Tamara Tenenbaum (Buenos Aires, 32 years old) lives in a modern apartment full of light, one of those that share the kitchen with the living room and have large balconies facing the street. She has a dining table, a small armchair, books stacked everywhere, and a computer. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, she moved there a few years ago, with the money that the Government gave her for the death of her father in 1994, a victim of the attack on the AMIA Jewish Mutual Fund. The purchase of the apartment occupies a good part of All our curses were fulfilled, the autobiographical fiction that Seix Barral has published in Spain. It is the first book of this Philosophy graduate after the overwhelming success of The end of love. Love and fuck in the 21st century, a hybrid between an essay and a chronicle about sexuality that will soon be seen as a series on Amazon Prime Video.
Ask. What curses have been fulfilled?
Answer.In Yiddish, curses are always disguised as wishes. For example, “may you be rich, the only rich one in the family”. That’s a curse: everyone is going to borrow from you. It was what happened to us, who received compensation [por la muerte de su padre] and we are the only rich in the family. Sometimes things that appear to be curses are blessings and vice versa.
P. In your novel you compare your relationship with writing with the one atheists have with God.
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R.There is something to that. Writing is the most profane, I embraced it for that, but in the end something sacred is always found. Basically, it is considering the curious thing about dedicating oneself to something that is useless. Literature can be as absurd as going to mass. It produces encounters, moments, and at the same time there is a feeling of “we do this because we feel it is very important”, but when they ask you why it is important, you don’t know what to say.
Q. You have lived in a world linked to faith. How does he relate to her?
R.I have never felt it, but there is something that matters more than faith, which is the custom, the way of life. The most important thing in Orthodox Judaism is to preserve a certain way of life. For a long time it seemed to me that it betrayed it as a farce and now I think that belonging to a type of practice. In many millennials, my generation, and centennials, the one that comes after, there is a revival of the very great faith, even more than of religion, which has to do with astrology, for example. There belief plays a role, much more than a lifestyle or organizing in a community. The relationship with the traditional faith continues to exist, but no longer as orderer of society.
Q. Are we hopelessly advancing towards secularization?
R.It is curious, because what we see in religion we also see in politics or culture, which is polarization. There is a universe that is increasingly detached from organized religion, with less weight, but at the same time in other sectors of society the faithful of many religions are growing. Let us think of Islam, of the evangelicals. To say that we live in a progressively more secular world may be short-sighted with respect to phenomena that are happening in the world. I do believe that the urban middle classes are becoming less religious. The impulses that religion organized end up in beliefs new age, to politics, like the new rights, or women’s circles, where girls go looking for girls who think like them.
“In many millennials there is a very great ‘revival’ of faith, even more than of religion”
P. Identity is a question that is constantly in your work. Why are you so concerned?
R.We live in a time where identities are increasingly crystallized, where it is important to say “I am a woman”, “I am gay”, I am whatever. On the one hand, these identities take on a lot of strength and, on the other, we are moving towards a more fluid world. It is a paradox that we talk about the fluidity of identity at the same time that we continue to generate more categories. That challenges me. I am in favor of all the categories that serve to think or bond, but I am surprised when I see conversations about being alosexual or demisexual, that are lived as identities. I think of them as moments. I feel that all experiences are articulated in the form of identities. I prefer to think that experiences do not have to be articulated as something stable, nor should identity be stable in time and space. I am more interested in identity as a question and problem rather than as something that one takes for granted.
Q. Your book The end of love. Love and fuck in the 21st century it is a question about sexuality. How does the generation that today is 15 years old live it?
R.I already considered many things about my mother, and that her life had been more boring than mine. From the sixties to now, that’s what all generations think, but I think adventure today has different meanings. I think about what it was like to discover sex when I was a girl, 15 years ago, and deep down I think that from the sixties to now it hasn’t changed that much.
Q. You talk about big changes…
R.I’m talking about a process that began in the sixties and that has been moving very slowly, I’m not saying that everything has changed in the last 10 years. The sex life of 15-year-old girls is not that different from mine. There are things that are talked about more, something that has passed to the plane of the discursive. There are no more gays, there are more people who have no problem saying so.
P. The political effervescence that accompanied in Argentina the discussion on abortionisn’t that a novelty?
R.That has nothing to do with the difference in sexual activity. The older women I know, the 40-year-olds, all had abortions, and the ones my age didn’t. I didn’t have any, I take contraceptives. I belong to a generation in which it was not uncommon for you to organize yourself with the gynecologist at the age of 15. At the time of my friends of 45 it was taboo; And not to mention the women of 80, who had many abortions, so there was nothing to take care of. Now abortion represents something else and allows sexuality to intersect with politics. That militancy was not to abort more, it was to recognize themselves as sexual beings.
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