Article writing

Open Posted By: highheaven1 Date: 21/10/2020 High School Case Study Writing

 Using the provided article from Rollefson on Remix, you will provide a summary and critical analysis of the article. Using a 12 pt. Times New Roman font this assignment should be no more than 2 single-spaced pages in length .


  • Reflect on the author's main points by freewriting about them for yourself. This helps you uncover your ideas and find language to express them.
  • After reading each section (on one of the author's points), write answers to questions such as these:
    What is the author saying in this section?
    Why is he/she saying this?
    How does this point fit with his/her other ideas?
    How does this point fit with ideas from your course?
    How does this point fit with your own experience and opinion?
    So what? What are the implications of this idea?


  • Plan your paper. A review usually contains a summary of the author's main ideas (refer to your map) and your evaluation or assessment of these ideas (refer to your freewriting). Determine your overall opinion/assessment of the author's ideas: positive, negative or mixed. Then find reasons backed by evidence (examples) to support your opinion. Arrange your ideas hierarchically.
  • Write your paper quickly, following your plan. Don't edit as you write. Focus on communicating your ideas.
  • Fix up your paper by working on one concern at a time.
    1) Content: Make your points clear and developed
    2) Organization: Present ideas in chunks introduced by summaries.
    3) Language: Edit for conciseness. Correct errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation.
Category: Arts & Education Subjects: Education Deadline: 24 Hours Budget: $80 - $120 Pages: 2-3 Pages (Short Assignment)

Attachment 1

Tom Ze’s Fabrication Defect and the ‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’’: A Postmodern/Postcolonial ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto’’ J. Griffith Rollefson

On his 1998 album Fabrication Defect the Brazilian composer-performer Tom Zé

articulates the discourses of postmodernity and postcoloniality. More than simply

touching on various aspects of ‘‘post-ness,’’ Zé forges from them an updated manifesto

premised on Oswald de Andrade’s 1928 ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto.’’ The former Tropicália

musician proposes an ‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’’ as a way to appropriate and then

reformulate the products of Western techno-capitalism. In this discussion, I will argue

that the composer reconfigures the modernist and colonial tropes of primitivism and

cannibalism in a subversively technophilic postmodern and postcolonial fashion—an

oppositionality embodied in the album’s ‘‘defective android’’ figure.


On his 1998 album Com Defeito de Fabricação (Fabrication Defect) the Brazilian

composer-performer Tom Zé comments on subalternity, hybridity, agency, and a

host of other focuses in the discourses of postcoloniality and postmodernity. As the

central idea of this concept album, the ‘‘Fabrication Defect’’ stands in as a metaphor

for the postcolonial agency of the Third World underclass. Zé argues that, despite

their domination by multinational corporations, these ‘‘mechanized’’ wage laborers

have managed to find a voice through artistic creation. As Zé writes in the album’s

provocative liner notes: ‘‘these ‘androids’ reveal some inborn ‘defects’: they think,

dance, and dream.’’ The ‘‘defect’’ that Zé speaks of is thus essentially a rupture in

Western capitalist hegemony—an anomaly present throughout the history of

colonialism in Latin America.

On the album, Zé also proposes an ‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’’ as a way to

appropriate and then reformulate the products of Western capitalism and its

Popular Music and Society Vol. 30, No. 3, July 2007, pp. 305–327

ISSN 0300-7766 (print)/ISSN 1740-1712 (online) # 2007 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/03007760600834853

electronic media. This second pillar of Zé’s concept album deals directly with the

postmodern discourses of digital technology, fragmentation, recombination, and re-

signification. While the postmodern condition has been theorized in novel and

despairing terms by Euro-American cultural theorists and ethnomusicologists—most

notably Fredric Jameson (‘‘Postmodernism,’’ Postmodernism) and Veit Erlmann—

Latin American scholars such as Chela Sandoval and Renato Ortiz have found

elements of postmodernity to be at the same time familiar and hopeful. Zé’s

Fabrication Defect and its ‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’’ speak the language of this latter

postmodernism fluently and in a way that is both artistically innovative and steeped

in a ‘‘New World’’ intellectual tradition that anticipated the postmodern moment

long before Jameson’s theories set off alarms in the Euro-American academy.

Rather than touching on various aspects of the discourses of ‘‘post-ness,’’ Zé thus

forges from them a unified ideology—an updated manifesto premised on the

Brazilian modernist Oswald de Andrade’s 1928 ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto.’’ In this

discussion of Zé’s sonic manifesto, I will argue that the composer redeploys the

modernist and colonial tropes of primitivism and cannibalism in an aggressively

oppositional and subversively technophilic postmodern and postcolonial fashion.

Where de Andrade focuses on the cannibal, Zé focuses on the android. In the end,

Zé’s project attempts not only materially to undermine First World economic

hegemony but ideologically to destabilize Western logocentrism and the discursive

practices that privilege the First World’s answers to Third World problems.

Tropicália and the Legacy of Cannibalism

In 1928, the Brazilian modernist poet Oswald de Andrade published a widely

influential declaration of anti-colonial principles under the title ‘‘Manifesto

Antropófago’’ (Cannibalist Manifesto). The manifesto took its name from the

legend of the Tupinambá Indians of Brazil ‘‘who were believed to ritually cannibalize

vanquished enemies in order to absorb their physical and spiritual powers’’ (Dunn

Brutality Garden 18). The Brazilian people, argued de Andrade, should rise up, wrest

the technological and institutional control from the hands of the colonizers, and

appropriate—or devour—their modernity to harness the power of their oppressors.

To add insult to injury, the resulting regurgitated cultural products should then be

sold back to the oppressors as exports, thus undermining their cultural and economic

hegemony. The Cannibalist movement’s political and esthetic strategy of appropria-

tion and deformation is nicely encapsulated in de Andrade’s irreverently catachrestic

appropriation of William Shakespeare, symbol of Western literature par excellence.

Referencing the man-eating Indians de Andrade writes: ‘‘Tupi or not Tupi, that is the

question’’ (Bary 38). Though focused on Brazilian poetry, de Andrade’s project has

had far-reaching effects on the discourses of Brazilian culture at large.1

The trope of cannibalism served de Andrade with a perfect metaphor with which

to articulate a radically anti-colonial cultural nationalism without resorting to an

essentializing, isolationist, and ultimately untenable pre-colonial position. Indeed, de

306 J. G. Rollefson

Andrade defined his Cannibalist movement largely through its opposition to one

such nativist movement: the Brazilian ultranationalist Verdeamarelismo

(Greenyellowism). The Greenyellowists maintained an economic and cultural

protectionist stance while proclaiming a unifying ‘‘essence of feeling’’ among the

Brazilian folk (Dunn Brutality Garden 17). Inspired by the technology-glorifying

Italian Futurist movement, however, de Andrade believed that the Brazilian people

could turn imported modern technologies back on their oppressors, the reticent

colonial interests in Brazil after ‘‘independence’’ in 1822 (Bary 35). As the Brazilian

musician Caetano Veloso remarked, de Andrade’s project offered Brazilian

nationalists an ideology premised on ‘‘an aggressive attitude, not a passive and

defensive nationalism’’ (quoted in Perrone ‘‘Topos and Topicalities’’ 6).

In 1968, 40 years after the ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto’’ was published, the Tropicália

movement emerged in Brazilian politics, art, and most visibly in music. The early

Tropicalists, including the musicians Zé, Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and the

band Os Mutantes (The Mutants), looked to de Andrade and the ‘‘Anthropofagists’’

for tools of political dissent against a new postcolonial hegemony comprised of a

rightist military dictatorship with strong ties to multinational capital.2 The

Tropicalists employed de Andrade’s critical formulation of ‘‘the forest and the

school’’ which described imperial exploitation as a brutal combination of the

decimation of Brazil’s natural resources (the forest) and the embedding of colonialist

ideologies in Brazil’s people (the school). The Cannibalist project thus called for the

liberation of Brazil’s colonialized minds and post-encounter lands that would take

what it wanted from the colonizers to build a modern nation. As Christopher Dunn

writes in his Brutality Garden: Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian

Counterculture, the Tropicalists seized upon de Andrade’s vision wherein ‘‘the forest

and the school, the primitivist and the futurist, the natural and the technological, the

local and the cosmopolitan, and the past and the present exist simultaneously’’ (16–

17). In short, the Tropicalists saw no conflict of interest in appropriating Western

ideas for their own political aims or otherwise collapsing binaries as long as they

maintained their oppositionality.3

At the heart of de Andrade’s studied malapropism ‘‘Tupi or not Tupi’’ and its

resonance with the Tropicalists is the widely remarked-upon historical condition of

doubleness in Latin American life. De Andrade’s injection of Third World Brazilianness

into this marker of First World Englishness is at once primitive and modern, new world

and old world, vernacular and cultivated. Brazilian sociologist Renato Ortiz (Ortiz

Mundialização e cultura) describes this ‘‘sentido duplo’’ as a fact of the Latin American

experience of cultural duality since 1492—a cultural and political condition that

resonates deeply with W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘‘double consciousness.’’ Notably, it is the self-

conscious deployment of the tension inherent in this hybridity that provides the

platform for the cultural critiques of de Andrade and the Tropicalists.

