Éramos un pensamiento silencioso...
Eludíamos cualquier intento de crecer.
La primavera nos sorprendió:
sólo crecía el rosal.
Lo muerto sublevó palabras
para que el aire se estremezca
en un giro preciso.
Y vino el adiós,
sólo en recuerdo.
Las playas bordaron entonces,
Para seguir volando,
cualquier intento de crecer,
INTERVIEW WITH THE POET MIGUEL OSCAR MENASSA
Sunday, March 10th, 2002
Carmen Salamanca: The other day you were asking about the issue of the working woman, what do you think, what is your opinion with reference to the relation between woman-work?
Miguel Oscar Menassa: I didn't understand well the question.
CS: Why do you think the Association is granting this award?
MOM: Why do I think the Association is granting the 2002 Woking Woman Award? But this is a different question to the previous one, isn't it?
MOM: I was thinking in the previous one.
CS: I couldn't repeat it in the same words. What do you think about the relation of the woman and her work?
MOM: Ah! it is something very complex and very difficult to explain because right away people say "Hey, you are exaggerating". I remember a Mao's text where he said that the main contradiction, for example, proletariat-bourgeoisie, was replaced afterwards by secondary contradictions which became primary. If it was first necessary to put an end to the proletariat-bourgeoisie dialectic, which was the primary contradiction according to him, afterwards there was this question of other secondary contractions to solve. A secondary contradiction to the proletariat-bourgeoisie is rural proletariat versus urban-proletariat; that we had already mentioned in some of the interviews, God knows if this wasn't a cause not studied in Cuba which produced some of its own wrong doings. Mao said that we had to dedicate ourselves to the task of seeing how we could fix up the mess and the exploitation that the urban-proletariat exercises over the rural-proletariat. Then Mao said that a contradiction which was appearing and would last a thousand years in being solved was the woman-man contradiction. That is to say that we don't know yet which is the relation that woman has toward her work. To my understanding (and excusing myself because these are very difficult things), for the time being we know about the relation that man allows woman to have with her work. For example, to know what relation she has with her work, it is necessary for the boss to be a woman, for the high-ranking employees to be women. Why?, for them to be the ones who show what relation they have with work. That is to say, that any place where women exceed men in number, it is transformed in something else. It is important to know that.
CS: In something else…
MOM: In something different to what it is, not in an uglier thing. Do you understand what I say?
MOM: For example, the psychoanalysis schools, as women invade the field, start thinking things which they couldn't think about before. Don't you see that in politics socialism and the PP agree, the United Left also, in giving women only 25%, when there are more militant women than men in a lot of organisations. What happens is that if they give the party to women…do you follow me now?
CS: Yes, but then, does this mean that there is a feminine thought and a masculine thought of things, of reality?
MOM: No, I mean that the proletarian isn't a human being different to the bourgeois. It isn't that the proletarian and the bourgeois think differently, but that one has means of production and the other has a work force and he who has the means of production exploits the one who has work force. The same thing would happen with women, aren't they saying that they pay them less? It isn't that women think differently, it is because woman is an exploited, subdued, enslaved being.
CS: But there is something that I don't quite understand.
MOM: What is it that you don't understand?
CS: Before you have said "if women are majority, this is transformed into something else".
MOM: I will give you an explanation. When Cero Group was only constituted by men, everybody knew that they were going to be seven and the rest was or movement or clientele or I don't know what. And as women are being incorporated in Cero Group, to such extent that when Cero Group Madrid was founded, there were no men, men were incorporated later, it is then when the structure of Cero Group changes, so that today it can be said that Cero group is constituted by a thousand, two thousand people. Besides when there was a 100% of men, it was discussed if two thousand or one thousand or ten copies of the publication, that was the discussion held by Menassa with one of the members, who said that ten magazines had to be published, fifteen for acquaintances, for the ones who knew how to read it and Menassa said a thousand, two thousand, three thousand, eight thousand. He insisted in such a way, that years later, he publishes 125,000 copies of a monthly psychoanalysis magazine and 125,001 copies of a monthly poetry magazine. What happens is that my discussion was from a feminine being, who was me, poet, with the powerful. And afterwards, the rupture of Cero Group occurred when they request the inclusion of women. Alright, dictatorship exists, but it is true that two admissions of women were rejected. Because this brings change, you have to bear women. For example, I want to work with you, therefore I have to bear you, you have a modality, each time I tell you how something should be, you feel it is incorrect.
