Pequeños emperadores

De acuerdo con informes publicados por la Academia China de Ciencias Sociales, hoy en día nacen en China ciento veinte niños por cada cien niñas. Todos los niños que yo veía corriendo como locos por mi hotel eran varones, la mayoría más joven de una generación mimada que pronto alcanzaría la mayoría de edad en la República Popular. «Esos son los pequeños emperadores», escribió en el USA Today un reportero que vive en Pekín, y añadió que ellos eran «el resultado más visible de los esfuerzos a veces brutales que hacía China para frenar el crecimiento desbocado de la población». El artículo citaba a un profesor de psicología que decía: «Ellos son los miembros más importantes de la familia…, sólo piensan en ellos mismos y no piensan en los demás».

En una nota para mí, escribí: «Si el gobierno de Estados Unidos piensa que es difícil lidiar con los gobernantes chinos de hoy, que esperé a que estos “pequeños emperadores” lleguen al poder».

Vida de un escritor, Gay Talese

Frank Sinatra has a cold

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FRANK SINATRA, holding a glass of bourbon in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood in a dark corner of the bar between two attractive but fading blondes who sat waiting for him to say something. But he said nothing; he had been silent during much of the evening, except now in this private club in Beverly Hills he seemed even more distant, staring out through the smoke and semidarkness into a large room beyond the bar where dozens of young couples sat huddled around small tables or twisted in the center of the floor to the clamorous clang of folk-rock music blaring from the stereo. The two blondes knew, as did Sinatra’s four male friends who stood nearby, that it was a bad idea to force conversation upon him when he was in this mood of sullen silence, a mood that had hardly been uncommon during this first week of November, a month before his fiftieth birthday.

Sinatra had been working in a film that he now disliked, could not wait to finish; he was tired of all the publicity attached to his dating the twenty-year-old Mia Farrow, who was not in sight tonight; he was angry that a CBS television documentary of his life, to be shown in two weeks, was reportedly prying into his privacy, even speculating on his possible friendship with Mafia leaders; he was worried about his starring role in an hour-long NBC show entitled Sinatra — A Man and His Music, which would require that he sing eighteen songs with a voice that at this particular moment, just a few nights before the taping was to begin, was weak and sore and uncertain. Sinatra was ill. He was the victim of an ailment so common that most people would consider it trivial. But when it gets to Sinatra it can plunge him into a state of anguish, deep depression, panic, even rage. Frank Sinatra had a cold.

Sinatra with a cold is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel — only worse. For the common cold robs Sinatra of that uninsurable jewel, his voice, cutting into the core of his confidence, and it affects not only his own psyche but also seems to cause a kind of psychosomatic nasal drip within dozens of people who work for him, drink with him, love him, depend on him for their own welfare and stability. A Sinatra with a cold can, in a small way, send vibrations through the entertainment industry and beyond as surely as a President of the United States, suddenly sick, can shake the national economy. (Seguir leyendo)

Gay Talese para Esquire, abril de 1966.