60/60

Eis uma ideia sensacional: durante 60 dias, ler integralmente durante a noite e comentar na manhã seguinte cada um dos 60 livros da colecção Great Ideas da Penguin (obras de pensadores e visionários que «mudaram o mundo»). E quem é o maluco que embarcou neste projecto megalómano, a exigir disciplina espartana até meados de Fevereiro? Nada mais nada menos do que Jeff VanderMeer, um dos mais importantes autores do género fantástico nos EUA (e que entrevistei em 2006).
A aventura do Jeff pode ser acompanhada aqui. Até agora, ele já despachou Séneca, Marco Aurélio, Santo Agostinho, Kempis, Maquiavel, Montaigne, Jonathan Swift, Rousseau, Edward Gibbon, Thomas Paine e Mary Wollstonecraft. Cada post inclui uma citação memorável, uma sinopse mínima, uma abordagem às ideias defendidas pelo autor no livro, uma conclusão e uma pergunta-desafio aos leitores.
Eis o texto publicado hoje, sobre o livro On the Pleasure of Hating, de William Hazlett:

Memorable Line
«The pleasure of hating, like a poisonous mineral, eats into the heart of religion, and turns it to rankling spleen and bigotry; it makes patriotism an excuse for carrying fire, pestilence, and famine into other lands: it leaves to virtue nothing but the spirit of censoriusness, and a narrow, jealous, inquisitorial watchfulness over the actions and motives of others.»

The Skinny
A series of strong, combative essays on subjects from boxing to modes of government.

Relevance? Argument?
I hate stickers on books that leave glue behind, self-stupidity, cruel people, sentimental movies, most small talk, cockroaches, bad carbs, pretentiousness, vapid pop music, rapacious governments, itchy tags on t-shirts, bookshelves you have to put together yourself, getting shocked by the car door, cats breathing on my head when I’m lying on the couch, empty tape dispensers, fascists, people who don’t keep to-do lists, infomercials that aren’t surreal, and most forms of jello.
William Hazlitt hates «people who have no notion of any thing but generalities, and forms, and creeds, and naked propositions, even worse than I dislike those who cannot for the soul of them arrive at the comprehension of an abstract idea.» He also hates spiders, mostly I believe because he thinks they are «little reptiles,» Charles Darwin’s On Natural Selection not having permeated the life of his Great Ideas because it’s downriver, at #16 in the Great Ideas series. But Hazlitt hates the «spirit of malevolence» more, which is why he counsels against stomping spiders, unless you are «a child, a woman, a clown, or a moralist…» (Sigh. See: A Vindication of the Rights of Women.) Pure good is just as bad as pure evil to Hazlitt, and love «turns…to indifference or disgust.» Hazlitt’s also not fond of crowds that gather «to witness a tragedy» and «superfluous bile.» He is not much for cannibals, either. Mostly, though, Hazlitt hates hate, and does an admirable job of proving his point.
In other essays, like «On Reason and the Imagination,» Hazlitt finds a solid middle ground that feels less like compromise (see: Montaigne) and more like common sense. Also of note are «On the Spirit of the Monarchy» and «What is the People?» Hazlitt’s essays, in their pugnaciousness, their focus, and their tone represent the first thoroughly «modern» approach I’ve found in the Great Ideas series.

Conclusion
I would’ve enjoyed having a conversation with Mr. Hazlett.

Question for Readers
What do you hate?



Comentários

One Response to “60/60”

  1. shirley on Fevereiro 23rd, 2009 0:44

    EU ESTOU FAZENDO UMA MATERIA DE INGLES E GOSTARIA DE SABER SE VC TEM ESTE TEXTO EM PORTUGUES. THANX!

«Tenho a suspeita de que a espécie humana - a única - está prestes a extinguir-se e que a Biblioteca perdurará: iluminada, solitária, infinita, perfeitamente imóvel, armada de volumes preciosos, inútil, incorruptível, secreta» Jorge Luis Borges