jueves, junio 11, 2009

the burning of los angeles

1.
The bird began to sing again. When it stopped, Faye was forgotten and he was only wondering if he weren’t exaggerating the importance of the people who come to California to die. Maybe they weren’t desperate enough to set a city on fire, let alone the whole country. Maybe they were only the pick of America’s madmen and not all typical of the rest of the land.
He told himself that it didn’t make any difference because he was an artist, not a prophet. His work would not be judged with the accuracy with which it foretold a future event but by its merit as painting. Nevertheless, he refused to give up the role of Jeremiah. He changed “pick of America’s madmen” to “cream” and he felt almost certain that the milk from which it had been skimmed was just as rich in violence. The Angelenos would be first, but their comrades all over the country would follow. There would be civil war.
He was amused by the strong feeling of satisfaction this dire conclusion gave him. Were all prophets of doom and destruction such happy men? He stood up without trying to answer. When he reached the dirt road at the top of the canyon Faye and the car were gone.

Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust.
2.
Nathanael West se mató, junto a su esposa, en un accidente automovilístico el veintidós de diciembre del milnovescientoscuarenta. Regresaban de México. Dicen que West estaba hecho un asco tras enterarse del fulminante infarto que le arrancó a su mejor amigo, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Dicen que las habilidades de chofer de West eran tan terribles que ninguno de sus amigos se atrevía ocupar el asiento del pasajero si estaba al volante. Dicen que se comió un signo de Pare.
Apenas llevaba casado un año con la señorita Eileen McKenney. Al regresar a California, se suponía que tomasen un vuelo a Nueva York, donde verían el estreno de la obra de teatro My sister Eileen, escrita por Ruth McKenney, la hermana de la esposa de West.
Al momento de su muerte, West era relativamente desconocido.
Años antes, previo a que West emigrara a Hollywood para trabajar como guionista para RKO Pictures, pertenecía a un grupo de escritores que contaba con el poeta William Carlos Williams y con Dashiell Hammett, creador del detective Sam Spade y la novela The Maltese Falcon.
A pesar de que colaboró escribiendo alrededor de quince o dieciséis guiones, su entrada en Wikipedia distila su carrera hollywoodesca a una breve mención de su casicolaboración con Hitchcock, en lo que eventualmente sería Suspicion.
3.
Mientras lees The Day of the Locust hay una sensación que sobresale por encima de cualquier otra: todo es tan falso, tan plástico. Y no son sólo los personajes con los que se relaciona el protagonista, sino el mundo en su totalidad. Por ejemplo, esta descripción de la casa de un personaje llamado Homer Simpson:
The door was of gumwood painted like fumed oak and it hung on enormous finges. Although made by machine, the hinges had been carefully stamped to appear hand-forged. The same kind of care and skill had been used to make the roof thatching, which was not really straw but heavy fireproof paper colored and ribbed to look like straw.
O quizás el momento en el que Faye está en la habitación de su padre, que muere sin que ella se de cuenta porque
she noticed what looked like the beginning of a pimple. It was only a speck of dirt and she wiped it off, but then she had to do her face all over again. While she was working at it, she told him that she could get a job as a dress extra if she had a new evening gown. Just to kid him, she looked tough and said, “If you can’t buy me an evening gown, I’ll find someone who can.” When he didn’t say anything, she sore and began to sing, “Jeepers Creepers.” He didn’t tell her to shut up, so she knew something must be wrong. She ran over to the couch. He was dead.
4.
"There's nothing to root for in my work," explicó Nathanael West, en una de sus pocas entrevistas, para referirse al malestar general en su trabajo, "and what is even worse, no rooters."
Como dice Max Gissen, este enunciado era más que una queja triste de un autor explicando porqué se le atacaba e ignoraba, era una advertencia a sus lectores, un intento de hacer claro que no encontrarían ningún narcótico alegre en su trabajo; lo suyo era un "muted cry of rage, not against people but against life".

2 comentarios:

Christian Ibarra dijo...

sergio, gracias. oye wevon de tu santa madre, yo tmbn espero verte antes de que te esfumes como ninja. hay que hacer algo. cuidate.

Anónimo dijo...

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