Sunday, February 22, 2009

The paradise just around the corner

Screw the Oscars. I have watched some of the movies competing tonight and I still have a larger place in my heart for Milk. I know it is not a masterpiece of cinematography, not as intriguing as others, or not as cheering. But I have a great deal of sympathy for social movements and I believe in down-to-earth struggle and will rather than faith. Of course, it's centered around a specific character. But then again, aren't all our stories that way? I always get the look when I state such preferences. It would be hard for my mum to even watch a movie with gay men, but even so to endorse it. It happens that my friends have nationalistic views. It happens that some are even misogynists. If I ask for freedom of conscience, I have to accept it for others too. But I can always piss off all the uptight sissies with limited views of the world. And I enjoy it.
I finally finished Llosa's book and I just wish I would have been the one who wrote it. I guess I am already too much socialized into South-American literary tradition to fully taste the vigor of his writing. It's the story of the last years of life of Paul Gauguin and his grandmother's Flora Tristan. She was a writer and social activist in France and he was a painter living in Tahiti. She wanted equality for the poor and the workers and for women and he believed that a true artist needs to be in intimate contact with his savage self. They were both reformers who fought for freedom of those oppressed by the bourgeoisie or the colonists or the church or any kind of uniform. It makes you wonder about how complex all our lives are in the backstage, where we undress from our dreams and mission. I was amused towards the end where a fictional meeting of Flora and Marx was described. She was a pistol and shooed the titan who was waiting for the printers away. We all have a different view of this paradise lingering just around the corner. But maybe few are so brave as to leave searching and working for it.

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