Wednesday, September 9, 2015

JONG AGAIN (after all these years)


Erica Jong’s ‘Fear of Dying’ Defies the Sunset of Sex

“I thought, I have to write about an older woman who is sexual, attractive and wants to reach out for life. That’s not celebrated, sadly. ” ERICA JONG, author of “Fear of Dying” Credit Krista Schlueter for The New York Times
Two words have vexed Erica Jong for the last 42 years. The first is “zipless,” and the word that follows is not printable in this newspaper.
The two-word phrase, immortalized in her 1973 best-selling novel, “Fear of Flying,” which has sold more than 27 million copies, entered the cultural lexicon as a shorthand for casual, consequence-free sex. It turned Ms. Jong into a feminist heroine of sorts and avatar of female sexual liberation, and helped propel and define her career.
It was also meant to be satirical, Ms. Jong said, but was misconstrued as an endorsement of unbridled lust.
“People so misinterpreted ‘zipless,’ ” Ms. Jong, 73, said during an interview at her Upper East Side apartment. “I say in ‘Fear of Flying’ that it’s a Platonic ideal and a fantasy, and I have never had one, but people seem to overlook that.”
Now, decades later, she has exhumed and rebranded the phrase in her new novel, “Fear of Dying,” which is being billed as the “spiritual” sequel to “Fear of Flying” and is being released on Tuesday.
While “Fear of Flying” shocked readers with its frank depiction of the sexual appetite and independence of its protagonist, Isadora Wing, “Fear of Dying” takes on an another, more persistent taboo by depicting — in blunt, unvarnished detail — sex between older adults. Ms. Jong’s new character, a grandmother in her 60s, is lusty and vivacious and searching for carnal satisfaction at a casual-sex site called
“I’ve always wanted to write the books for women that didn’t yet exist, so I thought, I have to write about an older woman who is sexual, attractive and wants to reach out for life,” Ms. Jong said. “That’s not celebrated, sadly, and I would hope that a lot of older women who read this book realize that sex doesn’t disappear, it just changes forms.”
The story centers on Vanessa Wonderman, a former actress terrified of aging and death. She seeks escape from her sexless marriage to a much older man with erectile dysfunction by searching for lovers online. The surreal encounters that follow — an email exchange with a man who introduces himself by sending lewd photos, another who wants her to wear a black rubber suit, an unsatisfying hotel tryst with an old married flame — leave Vanessa reeling and worried that her sex life might be over. (This being an Erica Jong novel, it isn’t.)
Some of Ms. Jong’s fans and peers are calling the novel a long overdue corrective in a cultural landscape that deifies youth and often ignores older women, or relegates them to the role of spinsters or crones.
Erica Jong, 73, at home on the Upper East Side. Her new book centers on a woman in her 60s who searches for lovers online. Credit Krista Schlueter for The New York Times
“There is this giant void in the culture about women in that age group as heroines, as romantic beings, as sexual beings and as creative beings, and there’s not that void for men,” said Naomi Wolf, author of “The Beauty Myth.” “Women don’t stop being all those things as their lives continue into those decades.”
“Fear of Dying” is landing in the middle of a long-festering debate about the social and cultural obstacles older women face. The comedian Amy Schumer has skewered the frequent sidelining of older actresses in a widely viewed skit built around the farcical — though just barely — premise that an aging actress’s desirability could dissipate in a single day. Sex therapists and gurus have published dozens of manuals and self-help books with titles like “Sex for Seniors” and “Sex Over 50.” There is also the gag book “Sex After 60,” which is blank inside.
But the subject hasn’t been widely explored in popular fiction. “Women were not allowed to have passion at 60,” Ms. Jong writes in “Fear of Dying.” “We were supposed to become grandmothers and retreat into serene sexlessness.”
Ms. Jong started out as a poet, and published two volumes of verse before selling “Fear of Flying” to Aaron Asher, an editor whose roster of writers included Saul Bellow, Philip Roth and Arthur Miller. Mr. Asher told Ms. Jong to expect sales of 3,000 copies, she recalled.
