Your Mom's a Tchutchuca!

Things in Brazil's Congress nearly came to blows Thursday evening when, during a debate on pension reform, a deputy called Economy Minister Paulo Guedes a "tchutchuca," to which the minister responded, "your mom and grandmother are tchutchucas!" The session was abruptly closed before things went off the rails.

What's going on here? A tchutchuca, in Brazilian slang, translates as an attractive girl who's known to be promiscuous. So it was a big deal that Zeca Dirceu, from the left-wing Workers Party, had said that the cost-cutting Mr. Guedes "is a big tiger when it comes to retirees and old folks" but a "tchutchuca" with privileged elites and his "banker friends."

The reference is to a song from a few years back called Vem Tchutchuca Aqui Pro Seu Tigrão ("Hey Tchutchuca Come Over Here to Your Big Tiger.") It's in the musical style known as funk carioca, a stripped-down, male-dominated genre of pounding, stuttered electronic drum tracks overlaid with a monotone flow of (usually) X-rated lyrics.

Mom jokes are happening because: Brazil's controversial right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro was elected in part on a promise to reform the pension system. This is a polarizing issue on which the Brazilian public is split almost 50-50. The "tchutchuca" episode reflects that friction, but it also speaks to a deeply dysfunctional relationship between the political novices of the Bolsonaro administration and a Congress where it has few allies.

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