The Tropicalists fashioned their critiques through the appropriation and

deployment of a wide array of cultural and political signifiers. While their music

was grounded in the rhythms of samba and other Brazilian idioms, the Tropicalists

Popular Music and Society 307

also looked to the music of countercultural movements in Europe and the US for

their protest strategies. Despite their appropriative attitude towards Western pop

culture, however, this Brazilian new school maintained oppositionality toward the

West via de Andrade’s formulation. Veloso, the most visible and outspoken member

of the Tropicália movement, explains in his memoir, Verdade Tropical (Tropical

Truth): ‘‘The idea of cultural cannibalism fit us, as tropicalists, like a glove. We were

‘eating’ the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Our arguments against the defensive attitude of

the nationalists found here a succinct and exhaustive formulation’’ (247).

The Tropicalist musicians appropriated the electric guitar-driven style of Western

rock and roll, styled their cultural critique after European Dadaist absurdity, and

infiltrated the commercial recording industry as popular artists. All the while,

however, their music sounded a covert protest through symbolic language and

musical allusions that escaped understanding by the military regime’s legion of

censors. In effect, the strategy cast the musicians as wolves in sheep’s clothing as the

Tropicalists used an often saccharine form of seemingly harmless popular music as a

means to counterhegemonic ends. With the model of Oswald de Andrade’s

‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto’’ Tropicália became the popular music of the Brazilian youth

and thus helped to garner immense opposition to the military regime across racial,

ethnic, and class lines.

As with de Andrade’s Greenyellowist adversaries, the Tropicalists also positioned

themselves in contrast with their older rival, the nationalist musical movement dubbed

Música Popular Brasileira (MPB). The MPB ideology looked exclusively within Brazil’s

borders for its ‘‘traditional’’ musical style and esthetics. As Dunn notes, MPB artists like

their Verdeamarilist forebears ‘‘promoted the politics of cultural authenticity and

rejected the international rock movement’’ that the Tropicalists engaged in

(‘‘Tropicália’’ 73). Where the MPB movement used nativist and essentialist rhetoric

in an effort to exert a Brazilian national subjectivity, the Tropicália movement worked

within a framework that both accepted pop culture contingently and deployed

essentialist authenticity only where strategically practicable. Through these tactics, the

Tropicalists forged a Brazilian subjectivity that reflected the multiplicity of their Latin

American reality and rejected the politics of separatism.

At the outset of the Tropicália movement its most experimental member, the

conservatory-trained composer and guitarist Tom Zé gave powerful poetic voice to

de Andrade’s anti-nativist ideological lineage. A former participant in the MPB

movement, Zé’s conflicting attitudes about the political economy of ‘‘tradition’’

finally led him to help found the Tropicália movement with Veloso, Gil, Costa, and

Os Mutantes. In his 1968 song ‘‘Quero Samba Meu Bem’’ (I Want to Samba My

Dear) Zé proclaimed: ‘‘I want to samba too, but I don’t want to wallow in the pits of

embalmed tradition’’ (on Tom Zé 1968). Here Zé directs his critique at the staunch

nativist/essentialist stance of MPB and the official status conferred upon this

‘‘traditional’’ music by Brazil’s military regime.4 In his 1972 song ‘‘Sr. Cidadão’’ (Mr

Citizen) Zé foregrounds the symbiotic relationship through which nativism and

militarism prop each other up, singing: ‘‘How many kilos of fear [does it take] to

308 J. G. Rollefson

fashion a tradition? Mr Citizen, I want to know’’ (on Se O Caso É Chorar). Typical of

the Tropicalist attitude toward conventional nationalist ideologies, Zé’s music echoed

the progressive nationalism of de Andrade’s dynamic, hypercritical, and always

aggressive Cannibalism.

In her Methodology of the Oppressed Chela Sandoval describes a type of tactical

multiplicity of identity similar to that which the Tropicalists used not as ‘‘double’’ or

‘‘duplo,’’ as Du Bois and Ortiz, but rather as ‘‘differential’’ consciousness. As

Sandoval asserts, differential consciousness arises out of a historical need to navigate

a vastly inequitable world by continually questioning the order of things—and the

very meaning of that order. She writes:

Differential social movement finds its expression through the methodology of the oppressed. The technologies of semiotic reading, deconstruction of signs, meta- ideologizing, differential movement, and moral commitment to equality are its vectors, its expressions of influence. These vectors meet in the differential mode of consciousness, which carries them through to the level of the ‘‘real’’ where they can impress and guide dominant powers. So too differential oppositional consciousness is itself a force that rhizomatically and parasitically inhabits each of these vectors, linking them in movement, while the pull of each vector creates the ongoing tension and re-formation of the liberal, revolutionary, supremacist, or separatist ideological forces that inscribe social reality….Each technology of the methodology of the oppressed creates new conjunctural possibilities, produced by ongoing and transforming regimes of exclusion and inclusion. (Sandoval 181)

As the automotive and mathematically derived term implies, differential

consciousness is thus a recalibration and recalculation of one’s identity at each

point along one’s trajectory that, in turn, redirects power and reinscribes reality.

While the meaning of ‘‘truth’’ must be reconsidered at each point along the

trajectory, oppositionality and equality provide compass points to orient such

seemingly floating subjectivity. Her methodology is, in short, a morally grounded

post-structuralism. ‘‘Differential consciousness’’ thus provides a fitting theoretical

lens through which to analyze the Latin American hyper-political artistry of de

Andrade, the Tropicalists, and the contemporary work of Tom Zé. Indeed, Sandoval’s

Methodology of the Oppressed is a framework built through the articulation—in the

Hallian sense—of postmodernism and postcoloniality.5

From Modern to Postmodern, Colonial to Postcolonial

It is within this context of postmodern/postcolonial cultural discourse that I hope to

position Zé’s concept album Fabrication Defect and its attendant ‘‘Esthetics of

Plagiarism.’’ In the following sections, I will argue that with the album Zé is

redeploying the ideas of de Andrade’s ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto’’ in a manner that is

both postmodern and postcolonial. While much scholarly attention has been paid to

the cannibalist legacy of the Tropicália movement Zé has recently denied direct

influence from de Andrade’s ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto.’’ Yet Zé’s Tropicalist past and

‘‘plagiarist’’ present indicate an ideological indebtedness to the vastly influential

Popular Music and Society 309

modernist project of de Andrade. While we might easily take Zé at his word that he

‘‘never read Oswald de Andrade,’’ a critical inquiry into the similarities between Zé’s

plagiarism and de Andrade’s cannibalism should prove illuminating (Dunn Brutality

Garden 200).

My postmodern/postcolonial theoretical apparatus takes its lead both from Zé’s

theoretical lexicon and from the analogous relationship between the ‘‘dangerous

others’’ that both de Andrade and Zé employ as fonts of oppositional power. Where

de Andrade looks to the colonial period’s trope of the ‘‘primitive cannibal,’’ Zé draws

upon the power of the equally overwritten ‘‘subaltern wilder,’’ the violent urban thief

of the postcolonial period. A notable alteration is evident in Zé’s rhetorical strategy.

His esthetic tension is no longer located between the city and the jungle but between

the city and its peripheries—the favelas or suburban slums of Rio, Brasilia, Bahía, and

São Paulo. A related shift in Zé’s formulation is a move from the primitivist

fetishization of the modernists, de Andrade included, to the electronic media

fixations of self-fashioned postmodernists such as Zé. It is this update for which Zé

installs the android figure.

