sexta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2014

Office Hours By Rebecca Mead

Office Hours

By Rebecca Mead

Grandes Dames- October 27, 2014 Issue

The writer and social critic Bell Hooks lives in Kentucky, where she is the Distinguished Professor in Residence of Appalachian Studies at Berea College; but for many years she was a New Yorker, with an apartment on Perry Street. She was back in the Village recently, serving as a scholar-in-residence at the New School, and staying at the Jade Hotel, on West Thirteenth Street. One corner of the hotel’s lobby became Hooks’s personal fiefdom for the week; in her non-scheduled hours, she greeted guests, chatted with friends, received supplicants. On Tuesday evening, Hooks was joined in the lobby by a clutch of eager young students. “The New School students are so cute,” Hooks said. “I’m wondering if you have to be attractive to get in. I like cute, because I think I’m cute.”
She was about to engage in a public conversation with Laverne Cox, the actress and transgender advocate, who plays Sophia Burset on “Orange Is the New Black” and was recently featured on the cover of Time. Hooks is a fan of Cox, who arrived at the Jade in sweats (she had just flown in from L.A.) and full hair and makeup. “You’ve been hard-core travelling,” Hooks said, with admiration. “Is it for the fame, or is it for the money?”
“I’m still trying to get out of student debt,” Cox said, sitting opposite Hooks. It was the first meeting between the two, and Hooks cast around for subjects that would not encroach upon their onstage conversation. “We could talk about my sex life, which is nonexistent,” Hooks offered. Someone suggested that Hooks try Tinder. Hooks, who does not text or use e-mail, demurred. “Why aren’t you online?” Cox asked. “Clutter,” Hooks said. “Life is cluttered enough already.”
Hooks had just come from a seminar entitled “Transgression: Whose Booty Is This?” She said, “Pussies are out. It’s bootylicious all the way.” Cox agreed. “It is the age of the ass,” she said. “Booty as cultural metaphor is really interesting. J. Lo made the ass a thing fifteen years ago, and now we have issues of ass appropriation.”
“I have had an ironing-board butt all my life, so I never came into the drooling-over-the-ass thing,” Hooks said. She had just celebrated her sixty-second birthday. “This aging thing is a bitch—can I tell you?” she said.
“Is that Libra?” Cox said, before catching herself. “Maybe you’re not into astrology.”
“Oh, I’m into psychics, telepathics, you name it,” Hooks said. “All the paranormal world is very interesting to me.” She asked whether Cox reveals her age. “I do not,” Cox said, coyly. “My official age is ‘over twenty-one.’ ”
A student asked the women how they feel about catcalling—“I feel bad, no one will catcall me,” Hooks said—and another inquired what Cox does for fun. “Karaoke,” Cox replied. “It’s so cathartic. I get together with my girlfriends and we go and rent a private room. But I don’t get to just hang out much anymore.” Hooks nodded sympathetically. “The last time I was with Oprah, she told me, ‘You don’t understand—everywhere I go it’s a parade,’ ” Hooks said. “As a dissident intellectual, I don’t get that.”
Gloria Steinem had been Hooks’s conversational partner the evening before. “Did you see Gloria Steinem on ‘The Good Wife’?” she asked Cox, before admitting that she had no idea what “The Good Wife” is. “It’s a show that problematizes the thing of standing by your man,” Cox said. “For several seasons?” Hooks said, with a note of incredulity.
A student asked what Cox and Hooks had been reading. “Lately, I’ve been reading Bell Hooks,” said Cox, who added that she was writing her own book, her first. “It’s a memoir,” she said, with the accent on the second syllable. “I love memoirs,” Hooks said. “I love reading about people’s lives. No doubt we’ll figure out your age in it.”
There was an hour to go before the event, and Hooks pronounced herself hungry: she suggested getting a curry. Cox said that she’d just have a PaleoBar. “That is so fucking disgusting,” Hooks said. “I had a hot-fudge sundae at the Noho Star for breakfast.”
“For breakfast?” Cox said. “You are a girl after my own heart.” Before departing in search of curry, the two posed for photographs, arms around each other’s waist, heads tilted together. “Tit to tit,” Hooks said. “Don’t talk!” reprimanded Stephanie Troutman, an assistant professor of leadership and education studies at Appalachian State University, who was serving as photographer. “Don’t talk?” Hooks scoffed. “Don’t live.” 