Instead, the novel, about a young poet who travels to Vienna with her husband and attempts to live out her fantasies by having an affair, became a blockbuster and cultural touchstone. John Updike compared it to “The Catcher in the Rye,” and Henry Miller praised it as a groundbreaking literary achievement. The book was translated into 40 languages and was credited by second-wave feminists with paving the way for women’s self-expression.
“What was really distinctive about it at the time was the notion that a woman could break out of the conventions of how a woman writer should write, and write with candor and humor about topics that were taboo for women,” said Shelley Fisher Fishkin, an English professor at Stanford University.
Ms. Jong has since published three memoirs, five more volumes of poetry and eight other novels, including historical fiction and a work about Sappho, but nothing has matched the popularity of “Fear of Flying.” At times, she says, she has felt oppressed by being so closely associated with her brash fictional alter ego Isadora.
“Fear of Flying’ follows me everywhere,” she said.
She has been struggling to write “Fear of Dying” for a decade. At first she tried to make an older, wiser Isadora the heroine. But bringing back that character felt forced. “There was so much baggage around ‘Fear of Flying,’ ” she said. “The weight of those expectations was very frightening.”
Ms. Jong eventually sidelined Isadora to a cameo role as a worldly friend, and created Vanessa, who shares some obvious traits with the author. She used the book to explore the wrenching process of watching her parents’ slow demise, her fear of losing her looks and vitality, the joys of being a grandmother and her relationship with her daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, who, like Vanessa, struggled with drug addiction.
Ms. Jong’s warm, chatty persona and her tendency to blur the boundaries between her life and fiction often results in juicy reading. She once wrote about a one-night stand she had with Martha Stewart’s then-husband, Andy Stewart, at the Frankfurt Book Fair. But the autobiographical tropes can be trying for friends, family members, ex-husbands and former lovers. (Her fourth marriage, to Ken Burrows, a divorce lawyer, has lasted 26 years.) Her sister, Suzanna Daou, confronted her publicly at a 2008 conference about “Fear of Flying,” and has said that the book embarrassed her and her husband by modeling characters after them.
Ms. Jong-Fast, who is also a writer, said she had not read “Fear of Dying” and did not plan to, noting that her having her time in treatment rehashed in fiction “would not have been my first choice.” The scenes from a mother-daughter trip to a rehabilitation clinic appear to be barely fictionalized, and several paragraphs match an account of the episode in Ms. Jong’s most recent memoir nearly verbatim, with identical dialogue and descriptions.
“I don’t read her books,” Ms. Jong-Fast said. “For my mental health, it’s probably better not to.”
A few literary critics have taken aim at Ms. Jong’s self-referential style and habit of recycling material. A caustic review of her 2006 memoir in The Atlantic posited that Ms. Jong was doomed to “eternal self-imitation” after the success of “Fear of Flying,” and skewered her “stunning self-absorption.”
In an advance review of “Fear of Dying,” a critic for Kirkus Reviews said that “spending almost 300 pages with Vanessa is like enduring a trans-Atlantic flight with a seat mate who never stops talking but doesn’t have a whole lot to say.”
Ms. Jong said she had a thicker skin than she did earlier in her career and is more philosophical about negative reviews. “We can’t really control our image in the world,” she said. “But it still hurts if you spend a decade on a book and people don’t like it.”
She has many vocal supporters, among them Susan Cheever; the historical novelist Ken Follett, who said the new novel represented “Erica at her best”; and the novelist Jennifer Weiner, who counts “Fear of Flying” as one of her literary influences.
“ ‘Fear of Flying’ opened a lot of doors and eyes and made people look differently at that nice woman sitting next to them on the train, and I think ‘Fear of Dying’ is going to have the same effect,” Ms. Weiner said.
Ms. Jong also found a fan in one of her comic heroes, Woody Allen, who loved “Fear of Dying” and unexpectedly gave it a blurb.
“I was thinking of his famous quote, I’m not afraid of dying; I just don’t want to be there when it happens, so I thought he should read this,” Ms. Jong said. “The first thing he said when we sent it was, ‘I never blurb anything.’ Then he relented.”