In short, I argue that the shifts from cannibalism to plagiarism and primitives to

androids represent a fundamental shift from the modern to the postmodern—from

the colonial to the postcolonial. The method of strategic appropriation and

reformulation first deployed by de Andrade, reiterated in the Tropicália movement,

and currently audible in Zé’s work constitutes a remarkable historical continuity of

Brazilian opposition to First World hegemony. The responses to the social realities

that de Andrade and Zé are engaged with, however, reveal notable differences within

this history. It is my contention that the qualities of Zé’s cultural critique tell us

something about the changing needs of late twentieth-century oppositional

movements—notably the increased importance of information technology to such

efforts. Where de Andrade’s modernism and primitivist rhetoric gestured to the

material embodiment of opposition (the proto-human cannibal figure) Zé’s self-

consciously postmodern and post-structural critiques take place in the realm of the

disembodied ideal (the post-human android figure).

Essential to Zé’s project is an understanding that the ‘‘post’’ in the postmodern/

postcolonial dyad is a hopeful gesture and not an indication that Zé believes that the

machinations of modernism and colonialism have disappeared (see McClintock).

This hope is represented by the ‘‘defect’’ of human agency that permeates Zé’s album.

In the following sections, I will read Zé’s Fabrication Defect within the contexts of

Brazilian cultural discourse and the discourses of ‘‘post-ness.’’ The first and second

sections will situate Zé’s manifesto within a theoretical framework, focusing on the

concepts of the ‘‘Fabrication Defect’’ and the ‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’’ respectively.

The third section will then discuss the lyrical and musical content of selected songs

from the album to analyze their protest strategies. Ultimately, through a discussion of

Fabrication Defect, I hope to foreground the discourses of postmodern and

postcolonial theory with which Zé’s creative, elegant, and often bitingly satirical

socio-political critique are in dialogue.

310 J. G. Rollefson

Agency in a Third World of ‘‘Defective’’ Androids

Ze’s Fabrication Defect is a collection of 14 songs, each numbered as a successive

‘‘defect’’ inherent in the overwritten and exploited masses of the Third World. In the

liner notes, Zé explains this first premise of his project and the underlying concept for

the album:

The Third World has a huge and rapidly increasing population. These people have been converted into a kind of ‘‘android,’’ almost always analphabetics. It has happened here in Brazil—in the slums of Rio, São Paulo and the Northeast of Brazil, and in the Third World in general. But these androids reveal some inborn ‘‘defects’’: they think, dance and dream—things that are very dangerous to the First-World bosses. Let me explain: in the eyes of the First World, we in the Third World who think these things, and who explore our reality on the planet, are like ‘‘androids’’ who are essentially defective.

As the postcolonial theorist Gayatri Spivak argues in her article ‘‘Can the Subaltern

Speak?’’ Western political, economic, and cultural processes of ‘‘othering’’ have

produced a reified image of the Third World as a mass of voiceless individuals who

need to be spoken for. Zé’s South American picture of these processes is remarkably

similar to Spivak’s South Asian perspective with one notable exception: in the

‘‘fabrication’’ of its others, Western capitalists have failed in their attempt to create

true automatons. Their androids have turned out to be defective—they can speak.

The defect that Zé speaks of is the much-debated ‘‘agency.’’

In his description of human agency as a defect, Zé sees a process that resonates

with Homi Bhabha’s poststructural description of the ‘‘ambivalent space’’ between

desire and fulfillment. Also South Asian, Bhabha describes this space as ‘‘a mutation’’

(111) in much the same way that Zé introduces his concept of the ‘‘Fabrication

Defect’’. The two metaphors result from similarly fluid models of acculturation and

are premised on the indeterminacy of human action—the ruptures, frayed edges, and

anomalous outcomes of incomplete and dynamic hegemony. Indeed, Bhabha’s

concept of ‘‘mimicry’’ mirrors the Cannibalist and later Tropicalist position of

cultural appropriation—a topic that I will discuss in detail in the following section.

The Ghanaian-British philosopher Kwame Appiah further explicates this miracle

of agency in spite of oppression and overwriting in chapter seven of his In My

Father’s House, ‘‘The Postcolonial and The Postmodern.’’ He writes:

Despite the overwhelming reality of economic decline; despite unimaginable poverty; despite wars, malnutrition, disease, and political instability, African cultural productivity grows apace: popular literatures, oral narrative and poetry, dance, drama, music, and visual art all thrive. The contemporary cultural production of many African societies—and the many traditions whose evidences so vigorously remain—is an antidote to the dark vision of the postcolonial novelist. (Appiah 157)

Though Appiah is here addressing the African novel, this ‘‘cultural productivity’’ is

very much what Zé sees when he speaks of the ‘‘defects’’ of thinking, dancing, and

dreaming. In addition, both Appiah and Zé are commenting on a discourse of

Popular Music and Society 311

postmodernism that Fredric Jameson has dubbed the ‘‘death of the subject’’

(‘‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society’’ 114). In this formulation the subject

position, and therefore agency, is revealed to be a myth of the European

Enlightenment project. This is the ‘‘dark vision’’ Appiah describes in the above

excerpt. In many ways, both Appiah and Zé are reacting against this tide of opinion

flowing from Jameson’s reading of postmodernism by giving voice to the material

effects of people’s actions in the world—the ‘‘real’’ world where people’s ideas enter

the geography and reflexively shape their environments—in a word, Marx’s concept

of praxis.6

Similarly to the work of Bhabha and Appiah, Latin American theorizations of

postcoloniality and postmodernity have also tended to challenge Jameson’s vision

while at the same time challenging the very terminology of ‘‘post-ness’’ so popular in

Asian and African discourses. Employing a Third World feminist approach,

Sandoval’s Methodology is in fact built upon an opposition to Jameson’s postmodern

vision—its first chapter speaks directly to his totalizing theories. In doing so,

Sandoval also answers Spivak’s evocative question ‘‘Can the Sublatern Speak?’’ in the

affirmative. But for the anthropologist Néstor García Canclini, the so-called

‘‘post’’modern condition in Latin America is not the result of modernism’s downfall,

but rather a continuous navigation of pre-modern and modernizing terrains. As he

half-jokingly remarks in Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving

Modernity: ‘‘if it were not so awkward, we would have to say something like post-

intra-modern’’ (268). For García Canclini, Jameson is among ‘‘those who continue to

adhere to the modernist project’’ whose visions of postmodernity do not account for

the dynamic and incomplete modernizations of Latin American countries (8).

Regarding colonialism, Sandoval is similarly uncomfortable with the terminology,

noting the ‘‘utopian’’ implications of the prefix ‘‘post’’ (185). The eschewal of the

term ‘‘postcolonialism’’ in much Latin American scholarship can be viewed as a

function of hemispheric political differences. Where colonial occupation in Africa

and Asia lasted well into the 20th century, the majority of South and Central

American colonies won independence in the 19th century. The post-revolutionary

period in Latin America did not qualify as complete independence, however, as

European political domination was quickly replaced by Monroe Doctrine

paternalism and US commercial domination (García Canclini Consumers and

Citizens 15–34). As such, when employing the term ‘‘postcolonial’’ Latin American

scholars are quick to note the legacy of colonialism that continues to this day—a

legacy in which it is not uncommon for the First and Third Worlds to coexist within

the borders of the same nation-state. As with Garcı́a Canclini’s ‘‘post-intra-modern,’’

Sandoval thus tends to prefer the term ‘‘neocolonialism.’’ As we will see, Zé’s project

on Fabrication Defect does indeed engage the discourses of ‘‘post-ness’’ but keeps the

meanings of his ‘‘posts’’ attuned to the incomplete ‘‘neo’’ and ‘‘intra’’ realities of

Latin American life.

Both Sandoval and Ortiz (Mundialização e cultura) have also commented on the

usefulness of African American conceptualizations of postmodernity in Latin

312 J. G. Rollefson

American studies. As with the unfinished and unequal project of modernity that

García Canclini describes, theorists such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Houston Baker

define a post-structural condition that arose from the collision and cohabitation of

First and Third Worlds in the Americas. Gates’s term ‘‘signifyin(g)’’ has been

particularly influential in describing the practices of appropriation and reformulation

that African Americans have developed as strategies of mental resistance to

oppression in an inequitable society. Notably, many North and South American

theories locate the genesis of postmodernism in subaltern and working-class colonial

communities long before Jameson’s late capitalist stage 1980s.

