The Special Secretariat of Culture of Brazil has just released a video in which the Secretary of Culture Roberto Alvim announced a funding program for the arts. In a well centred frame and with a piece from Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin on the background – the same used in Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator -, a well groomed and brilliantine haired Roberto Alvim, with a picture of president Bolsonaro above him, a Cross of Lorraine on his left and the brazilian flag on his right, describes the Bolsonaro’s government guidelines for the arts: patriotic, linked to family values, connected to god and virtues of faith.
A few minutes into his speech, he delivers a pearl: an almost identical quote from the infamous Nazi Germany Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels:
“The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and it will be national, it’ll be endowed with great capacity for emotional involvement and deeply committed to the urgent aspirations of our people, or it will be nothing.”
The Goebbels quote, probably taken from his biography by Peter Longerich, which was published in Brazil in 2014, reads as follows:
“The German art of the next decade will be heroic, it will be steely-romantic, it will be factual and completely free of sentimentality, it will be national with great Pathos and committed, or it will be nothing.”
The resemblance is too clear to be an accident, or even a mere inspiration. It’s an explicit reference. What Mr. Roberto Alvim means by it, if it’s a tip on the path Brazilian government wants our culture to follow, or just a provocation meant to unsettle the left, it’s unclear. It is, though, undoubtedly, very unsettling.
Watch the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiO23U59CdU
UPDATE: In his facebook account, Secretary Roberto Alvim has denied to have quoted Goebbels, stating it was a “rhetorical coincidence” and that, nevertheless, the sentence is perfect and there’s no problem with it, as it describes precisely what the government wants for Brazilian culture.
UPDATE II: After a huge reaction from society, press and even the congress, Roberto Alvim was already removed from his position as head of the Special Secretariat of Culture.