Neefs by Akrans

Ine Neefs by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015

Posted by Sasha.

Ine Neefs is captured by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015. Styled by Martine de Menthon.

Photo Ine Neefs by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015

Ine Neefs by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015

Posted by Sasha.

Photo Ine Neefs by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015

Photo Ine Neefs by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015

Photo Ine Neefs by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015

Photo Ine Neefs by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015

Photo Ine Neefs by Camilla Akrans for Dior Magazine Fall 2015

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“Revolution Girl Style Now”

The New York Times




The chef George Mendes. Credit Huge Galdones

On Aug. 24, the chef George Mendes’s ultramodern, Iberian-inspired restaurant, Aldea, shut its doors for 10 days. Six years after its opening (and five years after receiving its first Michelin star), the time had come, he explains, for some long-awaited updates. “The relaunch itself has probably been on my mind for the past year and a half to two years,” he says. “I wanted to take this on full force — what started out as a need for wear-and-tear renovations became an opportunity, in the summer months, to close down, do a complete renovation from head to tail, make changes at the bar and revisit the menu.”

For those who already love Aldea, there’s still much to appreciate in the newly relaunched restaurant, which opens Sept. 4. “We will still have our signature dishes as verbal specials, like the duck rice, but we’ve spread our wings and evolved from a creative aspect. We hit a point where it was a constant menu of signature dishes that left little room for evolution,” Mendes says. Now, he’s offering a new structure with a focus on tasting menus. “I think a tasting menu is a chef’s story. It’s what the chef is presently thinking. It’s an art and a craft and the ability to have a dialogue, while experiencing drastic creativity,” he says. He’ll emphasize new flavors, new ingredients and even new cooking styles — and tend more toward simplicity. The wine list and signature cocktails will also receive an overhaul. However, the kitchen will remain visible to the dining room, something Mendes feels strongly about. “I have always liked that openness and the ability to communicate with the customer,” he says. “It’s more than transparency, but the shared experience with the cook, observing reactions.”
Among the options on the new menu — from salt cod with potato, egg and black olive to a fat rice featuring duck sausage, clams and squid — is a superb veal sweetbread. “I have always loved the crunch of pan-fried sweetbread,” Mendes says. “I also enjoy using innards and parts of animals that are less popular. This is going to be something that people will relate to and something people have never tried.” While pork has received a lot of attention lately, veal has been all but forgotten in haute cuisine; in Mendes’s sweetbread, it comes to life in an entirely unexpected way. “The way I have approached the Aldea menu is very personal and present — that’s really what the restaurant has been and continues to be,” he says. “Now, as I have matured in the kitchen and my personal life, it carries over.”

Mendes's veal sweetbreads with piquillo pepper and sunchoke. Credit Jackie Gebel

Veal Sweetbreads With Piquillo Pepper and Sunchoke

Yield: 4 servings
Sunchoke Miso Purée, recipe below
Sweetbreads, recipe below
Candied Meyer Lemons, recipe below
Seasonal baby lettuce
Oil, salt, pepper and strips of piquillo pepper, to taste
1. Place a dollop of the purée in center of the plate.

2. Arrange the sweetbreads on top with a few thin slices of the candied Meyer lemon peels on each side.
3. Garnish with seasonal baby lettuce dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper and a few strips of piquillo pepper.

Sunchoke Miso Purée

1.6 pounds sunchokes
1 bay leaf, torn
5 thyme sprigs
Salt, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
112 grams or ½ cup white miso
Lemon juice, to taste
1. Wash and scrub the sunchokes. Toss them in olive oil, salt, bay leaf and thyme. Place them in a roasting pan, wrap in foil and roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until tender.
2. Drain off the oil and cooking liquid. Purée until smooth.
3. Reserve the purée and add the miso. Season with salt and lemon juice.


1 pound sweetbreads
Wondra flour, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Blanch the sweetbreads for 3 minutes in simmering water. Plunge into an ice bath to stop cooking.
2. Pat dry and dust with Wondra flour, salt and pepper.
3. Pan-fry until golden brown and crispy.

Candied Meyer Lemons

10 pieces of Meyer lemons
1 star anise
1. Peel the zest, remove the pith and juice the Meyer lemons.

2. Blanch the zest in boiling water and plunge in ice bath. Repeat twice.
3. Make a simple syrup by mixing Meyer lemon juice, equal parts sugar and star anise and simmer until dissolved.
4. Simmer zest in simple syrup until tender.

refugiados, migrantes e os outros

1) porque é que os refugiados não fogem para países vizinhos/próximos, com a mesma religião e que não estão em guerra?

2) porque é que os refugiados não fogem para a China que é mais perto e/ou mais rica que a Europa?

3) Ou para a Arábia Saudita e os Emiratos que também são mais perto e mais ricos que a Europa?


10) ou será por exemplo porque---»»»   “When you go to Europe, they treat you well, they give you a house, they pay you money, they take care of your health,” said Ali Hattam Jassim, 37, whose brother recently arrived in Belgium. “We have so many friends there, and they tell us how great the life is.”


como diria o outro: venham mais cinco!!! E parabéns aos USA pela sua intervenção no Iraque!!!

:::»»»  Emboldened by the recent wave of news coverage showing their countrymen and fellow Arabs fleeing the war in Syria and reaching Europe, many Iraqis see a new opportunity to get out......

Shoes donated by Hungarians for refugee children in Budapest on Monday.

OPINION | Op-Ed Contributor


If Hungarians seem uncharitable, it's partly because they have less.

