October 22, 2007

Love in the Time of Marquez

There is reason to celebrate Gabo's utterly brilliant novel, Love in the Time of Cholera. Why? It's the new film by Mike Newell:

Even Oprah picked this one for her recent Book Club and I hope with this kind of promotion Gabo's popularity will soar again as he did when he published his One Hundred Years of Solitude.

I fell in love with his books not because of the subject but more for the sheer imagination he has planted into his words where the impossible become possible, the unbelievable become believable. Moreso, his words breathe in that sultry dusty and heady air of South America which is not that different from ours. Think of the cobblestone streets of Intramuros, Nick Joaquin stories, rondalla music, the smell of camphor wood, the waxed sheen of narra planks of old Spanish homes, clip-clop noise of the caretela horse, the rich taste of egg yolks blended into the flan, water stains on limestone walls and mildew smell of the pages of leather-bound books. It's no wonder why a LOT of Filipinos put Marquez as their top choice for a Nobel-prizewinning author. I hope with this new film out, more Pinoys shall enjoy Marquez's works for the pleasure of it, and I'm confident it will be as enduring as Florentino's love for Fermina.

October 15, 2007

Immodest Proposal

Students have learned in school that British satirist Johnathan Swift is the author of Gulliver's Travels but most literate people however do not know that he also wrote scathing essays about the pressing social issues of his days.

One of these essays is his "A Modest Proposal", a sarcastic reaction to the overpopulation of the Irish during the late 18th century. His solution to the escalating problem of population explosion where impoverished mothers were spawning kids like pigs in a blanket is to fatten these oxygen-consuming creatures for culinary consumption.

Swift proposed, "that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout." And frankly, that will solve the Philippines' malnutrition dilemma. Mothers shall ideally give birth to a maximum of 3 children to be raised as real children and all subsequent births will be reserved for commercial use. Swift planned his scheme as such:
"That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in thesale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advisingthe mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render themplump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainmentfor friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will makea reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very goodboiled on the fourth day, especially in winter."

In other words, all lechon-roasters will have an alternative source of livelihood. This is very good news to all nuns administering the orphanages for they shall have a source of income to sustain the upbringing of their poor defenseless wards. But will this thing be seasonal? Swift said that "infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season." After the carcasses has been flayed and consumed, Swift suggested that "the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen" in order to maximize use. Such is the genius of the man.

With such amount of children being born as a mere inconvenient consequence of the pleasures of sex, such proposal may be prudent and timely in order to balance the resources of our nation. Infant de Leche anyone?