Friday, June 18, 2010

Rest in Peace

One of the greatest novelists in the world died today.
Jose Saramago was 87 and 'great novelist' doesn't do enough to define him. An outspoken activist who despised dictators, cruelty, and apathy in almost equal measure, he won the Nobel prize for literature in 1998. It wasn't until he was in his 50's that he begun to devote his life to fiction, and his novels are pure, gorgeous, emotional gold. 'Blindness', 'Baltasar and Blimunda', 'The Gospel According to Jesus Christ', 'The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis', 'All the Names', and my own favorite, 'The Cave', all speak not only to his deep imagination but his even deeper humanity, irony and wit. He could make you laugh and cry in the same sentence. He always, without exception, made you think. Not that long ago he delivered a much-lauded speech where he described globalization as the new totalitarianism and 'lamented contemporary democracy's failure to stem the increasing powers of multinational corporations.'
Increasing powers of multinational corporations? Yes, we see it everywhere.
There's one in particular who's taken their absolute power all the way to the bottom of the sea, and who broke the whole f'ing Gulf Coast 60 days ago. And for each one of those 60 long, lost, killing days they've been allowed to 'fix it'.
Jose Saramago must have detested this as much as I do. And I wonder if he wondered: if it were Bush in charge and this was happening, wouldn't there be more outrage? Much, much more outrage?
Rest in Peace, wonderful writer. -- Janet

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