An Iraqi migrant tried to sleep on Saturday while keeping his place in line with thousands waiting for travel documents to be issued in Preshevo, Serbia.


Emboldened by media coverage showing their countrymen and fellow Arabs fleeing the war in Syria, many who had resisted leaving during past crises now see a chance to go.


Macedonian police officers clashed with migrants trying to cross the border from Greece on Monday as a relentless stream of new arrivals continued to flow into Europe.


France said it would accept 24,000 asylum seekers over two years, Britain plans to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees and Germany set aside $6.7 billion to help new arrivals.

crise dos refugiados
O primeiro-ministro britânico, David Cameron, recusa associar-se às quotas de refugiados nos países da UE. Cameron acredita que isso não ajudará a resolver o problema

Desenhos de tanques e arame farpado: a inocência perdida na fuga à guerra. O João de Almeida Dias continua na Hungria, de onde nos vai contando as mais inacreditáveis histórias humanas que atravessam o país. Hoje ele fala-nos de Murat, que já sabe fazer bolas de sabão (mas ainda tem pesadelos com arame farpado), de outras crianças que fogem à guerra e das crianças que, quando nascerem, nascerão europeias. Must read.


Refugees from various nations being escorted along a rail line near the town of Szeged, Hungary, close to the border with Serbia.

OPINION | Op-Ed Contributor


Instead of blaming Europe for the crisis, the United States can take charge and start solving the problem at its source.



Seeking a Fair Distribution
of Migrants in Europe

Based on the proportions outlined in the
proposal, here are countries that have already
approved asylum applications at a rate …

Higher than the quota


Lower than the quota

Czech Rep.

Source: New York Times analysis of demographic, economic and asylum data for each country. Note: Britain, Denmark and Ireland are exempt from the new relocation proposal.

The proposal is not comprehensive: Hungary has already received nearly three times more asylum applications than the 54,000 from those who would be redistributed. But the quotas would be a sign of cooperation in Europe, and they may be a starting point for further distribution.

“We now need immediate action,” said the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, in his State of the European Union speech. “We cannot leave Italy, Greece and Hungary to fare alone.”

There is no guarantee that ministers will accept the plan, which Mr. Juncker asked member states to approve at a meeting on Sept. 14. European Union leaders failed to agree on far more modest quotas at a summit meeting in June, and many governments must contend with the growing support of populist or anti-immigrant groups.

These charts use the proportions from the quotas proposed on Wednesday to assess which countries have taken on a higher share than the proposal would require, and which have not.

If the proportions proposed on
Wednesday went into effect now:

Eleven countries wouldmeet the quota10%20%GermanyNetherlandsBelgiumSwedenAustriaBulgariaCyprusMaltaItalyGreeceHungaryTarget proposed on Sept. 9Share of people granted asylum in Europe, January 2014 to June 201514 countries would haveto accept more applications10%20%FranceSpainPolandRomaniaPortugalCzech RepublicFinlandSlovakiaCroatiaLithuaniaSloveniaEstoniaLatviaLuxembourg

Sources: Eurostat; European Commission. Note: Britain, Ireland and Denmark are exempt from the new relocation proposal.

A country’s population and its gross domestic product account for 80 percent of the formula used to calculate the proposed quotas. The European Commission has said that larger populations and economies “are generally considered more able to shoulder greater migration pressures.”

The chart below shows that, of the larger countries with stronger economies, Germany and Sweden have accepted many more asylum seekers than the proposal would require, while Finland and France are behind. Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta stand out as accepting more applicants than the proposal would require, despite being smaller and poorer countries.

Population vs. wealth

Accepted proportionally more people than proposed
Fewer than proposed
Exempt from asylum proposal

$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,000100,000,000population10,000,0001,000,000GermanyGermanyFranceFranceBritainBritainItalyItalySpainSpainPolandPolandNetherlandsNetherlandsPortugalPortugalRomaniaRomaniaCzech RepublicCzech RepublicSwedenSwedenBelgiumBelgiumAustria —Austria —DenmarkDenmarkEstoniaEstoniaGreeceGreeceSlovakiaSlovakiaCroatiaCroatiaHungaryHungaryFinlandFinlandIrelandIrelandLatviaLatviaBulgariaBulgariaLithuaniaLithuaniaSloveniaSloveniaLuxembourgLuxembourgMaltaMaltaCyprusCyprus5%10%20%Circle size shows share of all people granted asylum in Europe from January 2014 to June 2015Gross domestic product per capita← Poorer economiesRicher economies →

Sources: International Monetary Fund; Eurostat; European Commission. Note: Luxembourg is not shown.