Clearly unaware that the whole world actually cares about the Olympics, Brazilian politicians, security guards and athletes have been holding and touching the Olympic flag without any protective gloves, as is required by Olympic protocol.
This has been happening since the flag left London on Monday. It was first touched by the greasy fingers of the boxer Esquiva Falcão, his brother Yamaguchi Falcão, Rio’s mayor Eduardo Paes, sailor Robert Scheidt, the athlete Maurren Maggi and the street sweeper Renato Sorriso. What really strikes me about it is that these people should be somehow accustomed to public life – oh, what’s that over there? Oh, right. It’s a camera that will take a photo that will be published all over the world.
But it gets worse. When arriving in Brazil, the flag visited President Dilma Roussef, who also held onto the flag without wearing any gloves, along with Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. Eduardo Paes broke the protocol again when taking the flag for a visit of the favela Complexo do Alemao, where a little girl was photographed touching it.
I present to you something we call the “jeitinho brasileiro”, which translates to “the Brazilian way”. What this means is that if there is any wriggling room in a rule or law, it will be used somehow. Or laws, rules, problems and/or protocols are simply ignored because they may be considered silly or stupid, in a very broad way. It’s not quite selfish, but mindlessly self-centered. That’s the “jeitinho brasileiro” and I promise we shall see a lot more of it in the upcoming World Cup and Olympics.
The real issue with this is that other countries don’t recognize the Brazilian way as any sort of valid behaviour. And I think the Brazilian authorities might just realize that in the coming years.