SABBATICAL NOTES. 14 AUG 2014. THURSDAY. N2.
When death is public and said to be 'untimely.'
I AM DISTURBED by the use of that adverb and adjective, 'untimely' to refer to the death of someone.
All over the media--of all kinds, BTW--there is that rampant, almost uncritical use of that word when they refer to the death of Robin Williams.
He hanged himself, and his death, the media say, is 'untimely'.
Untimely refers to the unsuitability of an event happening with respect to time, to what is the normal course (in which the event is bound to happen), to when is the appropriate moment.
Every death is timely.
Every death is suitable.
Every death is appropriate: birth inaugurates us into death, the existentialist philosophers had reminded us of this a long time ago. [Maybe we do not read philosophy anymore?]
I am not trying to be a language police here, but I am saddened twice by the fact that so many people want to have a spectacle of the details of Mr Williams death, the method he used to willfully end his life, and things that he had to battle, like depression and the onset of Parkinson's disease.
But even as we publicly display this need to become an all-time voyeur, there is that rarity about us not minding what is happening to the children of Gaza, to the 300 or so girls abducted by god-believers, the Christians chopped to death by ISIS, the glorious iniquity of the social structures of Philippine life.
Now, we have been distracted by these things because we have one thing that we are focusing our attention on, like the sexual life of Kris Aquino, for instance, or the sex video of that one Channel 5 guy. Palparan, bless him, should have submitted himself to authorities, and the timing of his coming out is suspect. Is this a distraction? If he were courageous--as he demonstrated through his dubious records as a general--why was he afraid in coming into the open and tell his side of the story?
Oh, his family owns a security firm? Isn't that in the Philippines, many of the general who retired do that?
There are two kinds of death now: one for the famous, and another for those who are not on the pavements of Los Angeles, that pavement that leads to the Kodak Theatre.
Indeed, there are two deaths: one public, one private.
I am not sure if Robin Williams wanted his death to be public. We are sensationalizing things too much, in much the same way that we have sensationalized, out of proportion and thus, irrationally, the need for a Philippine national language.
No, we do not need one, and we do not need to sensationalize Mr William's death.
Let him be, and let the other Philippine languages be.