Posted in English

My Dinner With André

I’ve been having a whirlwind romance with Andre Ventura, the Nigel Farage of Portugal. It’s taken my breath away.

It’s all thanks to a game called André Ventura Dating Simulator.

It’s a pretty simple game that starts with the player being rescued from a car crash by Ventura and exchanging phone numbers. It then takes you through a series of days in which you can work to earn money, go to the shopping mall, or call your man to go on a date. At the mall, you can buy accessories for your Ventura, such as sunglasses and hats. On the dates, you can chat, question his choice of venues, and deal with various enemies who appear, such as gypsies and antifa members. You can play as yourself, although if you are a male it’ll send you away with “Bro, sai daqui. O André Ventura não gosta de paneleiros”. That sets the tone, really: the game is sending up his actual attitudes so it warns you right at the start to expect racist, sexist and homophobic language throughout.

Playing games is, of course, a bit silly, but we can’t study vocabulary all the time. Most of us have apps on our phone that we use to pass the time on lunch breaks or on public transport, so having a Portuguese game to play is good way to keep your brain in Portuguese mode without a huge commitment of energy. I doubt this one is going to be an addiction because the joke is bound to wear thin after a while but I’ll play it a few times and see where it takes me.

Posted in English

Lã LO Land

I spotted an expression I hadn’t seen before, out in the wild, on twitter

It’s pretty hard to tell what’s going on in the video because they talk over each other a lot (which seems to be quite common in Portuguese TV), but apparently the guy speaking at the beginning is Miguel Carvalho, a journalist at Visão and the younger but slightly awkward looking fella is Pedro Frazão, a vet who was recently elected as a member of the Assembleia da República, representing the right-wing populist “party”, Chega. Frazão accuses Carvalho of making false statements and Carvalho comes back with “It isn’t me who will be judged tomorrow for spreading fake news, it’s you”.

Leaving aside whether “I know you are but what am I” is the killer move the tweeter seems to think it is*, the last sentence of the tweet is where the juicy goodness is:

O veterinário foi à lã e saiu tosquiado

The vet went for the wool and got sheered

This seems like a really good way of describing when someone’s cunning plan backfires and they end up looking stupid. I had a look around to see if it was something he’d just made up, but it’s a fairly common expression and there are a few versions of it online. The version Priberam gives is “Ir buscar lã e vir tosquiado“.

In case you’re tempted to feel sorry for Frazão for being talked over and taunted like this, it’s worth pointing out that he’s a loathsome little weasel who deserves no sympathy whatsoever. He made headlines a while back, having a pop at Joacine Katar Moreira, the annoyingly woke member of the Assembleia in a smallish party called Livre.

Pedro Frazão's fingers
Pedro Frazão, showing his fearless conservative principles

She had put up a sticker on a door of her office saying “descolonizar este lugar” (decolonize this place). That’s quite annoying, but his response was worse. Shortly before she was expected to leave the Assembleia, he took a picture of the door with his fingers over the LO, leaving it saying “desconizar este lugar” which can only be translated as “decuntify this place”. In case that wasn’t enough douchebaggery, he sealed the deal with an emoji of a plane taking off, which I read as implying she should not only leave the Assembleia but also leave the country and go back to Guinea Bissau, where she was born. She responded by reporting him to the police. The whole thing was a fairly squalid episode, with him definitely the villain of the piece.

So I’m not wildly in favour of debates where people talk over each other and accusé each other of lying, but if anyone is going to be verbally roughed up on TV, it might as well be him.

LOL. Or as Frazão might put it, 🤚L

And the line in the tweet about getting sheered is gold. I will definitely use that in future.

* UPDATE – I seem to have misunderstood. Carvalho wasn’t just talking about the court of public opinion: Frazão really did face an actual court judgement on the following day for having defamed a fellow politician. This puts it in a different light – friends, we are witnessing a murder here, live on camera

Posted in English

It’s Satire Innit

There’s a politician in Portugal called André Ventura who’s the leader of a “party” called CHEGA. The fact that CHEGA sounds a lot like MAGA is probably not a coincidence since he’s a populist: someone who builds a following by telling one section of society that they are the real, the deserving people, that everyone poorer than them is a dirty sponger, everyone richer than them is corrupt and anyone who has read a book is an elitist. Oh and he talks a lot of shit on Twitter too, like old whatsisname.

I’ve come across a few twitter accounts sending him up, like this one above. It appeals to me because I like puns. André Ventura = Aldrabé Ventrulha.

I think the pun in the first name is based on Aldrabão which is a sort of crooked person or con artist

1. [Informal]  Que ou quem diz ou faz coisas com intuito de enganar. = BURLÃO, IMPOSTOR, INTRUJÃO, TRAPACEIRO

2. [Informal] Que ou quem fala de modo confuso.

3. [Informal] Que ou quem não é limpo ou perfeito no que faz.

"Aldrabão", in Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa [em linha], 2008-2021, [consultado em 22-09-2021].

And in the second, it seems to be Entulha – 3rd person singular of Entulhar, meaning basically throw it in the junk pile or dispose of it in some way. It seems mostly to be used for either olive pits or builder’s rubble. Why do those two things go together? I’ve no idea.

en·tu·lhar - Conjugar
(en- + tulha + -ar)
verbo transitivo
1. Meter ou dispor em tulha.

2. Encher de entulho.

"entulha", in Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa [em linha], 2008-2021, [consultado em 22-09-2021].

Anyway, I think the general idea seems to be that he’s a crook who needs to be on the scrapheap.

I’m not sure how seriously to take Ventura. He somehow got eleven percent in January’s presidential elections and came third, so he can’t be written off entirely. But that still leaves forty percent of a country to convince and I think they’d take some convincing. Pictures I’ve seen from the campaign trail in the local council elections show some pretty underwhelming gatherings, not Trump style rallies. He doesn’t seem well-enough organised to be a serious threat. More of an Iberian Tommy Robinson than a new Salazar – but maybe that’s just my perception from my distance. He does seem to be a racist douchebag, and he’s been fined for saying some things that were out of line. I’ve also heard that he did time, maybe for fraud, but I can’t find a source for that so maybe it’s just a rumour.

There have even been calls to ban CHEGA itself as a racist organisation. As a general rule of thumb, I’m not in favour of banning organisations unless they are actively advocating or engaging in violence, not just talking shit. It only makes them look like martyrs and the authorities look like repressive, censorious dictators. Why give them that martyr status? Even the “oh isn’t he awful” hand-wringing stance with which the BBC treated Nigel Farage – another clueless, sloppy populist with racist leanings – fanned the flame of his appeal to the point at which he was able to knock us out of the EU. So it’s best not to build these idiots up too much, even by showing disapproval. Better to give them the same arms-length treatment as other fringe parties like the Greens and Plaid Cymru and let them make their own case under their own steam until they burn themselves out. It’s too late for us with Farage now. I hope Portugal don’t make the same mistake with Ventura.

Anyway, all of the above is just my uninformed wittering. I’ll be finding out more over the next week or two, but in the meantime if anyone wants to correct any misconceptions in any of it, drop me a note in the comments 👇