Posted in Portuguese

António Costa

António Costa nasceu em 1961 em Lisboa. A sua família tem raízes em goa, e na França. O seu pai era escritor e militante do partido comunista goês, portanto o jovem António ficou interessado na política. Filiou-se com a juventude socialista em 1975, uma época muito conturbada logo depois da revolução contra o fascismo e com o “espetro do comunismo” a assombrar o país.

António Costa explains Zeno's paradox with the aid of a Ferrari and a Donkey
Costa (holding the flag) in his finest hour

Durante os anos oitenta, Costa, já licenciado em direito, começou a sua carreira política. Foi eleito à câmara municipal de Lisboa e desempenhou vários cargos no partido nacional como por exemplo, diretor da campanha de Jorge Sampaio para a liderança do PS. Mas foi em 1993 que ganhou a atenção do povo, durante a sua campanha contra a CDU* nas legislativas. Apesar da sua candidatura não obter êxito ficou famoso durante a campanha por ter organizado uma corrida entre um burro e uma Ferrari à hora de ponta (spoiler alert, o burro acabou por ganhar)

Ao longo dos anos, o Costa cumpriu vários papéis nos governos de António Guterres (nos anos noventa) e de José Sócrates (na primeira década deste século) e também no parlamento europeu e como presidente da câmara municipal lisboeta. Em 2014, passou a ser líder do partido socialista e um ano mais tarde tornou-se primeiro-ministro do país, como cabeça do partido com mais votos do que os outros (apesar de não ter maioria absoluta) em coligação com dois partidos à sua esquerda. Ainda é** primeiro-ministro*** neste governo atual com maioria absoluta

*I guess I thought that this would be masculine because it’s a political party (partido) but the C stands for Coligação apparently.

**One of those situations where a temporary state (being prime minister) is nevertheless permanent enough, and enough of a defining quality of who a person is, rather than what they happen to be doing, that it takes ser not estar

***The hyphen is mandatory in the Acordo Ortográfico

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 Portuguese

Never Mind the Bolos

(which would be “Não ligues aos bolos” of course, but I prefer the mixed version!)

Perdi completamente a paciência para* este governo. Por um lado, não quero perder tempo a falar sobre bolos e festas e tal quando o mundo está à beira do abismo por causa do imperialismo da Rússia mas por outro lado… Que raios? És o primeiro-ministro, seu burro, não és um organizador de entretenimento num campo de férias. Deixa de fazer palhaçadas e sê mas é um profissional!

*para not com. You lose patience for them not with them.

Posted in Portuguese

A Banda das Três Ordens

Thanks to ThisCatIsConfused and Dani Morgenstern for corrections

Provavelmente já alguma vez viste alguma vez uma fotografia do presidente da República portuguesa, Marcelo Rebelo de* Sousa ou um dos seus antecessores, vestido de modo formal durante uma cerimónia qualquer. Há um item muito curioso de roupa enfiado entre a camisola e o casaco: uma banda constituída por três faixas: uma roxa, uma vermelha e uma verde.

Presidente Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa e a Bandas das Três Ordens
Presidente Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

Porque é que o presidente se veste assim? Tem a ver com o Natal**? O Senhor Rebelo de Sousa é um pres(id)ente que alguém vai desembrulhar? Espero que não. A banda é uma condecoração chamada A Banda das Três Ordens. Cada faixa representa uma das três antigas ordens monástico-militares: a de Cristo, de Avis e de Sant’Iago da Espada. As três ordens têm as suas raízes na idade média e o Grão-Mestrado de todas foi concedida à coroa portuguesa pelo*** Papa Júlio III. Após a implantação da República, no início do século XX, esta honra passou para a presidência após uma um intervalo de 8 anos (1910-18). Acho isso ligeiramente estranho: o povo rejeitou a monarquia mas reteve os sinais de uma estrutura ainda mais antiga e ainda mais obscurantista, mas talvez faça sentido: demonstra a continuidade do estado português e a sua autoridade, apesar do afastamento da monarquia…?

A banda foi concedida a vários outros chefes de estado estrangeiro ao longo dos anos, incluindo Francisco Franco da Espanha, a Rainha Isabel II, Hailé Selassié da Etiópia, é o Rei Leopoldo III da Bélgica mas a partir de 1962, a banda passou a ser exclusiva do chefe de estado português.

*=I wrote this with a capital D but that’s a no-no.

**=natal with a lower case n is also a no-no. Or a No-No.

***=pelo, not por. Not “By Pope Francis”, but “By the Pope Francis”

Posted in English

Liberals

I’ve been watching the reaction to this American child who ended up killing two people due to living in a place with terrible gun laws and worse ideas. Needless to say, most Brazilians think he’s a hero. Or most vocal twitter Brazilians think so anyway. The Portuguese tend to line up closer to the brits, utterly baffled and bewildered by the whole business and fairly sure something has gone wrong somewhere.

What’s interesting to me, from the political point of view, is how the word Liberal is used in Portugal. Of course, the word has a slightly different valence from country to country. Over here, liberals are well-meaning but ineffective. In the US the term is used as a derogatory label for anyone on the spectrum between Hillary Clinton and Lenin. But check out this tweet from Diogo Faro, the Owen Jones of Portuguese Twitter.

And that’s one of hundreds and hundreds I could have picked. Liberals and fascists seem often to be equated as if they were basically the same thing. I’m not sure exactly where this comes from: whether the Iniciativa Liberal are genuinely very right wing, or if its just a phenomenon of the parties being so fragmented that the IL end up in alliances with parties like Chega in the same way as the centre left has to shack up with the communists. Or maybe Portuguese political twitter is a minority that’s so far to the left that the remaining 99% of the political spectrum just seems like fascism from where they’re standing. I dunno.

Anyway, sorry for the politics. Ill get back to other things next.

Posted in English

Fight For Your Right to Partidos

I finished making my notebook about politics in portugal. It’s super-basic, just covering what the main parties there are, who’s in them, who the cabinet is, and a few bits and pieces like that, mostly to help me to understand the news broadcasts I’m listening to and hopefully not feel quite as lost. I exported it to a PDF which I’ll upload here in case anyone else is interested.

Obviously, bear in mind that it’s made in MS Onenote which doesn’t have portuguese spellcheck so it might have some spelling mistakes. The facts might not be spot on either but I don’t think I’m far out. See what you think.

A screenshot from the politics guide, showing some of the main parties and the president
A screenshot from the Politics PDF
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, https://dicionario.priberam.org/Aldrab%C3%A3o [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, https://dicionario.priberam.org/entulha [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 👇