Monday, December 10, 2007

Long Live Sancho Panza!

Raul Panganlangan calls the Filipinos "A Nation of Sancho Panzas" while equating Antonio Trillanes to Don Quixote, with a straight face! --
We crucify the Don Quixotes and sanctify the Sancho Panzas ever craving for the petty dukeships we covet. We deride Quixotes’s Dulcinea because she was not real and was a mere figment of his fertile imagination. We mock the dreamers whose dreams we had the power to give -- and then blame them that we didn’t. We treat revolutions and coup attempts as if we had absolutely nothing to do with them.
The reality in this case, of course, was that "we" the Public had absolutely nothing to do with Trillanes' artless attempt to tilt at windmills at the Manila Pen. Our covetous craving for petty dukeships had little to do with it, as even Teddy Casino and the Left could not make head or tail of the short-lived putsch. The Manila Pen was a farce that some are trying to aggrandize into some Battle between Good and Evil, or the perpetual struggle between the idealistic and the pragmatic. Or the Battle for Press Freedom.

Manuel L. Quezon III continues the bashing of Sancho Panza in the words of Leon Ma. Guerrero and accuses the Spanish government of indolently engaging in the "hazy security of nostalgia" while giving President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a gold medal for abolishing the death penalty, thereby exalting her entire human rights record. The inconvenient fact is that Arroyo did abolish the death penalty, a quintessentially liberal accomplishment left uncherished by her erstwhile admirers in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Here is how PDI editorial sour graped at the Spanish fly in the ointment:
For abolishing the death penalty, the King of Spain toasted the President as a champion of human rights. He described the Philippines under her regime as being “at the forefront of liberties and the defense of human rights with the abolition of the death penalty, a gesture which gave us satisfaction.” A gesture, the King added, that was “applauded by the international community.”

Quick. Give the Spanish King a copy of Alston’s final report.

President Arroyo has shrewdly used no less than the Spanish King Juan Carlos to trump the hand of United Nations rapporteur Philip Alston and not even PDI can out-innuendo the international press covering Europe and the Spanish royal family. They can't change the subject right now. Malacanang Palace is giving tit-for-tat on the extrajudicial killings issue perhaps because it senses the Bum's Rush from the Left and it's allies. Given the boost she got from the Manila Pen incident, Pres. Arroyo has pressed her advantage on the international stage not only in Espana and Brittania but also in Kuwait, by now saving the life of OFW Marilou Ranario spared at Arroyo's last minute plea by the Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

PDI readers have certainly gotten a bad impression of Sancho Panza this past week. But in a recent Guardian essay, Professor of Literature at Yale University, Harold Bloom says of Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel Cervantes:
The heroism of Don Quixote is by no means constant: he is perfectly capable of flight, abandoning poor Sancho to be beaten up by an entire village. Sancho, as Kafka remarked, is a free man, but Don Quixote is metaphysically and psychologically bound by his dedication to knight errantry. We can celebrate the knight's endless valour, but not his literalisation of the romance of chivalry. I would rather be Falstaff or Sancho than a version of Hamlet or Don Quixote, because growing old and ill teaches me that being matters more than knowing. The knight and Hamlet are reckless beyond belief; Falstaff and Sancho have some awareness of discretion in matters of valour.
Which is really more than can be said for Antonio Trillanes, who tossed his cookies out the window of the Manila Pen. But of larger significance to me is the propagation by Pangalangan and Quezon of a certain interpretation of the West's canonical novel, Don Quixote, which I call the Impossible Dream idealism. This complements and appeals as consolation to the perverse Filipino taste for defeatism and victimhood expressed in the continuing official holidays commemorating surrenders, defeats, betrayals, and of course, Rizal's execution and death on December 30. Here is Harold Bloom again, after reminding us that in the novel, Don Quixote "dies" to become again Quijano the Good, whom Sancho Panza wishes would begin the Quest anew, and gives us the definition and interpretation of it,
"Perhaps the Quixotic can be accurately defined as the literary mode of an absolute reality, not as impossible dream but rather as a persuasive awakening into mortality...This curious blend of the sublime and the bathetic does not come again until Kafka, another pupil of Cervantes, would compose stories like "The Hunter Gracchus" and "A Country Doctor". To Kafka, Don Quixote was Sancho Panza's demon or genius, projected by the shrewd Sancho into a book of adventure unto death. In Kafka's marvellous interpretation, the authentic object of the knight's quest is Sancho Panza himself, who as an auditor refuses to believe Don Quixote's account of the cave. So I circle back to my question: Does the knight believe his own story? It makes little sense to answer either "yes" or "no", so the question must be wrong. We cannot know what Don Quixote and Hamlet believe, since they do not share in our limitations."
The Press ought to aspire to be more like Sancho Panza to all our would-be Don Quixotes, not less!


