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!