Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Curmudgeon has read about the frequent “panelazos” in Buenos Aires, but he really didn’t think he’d see (and hear) one in Rio de Janeiro. Boy, was he ever wrong. There he was, sitting at home on Sunday, whiling away weekend minutes puzzling over a Bracket for the 2015 March Madness. Never an easy task, it suddenly became more difficult when he heard clanging noises and shouting voices.
Arising from his torpor, he went to the window, looked down and out, but couldn’t see any automobiles or other parade-like things. He knew all the big football matches in Rio had ended hours ago, so what could it be?
Suddenly suspicious, he turned on the TV and found the broadcast of the press conference featuring two of President Dilma’s Ministers. While listening, he noticed that the clanging and banging had reached even higher decibel levels than before.
So away to the front he flew, accompanied by his wife and two small pans. Throwing wide the windows, he leaned out into the most incredible racket ever heard on his usually quite staid, leafy street.
For a brief moment, he wanted to emulate Peter Finch in “Network”, lean his head out and shout to the neighbors across the road “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more!” Had he done so, of course, no one would have heard him, for the echoing din drowned out all other sounds.
Taking the path of least resistance, he desultorily whanged pot against pan for a short while, then handed them over (undented) to his wife. After all, she’s Brazilian.
Later, watching reports of the demonstrations around Brazil, the Curmudgeon realized that the “panelaço” was essentially the same as the “Network” chant. The Brazilian people are mad as hell about a lot of things, and some of them are not going to take it any more.
The Curmudgeon will emit less noisy Smidgens opportunely. Stay tuned.