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Brazil: The Once and Future(?) King

There are two kings in Brazil. Pelé, the world famous football star, and Roberto Carlos, a great icon of Brazilian popular music (MPB). The singer and songwriter acquired fame as the main figure of the 60's musical movement known as Jovem Guarda — Young Guard — in opposition to the ‘old guard’ of Brazilian music. It was the first manifestation of the Brazilian pop rock movement. But late last year, the launch of an unauthorized biography, written after an exhaustive research and almost two hundred exclusive interviews, has made this King go to war. Confirming the Brazilian saying that “once King, you'll never loose the majesty”, Roberto Carlos has recently succeeded in a legal settlement with the writer — historian Paulo César de Araújo — and his publisher where all the unsold books will be called back to him, and the book will never again be published. But then… there is the Internet.

Detalhes - o livroA biografia Roberto Carlos em detalhes tem 500 páginas e foi lançada em dezembro passado. Chegou a vender 22.000 exemplares antes que viessem os protestos do cantor e a disputa judicial. O Roberto criticou especificamente três pontos: a narrativa do acidente de infância, quando ele perdeu parte da perna; a agonia da mulher Maria Rita, que faleceu de câncer em 1999; e revelações de casos amorosos. A decisão da Justiça foi de recolher a obra, o que provocou a reação de escritores e colunistas, que classificaram o caso como censura. Em entrevista, o jornalista e escritor Lira Neto avaliou que “provavelmente criou-se uma jurisprudência perigosa, contra o gênero biografia e contra o próprio exercício da historiografia. Se a gente depender do biografado e dos herdeiros para escrever sobre alguém, é simplesmente a falência do gênero”.
Personagem PúblicoOi na TV

The biography ‘Roberto Carlos in Details‘ have 500 pages and was launched last December. It sold 22,000 copies before the singer's protests and the legal dispute began. Roberto has criticized three specific points: the narrative of his youthful accident, when he lost part of a leg; the agony of his wife Maria Rita, who died of cancer in 1999; and revelations about his love affairs. The courts decided that the book should stop being sold, causing a chain reaction from writers and columnists, who labeled the case as censorship. In an interview, journalist and writer Lira Neto said that “it has probably created a dangerous precedent against biography as a genre, and against the very exercise of historiography. If we are to depend on the [subject of] biography or his heirs to do the writing, the genre is finished”.
Public CharacterOi na TV

Uma decisão judicial (antecipação de tutela) de 22 de fevereiro de 2007, da 20ª Vara Cível do Rio de Janeiro, já havia proibido a publicação, distribuição e comercialização do livro em todo o território nacional, mas o que tornou essa proibição definitiva foi o acordo judicial. Infelizmente, não saberemos como este caso tão emblemático seria julgado pelo Judiciário (onde levaria no mínimo cinco anos para percorrer todas as instâncias), mas ações judiciais dessa natureza preocupam autores e editoras, fazendo com que o gênero literário biografia seja considerado um investimento de alto risco.
O Caso Roberto CarlosNotícias Jurídicas

A February, 22 court decision (temporary injunction) from the 20th Rio de Janeiro Civil Court had already prohibited the publishing, distribution and selling of the book all over the country, but what has turned the prohibition into a final decision was the legal settlement. Unhappily, we will never know how this emblematic case would be judged by the court (where it would take at least 5 years to go through all the phases), but court actions like these frighten authors and publishers, turning biography as a literary genre into a high risk investment.
The Roberto Carlos CaseNotícias Jurídicas

O pior ainda é que pelo que deu a entender Roberto Carlos, foi um tipico caso de não li e não gostei, já que o próprio cantor declarou que não leu o livro. Além de ser um verdadeiro caso de tiro no pé, essa polêmica toda serve para demonstra qual manto veste esse rei, no caso o manto dos reis absolutistas e ditadores da história medieval. Diferentemente da idade média, porém, agora os plebeus tem uma ferramenta, a internet, e mesmo que os livros já tenham sido recolhidos e queimados, já circula pela internet em site e emails afora. Ou seja, dessa vez, não foi o rei que controlou a história, e sim a história que derrubou o rei.
O Rei e o Plebeu5 minutos

The worst is that Roberto Carlos has made us believe that we are facing a typical case of ‘haven't read and haven't liked’, as the singer himself has declared that he has not read the book. Aside being a true case of a shot in the foot, the controversy serves to prove to us what kind of mantle this King uses, in this case, a mantle from the absolutist kings and dictators from medieval times. But differently from the middle ages, now the lowborn has its tool, the Internet, and even though the books may have already been recalled and burned, it is already circulating on the network in sites and e-mails. That is, this time it was not the King who controlled history, but history who has knocked down the King.
The King and the Lowborns5 minutos

