May 16, 2019

em Português

Nigel could not believe his luck — the year was coming to an end and the Prime Minister’s deal was soundly rejected by Parliament. There was no plan to leave the European Union and the United Kingdom could not make it to the pre-ordained leave date. And best of all: Nigel could once again stand for European Parliamentary elections!

After the success of the Brexit referendum, Nigel Farage quickly abandoned the UKIP leadership and sailed off to new adventures. His life goal had been achieved: getting the U.K. out of the European Union. Nominally, at least, but he needn't worry about the implementation details, that was for BoJo and company, for Nigel, after all, is not a politician. He would nevertheless stay in the European Parliament, to continue not being a politician and, one assumes, to oversee the success of the project from within. If that was his purpose, he failed, but he successful ensured that he would collect an MEP salary for the remainder of the time.

Farage is the epitome of the insignificant significant. His party garnered enough support to rank well in the popular vote, yet he never managed to get elected to Parliament. Yet, in the European elections he flourished, having sat in the EU parliament for twenty years. His message was clear: the U.K. should leave the European Union, if not for other purposes, to at least regain its lost freedom. Or so he told us.

After the Brexit vote, Farage could no longer be bothered. Instead he crossed the Atlantic to become a sycophant for the American President, he hosted a radio show for nights a week, for some reason he backed American Senate candidates accused of child molestation, he became an independent, he was busy collecting signatures of European prominent individuals to nominate the American President for the Nobel Peace prize for having had a meeting in Singapore, and, one assumes, continued to root for Britain to leave the European Union.

Yet Brexit didn't happen. At least not on the date it should have. The government was set to enact a withdrawal agreement that it had negotiated with the E.U., but Parliament, stubbornly, would not pass it. Everyone knew what they did not want, yet no one was ever capable of putting a proposal that could garner meaningful support. Theresa May, however unwittingly, was making plans for Nigel.

«"Am I happy about it? No, I'm not," Farage said on TV. "Actually I've got many other things in my life I'd like to do. I thought we'd won the Brexit battle…but after 25 years I'm not going to watch British politicians roll us over. No, this is the fight back and they are going to be very surprised by what they get.”» Oh Nigel, we all know you don't. We all know you are overjoyed, filled to the brim with contentment. Like an old soldier that just needs to go back to the battlefield, Nigel's life finally has a purpose again.

May was busy making plans for Nigel. She failed miserably. Everyone had failed miserably. The Brexiters could not ensure that Britain exited. The Remainers could not find a path to revoke Brexit. And the ones in the middle could not find a cohesive strategy capable of garnering enough support.

Enters the Brexit Party, which embodies the perfect representation of nothingness. Not being UKIP allowed Farage to shed the racist layer: the right wing nuts stayed behind – despite even the founder of the Brexit Party having left on account of racist utterances. It's a new party; so new that its name is a word that didn't exist five years ago.

It is also the epitome of the single-issue party: to leave the E.U. — it is on the name. A brief consultation of their website shows precisely that: “Britain can do better than this”; “Change politics for good” – great! But how? Crickets. Nothing. Not a single word.

When you’re vague enough, you can gather a lot of support, because, as they say, the devil is in details. If you don't have to define the details, well then there's many that can agree to the top level statement — we already know that: 17 million Britons votes to leave the European Union. Just no one ever agreed on how.

Farage has said he wants a no deal Brexit, on WTO rules, whatever that means. And what about the Irish border? Nothing. Not a modicum of strategy, not a word in implementation.

Yet Farage was given a golden opportunity to replay his one hit wonder moment. Like an incapable dying rock band given a lifeline, he can only go back to his one time hit single. Yet, Farage has his future in British steel: “no more mister nice guy”.

The outcome is predictable: he will win the the European Parliamentary elections with no roadmap for the U.K. to exit the European Union; his party will not have a coherent message and of it survives until the next general election, he will he incapable of gaining meaningful parliamentary presence, and what meagre results they get, Farage will undoubtedly once again exit the scene whenever tough decisions have to be made.

Nigel just needs this helping hand. And if young Nigel says he's happy, He must be happy, He must be happy in his work.

May 16, 2019   ·   em Português

August 18, 2016

em Português

When you think the web is bloated (and it is), remember: there were no ad blockers in 1964.

legend
First 24 pages of a New York Times edition, from October 1964.

August 18, 2016   ·   em Português

Pôr-do-sol visto do miradouro da Senhora do Monte
Winter in Lisbon | Sunset viewed from the Senhora do Monte miradouro

May 31, 2015   ·   em Português

Laguna de los tres
Laguna de los tres | Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Patagonia

February 3, 2015   ·   em Português

New Hampshire
Ogontz Lake | New Hampshire

August 25, 2014   ·   em Português

Plainfield, Massachusetts
Flight of the firefly | Plainfield, Massachusetts

July 8, 2014   ·   em Português

May 30, 2014

em Português

Mayor Bloomberg wrote an op-ed titled “Don’t Major in Intolerance” denouncing the latest protests of students against commencement speakers that led to colleges rescinding the invitations or the speakers withdrawing themselves.

I too believe that the freedom of speech is inviolable and a pillar of democracy. But when students protest against a speaker like Condoleezza Rice that is not an act against liberty and constitutional rights.

Secretary Rice, one should note, does not lack outlets for expressing her ideas or views. Quite the contrary, like most high profile commencement speakers, she has more exposure than most. So what about students protesting? Well, in a normal conference, one could just not clap, boo her, or simply leave. However, in this case it’s a commencement ceremony. It’s their own party, to celebrate their achievements and mark the start of their new lives. Why would they choose to boo someone at their own event, or even consider not attending?

Furthermore, a commencement speech aims to inspire and lead through example, emphasizing moral and ethical values. I do think Secretary Rice has many merits as a person and a scholar. But why would I want a member of an administration that admitted to lying to the world and the UN with the purpose of starting a war, to pontificate to me on moral and ethical values, at my own commencement ceremony? And don’t make this a right-versus-left issue. I would expect the same reaction by the same students to Tony Blair.

Mayor Bloomberg remarks, “I believe that a university’s obligation is not to teach students what to think, but to teach students how to think.” In my view that’s exactly what the students did here. At the end of this educational step – a significant one – they chose to act against ideas they don’t agree with, that were about to be forced to them at their own celebration. If these acts represented the opinion of the majority of the graduating class, then my salute to them.

May 30, 2014   ·   em Português

Fall/Boston | Fall in the Public Garden, Boston.

October 23, 2013   ·   em Português

September 27, 2013   ·   em Português

LA → SF | Along the Pacific Highway

September 21, 2013   ·   em Português