Wednesday, October 08, 2008


I originally wanted to write something about the blossoming viral issue that was the Ateneo post-championship bonfire, but after an hour's thought, I decided that it was best to shift focus. For one, I've checked and read a lot of the salvos from both sides, and I figure that the bonfire incident is already a popular blog topic. Moreover, most of the responses I've read seem to be quite open and level-headed, and I believe that the issue will probably defuse itself in a couple of days. In addition to that, I usually pay almost no attention to the basketball rivalry at all, much less college athletics around here.

What still irks me, however, is the fact that the culprit hasn't really apologized for his misdemeanor. Oh, sure... as of this writing, he's given a great big "sorry" for the inconvenience that he caused the university. However, with regards to his unwarranted display of effigy-burning... he offers nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.

And that just goes to show that you can live to be seventy years old, and not learn a single thing about civility.

On top of that, the Philippine Genre Stories blog notes that, for all intents and purposes, this seems to be the same person who organized a book-burning session two years ago, where copies of Dan Brown's controversial novel The Da Vinci Code were consigned to the flames. Some people have already pointed out the obvious parallel here -- while I won't repeat it for fear of parroting the multitude, I must point out that I would actively keep any and all matchbooks and cigarette lighters away from this person.

Personal zealotry is a very powerful force. When used correctly, it can move mountains, restore deserts, and possibly even raise the dead. When used incorrectly, well... it beats dead horses, stirs hornets' nests, and generally makes a complete ass of oneself. This is why we end up with caltrops scattered on major thoroughfares. Or hijacked kindergarten school buses. Or, God willing, written effigies by misguided septuagenarians.

Sometimes I wonder why these people don't exert their energies towards something more constructive. Did they, in the waning years of their lives, suddenly decide that there was nothing else that they were interested in doing? Did they decide at some point that logic had to take a back seat to pure impulse and wanton speculation? Did they somehow figure that the best way to live life was to boggle peoples' minds by doing something utterly and insanely irrational?

No wonder this world doesn't make any sense at times.

Once upon a time, I mentioned that having all the heart in the world is useless if you don't have enough space left for a brain. I'm saddened to see that this is still quite true.

On the other hand, most of us are relatively young, and (presumably) still rational. But we're all going to reach this point in life one day. We're all bound to ask ourselves the same strange questions and get tempted by the same foolish answers.

When that day comes, I can only hope that we know well enough to aim the fire in the right direction. Otherwise, it'll end up consuming what little dignity we have remaining.

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