Rebecca Mead joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 1997.

S. E. Hinton and the Y.A. Debate By Jon Michaud

S. E. Hinton and the Y.A. Debate
By Jon Michaud

S. E. Hinton recalls that when she published her début novel, “The Outsiders,” in 1967, “there was no young-adult market.” Her book, written by a teen-ager about teen-agers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was issued in hardcover by the Viking Press and then in softcover by Dell—both adult trade imprints. “ ‘The Outsiders’ died on the vine being sold as a drugstore paperback,” Hinton told me, but her publisher “noticed that in one area it was selling very well. Teachers were using it in classes. All of a sudden, they realized that there was a separate market for young adults.”
Since then, “The Outsiders” has gone on to sell more than ten million copies. Along with Hinton’s other books for teen-agers—“That Was Then, This Is Now,” “Rumble Fish,” “Tex,” and “Taming the Star Runner”—“The Outsiders” remains a mainstay on middle-school and high-school reading lists, and it continues to sell well in digital formats. This week, “Rumble Fish” will be a Starbucks pick, available for free download through the coffee chain’s app or via iTunes. For Hinton, who almost single-handedly brought the Y.A. genre into being, this marks a kind of transgenerational full-circle return. The author who changed the way that books for teens were written and published has seen her own work go from the spinning wire display rack near checkout to an online marketplace accessible while you wait for your morning latte.
Hinton’s current publishers at Diversion Books hope that the promotion will “help a new generation of readers discover” her work and “inspire long-time Hinton fans to reconnect with the author.” They are hoping, in short, to capitalize on the popularity of young-adult literature among both teen-age readers and adults—a trend that has been a heated topic of late. Over the summer, the critic Ruth Graham published an article in Slate arguing that “adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children.” There was a strong backlash from adults who read and write Y.A. books. Given the furor, it seemed like a propitious moment to talk to Hinton. She spoke to me over the telephone from her home in Oklahoma.
When I asked her whether she had read Graham’s article, she answered, “Yes. Of course, I disagree. Under similar criteria, ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ could be considered a young-adult novel, and who would want to miss reading that?” Hinton had no time for the idea that adults shouldn’t be reading books written for teen-agers or children. “If you enjoy reading something, read it.”
The Y.A. debate has lately broadened into a discussion about the portrayal of adulthood in American culture. A. O. Scott’s essay on the subject for the Times last month traced our national resistance to grownup responsibilities all the way back to the works of James Fenimore Cooper and Mark Twain. Like Huck Finn, many of the young men in Hinton’s books are without proper parental supervision. The adults in her fiction are alcoholics, drug addicts, or simply absent. Scott quotes the critic Leslie Fiedler:
the typical male protagonist of our fiction has been a man on the run, harried into the forest and out to sea, down the river or into combat—anywhere to avoid “civilization,” which is to say, the confrontation of a man and woman which leads to the fall to sex, marriage, and responsibility.
While evasion and violence are recurring motifs in Hinton’s books, several of her novels end with the young men accepting and benefitting from adult responsibilities. When I asked Hinton about this, she said, “like every other teen-ager, I was sure the adults had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know how adults thought. I didn’t ‘get’ them, so it was easier for me to leave them out.”
Hinton was herself a high-school student when she began writing “The Outsiders.” The novel, she told me, grew out of her dissatisfaction with the way teen-age life was being portrayed in the books she read. “There was only a handful of books having teen-age protagonists: Mary Jane wants to go to the prom with the football hero and ends up with the boy next door and has a good time anyway. That didn’t ring true to my life. I was surrounded by teens and I couldn’t see anything going on in those books that had anything to do with real life.” She remembers drawing inspiration from an eclectic range of titles, including “Gone with the Wind,” Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Great Expectations,” Will James’s cowboy books, and the science-fiction stories of Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury. (An essay Dale Peck wrote for the Times in 2007 does a great job of delineating all those influences.) Many of the books and stories that Hinton mentions were originally written for adults but have since become favorites among teen-age readers.
“The Outsiders” and its successors also owed a great deal to the movies Hinton was watching, including “Rebel Without a Cause” and “West Side Story.” Four of Hinton’s novels have been adapted into film, two of them (“The Outsiders” and “Rumble Fish”) by Francis Ford Coppola, with whom she co-wrote the screenplays. Hinton told me that the making of those movies ranks “among the best experiences” of her life, and that she still likes Coppola’s interpretations. “One of the things that makes the movies work is that the boys were very close to the same age as the characters,” she noted. Nowadays, filmmakers “would be casting [adults] to play these little kids.”
Hinton hasn’t written a book with a teen-age protagonist since 1988’s “Taming the Star Runner.” “It’s very difficult for me to get in the mind-set again,” she told me. “I’m pretty much out of that now. I don’t get suicidal over a bad haircut anymore.” She still writes screenplays, though, and has just completed one based on her collection “Some of Tim’s Stories.” She is also a devoted fan of the television show “Supernatural.” She visits the show’s set twice a year, where she is welcomed as a muse and presiding eminence. “There’s a ton of fans of my work that are fans of that show,” she remarked. “There’s some kind of connection going on there.”
Hinton doesn’t read the young-adult books being published today. “I don’t know what the hot topic is. I don’t care what’s trending. I read mostly nonfiction, as a matter of fact.” She expressed concern for the genre’s focus on female readers. “I do feel that the boys are getting left out. Girls will read boys’ books, but boys won’t read girls’ books. If you’re writing for a girl, you’ve got most of the audience on your side anyway.” Though she doesn’t read Y.A. books, she keeps an eye on the market that she helped create. “There is so much variety in young adult now,” she said. “Any writer who gives a reader a pleasurable experience is doing every other writer a favor, because it will make the reader want to read other books. I am all for it.”

