The other day, I wrote about Mr. Enéas Carneiro and I mentioned that in Brazil we also elected a clown with a massive voting. The individual I am talking about is Mr. Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, whose is most commonly known by his stage name Tiririca.
Tiririca was born in the interior Céara, a state in the northeast of Brazil (the same region I am from). The cities in the interior of the northeast are massively poor. These areas have extreme weather conditions where it is common to have long periods of droughts. For many decades people from the region immigrated to larger cities located in the coast and to the south of Brazil searching for a better life.
According to the wikipedia article, Tiririca started working as a clown when he was only 8 years old. His stage would be little itinerant circuses that still today are quite common in our region. Through hard work he managed to start performing in the capital of Céara, Fortaleza, and become more and more famous.
His national breakthrough happened when the song Florentina de Jesus became a gigantic one wonder hit. The piece consists of spoken words and an addicting sung chorus that said:
“Florentina, Florentina, Florentina de Jesus/Não sei se tu me amas/Pra que tu me seduz?(sic)”
The direct translation of this sentence is Florentina, Florentina, Florentina de Jesus / I don´t know if you love me / Why do you seduce me?”
This post would be useless without the link to this … masterpiece:
The album containing Florentina de Jesus sold more than 1.5 million copies. He also recorded two other CDs but they were not a bit as successful as the first one. During the following years Tiririca would take part in different humor shows on Brazilian TV until in 2010 he decided to run to the national chamber of representatives.
During the campaign, his TV spots would show him saying statements such as:
“What does a politician do? I don´t know. Elect me, I will find out and tell you”
“Worse than it is now, it will not be. Vote Tiririca”
Here are some of the videos in Portuguese:
The results of the election brought a colossal victory to Tiririca. He was elected with more than 1.3 million votes (7% of all the valid votes).
Unfortunately, the problems to the ex-clown were just about to start. He was accused of being an illiterate. In Brazil, it is forbidden for individuals that do not have a basic level of reading and writing to serve as a representative in the national chamber. After a short, but intense, legal battle he was allowed to serve as a “deputado federal” after proving that indeed he had the minimal required knowledge. Recently, and ironically, he became part of the special commission of the national chamber for education and culture.
In some posts below, I mentioned that Enéas was elected as a protest vote of people who were not aware of his quasi-fascist positions. The case with Tiririca is a bit different – of course many of his votes were protest votes, but he was also chosen by the most humble Brazilians, the immigrants from the northeast living in São Paulo who saw him as a similar and a authentic option.
Regarding his work as a politician, according to Veja magazine in April 2012, Tiririca has attended 100% of the parliamentary sessions, but did not take the stage a single time. Well, at least he seems to be trying which is fair enough. By the way, one of the most active representatives this year was the ex-player Romário… but that will be for another day.