Arquivo para February 13th, 2018

The bas-fonds and the Carnival

13 Feb

Walking through the central streets of my hometown, Bauru of São Paulo (Brazil), I passaoCarnavalMedieval by a girl already with a bean and a lady’s body, with a sandal with moorings and silver pieces of leather, wearing shorts that barely closes at the thick waist, a dark T-shirt with the Eiffel tower and the word Paris printed in his t-shirt in Golden color, I remembered the book by Dominique Kalifa: Bas-Fonds: History of an Imaginary (edUsp, 2017).
The book I mistakenly bought at the end of the year thought to be the origin of the Happy Holidays, the traditional end-of-year greetings, but when I opened the book I understood the “cities in crisis”, the dirty, the greasy and the deformed one, the Kingdom of the Destitute, Sodom, Rome and Babylon, finally some of the chapters of the book of Dominique Kalifa.
In fact the center of the cities became peripheral, at least in the medium cities, and the centers went to the malls in some condominium closed to the condominiums, where there are clubs, bars, shops and even chapels, privatizing the jogging.
The author says, “the bas-fonds … understand each other instantly” (Dominique, 2017, p.11), perhaps in French but in Portuguese english it took me a long time to connect the periphery (which nowadays frequent central commerce) and Carnival fantasies (at least the Brazilian, made by people from the periphery)..
I find in the beginning of the book the connection with the carnival: “the bas-fonds extend through a mobile, vague terrain in which reality, the worst of realities, is in collusion with the imaginary, a terrain in which the social ‘Is constantly redefined by the’ moral ‘, in which the flesh-and-blood beings mingle with characters of fiction “(ibid, p. 11).
He clarifies that from the “positive” figure of the Greek philosopher Diogenes “the poor of God, the” poor of Christ “,” the poor with Peter “of the Middle Ages, XIII “in France and England, the terms of vagond and vagrant” (page 69), which the author calls “the invention of the poor poor.”.
Dominique goes on to cite a number of authors: “The comparison of the threatening proletarians with the Indians of America is a recurrent motive, which explains in part the immense success [of the Fenimore Cooper novels]” (page 109) , also quotes: Balzac, Sainte-Beuve, Dumas, George Sand, Maxime du Camp, Eugène Sue, Bérange and others mentioned in previous pages, fall in love with “Walter Scott of the wilds” (of book of the Henri Couvain).
Just to tell you how universal it is, I also remember “Bola de Sebo” tale by Guy de Maupasanti, and the film Rale (Donzoko, 1957) whose translation into French exactly by The Bas-fonds, little known film of this great  diretor.

The origin of the carnival however is more controversial, the Carnival of Venice or perhaps the party of the crazy, described in 1445 like “party of the crazy ones” made in the faculty of Theology of Paris (modern engraving picture above).
The transformation of the joy of the imaginary of the poor has become almost everywhere, a private party in which the parade of the imagination of the bas-fonds is watched.
Kalifa, Dominique.Os bas-fonds: história de um imaginario (The bas-fonds: History of an imaginary), trad. Márcia Aguiar, São Paulo: Edusp, 2017.