Um dos primeiros a hospedar tais links foi o blog “O Escriba” (www.oescriba.blogspot.com) do jornalista Carioca Jorge Henrique Cordeiro. Cordeiro afirmou que não teme ser processado. Segundo ele, caso apareça uma intimidação judicial é só tirar o link do ar. E ainda acresenta que até lá o livro já terá sido baixado por muitos e disponibilizados em outros blogs, via Orkut, fóruns de discussão ou programas de troca de arquivo. Parece que mais uma vez os blogueiros resolveram atacar e mostrar a todos as suas forças. Acho que a tentativa frustrada da modelo Daniela Cicarelli de censurar o YouTube não serviu de lição para o cantor Roberto Carlos.
Quem será o próximo?Conversações

One of the first ones to host those links was the blog “The Scriber“, from the carioca [a native of Rio de Janeiro] journalist Jorge Henrique Cordeiro, who affirmed that is not afraid of being prosecuted. According to him, in case he receives a legal notice he will just take the link off. And he adds that by then, the book will have already been downloaded by many and made available in other blogs, in Orkut, discussion groups and file sharing softwares. It seems that once more bloggers decided to attack and show their strength. It seems that Daniela Cicarelli's failed attempt of censoring YouTube has not served as a lesson to the singer Roberto Carlos.
Who's next?Conversações


At first the case
was not receiving much attention from the traditional media, but as bloggers started spreading copies of the censored edition and making supportive reviews of the content, the issue surfaced back into public scrutiny. The literary star Paulo Coelho — recently incensed by a New Yorker article — joined the debate by attacking Roberto and the publisher, which happens to be his own, in an article posted in one of the major newspapers in the country. “Unfavorable context” was the title of Coelho's article, and also how the publisher labeled the peculiar 5 hour encounter where the parties reached the settlement. In the end, the surreal scene at the court mixed the sad view of an author in tears seeing his work of 15 years being proscribed, along with a joyful photo session of the judge, an amateur singer himself, with the triumphant King, Roberto Carlos.

“TENHO UMA grande admiração por Roberto Carlos -recentemente, um dos mais importantes programas da BBC Radio me perguntou a lista de cinco discos que eu levaria para uma ilha deserta, e incluí um dos seus. E, apesar dos problemas normais decorrentes de uma relação profissional, tenho um grande respeito pela editora Planeta, que publica minhas obras no Brasil e em vários países de língua espanhola. Dito isso, é com grande tristeza que leio nos jornais que, na 20ª Vara Criminal da Barra Funda, em São Paulo, os advogados do cantor Roberto Carlos e da editora Planeta fizeram um acordo que prevê a interrupção definitiva da produção e comercialização da biografia não-autorizada “Roberto Carlos em Detalhes”, do jornalista e historiador Paulo Cesar Araújo. O editor diz um disparate para salvar a honra, o cantor não diz nada e o autor fica proibido de dar declarações a respeito. E estamos conversados. Estamos conversados? Não, não estamos, e tenho autoridade para dizer isso. Tenho autoridade porque, desde que publiquei meu primeiro livro, tenho sido sistematicamente atacado.”
Paulo Coelho in O que é ‘contexto desfavorável'?Verdes Trigos

“I admire Roberto Carlos — I've been recently asked by one of the most important programs at BBC Radio for a list of the 5 records I would take to a desert island, and I have included one of his. And despite having the normal problems of a professional relationship, I have great respect for my publisher Planeta, which publishes my books in Brazil and in many Spanish language countries. Having said that, it is with great sadness that I read on the newspapers that, in the 20th São Paulo Criminal Court, lawyers from the singer and from Planeta reached an agreement that translates into the definitive interruption of the production and selling of the non-authorized biography ‘Roberto Carlos in Details’, of journalist and historian Paulo Cesar Araujo. The publisher gives a nonsense explanation to save its honor, the singer says nothing, and the author gets prohibited from saying a word about the case. And that's it. That's it? No, that is not it, and I have the authority to say that. I have the authority because, since I've published my first book, I've been systematically attacked.”
Paulo Coelho in What is an ‘unfavorable context'?Verdes Trigos