quinta-feira, 30 de outubro de 2014

A formiguinha e a Cigarra (nova versão)

A formiguinha e a Cigarra (nova versão)


Era uma vez uma formiguinha e uma cigarra, ambas muito amigas...

Durante todo o outono, a formiguinha trabalhou sem parar, armazenando comida para o período de inverno. Não aproveitou nada do sol, da brisa suave do fim da tarde e nem do bate papo com os amigos ao final do trabalho tomando uma cervejinha. Seu nome era "trabalho" e seu sobrenome "sempre".

Enquanto isso, a cigarra só queria saber de cantar nas rodas de amigos e nos bares da cidade; não desperdiçou um minuto sequer, cantou durante todo o outono, dançou, aproveitou o sol, curtiu para valer sem se preocupar com o inverno que estava por vir.

Então, passados alguns dias, começou a esfriar. Era o inverno que estava começando. A formiguinha, exausta de tanto trabalhar, entrou para a sua singela e aconchegante toca repleta de comida.

Mas alguém chamava por seu nome do lado de fora da toca. Quando abriu a porta para ver quem era, ficou surpresa com o que viu: sua amiga cigarra estava dentro de uma Ferrari com um aconchegante casaco de vison.

E a cigarra disse para a formiguinha:

- Olá, amiga, vou passar o inverno em Paris. Será que você poderia cuidar da minha toca?

E a formiguinha respondeu:

- Claro, sem problemas ! Mas o que lhe aconteceu ? Como você conseguiu dinheiro para ir a Paris e comprar esta Ferrari ?

E a cigarra respondeu:

- Imagine você que eu estava cantando em um bar na semana passada e um produtor gostou da minha voz. Fechei um contrato de seis meses para fazer shows em Paris... A propósito, a amiga deseja algo de lá?

- Desejo sim. Se você encontrar o La Fontaine (autor da fábula original) por lá, mande-o para a p-que-piu!!!

Moral da História:

- Aproveite sua vida, saiba dosar trabalho e lazer, pois trabalho em demasia só traz benefício em fábulas do La Fontaine e ao seu patrão.

Trabalhe, mas curta a sua vida. Ela é única!

