2010/10/07

BBC News - The Nobel and the ignoble

The big news is that Mario Vargas Llosa finally has been awarded the Nobel Prize. But while reading the BBC account of that, I came across this oddity:


BBC News - Guayabera shirt now official Cuban formal dress code

And these people still think of themselves as “revolutionary”. And who do you suppose is going to iron the things?


As an unrelated item, Vargas Llosa's recognition gives me great satisfaction. I often disagree with him politically, but I respect his serious engagement with politics even if from erroneous neoliberal premises. Most of all, I admire his art and tremendous industry in producing novels that show a rich, complex world far beyond his doctrine or mine.

When I think about V LL and me, I am reminded of Pablo Neruda's late poem “El enemigo” about an encounter with an old ideological adversary. It ends…

Allí estabamos cada uno
con su certidumbre afilada
y endurecida por el tiempo
como dos ciegos que defienden
cada uno su oscuridad.
And there we were, each one / with his certainty honed / and hardened by time / like two blind men, each defending / his incomprehension.

(That's rather loose, but “incomprehension” is closer to Neruda's meaning than “obscurity”. Perhaps “lack of clarity” is closest, except it's too wordy.) 

2 comments:

Dirk van Nouhuys said...

The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta is on of my very favorite political novels. Ah, the closeted sanctimony of sects!

gef said...

I loved that one, too, though it has a lot of narrative problems. I was so fascinated by the novel and its problems that I wrote one of my longest reviews: check out Mayta