What about him makes us xenophobic?
I generally think it very funny when rage rains down upon the heads of Brazilian surfers for their exaggerated claims, their artful post wave celebrations. The watery samba has never really bothered me much. If anything, I think they should push it further. They should take note of Victor Cruz’s hips or Cher’s arms and really perform.
But last night, watching the NBA finals game 5, I finally felt the rage for myself. Anderson Varajão plays for the world champion Golden State Warriors. Last year he played for their opponents the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is tall, 6’10” with a sweet jump shot but is most famous for his flops. His wild, artificial body quakes that are aimed at getting foul calls from the referees.
Oh how they annoy! His face draws into a mask of bewildered pain. Mouth grimacing, eyes little slits of pain. He rolls on the ground. He holds his head. He goes into full spasms all for the smallest brush.
And the rage bubbles in my heart!
“That fucking Brazilian! That fucking fake Brazilian! He never even got touched!”
Now, what about his Brazilian-ness makes it so bad? Why does it have anything to do with my rage? When white basketballers and black basketballers flop I find it cheap and tawdry but don’t hold it against their nationality. But when this tall Brazilian flops I want to drop giant bombs on São Paulo. The announcers, usually restrained, even tee off on him!
The same in surf. Matty Wilko’s claims are very much worse, I think, than Gabe Medina’s but it is Gabe who draws the ire.
What about the theatrical Brazilian makes us xenophobic? Could unlocking this mystery bring about world peace?