AdB said...

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, human rights champion?

What a load of utter and ignoble rubbish!

DJB Rizalist said...

...but shrewd and cunning when it comes to crisis management...

AdB said...

Rubbish is rubbish -- you can recycle rubbish though and produce a Gloria Macapagal.

manuelbuencamino said...

another classic for the manila standard!

i didn't know you admired gloria so much.

blackshama said...

When did these people (Raul Panganlangan and Manolo Quezon) last read their Cervantes?

Or a better question, did they ever read the whole tome at all or just the abridged version?

Anyway equating Trillanes and Don Quixote can be best said in the words of Manolo's abuelo which I quote

"Eso es ridculo!"

Don Quijote ever the knight errant believed in chivalry. Trillanes on the other hand I don't think still holds on to the Code of Chivalry despite what the Academy holds as its shibboleth "Courage,Integrity,Loyalty"

On all words Trillanes falls short!

Anyone who has bothered to read Cervantes would know that it was Sancho Panza who was actually the sane one and he just went for the adventure.

It would be an honour to be lumped with Sancho Panza. Viva Sancho Panza!

tiki said...

If you think about it, everyone is both Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. For example, like Sancho Panza, Trillanes is more than aware that corruption within the administration is harming our economy (something which the Economist and the WB has been stating). But like Don Quixote, he has this illusion that most Filipinos are aware of this and that they will support him and challenge such corruption.

Most are also a combination of the two. Like Sancho Panza, we know what Trillanes knows. And yet like Don Quixote, we have this illusion that government corruption isn't the cause of our problems, but leftists, insurgents, and troublemakers like Trillanes.

Either way, corruption continues.

Roger Rabi said...

More like a nation of kebitzers!

DJB Rizalist said...

All newspapers, as such, are moribund. They are obsolete both technologically and journalistically, and are a major environmental polluter. But the smaller newspapers like Business Mirror and Manila Standard can be forgiven, compared to the major polluters like PDI, because of their nil circulation and small impact on the forests. Like Kyoto, the big polluters should commit to cutting down on their emissions.

manuelbuencamino said...

Dear Deanie,

but if you don't join Manila Standard you will be depriving a larger audience from readng your paeans to GMA's political skills and your insights into the valiant efforts of our security agencies to defeat islamocommunists.

I know you believe the Standard is not big enough for you but, face it comrade, our cryptofascist movement is still not that big. We need to avail of every availbale vehicle of propaganda.

Please reconsider. I understand that you might not feel that comfortable in the Standard in the company of jukeboxes like Robles, Maragay, Jurado, wimpofascists like Bong Austero, and feminazis like you know who. So let me talk to Business Mirror if you want. I can always tell them we need your views for balance.

Sig heil!

DJB Rizalist said...

Wazza matter, MB? You sound like you're projecting a career conundrum on me. But don't you get it? Newspapers are dead. They're even ecologically unsound. Too much solid waste left over just to deliver polluted news and screwey views.

Mao Tushi Hwan Zwei!

AdB said...

I've just posted a remark in Uniffors after reading your comment there Deanie, and will re-post it here:

"What has happened to you Deanie that all of a sudden you now seem to approve Gloria's governance..."

Is it because you've been asked to write for the Manila Standard?

manuelbuencamino said...

Deanie, my relationship my paper is like what you had with PDI. I am not on their staff. I am what I guess you would call a contributor who gets paid per contribution. Like you I don't want to be a staffer because of the limitations imposed by contracts. .I prefer a live-in relationship to marriage.

So far I have not been kicked out of bed by my "girl". But if I were kicked out of bed one of these days, I don't think I will suddenly turn around and call her a whore, specially not if I was going to her bed for 8 long and productive years.

Of course, you have every right in the world to bitch about your old girl Maybe she is a whore and it just took some time for you to find out. Still it's not something a gentleman should be doing right?

