Thursday, 5 December 2019

Ácido sulfúrico



Ácido sulfúrico de Amélie Nothomb no es un libro fácil. El ácido del título corroe la trama y sus personajes de principio a fin. Es una distopía que no pone en el centro a la política y las instituciones sino al entretenimiento y las masas. No impone un nuevo orden social a sus personajes, salvo a aquéllos que deben “jugar” en el reality “Concentración”.

Pannonique, la heroína, se convierte en líder casi sin darse cuenta. Cuando lo descubre, se siente con poder para salvar a todos, aunque luego descubre que no es así. Pannonique es de pocas pero fulgurantes palabras. Se niega a ceder lo que aún le queda: su dignidad, su nombre. Y aunque en un principio pensé, recordando aquel famoso discurso de Julieta Montesco (quien se pregunta qué hay en un nombre, si una rosa con cualquier otro nombre olería igual de dulce) que su actitud era de terquedad, luego me dí cuenta de que son dos situaciones muy diferentes. Julieta ama a aquél que lleva el nombre de su enemigo, y sin embargo no es su enemigo. Pannonique ha pasado por el intento de eliminar su identidad al haberle sido dado un código, un nombre que no le pertenece, aunque sea tan único como ella. No es el nombre lo que está en juego, sino lo que representa.

Las masas, como en un teatro del absurdo, replican exageradamente lo que ocurre con los realities: son devorados por algunos -aquí por una gran mayoría- y ocupan gran lugar en la prensa. Y cuanto más la prensa se rasga las vestiduras instando a que no lo miren y cesen las crueldades (la prensa también puede cambiar de opinión en el relato), más se agranda la cantidad de espectadores y la fruición con que miran Concentración.

Concentración que replica los campos de concentración nazis; que concentra gran cantidad de gente en un espacio híper-reducido; que concentra la acción en la brutalidad; que nos fuerza a concentrarnos y pensar para sentir lo que los protagonistas están viviendo.

El estilo de Nothomb es desnudo, frío, diferente. Introduce temas que luego parece no retomar. Hay que hacer un esfuerzo para adentrarse en la historia con profundidad, porque las palabras y las descripciones no abundan. Como no abundan las acciones ni las palabras en el juego para los jugadores, quienes podrían estar reviviendo el mismo día todos los días, tanta es la rutina. Hasta que aparece Zdena y sus chocolates, el recuerdo de los campos de concentración y las técnicas para no deshumanizarse por completo. ¿Es Concentración un reflejo de parte de nuestra sociedad? Quizás.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

2015: math learning and reading

These were years of intense math study and not much thinking about anything else (other than I got my degree in language teaching). I'm not very advanced in math but I feel I've learned a lot and I've developed an interest that wasn't always there. Recently I've started reading again like I used to (mostly fiction) and I've taken a few MOOCs as well -the one I'm currently taking is on learning how to learn. So I feel quite active mentally again.

I'm reading my first Umberto Eco book, El cementerio de Praga (Prague cemetery) and I'm really enjoying it. I don't always remember what's gone on very well because there's so many people involved but I enjoy it while I read it. The main character makes me chuckle with all his bigotry (which I feel is just a tease from Eco, it's all so exaggerated). One other thing I like about it is that there's one "big" mystery that encompasses all the book but there's a lot of action during the book so I want to get to the end to have the mystery revealed but while I get there it's very interesting.

I'm also reading "The Siege" by Helen Dunmore and I've actually stopped for a while because it got to be a bit too painful. It's about a family during the Leningrad siege and we're well into the winter now so food is scarce and it's very cold and there are bombings and fire. The characters are very human to me and maybe that's why I can't go on reading it for now as they're suffering so much.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Hello again -and miaow!

OK -so I haven't blogged for a long time and my life has changed. A major change has been a career change.I'm not teaching anymore, but majoring in chemistry; my first, introductory, course started a week ago. And I've felt like writing here again.

No formulae, not enough chemistry experience yet to say anything very interesting about it except that I'm enjoying the new course...So I thought I'd start over by sharing a figure that keeps coming back to me even though I can't really apprehend it in its entirety: Schroedinger's cat. Kitty is a metaphor, ok, but a powerful one. And I love cats, so the name has been haunting me for a while. And then I thought -well, wouldn't it be a good bridge between my past as a language teacher and my present as a science/chemistry student? Besides, it reminds me too much of that cat we know so well, the one from Cheshire with the bulk of toothpaste in his basket :D

So let's go down a different hole now, and listen to some language and science videos about Schroedinger's kittycat.... (I promise there's humour...and if you're interested in metaphors the first video will be interesting).

Wait for it........

I hope you like this new turn in the road :)))))

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Connections

I've just finished reading The boy in the striped pijamas and was very touched by it. I won't write about the plot but about the internal connections I'm making...

First the film Inglorious Basterds came to mind, probably because of the historical theme and the historical license in it. Now I'm also reminded of Los sirvientes because of how strong my feelings for the story are.

I haven't written here in a while, and this is all I can write right now but I wanted to share it.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The birth of a word -TED talk

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Post-War days

I'm reading "La cripta de los Capuchinos" by Joseph Roth and it's giving me a much clearer and personal picture of a regime change than I used it have.

I grew up reading Empress Sissi's stories, and I never thought of Austria in a different way except for the current Austria. In SL I live in post-war Berlin (1929) and I get that picture, but I'd never put things together as I'm doing now by reading this novel.

It must have been such a big change, so confusing to live after WWI...that now I get why it's called world war.