Just as Ortiz echoes Du Bois’s ‘‘double consciousness’’ in his conceptualization of a

Latin American ‘‘sentido duplo,’’ his view of resistance in an inequitable society also

echoes Gates’s ‘‘signifyin(g).’’ As a mode of living within and without modernity,

Ortiz sees processes of relocalization that can use the ‘‘deterritorialized’’ artifacts of

Western modernity—those multinational mass-produced consumer goods—to

refashion tools of opposition (‘‘Diversidade’’ 105–45). Rather than becoming

beholden to capitalist interests by using such commodities, Ortiz echoes Zé’s post-

structuralist belief in arguing that such goods can be re-inscribed and redeployed to

politically equitable ends. Where Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart famously

argued that Disney comics were complicit in Latin American domination by North

American capitalists in their How to Read Donald Duck, Ortiz countered that Donald

is in fact not a tool of oppression that colonizes the native mind. Such icons of what

Ortiz calls ‘‘international-popular culture’’ are not static symbols but are instead re-

localized in each instance of viewing, listening, or use. Essentially, each popular icon

is owned by the person engaged with it insofar as it is re-imagined and re-signified by

that person. The argument continues: if Donald is in my comic book or on my TV,

then he is mine (Ortiz ‘‘Madonna and Donald Duck’’). This is the postmodern and

post-structural agency that Zé has in mind.

In his discussion ‘‘The Postcolonial and the Postmodern’’ Appiah recognizes the

dangers of the overwriting processes that Spivak speaks of when he notes that

postcolonial intellectuals ‘‘are always at risk of becoming Otherness-machines’’

(157)—further commodifying difference and misrepresenting the masses. Notably,

Appiah’s critique of this type of mechanization also echoes the model that Zé deploys

in his critical formulation of Third-World ‘‘android’’ workers. While Zé and the

authors discussed above disagree with Jameson about the issue of agency, the

discourses of postmodernism that foreground electronic information and automa-

tion resonate deeply with Zé. Jameson suspects that the technologies of the Western

‘‘society of the media’’ and its attendant ‘‘globalization’’ have created a new, but no

less sinister, hegemonic structure that subsumes and commodifies difference—a sort

of ‘‘Benetton Effect’’ (‘‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society’’ 113).7 Zé, however,

finds that these same technologies, though designed to oppress and exploit, hold

countless oppositional possibilities.

It is this belief in the ruptures within electronic media hegemony that prompted Zé

to commission the art on the disc itself that makes the CD look like yet another

Popular Music and Society 313

cracked—that is to say defective—electronic medium of the First World (see

Figure 1). As we will see, from his metaphorical use of the android figure to his quasi-

ironic glorification of sampling technology and electronic media, Zé has a distinctive

and positive view of the subversive potentialities inherent in the overdeveloped

West’s electronic technologies.

The ‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’’ and the Practice of Cultural ‘‘Arrastão’’

The second primary concept behind Tom Zé’s Fabrication Defect is described as the

‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism.’’ Zé writes:

The esthetic of the fabrication defect will re-utilize the sonorous civilized trash (everyday symphony), be they conventional or unconventional instruments (for example: toys, cars, whistles, saws, hertz orchestra, street noises, etc.)—all of this put into a rhythmic dance music format, with choruses, and within the parameters of popular music. It will recycle an alphabet of emotions contained in songs and musical symbols of the First World….They will be put to use in small ‘‘cells’’ of ‘‘plagiarized’’ material. This deliberate practice unleashes an esthetic of plagiarism, an esthetic of arrastão* that ambushes the universe of the well-known and

Figure 1 CD art on Tom Zé’s Fabrication Defect—a ‘‘defective,’’ cracked CD. Source: reproduced by kind permission of Luaka Bop Records

314 J. G. Rollefson

traditional music. We are at the end, thus, of the composers’ era, inaugurating the plagi-combinator era.

Zé includes a footnote defining the concept of arrastão:

*Arrastão – A dragnet technique used in urban robbery. A small group fan out and then run furiously through a crowd, taking people’s money, jewelry, bags, sometimes even clothes. Translator’s note: A type of ‘‘wilding’’ with a purpose, i.e. robbery.

The esthetic of plagiarism, then, is premised on a violently oppositional idea that

both steals from the West and recycles its trash—both sonic and physical.

It is in this esthetics of plagiarism that Zé’s project most resembles Oswald’s

cannibalist artistic project. Zé instructs would be ‘‘plagi-combinators’’ to rob the so-

called ‘‘intellectual property’’ of the First World media conglomerates like a thief

running through the city streets. In doing so the plagi-combinator calls upon a rich

‘‘alphabet of emotions,’’ which is to say, an easily referenced shorthand for a wealth

of meanings that people world-wide can access—what Stuart Hall calls ‘‘the infinite

plurality of codes’’ (‘‘On Postmodernism’’ 48). This tactic of cultural arrastão

appropriates the cultural identities of the First World through a violent wresting of

control of cultural products from the hands of the enemy. In this way the ‘‘cells’’ of

plagiarized material are appropriated into the body of the Third World and can be

used to combat its oppressors; in Zé’s view the creative ‘‘defect’’ thus becomes an

asset for the subaltern plagi-combinator. As Robert Stam writes in his ‘‘Tropical

Detritus: Terra em Transe, Tropicália, and the Aesthetics of Garbage’’ (85), this

tactical move of turning a defect into an asset is the premise of jujitsu—here we have

a sort of subaltern cultural jujitsu.

Just as Oswald sought to create a ‘‘poetry for export’’ through his re-sale of

cannibalized products back to the West, Zé’s recent projects, including Fabrication

Defect and the preceding album, The Hips of Tradition, have targeted Euro-American

markets. With the help of the iconoclastic American artist David Byrne, Zé has

produced scathing criticisms of First World oppression and exploitation through the

seemingly hypocritical medium of popular music CDs. Although Byrne’s indepen-

dent Luaka Bop record label is essentially in partnership with Zé in producing the

album, the multinational Warner Bros distributes the commercial ‘‘product,’’ the

CD. In light of Zé’s blatant opposition to such corporate interests the question of

hypocrisy demands resolution. Can one maintain oppositionality while lining the

pockets of the purported oppressor? Is the medium—the commodity—the only


As Louise Meintjes suggests in her critique of Paul Simon’s similar international

collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the economic and political inequities

between the two parties render this music incapable of opposition to capitalist

hegemony (66). Indeed, in this view the infamous ‘‘collaboration’’ is actually a

paternalistic gesture and may be complicit, as per Jameson and Erlmann’s ‘‘Benetton

Effect’’ formulations, in the subjugation of the very people that it is presumed to aid.

Popular Music and Society 315

Focusing on the primary metaphor of Frantz Fanon’s 1951 landmark work Black

Skin, White Masks in constructing her argument, however, Sandoval puts forth

another compelling answer to this conundrum. As she notes, Fanon’s argument

suggests that the mask does irreparable harm to the native implicated in colonial

domination—the so-called ‘‘comprador.’’ Sandoval, however, reminds us of another

valence of masks that enables the ‘‘tactical deception of the impostor who controls’’


Similarly, it is through the updated version of de Andrade’s cannibalism and the

Tropicalists’ ‘‘cultural jujitsu’’ that Zé fashions his ingenious response. Zé may not be

a mechanized subaltern wage laborer himself, but by donning the mask of this mestizo

android he fashions a strategic essentialism that may be reconfigured and redeployed

at any moment. Although he seems to render subaltern wage laborers monolithic, by

casting them in the wild fiction of the android figure he keeps his argument fluid and

dynamic. In brief, the argument is not a matter of pure essence or pure positionality

but rather engaged in the reflexive processes of praxis—an argument that Gilroy

refers to as an irreducibly hybrid ‘‘anti-anti-essentialism’’ (99–101). If it seems that

Zé wants to have it both ways, it is because that is exactly what he thinks it will take to

undermine the Manichean processes that reproduce inequality.

