POST SABBATICAL NOTES. 11 AUG 2014. MONDAY. N2.
Dim and grim Monday. Goodbye, Captain, my Captain!
BECAUSE THE FUNNY AND SAD man chose to die on a Monday, the second day of the week, in this August of summer and sun and hurricanes going pfft, we grieve.
First, Maya Angelou. I read her over and over again when immigrant life was at its most absurd point in Los Angeles. I walked for a mile to go to the Gardena Municipal Library and there, read her again and again, her caged birds unable to sing, and the homeless of Los Angeles sleeping on pavements with the Los Angeles Cathedral in all its glory standing guard and watching over these wretched creatures like a faithful sentinel. Of course, she dies.
Gabriel Marquez, of course, was one guy those taking my Latin-Am literature courses must know inside out. No, they must know him, plus those others who meant business in writing as a vocation of the sane and the deranged. Of course, Marquez dies, and leaves us poorer.
And then this, Robin Williams' journey into the beyond.
All these mean only one thing: the finality of death. Philosophers, those inclined to look at life with grief and no laughter, talk of the moment of birthing as the start of the clock for dying. 'The moment a man is born, he is poised to die,' one said, and you could only commiserate with that man with that negative tone of his voice.
In the seminary, I introduced him, this Dead Poets Society man.
I thought it was a way of talking about the unevenness of life, of the bigoted nature of our thoughts, and the more bigoted way we talk about our sense of self and meaning.
This was a requirement in my seminary classes when the showing of videos was relaxed, and no priests censored what we were to show their innocent, angelic seminarians.
And then we would decipher him, this "Oh, Captain, my Captain!" guy, and in the nick of time, I could see the innocence of seminarians gone.
Now, now: they have become men again, people too, not angels.
But men. With bones. With bodies. With thoughts, domesticated and wild, and sometimes, wilder than I thought.
Of course, the priests hated me for doing this until one day, I was called into a Brothers Karamazov-life Holy Inquisition. Ah, Dead Poets Society again.
Three priests, my foot.
And there was one question: Why was I teaching that the Philippine Catholic Church was a capitalist?
I said, look at the documents.
And I went on to teach how many church orders had their stocks hidden in corporations in the Philippines.
And we talk about poverty?