Anyway, as a friend, all I can tell you is to move on. Find another girl. That's why I suggested the Manila Standard as your new "girl". You look like you two were made for each other.

But since you told me that after 8 years you realized that all you were doing was contributing to the destruction of the environment and you don't want to waste any trees anymore, then I withdraw my suggestion.

Anyway, You're doing a fine job advancing our cause on the internet. Sig heil!

AdB said...

Very Latin reasoning Manuel, don't think blokes in the US educated in the neo-con system can appreciate what you mean.

Please, am not referring to Deanie in particular's an overall view, I believe that Dean is a gentleman and I say that without the least bit of sarcasm (have spoken to him on a few occasions on the phone and felt that I was speaking to a gentleman so perhaps am biased but it's my view) -- hence no matter how politically whorish Gloria proves to be, he can't bring it out to say with finality that the diminutive lil liar in Malacanang is a whore.

DJB Rizalist said...

I think there is plenty of time for GMA to show you guys how much alike you are, deep down. She's just waiting for Bush to go so she can show her true colors, may be for Hillary. I doubt though she would get along with that crypto conservative Barack Obama, so you better hope YOUR girl makes it MB.

The problem with your obsession "to be against" is that it spares no one except yourself.


DJB Rizalist said...

I think MB and the rest of the people power junkies are just frustrated. They just can't get it through their heads that "People Power" is just a myth invented to try to a do one better than democracy. It's a kind of pseudo science, a way of making "peaceful" revolution, having one's leftist cake but eating it too, a shortcut that can deny it is violent. They are victims of GMA in worse ways than one: she has convinced them that it was they that put her there (the Mob at Edsa Dos) and can take her out. They believe in People Power and think they are the People with the power. They are so wrong.

It's the nasty work of memes under whose thrall some people labor mightily.

It is because the People sense there isn't any lesser evil among the proferred alternatives that they will abide by GMA.

Things that happen like the Manila Pen and what journalists and the rest of the Opposition do...only proves the people right.

Amadeo said...

Just an innocuous but pesky question.

How many Antonio Trillaneses are there? The venerable Senator is the IV, and I read about a brother who is the III.

Reminds me of a prominent doctor from a province in Northern Mindanao. He named all his male children after himself. And he had 6-7 of them. A good number of them went to the same school I did. So just imagine the confusion.

And also with regard to MLQIII, the “orig” was also MLQ (which BTW I had the good opportunity to go to the university named after him in Quiapo). So how was the middle initial maintained in the three generations of MLQs?

manuelbuencamino said...


Just to make things clear.
I was against EDSA 2. I was one of those who believed in seeing the Erap impeachment through. In addition I thought Gloria was the greater evil.
However,when she took over, I was willing to cut her some slack. I did not begin speaking out until she confirmed my suspicions about her, about a year or so into her term

By the way, the "girl" is PDI. I haven't been following the US primaries so I don't know who among those running would be the best choice to lead America into its next war.

ricelander said...


Sounds like an evolution of "Let's Move On!" ha Dean?

Roger Rabi said...

Mr. Bocobo, your political genious idol, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is believed to be the most corrupt president of the Philippines!

Nag evolve na si DJB. True colors now showing?

DJB Rizalist said...

Do I strike you as an idolater? Or is this just a drive by shooting that I can afford to ignore?

Anna (Manila Bay Watch) said...


Am getting "lost in translation" here, i.e., confused.

Are you trying to say we haven't got an alternative to Gloria or not? Is that your new position?

I remember when you were all agog about Trillanes and wrote articles extolling his military virtues or citizen virtues -- now you've changed your mind and that's fine.

(I've been sceptical of Trillanes' operational abilities myself because of Oakwood but do believe his advocacies make sense)

You have been vehemently attacking Gloria's and her friends misrule of law if I remember citing Alan Paguia's opinions in many instances but seems to me, you've turned around. You have criticized Gloria all along but now you admire her and you seem to be advocating for the "move on" dogma. Am I wrong to think this?

Is that how you believe people should evolve?

There is nothing wrong with changing one's stand -- better than not having any principle or determined stand at all but I would like to know your position with regard to Gloria and her misrule if that's not too much to ask.

Robert Rabi said...

Mr. Bocobo,

I am not sure what you mean by idolater. I am sure, however, that you are not one of those mindless

I am just interested to know if you have now turned to be a Gloria follower.