Opinion by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Curmudgeon was surprised yesterday to learn, from a friend, that January 29th was, at least in some quarters unknown to his person, “Curmudgeons Day”. (Please don’t ask where the apostrophe should be placed, or if there even should be an apostrophe, that’s why editors were created.)

The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster.
The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster.

Anyway, Curmudgeons are supposed to be grouchy, grumpy, grinchy and yet grandfatherly, willing to steal Christmas, but in a nice way. Look left if you disbelieve.

The Curmudgeon who now has stylus on papyrus, finds it very strange that his own sort of being a Cur, a Mudge and Only, has somehow been transmogrified into a cause célèbre occasioning celebration among (hopefully very few) non-Curmudgeonly persons.

But back to business. The Curmudgeon who now has stylus on papyrus (ya gotta buhleeve!) says that there is lots to be grouchy about.

For instance, the “Conselhão”, created by Lula in 2003, was supposed to be (ya gotta buhleeve!) a voice where ordinary billionaires and sports and entertainment figures and wannabe millionaires (like Lula’s kids and the student union and homeless people leaders) would all get together to listen to Lula and Dilma spout the same mendacious drivel they’d been purveying during their election campaigns.

But there’s one difference — the great and the near great who were invited to this savoD (that’s Davos spelt backwards) would be paid to applaud. And applaud they did, almost unanimously, because dissenting voices were hustled quietly out the back door, whereas lucrative Government contracts were awarded to those who applauded, usually without the inconvenience of an impartial bidding procedure.

Dilma, to her credit, has never been a publicity hound, and, to her discredit, believes she knows more than all of the assembled grandees gathered together; hence she looked askance on all this applause. Perhaps she knew it wasn’t for her, but rather for her puppet master Lula, pulling strings (as always) behind her (and everyone else’s) back.

In any event, the Conselhão lay fallow, members licking their wounds (“Why hasn’t Globo interviewed me this month, what have I done wrong?”). But on Thursday January 28, the “Presidenta” summoned the great and the near great and the wannabe great to come to Brasília to … in her words … debate the restoration of Brazil’s traditional grandeur.

Needless to say, no one was fooled. The sycophant military-industrial complex (denounced by USA President Eisenhower in the early 1960’s, but ignored in Brazil because no one understood English) appeared en masse, together with the usual “poor” sycophants such as leaders of “students”, “homeless” and “workers”, all of whom “earn” salaries more that ten (hundred?) times the people they claim to represent. (They deny this but “Everybody lies” said Dr. House.)

So, the Conselhão happened on Thursday and the biggest reaction on Friday (Curmudgeons Day, lest ye forget) was a slack-jawed “yawwnnn!” The government graciously allowed the “non-government” spokespersons to squawk first, which put most people to sleep, and then hauled out its own somniferous pseudo scientists, who succeeded in inducing a comatose state in those few who had remained awake.

Why is the Curmudgeon not surprised?

The Curmudgeon still believes that someone in Brazil will propose something to help the Brazilian people. He’s lived here almost forty years and it hasn’t happened yet. Any self-respecting Curmudgeon would resign his post as a sinecure.

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The Curmudgeon moved to Rio almost forty years ago, and has pretty much remained here ever since. He’s been writing political commentary for The Rio Times for almost seven years. He used to refer to himself as a WASP (look it up) but doesn’t any more because it embarrasses him.

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