quarta-feira, 13 de junho de 2018

A correr


“Deus nas alturas disse: Eu sou o que o meu servidor pensar de mim, e estou com ele quando ele se lembra de mim. Se se lembrar de mim na sua alma lembro-me dele na minha, se se lembrar de mim numa assembleia lembro-me dele numa assembleia maior do que essa, se se achegar a mim um palmo achego-me a ele um cúbito, se se achegar a mim um cúbito achego-me a ele uma braça, e se vier até mim a caminhar eu vou até ele a correr.”

Hadith sagrada (al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tawhid, 15), tradução de Miguel Monteiro.

"يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي، وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي، فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ، ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي، وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلَإٍ، ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلَإٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُمْ، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ بِشِبْرٍ، تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ ذِرَاعًا، تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي، أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً"

segunda-feira, 4 de junho de 2018

And yet... complicitity.

Desde pelo menos o ano passado, tenho andado a pensar nisto. A objectificação entra sempre à força na vida das mulheres, pois é de violência, e sobretudo de mulheres, que se trata. Violência disfarçada de amizade, dever, favor..., violência indisfarçada: desafio, provocação, desrespeito. Redunda sempre em repulsa, e como quase sempre acontece às mulheres, uma repulsa que não tem nunca um sentido único, que das questões de agenciamento e empoderamento o eu, claramente, nunca pode excluir-se. Não sei de quanto tempo precisamos, não faço a mais pequena ideia como mudar o olhar, mas Anne Valente pretende contribuir para isso, e só o ensejo é de valor. 
My first-ever semester of teaching a college fiction workshop eight years ago, a male student wrote a short story where a male protagonist brutalized women for pages, for the sake of brutalization. In workshop discussion, I raised my question carefully: What work can violence do in fiction? And if it’s not doing necessary work, when does violence become sensationalism? I did not use the word gaze but the student watched me regardless. After class, when every other student had filtered out of the room, he walked to the front of the class while I was erasing the board and said as close as he could to my face, I want you to know that wasn’t just a story. I want you to know that I hate women. My breath stopped but I finished erasing the board and moved to leave the classroom as quickly as possible but he beat me to it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go walk the dog. He smirked. Do you even know what that means? He meant masturbation. He meant humiliation. And he meant fear, both mine and his, that I had challenged his work and that I’d tried to teach him anything at all. That I had stepped outside of his narrative of me, that for a moment I had transcended the camera’s scope. 
Three years ago my husband was a groomsman in the wedding of a friend we’d both known since college. This friend was more my husband’s friend, and at various points had quibbled with the facts in my short stories, had suggested that his PhD in mathematics would gain him more job offers than mine in creative writing ever could, had once cornered me in a bar to tell me in explicit detail how he’d cheated on his girlfriend, and had told my husband when he was still my college boyfriend that he should fuck other women while I was abroad for six months. Nonetheless, my husband and I drove nine hours from Ohio to North Carolina for his wedding. During the reception, as he was making the rounds from table to table and my husband was in the restroom, he leaned down and whispered in my ear, You may think your last name is Valente but this is my wedding so tonight you're just Mrs. Finnell to me. My husband’s last name, what I hadn’t taken four years before when we got married. You may think. This is my wedding. You’re just. To me. The face-slap of this whisper at a wedding, people clinking silverware and toasting all around us. Celluloid. A shot out of focus. I was breathless with anger but I smiled because it was his wedding and even still my anger couldn’t keep me from being sized down to the fact of my body in a cocktail dress, from being shoved back into a camera’s lens, from being every object he intended me to be. 
And yet I am complicit. I grew up on film, which is to say, I grew up acculturated to viewing the world as object, my sense of myself and the world around me sieved through a director’s lens. I knew myself as subject, another kind of spectator beyond the male perspective I was meant comply with, but I also absorbed the inclination to view myself through a haze of projection. We learn to hate ourselves for what is objectified and punished, for what the dominant gaze tells us doesn’t belong. We learn to disavow what hurts. Three weeks after this wedding, I still invited this asshole to my first book’s launch party where he asked from the back of the room during the Q&A to explain the use of the word mathematics in my chapbook’s title, a chapbook that had already come out the year before and that I hadn’t even read from, and what could possibly be elegiac about a system of integers and objects.   
A little voice inside me: Should I delete the word asshole? Am I only making someone who has objectified me an object in turn? Is this complicity—no better? Or is the complicity the little voice itself, the voice of disavowal, the internalized self-hatred that says I was born to be nice, that I shouldn’t push beyond the allotment of my flattened screen?
O texto de Anne Valente na íntegra, aqui.

segunda-feira, 21 de maio de 2018

Monday mood (24)

Ai, as sempre tensas relações entre patrões e trabalhadores. Ai, a força do amor que é fogo e Deus. Mesmo que vejamos este espectáculo, que é a vida, com a curiosidade do acidente, convém se não retirarmos ilações, pelo menos pensarmos sobre o nosso tempo, a nossa humanidade, o futuro.

quinta-feira, 17 de maio de 2018

O futuro

In the years to come, as society grows more complex, the number of nouns available to us may grow exponentially. The diversity of its speakers, not so much.