CS: And that is a feminine characteristic? And in what is masculine, does it happen less or doesn't happen?
MOM: I'm telling you that it is a characteristic of slavery, that it is a characteristic of domination, not of women. Feminism, in thinking that is a feminine condition, ask for equality, instead these are things of subdued persons, they are things of chained people, these problems of women. She cannot ask for equality, she will be chained again, if I grant you equality and I am in this place since 4,000 years ago and I grant you equality with me and I subdue you again. Or you request a radical difference and you do things the way you think you should do them or there is no progress. I can't compare, as Freud says in The interpretation of dreams, this is new and can't be compared with something old, trying to clarify it, I lose it. That is to say that if now I take the things woman does and I compare them with the things man did, I lose her, I lose her as a woman, I transform her into an instrument of domination. For what's interesting about this is that you can come to think seriously that masculine homosexuality is something invented by man's power over women, at least in the cultures we know. In Greek culture, the homosexuals were the ones who held power, the slaves were the ones who had heterosexual relations and women played the flute. But the homosexuals wrote, spoke, could participate in the conversations. Feminine homosexuality is something created by men, not by power. If it is against woman! Because one thing is that a woman may have homosexual relations and another thing is for her to pose homosexuality as a flag, it is a question that must be studied. One thing is the relation one maintains with the world which, on the other hand, are intimate, and which are all homosexual, or all heterosexual, there is no man or woman psychically, there is a man and a woman for the reproduction of the specie, afterwards psychically it is 35%, 22%, one night yes, other night no, or the next morning no, if you pour me coffee this way you are my mother, if you pour me coffee this way you are my father, or the waiter, or my uncle…Psychics is very labile, it can't reassure its sexual identity quickly. If on top of that, we are in intimacy, if couples play to do some other thing, they do another thing to each other. Because I'm a man, I'm homosexual, I'm heterosexual, and that can only be said in public, in the intimacy that doesn't exist. If a girl sucks a man's ass, is he then a homosexual? Or the day man doesn't use his penis, is he two women because he's not using his penis?
CS: And you, what sexual modality would you adopt?
MOM: I would be tri-sexual, homosexual, heterosexual and slave.
CS: And what sex is "slave"?
MOM: Enjoying, because he who works all day thinking of the time of the slave, is the master.
CS: Yes, appearances don't lead us anywhere, to no reality.
MOM: Before Aznar took office appearances were already deceiving, Aznar isn't the inventor of the fact that appearances are deceiving.
CS: Well, appearances don't lead us anywhere, is the difference seen in actions?
MOM: When I mentioned Aznar, I said that they want appearances to be the truth, the current government wants appearances to be the truth, that is to say, they have an important problem with illegal money which they don't know how to solve: huge quantities of heroin, cocaine, all sorts of brain-washing pills, and they solve this making campaigns against the youngsters who drink bear in the streets, to the point of implementing prohibition, the dry law. And whom does this dry law benefit? The smugglers of opium, of heroin, etc.
CS: The synthetics are going to rise, you'll see the next month.
MOM: Besides, deaths increase because everybody is angry, before, the drug dealer used to bring extasis in pills with a 40% of pure drug, then the kids would take two or three and now the drug dealers are pissed off and they bring the drug of 100% purity. Two kids died the other day in Seville or Málaga, why?, because of the purity of the drug, the drug which used to have a 40-50% purity, now has 70-80%, they killed three. But that's because the State is looking the other way: "as that can't be seen, it isn't truthful", as it isn't seen that in the courts they ask you for money to move papers from the bottom to the top, because there are many trials, then, it is a lie. It is a lie even when people call to say that they had to pay. Two persons phoned María Teresa Campos' programme and she didn't allow the third person to talk because "as we don't know if this is true…" Can you see how they are led by appearances? It is true that kids drink large bottles, but kids drinking large bottles mustn't be very serious while they do it in the street, is it understood? On the other hand we know nothing of what they do in locked steel chambers, because, where are they going to keep 1,000 kilos of heroin, where are they going to keep 2,000 kilos of cocaine, 800 tons of hashish? It's all right because that is what the police discovers, but sometimes they don't, where is that kept? There must be big houses, big warehouses, that is to say, big facilities which could be easily detected by the police if the police were really fighting against that.
