles from one network to another, always finding the same kinds of recommendations, and nobody really worth his time. Bob isn’t bad-looking, but he doesn’t know how to act in real-life gatherings. His thoughts are often intense, a result of his year-long relationship with pornography and some of the meetings on camera he’s had. He doesn’t take selfies. He hates the idea of intentionally making everyone look at him, because he knows when he was the most vulnerable, the ones looking at him were his enemies, who eventually hacked his account and saved his videos online using a remote screen recorder, which he can’t prove, but the thought of it makes him want to delete one account after another, in fear of what might happen next. For some reason, Bob posts interesting things, not particularly mainstream and definitely not following the algorithm’s recommendations, but promotes the work of his favorite people and organizations, including journalism, art, projects of public interest, politics and motivational phrases, as well as memes. But it’s not every day. He gets on the platform Instagram 2 days a week: literally, Saturday and Sunday, because the other days are for cleaning the house, taking care of his sick dad, doing the laundry, shopping for food, playing with the pets and listening to music or some other leisure activity. He’s struggling to find work, but tries every day, looking at the available opportunities on at least 5 different websites.

It’s important to understand that Bob’s work isn’t legitimate, according to the platform. He looks for work, but he’s not working. Actually, if you want to post on “social issues” on Facebook (yeah, I know, Meta), you have to send in your ID and get approved, then tag all of them. Surprinsingly, it’s also possible, and very easy in fact, to say you’re releasing a paid promotion (saying a company gave you money to talk about them), and regardless of that being absolutely false, get your post published. Is that legitimate? By definition, it’s the opposite of it; but what matters is that Bob doesn’t have a nice booty, and he doesn’t go to the gym. He doesn’t take full body pictures, and he’s always by himself, not with some hot chick, because his friends are many, but all of them seem to be models. Hannah, though, takes the work seriously. 20 minutes of make up is real work. And she has a routine. Hell, she even has a business model: the use of hashtags, the conversations with people interested in her work, the constant presence, the study of social media paradigms to convey the most impressionable appearance standard: all of this is rewarded, and although she can’t put that in her resume, her bank account is doing fine and she doesn’t have to see ads for delivery food, because she’s a faithful customer. Legitimate? Of course not, that’s sexist.

2) What is secret?

They say personal life and professional lives don’t mix. Then they make LinkedIn, Slack, and even before this particular app, Facebook Workplace, a thing literally nobody talks about. The company email has more features than Google, but private communication has been the center of the story in a number of media scandals involving people of power, from Nixon to Lula; from Johnny Depp to Rihanna. Who decides on the future of the programs that keep a nation’s fortune and well-being glued together and distributed responsibly are people with a lot of scrutiny from the media and society in general, but when you make their private conversations a case for an ever-expanding annihilation of the concept of privacy, then you have to take a few steps back and say: “sorry, what?” Johnny Depp was accused of sexual harrassment; RIhanna supported the porn industry and has been in relationships with men involved in serious criminal charges. Do you wanna hang out with them? Do an interview? Are you waiting anxiously for the new work where they’re featured or do you wanna talk about them on the internet based on a story you didn’t even click on? Though these questions are never answered because people just post and run (which applies to politics as well, considering that sometimes they’re banned because the profile was made from a secret marketing operations team in what many journalists call digital militias), actually answering them depends on public sentiment: if one perceives that taking a stance against a particular public person or giving a say on any given topic will negatively impact work reputation, they just might keep their mouth shut. And that is not a very warming sign of the connectivity promise coming to fruition.

If we look at relationships, there’s certainly a lot to be debated, but it heats up a bit. From your number of followers, mentioned here, to how many messages you send every day, to whom, why and where, platforms rank your so-called “engagement”. I wonder if there’s a line of code saying: “if single, DM is positive; if commited, DM is negative”. At the same time, if you get a message from work and you can’t finish the reply to your girlfriend on what you’re supposed to buy at the supermarket, you’re 10 times more likely to lose your job; but if you’re distracted, exhausted from work, and your girlfriend is studying, let’s say, then you want to look at some tiddies, this well-being app, which tracks how much you’re sitting behind a computer, by the way, sends a notification, in the middle of work: “babe is cheating on you!” Of course, artificial intelligence thinks like a war machine, so the very idea that a straight person is experimenting with another sexual orientation or experience is a system error. Imagine the bot conversation about the fact you were just wondering how nipples other than hers looked like: puffy, rosey, bigger, thick aureolas, perky, tiny? Babe might just think you’re unhappy, but maybe she’ll get a surprise by the end of the night. Or maybe, just maybe, she’s looking at different sizes of vegetables, cause she takes care of all the cooking and does so for her entire family.