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Porno with redeeming value

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"What’s the
name of what we are producing? Let’s say, a socio-historic-literary-porno testimony,
ha-ha."

From A Casa dos Budas Ditosos by João Ubaldo Ribeiro.

A just-released pornographic book is provoking a furor in Brazil, but it’s the cheers
of the media that is being mostly heard. The author is none other than one of the 40
"immortals" from the venerable Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazilian Academy
of Letters). Baiano (from Bahia state) João Ubaldo Ribeiro, 58, is the author of some
spicy and sexually charged novels. Nothing that compares, however, to his last work, A
Casa dos Budas Ditosos (The House of the Blissful Buddhas).

Unabashedly pornographic, Ribeiro’s new book tells the story in the first person of a
woman with a voracious and superimaginative sexual appetite. The book was written at the
request of Objetiva publishing house which was putting together the collection Plenos
Pecados (Whole Sins), dealing with the seven capital sins. Ribeiro was initially asked to
write about laziness, one sin all Baianos are supposed to commit. He didn’t accept the
stereotype, though, and opted for a more challenging sin: luxury.

In an often used literary trick, the author tells us in the foreword that the book is
the transcript he made of several cassette tapes that were delivered to him by C.L.B, a
68-year-old woman. Having read that the author had been invited to write about luxury,
C.L.B. left at the reception desk of the writer’s apartment building a box with tapes and
a note telling of her intention to reveal her most daring and intimate sexual experiences.

Ribeiro, now living in a penthouse on Leblon beach, a neighborhood on Rio’s south zone,
confessed to having blushed at many of the sexual experiences described. He also confessed
that some of the practices described in the book he didn’t even know existed before
finding them while surfing the Internet. The author didn’t dare use everything he read,
though.

Rio’s daily Jornal do Brasil celebrated the novel’s arrival with an appeal to
more sophisticated readers: "Poets, singers, intellectuals, come running. You finally
have the opportunity to read a pornographic book without feeling guilty for consuming your
time with fifth-class literature."

For Ribeiro this was the realization of an old dream: "I was always fascinated by
the idea of writing a pornographic book with some literary quality. This is a very
difficult genre." Now he is afraid people are going to start thinking the female
character is being used as a spokesperson for his own philosophy.

The writer has been playing with the idea of writing a spicier book for a few years
now, since a congress for writers in Canada when authors read from their own work. It was
there that he found an older woman who confessed to him that she was a writer of
pornographic books. He talked recently about this encounter: "I told her that it was
very hard to write a pornographic book with some literary quality. One of these days I
will write one, I thought. And this idea continued to occupy a little corner of my
mind."

Lacking any morals, C.L.B. had all kinds of sexual experiences including incest,
bestiality and sex with children. For her, normal are experiences without any sexual
hang-ups or inhibitions. She intersperses her sexual exploits with philosophical thoughts
and citations by Shakespeare, Robbe-Grillet, Lacan, Freud, Heidegger and Plato. C.L.B.
believes she is doing God’s work by fully living her sexual fantasies. She says,
"I’ve done what He created me to do."

What about the title? "As any good title with literary quality this one means
nothing," explains João Ubaldo Ribeiro. The Blissful Buddhas are a statue of a
female and a male Buddha having sex that the old woman who signed the book bought in
Thailand. Ribeiro was inspired by a book on sex he got as a gift and that spoke about a
temple called House of the Blissful Buddhas.

Immoral
fragments

"No one was born with a rigid sexual role, everybody is everything in a bigger or
smaller degree, the rest is fear of ridiculous and absurd ghosts, that never sustained
themselves on their misty little legs."

"We live according to rules and standards for which no human being was made."

"Exclusive heterosexuality, limitation. Exclusive homosexuality, limitation.
Bisexuality, normal… Pansexuality, the future, the chance of universalizing love’s
aggregating force."

"I didn’t sin against luxury. The one who sins is he who doesn’t do what he was
created to do."

"Taking it on your thighs is something that requires know-how to be decently
enjoyed. The woman has to train her posture, to be sure that she will reach an
orgasm—even more so when the man is semi-adolescent and comes in two tenths of a
second."

"I have a fixation in the oral phase, cannibalistic oral phase naturally; I adore
every form of ingestion. At that time I was already hooked on this kind of fixation, today
this is perfectly clear."

"The devirginating was really a great day…. Virginity you only lose once, and
since I had created the opportunity to get rid of it the way I had imagined, I would not
waste such full satisfaction."

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