The over-consumption and greed of the First World represented by what Zé calls

the ‘‘sonorous civilized trash’’ of popular cultural products is a reminder that the

multinationals like Warner Bros will disseminate anything as long as it makes them

money. As indicated through the rhetorical strategies on Fabrication Defect, it is Zé’s

belief that if this waste can be plagiarized and re-sold—that is, cannibalized and

regurgitated—to the First World, the Third World can gain a tactical advantage. By

reaching First World audiences with deformed reflections of their own exploitative

culture, Zé believes the Third World ‘‘androids’’ can begin to wrest control from the

First World. Through the powerful fabrication defect of artistic expression the

subaltern can regain their voices and thereby reassert their humanity.

Each piece on the album, in addition to being labeled a ‘‘Defect,’’ also has a

designation as an ‘‘Arrastão of’’ a certain historical figure or figures—from

Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov to Saint Augustine, Alfred Nobel, Gustave

Flaubert, ‘‘the Provençal Troubadours and their echoes,’’ and ‘‘the anonymous

musicians who play in the São Paulo night.’’ The ‘‘great men’’ of the West, and the

anonymous musicians of ‘‘the Rest’’, once appropriated, are critically redeployed to

battle Euro-American hegemony on the album. The songs, which I discuss in the

following section, draw upon both musically and lyrically plagiarized cells, often

deconstructing their original formulations through catachrestic word play or ironic

intertextual juxtaposition. The discursive play that Zé is engaging in on Fabrication

Defect reflects the Tropicalist predilection for absurdity and the movement’s

foundation in the linguistically rich satirical critique of de Andrade’s ‘‘Cannibalist

Manifesto.’’ The catachrestic strategy of de Andrade’s ‘‘Tupi or not Tupi, that is the

question’’ is reborn in Zé’s phonetic translation of Jimi Hendrix into the Brazilian

equivalent ‘‘Jimmy, Renda-Se’’ (Jimmy, Give Up) (Tom Zé 1970).8

316 J. G. Rollefson

In his ‘‘Tropical Detritus,’’ Stam also describes the foundations of Tropicália’s

interest in trash as prototypically postmodern (83–93). In fact, Stam notes that the

term ‘‘postmodernism’’ may have been coined not by a Northern European but by a

Spanish American, Federico de Onís, in the 1930s.9 Therefore, the postmodern make-

up of the Tropicalist movement—‘‘their constitutive hybridity, their palimpsestic

temporality, their redemption of detritus, and their ‘aesthetic of mistakes’’’ (Stam

85)—is not an appropriation at all, for the idea of postmodernism developed

alongside postcoloniality in the Americas.10 While Stam’s claim for a Latin American

genesis of postmodernity per se would be difficult to establish with any certainty, it

does seem clear that the postcolonial condition is tightly interwoven with the

instabilities and ruptures of postmodernity.

Another discourse of postmodernity that continually surfaces in Zé’s Fabrica-

tion Defect is the concept of ‘‘pastiche’’ and the related question of authorial privi-

lege. Zé’s concept of the ‘‘plagi-combinator’’ is essentially an oppositionalized

bricoleur or pastiche artist. Whereas Jameson describes pastiche as ‘‘blank parody,’’

Zé deploys the esthetics of piecemeal recombination as active commentary. Jameson


Pastiche is, like parody, the imitation of a peculiar or unique style, the wearing of a stylistic mask, speech in a dead language: but it is a neutral practice of such mimicry, without parody’s ulterior motive, without the satirical impulse, without laughter, without the still latent feeling that there exists something normal compared to which what is being imitated is rather comic. (‘‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society’’ 114)

Jameson’s conclusions are descriptive of the kind of alienation that mass consumer

society and its cultural commodification have come to cause in the First World. Zé,

however, sees this alienation and uncertainty as a by-product and symptom of

Western modernity—that what Jameson considers a global disease is in fact limited

to First World cosmopolitans. Zé’s cultural critique posits that perhaps it is not that

history is dead, but that Western history is dead—not that citizens of the world can

no longer find meaning, but that citizens of the ‘‘Global Village,’’ in the sense of

overdeveloped media society, have lost their subject positions. As Zé writes in the

notes to Fabrication Defect, ‘‘We are at the end of the composer’s era, inaugurating

the plagi-combinator era.’’ That is to say, the Western modernist model of authorship

is dead.

Similar to Sandoval’s challenging of Fanon, Bhabha asserts in The Location of

Culture that the appropriative tactics of hybridity and mimicry decenter and

ultimately undermine the authority of the West. In this eschatological reading of

postmodernity, the postcolonial world is both an end-time environment and a

rebirth of the world from the empty shell, the rotting corpse of the West. In addition,

Bhabha’s refiguration of culture as ‘‘enunciative’’ rather than ‘‘epistemological’’ (178)

reasserts agency in the subaltern and mirrors Zé’s vision of the agent’s creative defect.

As Bhabha’s enunciative take on culture implies culture is an active process

tantamount to a constant re-imagining of our selves, our identities.

Popular Music and Society 317

As Zé’s garbage esthetics collide with his plagiarist/cannibalist esthetics, it seems

that we might describe this redeployment of the ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto’’ as a

scavenging and carrion eating posture akin to the hyena’s feeding practices. Where de

Andrade’s Cannibalism sought to devour the colonial processes that continued in

spite of Brazil’s independence since 1822, Zé’s rhetorical strategies devour the

postcolonial, that is to say the dead, the decaying remains of the colonial legacy. As we

turn to take a closer look at individual songs from the album, the hyena metaphor

seems especially appropriate to Zé’s ‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism,’’ replete with the

laughter that accompanies his satire.

Four ‘‘Defects’’

Perhaps the most aggressively oppositional song on Fabrication Defect, ‘‘Defect 3:

Politicar’’ tells First World intellectuals, economists, and moralists where and how

they can ‘‘shove it.’’ In doing so, Zé introduces the listener to these three main

enemies of the oppressed in his project’s discursive framework. Over a driving guitar

and bass funk groove Zé’s backup singers declare: ‘‘Daughter of Practice/Daughter of

Tactic/Daughter of Machinery/This shameless cave/of the entrails/is always

accommodating.’’ In a sinister, then playful, and later mock-nostalgic tone Zé sings:

Shove your grandiosity in the corner bank Shove it up your verb you son of a letter Shove your usury in the multinational Shove it up your Virgin you son of a cross.11

Zé’s critique of multinational corporations on one side and academics and religion

on the other echoes the two-fold ‘‘forest and school’’ formulation of de Andrade’s

critique of material and ideological exploitation. Indeed, Zé has issued a powerfully

fiery poetic dismissal to the three Western institutions most commonly indicted in

postcolonial discourses: the corporation, the school, and the church. In addition, Zé’s

scatological insinuations on ‘‘Defect 3: Politicar’’ (e.g. ‘‘cave,’’ ‘‘entrails,’’ ‘‘shove it’’)

carry the conceptual residue, so to speak, of the Cannibalist’s inevitable biological

functions. The violently sexual language carries an oppositional message—a jeremiad

of sorts—that dovetails the biological and mechanical symbolism in the song’s final

rhyme: ‘‘spread the Vaseline/Shove, push, cram it into/your tank of gasoline.’’

With ‘‘Defect 3: Politicar’’ Zé establishes the symbolic language of his android

laborer trope and sets the tone for the album with the ironic juxtaposition of a violent

tirade against the oppressor over an upbeat African American style funk groove

replete with jazzy flute licks. In addition, Zé assigns to this song the quizzical

designation: ‘‘arrastão of Rimsky-Korsakov and of the anonymous musicians who

play in the São Paulo night.’’ While there seems to be no direct quotation from

Rimsky Korsakov’s oeuvre in ‘‘Politicar,’’ a later song entitled ‘‘Defect 9: Juventude

Javali’’ (Young Havalina/Pig) described as an arrastão of Tchaikovsky actually

employs a melody from the composer’s D Minor Violin Concerto (see Figure 2).

