“We will come out of the pandemic for medicine and we will live a later normality”

Only until there is a vaccine or drugs against COVID-19 will we return to normal, Jaime Labastida says in an interview. Confirms participation of the publisher Siglo XXI in the FIL of Guadalajara.

“People are saying: the world will be different. It is not true, no pandemic has transformed humanity. I have made it reflect, yes. It has made it think of other possibilities, yes; but what society develops are new ideas and the productive forces, ”says the philosopher and poet Jaime Labastida (Sinaloa, 1939) in an interview.

The also member of the Mexican Academy of Language (AML) and director of Siglo XXI Editores comments that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in an increase in globalization and remote communication systems.

“Pandemics and epidemics last one, two or three years, after that, people return to a normal life, there is even more population growth, new hygienic methods are developed and the fundamental thing is that we will get out of the pandemic thanks to medicine. That is what a later normality will mean ”, he warns.

– Wouldn’t you call what we live today a “new normal”?

– I don’t call this new normal. We will return to normal when the vaccine is developed in sufficient quantities. Vaccine and medications will allow us to return to what is a normal life.

“Many people are taking precautions and the pandemic is spreading because others say they own their bodies and will not wear face masks. The problem is that they infect others, the problem is that it is a social responsibility and not showing masculinity or machismo and saying nothing happens to me, ”she replies.

– Have you reflected on the new meaning of some words?

– At the Mexican Academy of Language we have seen that there are words that have originated in the pandemic, have spread and have begun to analyze them. A list was made of those words that emerged during the pandemic now registered by the Lexicography Commission.

Jaime Labastida states that confinement has not seriously affected him personally as he is a person who works intellectually on his own issues.

“This has allowed me to return to something that many years ago I had neglected: in-depth readings. The confinement has allowed me to return to my old habits, to lock myself inside me. I read again Being and Nothingness, by Jean-Paul Sartre; Being and time, by Heidegger; I read the entire history of Mexico and Lucas Alamán’s three dissertations, as well as many texts by Vasconcelos that have seemed like a disaster to me ”, he shares.

The poet believes that those who are distressed today and after a stressful situation are those accustomed to a rhythm of life of “coming and going” from work to home.

“Some took refuge in television and have already run out of the series or movies that interested them, but the books are infinite. Those of us who read books have not been bored, those of us who have access to reading are enjoying, in a certain sense, this. Of course, income has dropped a lot. There is a favorable situation for intellectual development. I hope that many writings, poetry books and symphonies will come out of here, ”he says.

YES TO FIL. Jaime Labastida assures that Siglo XXI Editores will attend the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) if it is carried out in person, from November 28 to December 6, 2020.

“We are going to take great care of our intervention. Maybe in a smaller space, maybe we don’t make presentations. We are going to take great care of the costs because the situation is very difficult, but we will be in solidarity with FIL Guadalajara, which we have not stopped attending for a single year, ”he says.

When asked if the FIL organizers have given publishers facilities, Labastida points out that they have offered incentives and apparently they will charge less per square meter of the stand.

“The publisher’s income has dropped a lot, we will not be able to attend or present as many books as other times, but we will be at the fair, I can affirm this clearly and firmly,” says the editor.

Labastida comments that he keeps in touch remotely with the staff that works at the publishing house.

“We have gradually returned to work at the publishing house, in a phased manner and with all the protective measures. Not everyone has returned, not every day you work. One of the purposes I made for this time is that Siglo XXI came out of the pandemic as a healthy company, without debt and we have not fired a single person, we have not lowered their wages, we have paid them the distribution of profits, “he highlights. .

Regarding the reduction in income, Labastida points out that sales have decreased by 90 percent. “What has allowed us to survive is that we had a magnificent 2019, we hope to do well this year.”

The author of In the middle of the year He details that in these months paper books are sold through Amazon, a company that turned out to be “an effective way of selling in the 21st century. If it continued this pace when it returns to normal — which I doubt very much — Amazon would be the publisher’s second source of sale, the first being the Gandhi network. “