Eu sequer vou perguntar porque Roberto Carlos fez o que fez. Ele já foi grande, seus discos antigos eram o máximo, mas depois de um certo tempo ficou francamente constrangedor. Brega, com músicas sem inspiração, politicamente corretas e chatas. O cantor é atualmente uma pálida sombra de si mesmo, fenômeno muito comum na MPB. Uma das justificativas que ele dá no processo (não a principal) é que a obra impede lucros futuros caso ele queira escrever sua própria biografia. Isso de um cara que ganha 1,5 milhão por mês contra um que é professor primário. Uma indignidade. Dizem que a audiência foi uma piada, com cenas de tietagem e tudo. Mas o fato é que Roberto atualmente não passa de um sujeito esquisito, nosso Michael Jackson tupiniquim, mais célebre pela maluquice do que pela arte. O cara é doente e ninguém deveria se arriscar a escrever nada sobre ele. Ele não gosta que escrevam nem artigo. Quer reservar tudo para ele. Seria isso ganância? Mesquinharia? Quem vai saber?
Paulo Coelho se redime num artigo iluminado
A furiosa

I won't even ask why Roberto Carlos did what he did. He was once great, his old records were just the best, but after some time he became truly embarassing. With uninspired songs, politically correct and dull. The singer is nowadays a pale shadow of himself, which is a very common phenomenon in the MPB. One of the lines of reasoning presented in the process (not the main one) is that the book harms future gains in case he decides to write his own biography. And this comes from someone [the singer] who makes 1.5 million a month against the other one [the writer] who is a first grade teacher. That is an indignity. They say the meeting was a joke, with explicit scenes of bootlicking. But the fact is that Roberto today is nothing more than a weird figure, our tropical Michael Jackson, who earns his celebrity [status] more from his weirdeness than for his art. The guy is sick, and nobody should risk writing anything about him. He doesn't even like articles. He wants everything for himself. Could it be greed or ungenerosity? Who knows?
Paulo Coelho redeems himself in an iluminated article
A furiosa

Paulo Cesar de Araújo, que saiu da audiência chorando, reclamou do clima de confraternização nos momentos que sucederam a assinatura do acordo, na última sexta. Ele conta que o juiz Tércio Pires e os promotores tiraram fotos com Roberto Carlos, e o juiz ainda teria entregue a ele, ao cantor e aos representantes da editora Planeta uma cópia do CD “Pra Te Ver Voar”, em que canta com o nome artístico de Thé Lopes. “Vi meu livro sendo queimado nesse cenário surreal”, diz. O juiz disse à Folha que a entrega do CD foi um gesto de “pacificação”: “Já fiz isso em outras audiências de conciliação. É uma forma de parabenizar pelo acordo, tanto que dei o CD a todas as partes”.
Adeus, RCDiscoteca Básica

Paulo Cesar de Araujo, who left the meeting crying, complained about the cheerful mood in the moments right after the signing of the deal last Friday. He tells that the judge Tércio Pires and the prosecutors took pictures with Roberto Carlos, and the judge also handed him a copy of his own CD “To See You Fly”, where he sings with the artistic name Thé Lopes. “I saw my book being burned in this surreal scenery”, he says. The judge told Folha [de Sao Paulo] that handing CDs was a gesture of ‘peace': “I've done this in other conciliation meetings. It is a way to congratulate for the agreement, as I've given CDs to all parties”.
Goodbye, RCDiscoteca Básica


There is no community consensus
on the network, and comments reveal diverse views that go back and forth around the issues of privacy and freedom of expression.

Acho espantoso que as pessoas considerem absolutamente normal um escritor, jornalista, sei mais o quê, usar seu talento e sua “liberdade de expressão” para esquadrinhar a vida particular de uma celebridade que não quis lhe dar entrevista, que não autorizou que sua vida particular foi devassada, que evidentemente tem problemas com seu defeito físico, que evidentemente tem dificuldades com a memória da morte de sua mulher,que tem problemas em admitir de público sua vida amorosa extra-conjugal, e que esse escritor se “expresse” parasitando, literária e financeiramente, sobre a carreira e a fama de uma pessoa famosa. Para qual expressão o referido escritor usou a liberdade que a Constituição lhe garante? Expressar o quê? Ele não poderia ter se limitado a relatar a carreira profissional do artista? Pra que esmiuçar e divulgar detalhes que o biografado não deseja divulgar? Não entendo esse uso do conceito de liberdade de expressão (expressão de quê?) para acobertar toda e qualquer devassa da vida de um artista ou de uma pessoa famosa. O que importa para a carreira artística do cantor saber como e quando ele perdeu uma parte da perna, como a mulher dele morreu, com quem ele teve ou deixou de ter casos amorosos?
Comentário de Vera in A Fogueira de Livros do Rei RobertoO Biscoito Fino e a Massa