Unlike Defect 9’s brutally ironic juxtaposition of a disturbing quasi-religious sadist

318 J. G. Rollefson

scene against a lyrical Tchaikovsky melody, it seems that Zé constructs Defect 3’s

arrastão to highlight the inequity of authorial voice between the singular ‘‘great

composer’’ Rimsky-Korsakov and the anonymous voices of the masses of street

minstrels. In bringing the two modes of musical production together, Zé empowers

the voiceless and destabilizes the authority of the great orchestrator, Rimsky-


The more subtle indictment of intellectuals on the album might seem curious

given Zé’s apparent engagement in the intellectualized discourses of postmodernity

and postcoloniality. Indeed, carefully worded position statements and ubiquitous

footnotes appear throughout Zé’s liner notes. Within the context of the album,

however, the references to language in the above lyrics (‘‘shove it up your verb/you

son of a letter’’) are Zé’s shorthand for the academics, the history writers who have

been largely complicit in the fabrication of the underclass since the colonial period.

Zé’s suspicion of the history writers and theoreticians, even those who speak in the

jargon-laden prose of leftist scholarship, is confirmed on ‘‘Defect 6: Esteticar

(Backbone Song)’’ as he sings: ‘‘Oh, lick me, inter-semiotic translation.’’ While Zé is

clearly suspicious of the logocentric theorizing of Western scholarship, it seems that

his catachrestic word play does share an (anti)intellectual position akin to Derrida’s

deconstruction (Margins 213). Following Derrida’s ‘‘I love words too much because I

have no language of my own,’’ the anti-logic of Fabrication Defect delves into a

‘‘poemusical’’ manifesto rife with word play directed at nothing less than the

destabilization of Western hegemony (quoted in Young 421).12 Zé’s iconoclastic

treatment of the ‘‘great men’’ of European history throughout the album serves to

unseat the logic and continuity of ‘‘the West.’’ In a sense, then, Zé’s ‘‘digestion’’ of

the forms and figures of the Western canon ultimately yields fractured artifacts and

Figure 2 Tchaikovsky meets Zé on ‘‘Juventude Javali’’—transcription of Zé’s lyrics and melody adapted from the D Minor Violin Concerto. Source: reproduced by kind

permission of Luaka Bop Records

Popular Music and Society 319

deformed heroes—products which facilitate myriad open-ended alternative anti-


On ‘‘Defect 6: Esteticar’’ Zé speaks in the first person as the subaltern android, the

antagonist of his oppositional project on Fabrication Defect. Here he describes how

we see him as a worthless nobody—an ‘‘empty-headed little monkey’’ and a

‘‘hillbilly’’ as well as an ‘‘automaton.’’ On the track, Zé engages in the sort of anti-

logical jujitsu described above, turning his defect into an asset. Zé sings:

Hold onto your seats milord, the mulatto Baião …

Tuxedo-izes himself in the esthetic of the arrastão

Ca esteti ca estetu … Ca esteti do plágio-iê

You think I’m a mad android laborer a mere mongoloid mongrel mameluke.

As the esthetic principles of arrastão describe, the urban thief runs ‘‘furiously through

a crowd, taking people’s money, jewelry, bags, sometimes even clothes.’’ As Zé’s alter

ego, the mulatto android, ‘‘tuxedo-izes’’ himself in this scene he is engaging in a

ritual appropriation of the symbolic upper-class power of his oppressor—again, a

postmodern vision of de Andrade’s ritual cannibalization.

Although not in the original Portuguese, Alex Ladd’s translations in the liner notes

for the US release capture much of the word play and alliteration. In addition, he

offers us a translation and thorough context of caboclo in a footnote as: ‘‘Inlander: A

copper-colored person (Brazilian Indian mixed with a white person).’’ In the context

of economic exploitation, he introduces the strategy of racial oppression symbolized

by the ‘‘mulatto…mongoloid mongrel mameluke.’’ Notably, Zé’s use of the term

‘‘mameluke,’’ shorthand for the historically yellow or brown warrior slaves of Islamic

regions, conjures up both the commonplace ‘‘miscegenation’’ in Brazilian society and

the oppositional potential that Zé finds among the racially mixed ‘‘skin and bones

tribe.’’ As Ladd describes in another footnote, the word play on estetica is a ‘‘play on

‘esthetics of plagiarism’ in Portuguese.’’ The alternation between ‘‘esteti’’ and

‘‘estetu’’ phonetically translates roughly as ‘‘this is yours’’ and ‘‘this is you.’’ Zé seems

to be saying that this esthetic of plagiarism is not only for the oppressed masses but is

indeed, of them. He is thus imploring the deployment of such plagiarism.

That Zé utilizes the simple rural musical style of baião to deliver his message

underscores the ‘‘slow-wit,’’ ‘‘hillbilly’’ stereotype of his oppressed worker while

again contrasting with the urban and futuristic android figure. On the song, a quaint,

lilting rhythm is supported by accordion and bochexaxado or Brazilian mouth harp—

among the simplest of instruments and symbol of the ‘‘hillbilly’’ music of American

Appalachia. It is quite likely that Zé intends to use this musical marker to capitalize

on stereotypes of the rural south and activate a subaltern analogy between the poor of

both (or all) countries. Thus, ‘‘Defect 6’’ the ‘‘Backbone Song’’ outlines the album’s

protest strategy through song as Zé dons the nonsensical, seemingly powerless

character of the mulatto android, engages in the violent arrastão strategy described in

the liner notes, and then steps outside character to challenge the oppressed to activate

the oppositional potential of their defect.

320 J. G. Rollefson

On ‘‘Defect 11: Tangolomango’’ Zé indicts the ‘‘native’’ rich complicit in the

oppression of their compatriots. Echoing Ortiz’s work on globalization, here Zé

reminds us of the historical reality of First and Third Worlds coexisting within the

same national boundaries. On the song, described as an arrastão of latin music, Zé

uses the symbol of the exotic but ‘‘classy’’ tango to represent those who have

swallowed the lies of Western capitalism and now live in gated communities in the

midst of subaltern gloom. With typically searing irony Zé sings:

The rich arrive at the dance arm in arm

The devil stuffs his belly arm in arm

… All reverence to the dollar, skirt hiked up


That’s the Tangolomango

Nowadays the rich man, poor thing

Is imprisoned, totally surrounded, all fenced in

Doormen, guards and alarms

Lord, find him a haven where he won’t be corralled

A cozy little place where he’ll live in peace

The passage is clearly intended to portray the ironic circumstances of the ‘‘golden

handcuffs’’ that will generate little sympathy from the poor. Zé, however, adds a

Faustian layer to the satire as we see the rich native arrive at the dance ‘‘arm in arm’’

with the foreign devil. While the musical style of the piece is not a traditional tango,

the prototypically fiery Argentine/Latin American dance music is often associated

with the Faust story as in Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (A Soldier’s Tale)—a

piece with which the conservatory trained Zé is no doubt familiar.

Zé further localizes the Faustian bargain by adding a second designation for the

piece: an arrastão ‘‘of the reductio ad absurdum of Father Antonio Vieiras’s sermon to

Saint Benedict.’’ The reference is to the infamous ‘‘Judas of Brazil,’’ a Jesuit engaged

in numerous colonial political and economic dealings in seventeenth century Brazil.

De Andrade mentions Vieiras by name in the ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto,’’ writing:

Down with Father Vieira. Author of our first loan, to make a commission. The illiterate king had told him: put that on paper, but without a lot of lip. The loan was made. Brazilian sugar was signed away. Vieira left the money in Portugal and brought us the lip. (De Andrade, ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto,’’ trans. Bary 39)

Zé is using the example of Vieiras on ‘‘Tangolomango’’ to highlight the brazen

hypocrisy of this prototypical Brazilian sell-out and his church.

In his reference to the reductio ad absurdum of Vieiras’s sermon, Zé is also

indicting the logical and refined rhetoric that Vieiras employed to sell his lies to the

Brazilian people. With his distinctly Derridian flair for textual deformation, Zé

criticizes Vieiras’s logocentrism in the concluding lines of the song, proclaiming: ‘‘But

the verbá, verbey/The verbiology of this politishitology/….And the cardio-philoso-

circusassology/Is the tangolomango.’’ It seems that de Andrade shared Zé’s distaste for

Vieiras’s rhetorical strategies, as Leslie Bary describes in her annotated translation of the

‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto:’’ ‘‘A noted orator and writer, Vieira is associated with formal,

Popular Music and Society 321

elegant rhetoric—a language directly opposed to the poetic idiom Oswald is forging for

Brazil. Nunes writes that Vieira ‘is for Oswald the strongest of all emblems of Brazilian

intellectual culture’’’ (45).13 Whether or not Zé ever read de Andrade, the two seem to

have arrived at remarkably similar positions on a variety of points: the distaste for

intellectual culture, the appropriation and deformation of the oppressor’s culture, the

eschewal of protective nativism and belief in cultural exportation, and the overarching

belief in subaltern agency. Zé’s Plagiarist project clearly owes an (anti)intellectual debt

to de Andrade’s Cannibalist project.

