Rodolfo Braceli is a poet, and he demonstrates that condition not only when he writes poetry, but also when he does journalism. His notes and interviews have that sensitivity with words and beings, typical of someone who knows that the important thing about what we see is what we don’t see. He is the author of biographies of Mercedes Sosa and Julio Bocca, of a book that thoroughly analyzes that great national mystery that is Jorge Luis Borges; he has dared to investigate the world of football from fiction in his story book Perfume de gol. García Márquez, Woody Allen, Ray Bradbury and Silvio Rodríguez are on his list of interviewees. Adolfo Bioy Casares once confessed that the best interview of his life was made by Rodolfo Braceli. diary today it made him go from interviewer to interviewee.
—What is Rodolfo Braceli like as an interviewer?
—I am someone who goes to his interviews dead, rather, alive with fear. This fear thing has always happened to me, whoever the character to be interviewed, be it an axeman or a Nobel Prize winner. Already the night before I sleep uneasily, fear begins to grab me by the tonsils. That has no cure, nor will it.
—And how is it possible for someone who has conducted hundreds and hundreds of interviews with the most diverse characters to be afraid?
—I’m afraid because each report supposes an exploration; that exploration is an adventure. The unknown gives me a julep that has to do with the cuckoo of the mysterious. But in the end, fear is good for me, because the interviewee smells it, she perceives it. And let your guard down.
—Where would you say the truth is in an interview?
—The “truth”, the genuine, emerges when the character relaxes, when he stops being defensive and opens up and surrenders. We could say that in reality, in the interview, the surrender of the interviewee occurs when the interviewer also surrenders. That mutual surrender produces the state of confession. That’s where we get into the weather. The weather matters much more than the questions. Questions are an excuse to stir up the conversation. When the interviewee slips into confession he says what he never said, and goes deeper. This goes for Borges, for García Márquez, it goes for a model, it goes for a construction worker.
—Is there a universal pick that opens all doors, or does each interviewee have a different lock?
—I feel that each human being is unique and their lock is also unique. There are no impregnable locks. If the lock exists, the key exists. Of course, the point is to find the damn key. This requires patience, imagination, humility, courage.
—There is a lot of poetry in your interviews…
—If there is no poetry, there is no countenance, there is no pulse. I think that poetry can be in the chronicles, in reports, in the theater, in music, in painting, in the chronicle. Even poetry can even be in some poetry books. I am referring to the climate, to the poetic tension. I am not referring to the simple poetic vocabulary. I mean that, when there is no poetry, the interview or whatever it is immediately fades, stains, faints without return. I insist: I understand by poetry not the simple vocabulary frequented by the genre, but the act of throwing oneself into the disturbing void of the unknown without a harness, without a helmet, without a net.
—Do you think that if more literature were taught in college, journalism would be better?
—Literature does not always guarantee “better journalism”. There will be better journalism if we activate curiosity. Curiosity, but not to explore the pimp. There are stellar journalists who do not seek “the truth”, they seek the scandal that the supposed “truth” could produce. We live confusing noise with sound, flatness with sea level, euphoria with joy. The worst of all is that we liquefy everything by abiding by euphemisms. This, ours, is the age of euphemism. To the beat of the northern empire we have reached the height of calling torture with the laudatory name of “demanding interrogation.” But I prefer not to continue with this matter because I am getting into my next book.
The pleasure of the Argentines
When Rodolfo Braceli was asked what the interviewer felt, in this case, when being interviewed, he did not hesitate in his answer: “Right now I feel pleasure, enjoyment, like any self-respecting Argentine.”
—Pleasure, enjoyment… Can I know why?
—Because for a long time I haven’t stopped talking about myself. And we already know that we Argentines want nothing more than to talk about ourselves.
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