I find it amazing that some people find it absolutely normal for a writer, a journalist, or anyone else, to use his talent and this “freedom of expression” to investigate the private life of a celebrity who did not want to give him an interview, who did not authorize the scrutinization of his private life, who obviously has issues with his physical impairment, who evidently has trouble with the memories of his wife's death, who's got problems admiting his extra-marriage relationships, and that this writer “expresses” himself literarily and financially feeding on a notorious person's career and fame. To this expression the named writer has used the [defense of] the freedom the Constitution guarantees him? To express what? Couldn't he have limited himself to narrate the artist's professional career? What is the meaning of divulging private details that the subject doesn't what to talk about? I don't understand this use of the concept freedom of expression (expression of what?) to cover all and every investigation into the life of an artist or a famous person. How can it matter for the singer's artistic career to know how and when he has lost part of his leg, how his wife died, with whom he had or did not have love affairs?
Vera's Comment in King Roberto's Bonfire of BooksO Biscoito Fino e a Massa

…(são) muito poucos os que a acompanham ao dizer Não entendo esse uso do conceito de liberdade de expressão (expressão de quê?). Parece-me, a mim e a muita gente, bastante claro de que “expressão” se trata: Expressão de 15 anos de pesquisa, de compilação de fatos públicos relevantes para a história da cultura brasileira, de organização, estudo e interpretação de eventos comprovadamente verdadeiros que são parte da trajetória de um artista popular e, por conseguinte, da cultura brasileira. Se você continua achando que RC estava mesmo protegendo-se de uma “devassa” ou de “parasitismo”, convido-a a que leia o livro.
Comentário de Idelber Avelar in A Fogueira de Livros do Rei RobertoO Biscoito Fino e a Massa

(Vera, there are) too few people following you in saying ” I don't understand this use of the concept freedom of expression (expression of what?). It seems, to me and to many people, that “expression” here means: The expression of 15 years of research, of compilation of public facts that are relevant to the history of the Brazilian culture, of organization, study and interpretation of events that are proved to be true, which are part of a popular artist's life, and therefore, part of the Brazilian culture. If you keep thinking that RC was protecting himself from an investigation or from parasites, I invite you to read the book.
Idelber Avelar's Comment in King Roberto's Bonfire of BooksO Biscoito Fino e a Massa


Kings and books
— as well as judges and lawyers — have been around for a while, and have ruled the world in their own ways across the ages. In this context the Internet is just an infant child in the king's court, but its influence has radically changed the way things used to be and may become.

O caso Daniella Cicarelli deveria ter mostrado às celebridades que o melhor na sociedade da informação é ficar quieto sobre assuntos constrangedores. Eu, por exemplo, jamais pensei em ler essa biografia. Agora estou curiosíssimo para ler e descobrir o que incomodou tanto o cantor. E acho que muitos dos meus 500 leitores diários também ficarão.
celebridades adoram enxugar gelomartelada

Daniela Cicarelli's case should have served to show the celebrities that in the information society, it is better to be silent about uncomfortable issues. I, for example, never thought about reading this biography. Now I am dying of curiosity to read it and find out what has trouble the singer so much. And I think that many of my 500 daily readers will also do.
Celebrities love to dry icemartelada

Professor, o serviço completo. E tem até o primeiro disco, também proibido, para download.
Anarquia Digital em maio 15, 2007 03:32 AM

Professor, here is the complete service. And we even have the first record, which was also prohibited, to be downloaded.
Digital Anarchy in May 15, 2007 03:32 AM

Todo mundo já linkou por aí, mas ainda em tempo aí vai o link para baixar o livro probido da biografia do cantor Roberto Carlos. Por que divulgar? Pelo simples fato de ele ter sido censurado
Brasa MoraLet's Blogar

Everybody has linked it, but it is still time to deliver the link to download the prohibited biography of the singer Roberto Carlos. Why divulging it? For the simple fact that it was censured
Brasa MoraLet's Blogar

4 comments

  • My wife just bought that Roberto Carlos book. We quarrel bitterly over whether Roberto Carlos is really “the Brazilian Rlvis.” Elvis, I maintain, never morphed into the mutant spawn of Barbara Streisand and Barry Manilow, and that makes all the difference. But the debate continues. “É proibido fumar” is certainly a rocking little tune!

    Speaking of T.H. White’s treatment of Arthurian legends, Brazil also has a once (and future?) Minister of the Future, by the way.

  • […] new biography of pop singer Roberto “The Brazilian Elvis,” in a post entitled Brazil: The Once and Future(?) King, the Brazil editor for The Berkman Center for the Intel-Inside Society’s Hearing O Globo […]

  • […] Brazil: The Once and Future(?) KingThere are two kings in Brazil . PelA , the world famous football star, and Roberto Carlos, a great icon of Brazilian popular music . […]

  • jurema longo

    so digo uma coisa.quem nao deve nao teme.

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