It is like in skating, artistic skating is surrounded by a corruption which you can't realise about: " I don't like this boy and then I choose the other one because I like him more" and no one is happy. How are they going to solve the problem of corruption that they have inside? Very easily: they don't allow girls to show their buts, men cannot wear tights too tight not to show the shape between their legs, etc. They aren't going to solve corruption with that, they are State distracting manoeuvres and the State doesn't even realise, because they transformed the problem we have with Morocco, that is about to declare us war, in whether Felipe Gonzalez goes or doesn't go to Morocco. Don't you see that it is a Government which wants the citizens to believe that appearances are truth? Excuse me for this incursion into Spanish politics, it is you who knows more about this.
I have already finished the painting, it is called "The prison of the working woman", what does it mean? That if she doesn't incarcerate herself to become a working woman, she won't be able to make her revolution. As Freud said, if I believe that what people give me is because of my beautiful eyes, and I don't have beautiful eyes, they won't give me anything.
Surely you must have reviewed a lot of phrases this week, trying to put together tonight's interview, but it is true that there are cases where woman prefers to do anything rather than working, therefore, it should be the same in the opposite sense, before starting to work women should ask themselves, do I want to work? Do I want to be independent? But, of course, I have a sadness as a woman when working, I must be ugly, I must be unattractive, I mustn't awake many desires because if there isn't any man with the intention of supporting me…
Woman, when going to work is accompanied by a certain sadness, a certain deception.
CS: Yes, but once one realises that that is how it is, one can make one's luck change and use it in one's favor. One of those phrases say: "when a man is about to speak, men first listen and afterwards they look; when a woman is about to speak, they first look and if they like what they see, they listen".
MOM: Yes, that is true. That's why, when I was young, I spoke so much about my dick, it won't be known if I have it big or small, but when I was young I knew that if I said that I had a big dick, people were going to listen to me more respectfully. I have never shown my dick to no one but I always wrote that I had it big.
CS: You generated a current of opinion.
MOM: I generated such a current of opinion, that people respect me. "Be careful with that guy, he has a big dick - people say- don't bend forward too much".
CS: There is a phrase in Las 2001 Noches that reads: "The flow of money was stopped and she stopped life, enjoyment". How can she expect to have money if she doesn't work?
MOM: Well, but because of what is said in the phrase, she was promised that if she gave love, enjoyment and I don't know what else, she would receive money. I really don't know how it is. The intimate motive why a woman ends up doing all the things she does, what do I know?
CS: Why does she do things? What is it that makes a woman work, to have a life of her own?
MOM: They say that a woman does everything for love, what do I know! The truth, I don't know.
CS: She should have to speak, to investigate.
MOM: What I do know is that there are lots of researchers who wanted to make women talk about their problematic issues, about how they lead their lives. And they don't want because they say that it isn't convenient for them.
Audience: There are people who prefer to be ill, it's convenient for them to be ill.
MOM: For example, when the slaves started with this issue of liberation, there were slaves who defended the position of being slaves, there were slaves who had to be convinced about freedom, before running the risk, they preferred to be slaves. That's how people are.
CS: You have mentioned several times that masculine revolutions failed and that a feminine revolution must come up, or of the woman, I don't exactly know, of women.
MOM: We can call it feminine to be able to give to those who called themselves men the opportunity of participating in that revolution, in that sense. But, what were you asking me?
CS: About the revolution of this century, if it is a feminine revolution, what would that entail?
MOM: If I knew what the feminine revolution would entail, there wouldn't be a revolution, because I could stop it. For example, men are very confident that if women take power there will be more sexual freedom, I think that if women take power, sexual freedom is over, because, why should women want to have sexual freedom? Perhaps, you, being so intelligent may find some explanation. It is very difficult.
Audience: You already have that explanation.
MOM: I think so, that she already has sexual freedom, so, what is she going to want sexual freedom for? They want to give her something she already has, besides she makes use of it, don't you realise how, the cinema is full of examples of the use of her sexual freedom.
CS: That's very old.
MOM: It is in that book from Armand Salacrou, A Free Woman, which I sometimes recommend, where she counted one by one the days her lover spent with her and wrote them down on the wall, each day her lover spent with her she made a mark on the wall and she was happy of having spent one more day with him and that they were living together. When he proposed her to marry him, she disappears.
CS: Because at that moment emotion was over.