The deformed language of ‘‘Tangolomango’’ appears on the album cover in a blurb

issuing from the neck of Zé’s guitar (see Figure 3). In addition, we can see an excerpt

from the ‘‘Fabrication Defect’’ position statement from the inside of the liner notes

(right side: ‘‘some ‘inborn’ defects’’) and other terminologies from the album’s

lexicon: ‘‘plagi-combinator era’’ and ‘‘mad android.’’ Zé is here depicted by artist

Chris Capuozzo as the android with bolts on his right forearm, stitches in his left

forearm, and circuitry around his midriff.

Figure 3 Cover art on Tom Zé’s Fabrication Defect—the ‘‘mad android’’ Tom Zé.15

Source: reproduced by kind permission of Luaka Bop Records

322 J. G. Rollefson

Before concluding, I should like to point to one last ‘‘Defect’’ that captures the anti-

intellectual power, the vivid and brutal elegance of Zé’s poemusical project on Fabrication

Defect. On ‘‘Defect 13: Burrice’’ (Stupidity) Zé indicts the officially sanctioned Brazilian

‘‘celebration’’ of national diversity. Tongue in cheek, he describes the national project thus:

See how beautiful

In several colors … in various flavors: Stupidity is the subject

It’s taught in schools …

In the academies of laurels and letters it is present

On ‘‘Burrice’’ Zé gets to the heart of the matter of ‘‘agency.’’ The stupidity he sees is a

nation (and a world) that recognizes its need to work for social equity that can do no

better that engage in a hypocritical national campaign to celebrate diversity, without

adequately addressing the needs of the poorest people on Earth.

In the stirring conclusion of the piece, Zé exhorts his audience as though at a rally:

‘‘Ladies and gentlemen: if on this occasion I do not propose a commemorative

holiday to celebrate the sacrosanct glory of the national stupidity, it’s because every

day, thank God, from Oiapoque to Chúi, from the Pampas to the rubber tree jungles,

it is already celebrated, most gloriously celebrated.’’

As Ortiz commented in a 2004 Forum Barcelona talk, ‘‘There is no doubt that

cultural diversity is a fact. The problem is not being different, the problem is being

subordinate’’ (‘‘Madonna and Donald Duck’’). In both his and Zé’s view there are

simply two versions of ‘‘multiculturalism,’’ the kind that is implicated in political and

economic domination and the kind that is not. As Zé so eloquently states, for all our

postmodern/postcolonial intellectual theorizing and ethical hand-wringing—

Sandoval, Appiah, Spivak, Bhabha, Ortiz, García Canclini, Hall, Jameson, Erlmann,

and mine included—it is not for us to confirm or deny the humanity of any person.

As he argues, such inane claims celebrating human agency fuel the sadly ineffective

PR machine that multiculturalism has largely been reduced to.

As Walter Johnson wrote in a recent piece for the Journal of Social History entitled

‘‘On Agency,’’ the job of scholars is to ‘‘re-immerse ourselves in the nightmare of

History rather than resting easy while dreaming that it is dawn and we have

awakened’’ (121). That is, Johnson fears that in scholarly debates about the inherently

Western liberal notion of agency ‘‘we [academics] are using our work to make

ourselves feel better and more righteous rather than to make the world better or more

righteous’’ (121). As Zé argues, the defect of humanity will continue to express itself

despite the insidious over-writing of our own logocentric hegemony and regardless of

all attempts to understand, explain, represent, or celebrate it. For Zé, the ‘‘Fabrication

Defect’’ will ultimately undermine the fabricator.

Conclusion: Postmodern Platos

In 1999, only a year after the release of Fabrication Defect, Zé released his follow-up

project Postmodern Platos (Postmodern Dishes). On the album, Zé presents

Popular Music and Society 323

‘‘plagiarized’’ versions of his own songs from Fabrication Defect that are covered,

sampled, and otherwise reconfigured by other musicians including Amon Tobin, The

High Llamas, and John McEntire of Tortoise in a manner consistent with Zé’s

esthetics of arrastão. Although one might conclude that Zé’s project lacks the violent

oppositionality of the urban arrastão thief, his gesture towards an exchange of ideas

unmediated by international copyright law nonetheless subverts the multinational

corporations that stand to benefit most from the current economy.

As indicated by the ongoing intellectual property and file-sharing debates, the

recording industry is acutely aware of the tenuous control it has over its products.

Designed as a packaged product for individual sale, the CD and the binary code on which

it operates, is proving to be rife with ‘‘defects’’—it is too easily shared, its content too

difficult to control. As just one recent rupture in the multinational music industry’s

hegemony, the example of DJ Dangermouse’s worldwide free dissemination of the

plagiaristic Grey Album provides a prime example of artistic creation surmounting the

commodified media system—ironically via its own technologies.14 Perhaps then, Zé’s

project on Postmodern Platos does prove potentially catastrophic for the powerful and

the ‘‘fair use’’ laws designed to stabilize the inequity between the haves and the have-nots.

Clearly Zé sees his ongoing project as a redefinition of authorship and destabilization of

norms. Indeed, Zé’s 2000 follow-up album Jogos de Armar (Lying Games) is a similar

project that encourages the remixing of material through its inclusion of a second

‘‘auxiliary CD’’ containing audio samples used on the main album’s final song versions.

As he wrote in the position statement defining his ‘‘Esthetics of Plagiarism,’’ ‘‘We are at

the end, thus, of the composers’ era, inaugurating the plagi-combinator era.’’

With the album title Postmodern Platos, Zé once again (possibly unwittingly)

gestures to de Andrade’s Cannibalism. By regarding the reconstituted songs as

‘‘Platos’’ (Dishes), Zé throws into high relief the digestive and regurgitative qualities

of his plagiaristic endeavors. In light of Zé’s creatively technophilic project, its

engagement with Latin American theorizations of colonial modernity, and the plagi-

combinator’s pronouncement that the era of Western high artistic subjectivity has

ended, it seems appropriate to speak of Fabrication Defect as a kind of postmodern/

postcolonial ‘‘Cannibalist Manifesto.’’ Zé refashions and redeploys the Cannibalist

ideas in a manner consistent with the needs of a world vastly changed since de

Andrade’s modernist neocolonial epoch. While the political economy of con-

temporary society differs greatly from that of the past, the essential components

persist: oppression, subordination, exploitation, and poverty. Articulating a wide

array of postmodern and postcolonial discourses into an ideologically unified

‘‘manifesto,’’ Zé’s project on Fabrication Defect works with new tools to undermine,

deflate, and reconfigure the current socio-political hegemony such that these

ingrained cycles that reproduce subalternity might no longer function.


Thanks to Yale Yevelev at Luaka Bop Records for assistance.

324 J. G. Rollefson


[1] Bary writes: ‘‘the MA (Manifesto Antropófago) has retained more immediate scholarly and even popular interest as a cultural, as well as purely literary manifesto.’’

[2] For further discussion of the cannibalist lineage in Brazilian music and Tropicália, see Harvey, Moehn, Galinsky, and Perrone (‘‘Pau-Brasil’’).

[3] Similarly, Bary writes of de Andrade: ‘‘The MA (Manifesto Antropófago) challenges the dualities civilization/barbarism, modern/primitive, and original/derivative, which had informed the construction of Brazilian culture since the days of the colonies.’’

[4] For a discussion of the ‘‘antinomies’’ of musical nativism, see Tejumola Olaniyan, ‘‘The Cosmopolitan Nativist.’’ Another conservatory-trained musician turned political activist, the late Fela Kuti exemplifies the oppositional potential of musical nativism. Special thanks to Teju for inspiring this article and help with an earlier draft.

[5] See Hall (‘‘On Postmodernism and Articulation’’ 52). Hall speaks of ‘‘articulation’’ as ‘‘the connection that can make a unity of two different [discursive] elements.’’

