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.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/27/office-hours
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