Jul 25, 2007

A cobra vai fumar. Today while searching for lacraias (just stubbed a lacraia, aka piolho de cobra, to death as it zigzaged across my living room) I found some interesting info on the Brazilian expression a cobra vai fumar Dicionário Informal:

"A cobra vai fumar é um termo que se começou a ser usado na primeira guerra mundial. Quando se falou em querra mundial, aqui, nenhum brasileiro acreditou que o Brasil entraria na guerra, e alguns começaram a falar que que era mais facil uma cobra fumar cachimbo, do que o Brasil entrar na guerra... Mas como entraram, mostraram que todos que quando "o bicho pega" ou "a cobra fuma" todos se submetem ao improvável. Inclusive, o Brasil usou (como símbolo) a cobra fumando cachimbo na guerra!
O símbolo da FEB era a "cobra fumando" pois Getúlio havia dito:
-"É mais fácil uma cobra fumar do que o Brasil entrar na Guerra."

From Wikipedia (which I edited, by the way):
It is often said that, being questioned about the possibilities of a Brazilian Expeditionary Force entering the war against the Axis, Hitler Getúlio Vargas was reported to have said that "snakes will start smoking pipes before Brazil joins the allies enters the war".[citation needed] As a result of this tale, the Brazilian Expeditionaries called themselves Cobras Fumantes (literally, Smoking Snakes) and wore a divisional shoulder patch which showed a snake smoking a pipe.

Up to this day, the expression "a cobra vai fumar" (Portuguese for "the snake is going to smoke") is often used in Brazil in a context similar to "something wicked this way comes".

I suddenly realise that several of my recent posts are nicotine-infused (Gainsbourg, the smoking hand and now this one) and that is probably because I've been trying to quit with no success so far...

PS. Tomorrow I will have to go back to this post because a little research on this phrase indicates that it was not something Getúlio said, it seems it was a widespread phrase generally used by skeptics, people who could not fathom Brazil going to war in Europe.

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Blogger Neuza said...

Adoro tirar da cartola essas expressões pro Colin!

5:37 PM  

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