Sunday, July 29

After the Pinoy short film screening at the
Alliance Francaise, and having nothing better
to do, I hung out with some friends at a house
in Vito Cruz.

It's hard being a bum surrounded
by other bums:

Instead of just lying about and ignoring pangs
of hunger in favor of dozing off or staring at that
cable movie you've seen a zillion times, you are
forced to take into consideration other people's
growling stomachs. You have to ask if they want
to eat breakfast at 2pm.

In the mid-90s, the preferred pickup line for guys
used to be "I'm in a band." Around 1998-99, this
evolved into: "Hey, I have a website." In the first
few years of the new millenium, it's now "I am a
short filmmaker."

Wednesday, July 25

The reality just dawned on me:

I don't know jackshit about web publishing
and html. And yet here I am, trying to put up
a webpage. I'll just have to go with the
hit-and-miss thing.

I work at home. I spend most of my days in the house, and it is inevitable that I run into my co-inhabibants often enough, as we live in this limited space. It means that they will be able to spot me: sitting in front of my computer, having breakfast at one o’clock in the afternoon, reading Richard Peck novels cross-legged on a mat; and I will be able to spot him, my brother: my brother, listening to that freaking Ely Soriano audio tape; my brother assuming a yoga pose on our dilapidated sofa with a Bible-a new one, not the old King James version that I occasionally paw through—a remnant of our still-disappearing father. On the nights that I come home late, he comes home even later from those gatherings where all they do is gather around like a flock of sheep [docile, unthinking flock of sheep] and listen to the words of that man whom my brother has practically enshrined and enthroned, in the opposite manner that he has dethroned and pushed away the old Sto. NiƱo statue after which he has been named.

I was reading through Chuck Palanhiuk’s Fight Club the other day, and Jack, the Ed Norton character in the film, and the book’s narrator, muses that often a person sees God in the way s/he sees her/his father. “I haven’t seen my father since I was six,” Jack says. “Since then my dad has moved to another city, built another family, and left six years later to another place, to build another family.” Or perhaps to set up another franchise, who knows?

We haven’t personally seen our father since he stood up and walked away that day after Christmas a couple of years ago. And come to think of it, it wasn’t much of an adjustment either. He never was around that much as far back as I could remember. And so it is much more understandable that God exists much like my Father does—a distant, vague memory, something you aren’t quite sure is real or something you just thought up, like an imaginary friend, or a really good lie. Agnosticism becomes my family, in the absence of something/someone to believe in. Or perhaps, the underlying concept here is one that debunks the traditional theology of the (male) trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And as I and my brothers are being raised by a tough, single female—my mother. And although she really wouldn’t hear any of it, I am much more convinced that God is a Woman.

That realization probably does not sit well with my brother. All these months, he had pursued Bible classes the way other boys his age pursued girls. My mother thought it to be an improvement over his fascination with military training and sword drills. I thought it to be a phase, much like my fascination with the early Jessica Zafra, or the mid-90s Eraserhead albums, or the full moon. It starts with a zealousness to know everything there is about the object, and involves the cutting out of columns, parking in front of the radio on Sunday afternoons, howling. But over the passage of time, one manages to control the urges, to simmer down the obssession so that it doesn’t possess one’s whole being. Whereas before, you just grab and swallow it whole, you can now hold the object of fascination at an arm’s length, and admire its quirks, its imperfections.

The ability to spot these imperfections are necessary: Twisted is starting to become repetitive, and the Eraserheads cannot claim to be revolutionaries anymore. They aren’t perfect, they’ve crossed the commercial line, they aren’t infallible, and Ely Buendia is not god. In the same manner, this preacher, this Brother Ely without the self-inflicted haircut and Chuck Taylor sneakers is definitely not God. Not that he claims to be, but he does claim to possess the One-and-Only Truth about The Word. The last I heard, there really isn’t one Truth with a Capital T. Truth is fragmented, tributary, and selective.

The very manner that this un-brother recruits people reflects this fragmented, tributary truth: to join his flock of sheep, docile, unthinking sheep, requires indoctrination. It implies that you must subscribe to his principles, and share his line of logic, which is, of course, nondebatable. “The truth is in the Bible,” the man says. Yes, the truth may or may not be in the Bible. The Bible in itself is not everything, nor should everything in it swallowed whole. One has to consider the context in which it was written—and not one single person wrote it either. It was a bunch of them, and though the blurb says that God may have written it, yes, with a scribe perhaps, and an editor who took out a few things and put in a few things to favor some people. I’m not condemning the Bible, but a text can be manipulated in such a way to support any imaginable vantage point.

The point is, one should not hold a single person/entity/brand name in awe, nor should you believe what the news tells you. It would only lead to your ruin. To let a single man define the way you live your life, to decide what you can or cannot do on a Saturday, to dictate how you should spend your life—your life, imagine that!—is unthinkable. Yes, man cannot live by bread alone. But neither should you live with words and empty promises either. If a man tells you that going to school is crock and just staying home and reading the Bible, living the word is the way to go, then something is definitely wrong.

Think post-modernist pluralities, think multi-pronged truths, think Mark David Chapman read Catcher in the Rye and took a shot at John Lennon and claimed that Salinger made him do it. Think that I can slaughter several jaywalking pedestrians wearing green and claim that Twisted made me do it.