A epopéia de um trabalhador, Francisco Vaz Brasil

A epopéia de um trabalhador
Francisco Vaz Brasil

 Orlandinho era um homem muito trabalhador. Um baixinho forte, daqueles que chamamos de “entroncado”. Ele vivia em Muaná, lá pras bandas do Marajó. Já fez de tudo na vida: foi vaqueiro, vendeu leite nas ruas - que transportava em uma carroça puxada por um jumentinho. Foi peixeiro e até vendeu tapioca e roscas. Quando vendia roscas, Orlandinho, também chamado de “Jumentinho” pelos amigos próximos (nem queira saber o porquê), gritava pelas ruas “Olha a rosca, tá fresquinha a rosca do Jumentinho”. “Aproveita gente tá quentinha a rosca do Jumentinho”.
Orlandinho ficou impaciente, pois os negócios não iam bem. Resolveu ir pra Cametá. “Eu vu pra Cametá, eu sube que lá é bom de trabaiá” comentou na taverna do Raimundinho enquanto sorvia avidamente uma Coca-Cola. Lá, não se deu muito bem e pegou uma carona no barco e veio para Belém. Em Belém não conhecia ninguém. Andou pelo Ver-o-Pêso e em uma daquelas ruas transversais à Gaspar Viana, ele avistou, já  próximo à 1º de Março, em uma das portas havia um cartaz que dizia: “Estamos contratando pessoas para trabalhar em Monte Dourado”. Orlandinho não contou conversa – foi lá e se inscreveu. Foi muito bem atendido. A viagem de manhãzinha do outro dia aconteceria.
Com fome e muito envergonhado porque possuía apenas uns trocados no bolso, ele voltou ao Ver-o-Pêso e lá pediu uma cuia de açaí, com farinha – seria sua refeição diária. Não havia comido nada. Dormiu ali mesmo, na escadinha.
No outro dia, bem cedo e já com as informações onde seria o embarque, Orlandinho foi, à pés.
Lá, identificou-se ao funcionário e tomou lugar no barco. Estava feliz. Havia conquistado um lugar para trabalhar e comida. Armou a fétida rede, nela se alojou e iniciou uma série de meditações e dormiu.
Após trinta e seis horas de viagem, o barco finalmente chegou. Em Monte Dourado ele foi encaminhado ao setor de pessoal e, então soube que trabalharia na plantação de caulim. Fez os registros de praxe, como a assinatura do contrato de trabalho e da carteira.
Fez amizades com alguns colegas, alguns com algum tempo de serviço na empresa. No primeiro mês em que recebeu seu salário, Orlandinho foi convidado pelos companheiros a tomar umas cervejas no Beiradão. O Beiradão ficava do outro lado do Rio Jari, já fazendo parte do Estado do Amapá.
Todo desconfiado ele aceitou o convite. Eram quatro. Deixaram o alojamento e partiram. Na margem do Pará subiram numa catraia (canoa motorizada) e foram para o Beiradão. As águas do rio Jari estavam altas. Lá chegando entraram em um dos inúmeros bares. E Orlandinho, apreensivo. Pediram duas cervejas e um tira-gosto. De repente, em um outro bar próximo, aconteceu uma confusão. Dois sujeitos se engalfinhavam numa briga ferrenha, por causa de uma mulher. E o pau comeu, pois mais gente se meteu na briga. A polícia chegou a pedido do dono do bar. Os presos foram mandados para o Pau do Boi (nome dado pelos peões â cadeia local). Os ânimos se acalmaram e a música comeu no centro – só brega e mulher feia. Logo Orlandinho comentou, tal Jorge: “Muié fêa e burro véio só o dono anda atrás”...
Depois de algumas cervejas (quase naturais) e alguns peixes-fritos, e de pileque, Orlandinho sentiu uma tremenda dor de barriga. Êh sumano, por favor, onde fica o banheiro? O dono do bar apontou: “É logo ali karái!”
Orlandinho teve que esperar um sujeito bêbado, que estava urinando. Finalmente ele entrou. O efeito foi rápido e a onomatopéia desceu com mais de mil: Práááááááá!!!!!!. E Orlandinho sentiu uma coisa estranha. Peixes, vários peixes nadavam ali, bem pertinho, logo abaixo da privada que não passava de um caixote, montado na palafita. E ele reconheceu os Pacus, Bagres e Pacamões... Procurou pelo papel higiênico e... nada! De repente ele notou um papel  escrito na parede de tábuas que ele quase não conseguiu ler a grafia, em que se podia ler:
“Quando entro neste banheiro,
Sinto uma tristeza profunda;
Quando a merda bate na água
E a água me lava a bunda!...”

E agora? Perguntou-se a si próprio
O que é que vou dizer
Com a perna toda cagada,
A bunda toda melada
Que merda é que vou fazer?

Orlandinho vestiu as roupas assim mesmo e pulou na água suja do rio. Nunca mais comeu os peixes que viu nadando sob a privada, que o dono do restaurante ali mesmo pescava, em seguida assava, ou cozinhava e ele lhe serviu. Foi à mesa dos colegas, pagou a conta e partiu.