MOM: I don't know if it is emotion or freedom, darling. Matrimony is an institution, what must be done is already programmed, what must be respected, because if what must be done and what must be respected wouldn't be programmed, it wouldn't have been present for so many years, and I think it still is, that it is an attenuating circumstance for a man to kill his wife because of jealousy, I don't know if it continuous to be an attenuating circumstance but it has been until a short time ago. That is the way the family institution and the matrimony institution are constituted, because if not it would be unthinkable that if the institution doesn't say something like that, a low may come and say it.
CS: Of course, that women work and have independence somewhat attempts against the institution of matrimony.
MOM: I think that if a woman works and earns a lot of money and she is well placed in the hierarchy of her job, marriage might not interest her under any aspect, what for?
CS: There is a joke which says: "Why should I get married if I have three pets that perform the same functions of a husband: "a dog that barks at me in the mornings, a parrot that swears the whole day and cat that arrives very late at night". Matrimony is a contract, the institution. Someone commented before that in the book In force by Sigmund Freud. The transference, Menassa said (well you, that you are Menassa) that since the first interpretation that was performed on him "men's affairs?" till he could include a woman in his gaze, 12 years went by.
MOM: What are you asking me? If I took too much time because I was an idiot?
CS: What does it mean to include a woman in your gaze?
MOM: To include a woman in my gaze means that when I think, I think a masculine man and a woman or a feminine being. That I never get confused, in the sense that when it is a woman who is doing, I don't ask her to do things that I ask men to do. And that culture shows that feminine things are smaller and that's not so, nor smaller nor bigger, they are radically different things. Is what I say understood?
Sometimes he says (it also happens with animals), the yellow-light blue bird flies very well and then someone appears who says: yes, but it doesn't sing. And if I'm not saying that it sings, I'm saying that it flies, That's how people are, one says "a woman cannot pick up a four-hundred-kilos stone, I could answer "yes, because she's not Basque, if she were Basque she would pick it up".
CS: There are such samples around there…
MOM: Besides once woman runs the government man won't disappear, man will continue doing the heavy tasks, but instead of doing things for himself, he will do them for the woman.
CS: There's an old saying which says: "When Adam was digging while Eve was spinning, which of the two was the big master?
CS: That's why.
MOM: I'm telling you what it is, not what I want. Because I'm not sure that woman is capable of freeing herself.
CS: Of freeing herself?
MOM: Yes, of taking it. She's waiting for someone to set her free and freedom is to be taken, who's going to give you freedom? Besides, when I ask someone for freedom, does it mean that the other one is using me? I say it in that sense, because if not, why will I ask him for freedom?
Audience: As if I had my freedom.
MOM: I wonder if he will give me my freedom if I ask for it, considering that he is using me. Will he give it to me? No chance.
CS: Sometimes this question of asking for freedom isn't even posed. What is posed is to request permission to ask for freedom.
MOM: But that is the mother and it happens to women and men. That is to say, any woman and any man who ask their lover permission for doing this or that, aren't living with their lover, they live with their mother.
Audience: And apart from that he doesn't want it because if he asks for it he doesn't expect to get it, and even more from a master.
MOM: Apart that permission is asked to the mother, if you also have to ask permission to live to the person you live with, you're finished, it means that you are mistaken. Because the problem of jealousy is fundamental for psychics, that is one thing and another thing is when I kill her because of jealousy, when I punish the woman, when man punishes women for jealousy it is as if the man would have taken possession of the woman, as if woman would really be an object and then because she belongs to him…
CS: I killed her because she was mine.
Audience: Only for that. Nor even for love he is jealous.
MOM: Are you selling or is it a manifestation? It is a manifestation against painters.
CS: On Sundays, we painters want sun, we want sun.
Audience: They ask for freedom.
MOM: What are you saying?
CS: That they ask for freedom, even in the streets they ask for freedom. I have nothing else to ask you today.
MOM: Don't you want me to give you an advice now that you're going to be named Working Woman?
CS: Yes, please, some support.
MOM: Well a bra you can buy at El Corte Inglés. What I can give you is some phrase. To say to you, for example, if you didn't believe it when you worked all day and no one congratulated you, why should you believe it now that you continue working all day and you are congratulated.
CS: No, actually I don't believe it.
MOM: You answered me very fast.
CS: If before, when I worked all day and no one congratulated me, I didn't believe that no one congratulated me for not working, then now that I'm being congratulated I won't either believe that they congratulate me for working.
CS: They are appearances, aren't they? They are appearances but they are also phrases that, according to the way you may administer them, will make one thing or the other of your life.