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Lawyer's Powerpoint Slide Accidentally Creates A Classic Brazilian Meme

Morfindel Werwulf Rúnarmo

Geofísico entende de terremoto

Deltan Dallagnol, prosecutor in the Car Wash corruption probe, presents his argument via Powerpoint to a press conference on Wednesday. Photo credit: Geraldo Bubniak/EFE/Newscom

The Olympics are over. The President has been impeached. The Speaker of the House has had his term thrown out. For a moment this week it looked like Brazil was facing a lull after months of tense, electrifying news.

But just when you thought things might quiet down in Brazil, Brazilians prove you wrong.

Yesterday, a prosecutor in the Car Wash corruption probe presented his case against former President Luiz Inacio da Silva, known simply as Lula. Prosecutors allege that Lula, the charismatic heart of the Worker’s Party and the mentor of impeached President Dilma Rousseff, personally received a million dollars in bribes including a luxury apartment on the São Paulo coast.

The lead prosecutor, Deltan Dallagnol, told a press conference yesterday that Lula was the “big boss” (thecomandante máximo, in fact) of a kickback scheme at the state-owned oil company Petrobras ”At the center of this nucleus is Mr. Lula,” Dallagnol affirmed. He announced that as a result, Lula would be charged with corruption and money laundering.

That should have been the topic of discussion across the Brazilian internet. But then Dallagnol fired up a Powerpoint.

Instead, the lawyer’s Powerpoint presentation has stolen away the Brazilian internet’s attention. One slide in particular, with its jumble of incongruous bubbles and arrows, has Brazil in hysterics. For those who don’t speak Portuguese, the slide shows a series of bubbles, with arrows all pointing toward a big bubble in the middle called “Lula”.


Among the items mentioned in the surrounding bubbles are:

- corrupt governance

- decision-making power

- illegal enrichment

- common nexus

- witness testimonies

The bubbled list goes on to include mentions of individuals who have been implicated in the Car Wash probe (José Dirceu). One of the bubbles, bizarrely, mentions “reaction of Lula” with an arrow pointing toward the “Lula” bubble, confounding many Powerpoint interpreters. The slide even features the word “proinocracia”, which does not seem to even be a word (the most common belief is that proinocracia is a typo of another made-up word, propinocracia, which in Brazilian slang could come closest to meaning in English a “bribe-ocracy”).


Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, henceforth known as the center bubble. (Source: NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)​

Brazilians are embarrassed not only by the fact that a major legal presentation of a federal investigation into the criminal behavior of a former president features a typo. They’re embarrassed across the political spectrum to see such a junior varsity PowerPoint handed out by some of the country’s most important lawyers.

With a design more reminiscent of a Monopoly board than anything else, it features all the essential elements of a poorly-done Powerpoint slide: too much text, unnecessary and confusing graphic layout, incoherent causation arrows, words that must be hyphenated multiple times to fit inside bubbles, and even the typo. It features a whopping 14 arrows – 14 arrows! – which, Powerpoint judges correct me if I’m wrong, may be a new record.

So for the past 24 hours, Brazilians have busily drafted their own bubblicious PowerPoint slides. The resulting memes are classic Brazil, soon to become the next generation of political memes, following in the hallowed footsteps of the hilarious feminist response to Brazil’s impeachment dilemma.

A new classic Brazilian meme for the ages fills the outer bubbles with a rundown of society’s woes, with all of them pointing to Lula. Those woes include everything from local troubles like the 7-1 defeat of Brazil’s team in the World Cup, to the “Cuban Missile Crisis” and even “Trump.” The satire website Sensacionalista added the “three-prong outlet” to the list, a frustration any Brazil visitor knows well. And a more light-hearted take adds problems ranging from “Radiohead not at Lollapalooza” to “gourmet hotdogs.”

View image on Twitter

Anderson Oliveira @mundodeandy
Acharam a atualização do slide do Lula com seus crimes

4:50 PM - 14 Sep 2016

Some of the highlights include trippy meta concepts, like having all the outside bubbles also read Lula, creating an ever-repeating kaleidoscope of Lula.

View image on Twitter

Simpático de corpo™ @Jota_Bosco
Tá explicado o funcionamento da lava-jato

4:50 PM - 14 Sep 2016

Another version diagrams the experience of having a crush on someone, in which all of the outer bubbles say “me” and the inner bubble says “you.”

View image on Twitter

Snapchat: ocaosbravo @caosbravo
chega no crush e diz que saíram as investigações da lava jato:

4:36 PM - 14 Sep 2016

Another points the Lava Jato crimes toward a center bubble called “Neymusico,” a reference to Brazilian soccer star Neymar’s new music career.

View image on Twitter

Pedor @pedraum_quejero

4:35 PM - 14 Sep 2016

Sensacionalista even offered up an explanation with their fake headline: “Car wash investigation says that Lula redirected money to go towards Powerpoint classes for interns of the Federal Public Ministry” (the entity running the probe).

And because the joking around has no limit in Brazil, there is now even a “Lula Powerpoint Generator” website, where you too can make your own Lula powerpoint. Here’s my attempt at translating the original slide into English as best I could:


My English-language version of the now-infamous Lula slide.​

All of this is, of course, quite distracting from the very real issues at hand.

To be sure, the rigorous continuance of the Car Wash corruption probe may be Brazil’s best hope for combatting systemic corruption. The country’s lower chamber just annulled the mandate of the corrupt former Speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha – a good first step.

Now, the Car Wash probe must carry on that push to drive out corruption across party lines. As for Lula, many Brazilians believe he may in fact be corrupt; it appears to have been difficult over the past years to accumulate much power in Brazilian politics without using a little – or a lot – of corruption here and there. The trouble is that if he is corrupt, those facts needs to be proven through a clean legal process.

The fact that the most critical legal process in Brazil at the moment is being presented via laughable Powerpoint slides does not exactly offer the creditability the process needs.

But it sure does offer some excellent memes.


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