Brazil is going to eat you up! {part 5}: trying to not eat myself

Brazil is going to eat you up! {part 5}: trying to not eat myself

This is not an academic text.

Wow. It has been several months since I last posted something here in AD. It’s kinda weird trying to survive a pandemic amid a coup d’état attempt here in Brazil. For that and for my lack of productivity, I apologize. But I have to say that I feel no guilt for trying to find a new way to cope with academic life since the 2020 pandemic. For me, that represented less stress around writing stuff I did not want to write, and less stress on making myself participate in events/obligations I thought were not a priority at that moment.

As the year of 2023 closes, I find myself trying to balance things out and see that a lot happened in my personal and professional life. For starters, a marriage of 10 years that goes to waste. It’s too soon to think this properly, but it’s a huge change. From this on, this year I also quit a job teaching at a small College, got fired from a High School and continue in my main occupation as an Adjunct Professor in History at Unisinos. Otherwise, I did finish this year my PhD thesis. I’ts been twelve years since my first professional contact with Social Anthropology and a lot of it was permeated through the extinct Savage Minds, and the now soon finished Anthrodendum.

"Caio" by Tomas Sin Hache
“Caio” by Tomas Sin Hache – @tomasinhache

As an academic that inhabits the intersection between Anthropology and History, I find myself pending each time more for the latter. But, above all, I find myself more and more preoccupied  with the environment changes that I see in my native Rio Grande do Sul. It’s weird to be a historian that is mostly concerned with the future, right? At the same time, it’s Anthropology’s fault that I engaged with the field of Environmental Humanities.

The impression that I have is that I had given a lot of time and effort in all of these, and I feel a hollow inside. The space of all that was took from me. In a way, I have given all my energy freely, but in another way, now, I feel it was taken. Failed or finished projects can do this to us: left us with this feeling of nothingness.

What is funny is that I’m quite contempt with everything. For starter’s, I was hurting myself for too long to stay “married”. It opened a new perspective for me on what I think are my main concerns in life and how much I have deviated from them. On the other hand, I was captive of a structure of work that was hurting my body a lot (I have chronic back pain). New affections are coming and new job opportunities too. Next year I’ll be back to Instituto Humanitas Unisinos with new challenges ahead.

My hope, in the end, endures, and so do I. All that is on my head is that, this year, I was assassinated. But, next year, I will be not.

In way of a goodbye to this blog and it’s readers, I would like to let you a poem by the Brazilian poet Mario Quintana (1906-1994) badly translated by me:

The first time they murdered me,
I lost a way of smiling that I had.
Then, every time they killed me,
They were taking anything of mine.
Da vez primeira em que me assassinaram,
Perdi um jeito de sorrir que eu tinha.
Depois, a cada vez que me mataram,
Foram levando qualquer coisa minha.

Today, from my corpses I am
The most naked, the one with nothing left.
A stub of a yellowish candle burns,
As the only asset that remained to me.
Hoje, dos meu cadáveres eu sou
O mais desnudo, o que não tem mais nada.
Arde um toco de Vela amarelada,
Como único bem que me ficou.

Come! Crows, jackals, highwaymen!
For from this greedily hooked hand
They will not take away the sacred light!
Vinde! Corvos, chacais, ladrões de estrada!
Pois dessa mão avaramente adunca
Não haverão de arracar a luz sagrada!

Birds of the night! Wings of horror! Fly!
May the light tremble and sad as a woe,
A dead man’s light never goes out!
Aves da noite! Asas do horror! Voejai!
Que a luz trêmula e triste como um ai,
A luz de um morto não se apaga nunca!
(Poem of Mario Quintana, in the book Rua dos Cataventos, 1940).

From the darker corners of my heart, I wish you Good Night and Good Luck. Love XO Caio

2 Replies to “Brazil is going to eat you up! {part 5}: trying to not eat myself”

  1. Hei, Caio, from an old highly underemployed anthro in Norway. I am from Canada and worked on aboriginal rights legal issues there, from my base here in Oslo. I am also at the crossroads between history and anthropology, art and science. I am on the 40th year of a novel based on my anti colonialist doctorate on Iroqoian speakers. I hope you stay in touch with the world. We need people outside the loop, with massive talents like yours. The poem was formidable, and so too the graphic. I have been mostly unemployed for years and was paid by a tribal group in fish and game and a free accommodation in a collapsing house once. Loved it all, but luckily have a spouse with a job. She and I taught MA students in vocational education research in central Africa for some years, so it has been a rich life out here beyond the snapping jaws of the academics.

    1. Hi, Richard! From what I see, there’s more to life than this (in the words of Björk). I’m quite contempt with how everything is turning up. But I’m tired of trying to have what Academia understands by success. Right now, I’m just flowing. New jobs for next year are quite allright and I’ll try to go step by step. In the same sense, it was mostly fun along the way, but damn what an effort most of the time.