Posted in English

It’s Illegal, But You Can Do It

Discussing yesterday’s post with a friend, she pointed me to a sketch from a satirical show called Gato Fedorento (literally “Stinky Cat”) from 2007 which had a similar phrase in it. It’s actually not the same as the usage I’d heard, but it lives on as a meme, so I am definitely interested, and I spent some time understanding it anyway! The phrase is “É proibido mas pode-se fazer”.

The background is that in that year there was a referendum about reforming the abortion laws, which was quite a big deal in a largely catholic country. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa had initially supported a referendum in 1997 but when it had finally come to the crunch ten years later he campaigned against it and set up a website critical of the plan called “Assim Não” (“Not like this”). Cynical political move or principled stand? Well, if I understand it, his reasoning was that in the ten years that had elapsed, he was out of power the Partido Socialista had launched the referendum, backed by a law they had written. The wording on the referendum remained “despenalização” (decriminalisation) but the law they were intending to pass was actually advocating “liberalização” (liberalisation), which he argued was slightly different. On top of that, there was an indication that women would be able to have abortions by their own choice, with no need to justify it on psychological, medical or other grounds, which he did not support. And he even goes on to paint a picture of a world where women are choosing abortions more-or-less at a whim. He is pretty ridiculous about it, actually. The bottom line was that he didn’t want to liberalise the conditions under which women could get abortions, he just wanted to take away the criminal penalty.

Here’s the original video.

(By the way, what’s the camera guy playing at? There are some really odd zoom shots and then, at about 2:00, he starts filming the guy through a glass on the table. That’s a pretty cool shot if you’re making an edgy police drama, but it’s weird AF in this context)

Anyway Gato Fedorento mocked him by having Ricardo Araújo Pereira repeat his speech (without the avant garde camera work) but spelling out the absurdity of how he wants it to work: “É proibido, mas pode-se fazer”. Or “It’s illegal but you can do it”.

Marcelo is the president now. Make of that what you will.

Posted in Portuguese


O humorista Ricardo Araújo Pereira tornou-se alvo de críticas anteontem por ter escrito sobre uma série de outdoors lançada pela Fox Life através da sua marca ABCLGBTQIA+. Ele sublinhou o excesso de pudor dos desenhadores que definiu palavras como “homossexual” em termos de atração “romântica” e “afetiva” sem mencionar o sexo. Afirmou que esta definição não indisporia o seu “Tio Alfredo” (cuja existência tenho alguma dúvida mas na escrita do humorista é representativa de homens homofóbicos em geral) mas omite algo indispensável do significado desta palavra.

Ainda por cima, a Fox Life suporta uma definição de “bissexual” que consiste em “atração […] por dois _ou mais_ géneros.” que implica que a bissexualidade não tem nada a ver com sexo nem com “bi”.

Pois, não sou gay nem trans portanto provavelmente não me diz respeito mas é evidente que há um problema aqui: as definições destas palavras tão importantes nas lutas de direitos civis da geração passada estão diametralmente opostas à ortodoxia desta geração de ativistas que afirma que o género é mais importante do que o sexo e há um leque de géneros, não apenas dois.

Posted in English

How The Pros Do It

So my previous post was me making a joke about an advert that appeared in Portugal and that seemed to have a fairly terrible definition of the word “bissexual” (sic: it has two esses in Portuguese). Ricardo Araújo Pereira, who is the country’s leading humorist, or one of them anyway, had a pop at the exact same thing in his column in the expresso and now I feel like I might have been outdone in the piss-taking stakes. I think I’m going to make today s text about this on Writestreakpt and then follow up with a book review for Cadernos da Água tomorrow.