[6] Chris Jenks writes ‘‘the practice of getting acquainted with reality reflexively involves the action of shaping, formulating and changing reality. This is Marx’s notion of ‘praxis’ and is instructive in understanding a Marxist approach to culture.’’

[7] See Hall (‘‘Old and New Identities’’). Hall describes this new hegemony as ‘‘a way in which the dominant particular localizes and naturalizes itself and associates with a variety of other minorities’’ (67). For a description of this view as applied to music, see Veit Erlmann’s ‘‘The Aesthetics of the Global Imagination’’ and Timothy Taylor’s Global Pop.

[8] See also Dunn (Brutality Garden 196–97) for a discussion of such ‘‘consciously ‘mispronounced’ names.’’

[9] A noted scholar of Spanish literature, Federico de Onís founded the PhD program in Latin American literature while a professor at Columbia University.

[10] Similarly, a recent article by Luis Madureira argues that de Andrade’s Cannibalism anticipated postmodernism.

[11] All translations from the original Portuguese reproduced here are from the liner notes by Alex Ladd.

[12] See Young (ch. 28) for a concise discussion of Derrida, catechresis, deconstruction, logocentrism, and post-structuralist thought.

[13] Bary is citing Benedito Nunes’s discussion in his French translation of the manifesto. [14] Joanna Demers’s work has examined the legal issues involved with Dangermouse’s remixing

of the Beatles’ White Album and Jay-Z’s Black Album. [15] The album art on Fabrication Defect is by Chris Capuozzo at Funny Garbage.

Works Cited

de Andrade, Oswald. ‘‘Manifesto Antropófago.’’ Revista de Antropofagia 1.1 (May 1928). Appiah, Kwame. ‘‘The Postcolonial and the Postmodern.’’ In My Father’s House. New York: Oxford

UP, 1992. Baker, Houston A. Jr. Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature: A Vernacular Theory. Chicago,

IL: U of Chicago P, 1984. Bary, Leslie. Introduction to English translation of ‘‘Oswald de Andrade’s ‘Cannibalist Manifesto’.’’

Latin American Literary Review 19.38 (1991): 35–47. Bhabha, Homi. ‘‘Signs Taken for Wonders.’’ The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994. Demers, Joanna. ‘‘The Grey Album and the Mainstreaming of the Remix Underground.’’ Paper

presented at the Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music US, University of Virginia, 16 October 2004.

Derrida, Jacques. Margins – of Philosophy. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P, 1983. Dorfman, Ariel and Armand Mattelart. How to Read Donald Duck. New York: I.G. Editions, 1975. Du Bois W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folks. Ed. David W. Blight and Robert Gooding-Williams. New

York: Bedford Books, 1997.

Popular Music and Society 325

Dunn, Christopher. Brutality Garden: Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture. Chapel Hill, NC: U of North Carolina P, 2001.

———. ‘‘Tropicália, Counterculture, and the Diasporic Imagination.’’ Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization. Ed. Christopher Dunn and Charles A. Perrone. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 2001.

Erlmann, Veit. ‘‘The Aesthetics of the Global Imagination: Reflections on World Music in the 1990s.’’ Public Culture 8 (Spring 1996): 467–87.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. Trans. Charles Lam Markmann. New York: Grove Press, 1967.

Galinsky, Philip. ‘‘Maracatu Atômico’’: Tradition, Modernity, and Postmodernity in the Mangue Movement of Recife, Brazil. New York: Routledge, 2002.

García Canclini, Nestor. Consumers and Citizens: Globalization and Multicultural Conflicts. Trans. George Yúdice. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota P, 2001.

———. Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity. Trans. Christopher L. Chiappari and Silvia L. López. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota P, 1995.

Gates, Henry Louis Jr. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.

Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1993.

Hall, Stuart. ‘‘Old and New Identities, Old and New Ethnicities.’’ Culture, Globalization and the World System: Contemporary Conditions for the Representation of Identity. Binghamton, NY: State U of New York P, 1991.

———. ‘‘On Postmodernism and Articulation: An Interview with Stuart Hall.’’ Ed. Lawrence Grossberg. Journal of Communication Inquiry 10.2 (1986).

Harvey, John J. ‘‘Cannibals, Mutants, and Hipsters: The Tropicalist Revival.’’ Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization. Ed. Charles A. Perrone and Christopher Dunn. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 2001.

Jameson, Fredric. ‘‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society.’’ The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Ed. Hal Foster. Seattle, WA: Bay Press, 1983.

———. Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1991. Jenks, Chris. Culture: Key Ideas. New York: Routledge, 1993. Johnson, Walter. ‘‘On Agency.’’ Journal of Social History 37.1 (2003): 113–24. Madureira, Luis. ‘‘A Cannibal Recipe to Turn a Dessert Country into the Main Course: Brazilian

Antropofagia and the Dilemma of Development.’’ Luso-Brazilian Review 41.2 (2004): 96–125.

McClintock, Anne. ‘‘The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term ‘Post-Colonialism.’’ Social Text 31– 32 (Summer 1992): 32–67.

Meintjes, Louise. ‘‘Paul Simon’s Graceland, South Africa, and the Mediation of Musical Meaning.’’ Ethnomusicology 34 (Winter 1990): 37–73.

Moehn, Frederick. ‘‘Good Blood in the Veins of This Brazilian Rio, or a Cannibalist Transnationalism.’’ Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization. Ed. Charles A. Perrone and Christopher Dunn. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 2001.

Nunes, Bendito, trans. ‘‘Le manifeste anthropophage’’ (Cannibalist Manifesto). Surréalisme périphérique. Ed. Luis de Moura Sobral. Montréal: U de Montréal, 1984.

Olaniyan, Tejumola. ‘‘The Cosmopolitan Nativist: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Antinomies of Postcolonial Modernity.’’ Research in African Literatures 32.2 (2001): 76–89.

Ortiz, Renato. ‘‘Diversidade cultural y cosmopolitismo.’’ Cultura y globalizacíon. Ed. Jesús Martín Barbero, Fabio Lopez de la Roche and Jaime Eduardo Jaramilla. Bogotá: U Nacional de Colombia, 1999.

———.‘‘Madonna and Donald Duck Have Stopped Being American Symbols. They Belong to the Imaginary Worldwide Group.’’ Address at Forum Barcelona 2004. 20 Sept. 2005. <www.barcelona2004.org/eng/actualidad/noticias/html/f044764.htm>.

———. Mundialização e cultura. São Paolo: Editora Brasiliense, 1994. Perrone, Charles A. ‘‘Pau-Brasil, Antropofagia, Tropicalismo: The Modernist Legacy of Oswald de

Andrade in Brazilian Poetry and Song of the 1960s–1980s.’’ One Hundred Years of Invention:

326 J. G. Rollefson

Oswald de Andrade and the Modern Tradition in Latin American Literature. Ed. K. David Jackson. Austin, TX: Abaporu Press, 1992.

———. ‘‘Topos and Topicalities: The Tropes of Tropicália and Tropicalismo.’’ Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 19 (2000).

Sandoval, Chela. Methodology of the Oppressed. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota P, 2000. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. ‘‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’’ Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial

Theory. Ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. New York: Columbia UP, 1994. Stam, Robert. ‘‘Tropical Detritus: Terra em Transe, Tropicália and the Aesthetics of Garbage.’’

Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 19 (2000). Taylor, Timothy. Global Pop: World Music, World Markets. New York: Routledge, 1997. Veloso, Caetano. Verdade Tropical. Sao Paulo: Companhia de Letras, 1997. Young, Robert J. C. Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001.


Zé, Tom. Com Defeito de Fabricação (Fabrication Defect). Luaka Bop, Warner Bros Records 946953-2, 1998.

———. Jogos de Armar. Luaka Bop, Trama Records TESN/111-2, 2000. ———. Postmodern Platos. Luaka Bop, Trama Records T010/063-2, 1999. ———. Se O Caso É Chorar. Gravações Electricas LP 2-07-405-288, 1972. Re-released as Tom Zé:

Série dois Momentos. Continental 857384242-2, 2000. ———. The Hips of Tradition. Luaka Bop 2-45118, 1992. ———. Tom Zé. RGE XRLP-5351, 1970. ———. Tom Zé. Rozemblit 50010, 1968.

Popular Music and Society 327