Thursday, August 18

The porn books of the PP

The curse of those who do not read is that they must settle for life

houllebecq

I see a girl of 7 years old at most, in a tenacious summer, with summer and time ahead and the poison of books already in her blood. A girl from the late 60’s hooked Enyd Blyton and Verne and whatever she could throw at her eyes and imagination. The pay did not keep up with the pace and not even the most clever tricks to get pesetas – a children’s and youth book should cost 15 pesetas – worked every day, so the girl went to the Maiso Bookstore, on General Franco Street in Logroño , to indulge in the shop windows and, with a bit of self-confidence, on the shelves inside. Seeing the books, even from afar, was a kind of long-lasting promise that helped me endure the wait. The Maiso was run by two sisters wearing a blue Vergara smock and their glasses hanging from a chain over their chests, old maids according to the nomenclature of the dark era, who gazed with interest and then with tenderness at the girl who could not separate herself from that candy paradise made of letters and paper. Until one day they offered the girl the opportunity to read in the bookstore itself, sitting on a ladder with three steps that they had to reach the upper area, and leave a mini mark in the book until the next day. The girl was careful and the books were left untouched, with no other blemish than the eyes that had already traveled her lines and that future buyers would not be able to guess.

Those eyes were mine and that girl with braids was me.

In addition to an image, what has assailed me is that sensation of a secret paradise and of freedom –I went to the bookstore alone, so we children could explore a certain environment– when I read the article signed by Diego Casado in this medium. They may not have noticed, it’s a matter of Almeida and Madrid, but it seemed so relevant to me that I think his reflection deserves a Sunday in July like this. I summarize: the Madrid City Council has recently decided that 8-year-old children, who until now were authorized to enter their libraries, can no longer do so without the company of an adult and have raised the age to 11. They say they do “for safety”, in case the children “explore the center to have fun without their parents knowing”. Can you be more melon? Can there be a greater demonstration of staleness, of absurd restriction, of short-sightedness? And what danger is there in children having fun exploring a library? Do not respond without thinking, libraries have specific reading rooms for children and young people, it is not about bothering adults. And even if it was. Exploring a library, what a sin, is that I hear it and the homesickness of a happy childhood liquefies me, as I am sure many of you do. I also explored the library of my house. That is how I came to see at that age one of the books that my father brought hidden from Paris in the lining of his suitcase –and yes, I knew that there were prohibited books in Spain– in which for the first time I saw images of the concentration camps Nazi and of the lifeless bodies piled up and of those skeletons that walked towards their liberators [Los olvidados. Los exiliados españoles en la II Guerra Mundial. Antonio Vilanova. Ruedo Ibérico (1969)] Now it’s mine, I inherited it. He marked me, I’m telling you. I have never been able to see even in fiction torture or degrading treatment. Was there something wrong with marking me? Was it terrible that you read the Hite Report on the sly? Nothing serious. But I had little friends and little friends in whose houses there were no bookshelves to climb or to explore and so there were no libraries for children.

It seems that laughter goes through neighborhoods and that Madrid municipal sources say that such regression is agreed with the Community. I’m afraid it may be exported. In a world where, according to Children’s Save, 53% of children access porn online for the first time between the ages of 6 and 12, the new guardians of form want to ensure that children who watch alone how women are abused and raped cannot explore a library alone. I suppose they run the great risk of finding ideas that their parents have not instilled in their minds and even admitting them as probable or disrespectable. Can you think of a greater risk for a minor?

Why your parents always and to where? I am amazed at the need that people have, and especially the very conservative ones, for their children to be a projection of their own ideology into the future. It’s castrating as well as stupid. There is no more natural or more plausible reaction than that of the son who gets the frog from dictatorial parents regarding ideas or lifestyle. Let them explore the world and if the world takes them to a library, bless them! Let them dare. Let them enter alone and with no more company than a criterion that has been formed, and the resource to ask them everything and always, in the stormy seas of stories, lives, worlds and ideas. If only Almeida’s biggest problem were the clouds of children who would crowd alone into the libraries to subject them to joyous and reverential exploration!

Because there are children whose parents would not accompany them into a library even dead. Because there are parents who would accompany the children to impose their criteria on them. Because children have to conquer spaces of functional and also intellectual independence and apparently some do not want to do it just glued to a screen. Because children have the right to exercise their tastes and even make mistakes in them, and a library is probably the least dangerous space to do so.

Because, as Borges said, we are not what we write, but what we read.

Or in the words of Larbaud, because reading is that vice without punishment.

Let the children get closer to the books!

That is the freedom that we must give them and not that of the taverns.



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