A Filipina, 33, & her baby, 7 months, were killed by her Japanese husband, 43, in Tokyo. He surrendered to the police and confessed he did away with them because he was “worried about an outstanding loan.” He intended to kill himself “but could not do so.”
The felony didn’t make it to front page. But that is not surprising: to kill a woman seems to be natural, the fate of gender inferiors in these gory times. Who would remonstrate against the murderous act? People could invent excuses for male perpetrators – & soon everything would ebb into the foggy landscape of patriarchal memory. Eyebrows wouldn’t be raised for the subliminal conundrum that women don’t matter in the workings of the universe.
But if a woman kills a man – & her children to boot – there will be hell to pay. Scuttlebutt would have her as evil, deranged: a heinous criminal for a mother to devour a child…
In a related play, “A Woman Alone,” by Franco Rama & Dario Fo, Medea (who is defined as “an enchantress who… resorts to murder to gain her ends,” & ergo, woman as monster) raged against the classical order of things: Jason had traded her for a younger woman, but was advised by her female chorus to keep her cool. It’s man’s destiny to discard old hags. But she wouldn’t be mollified.
She threatened to kill her sons to put an end to the male line that is cause of oppression – but it was to be deemed barbarous. Although logic would have her excise the roots of her bondage.
Medea, in the anti-fascist interpretation by political activists, was symbolized as the first woman to fulfill herself, because indeed a woman freed from patriarchal contamination.
Yet Easter, which we recently celebrated, seemed to have recognized this mythical loss. For God, the Father, reinscribed His role by sacrificing Jesus & resurrecting Him for mankind. Against Medea’s resolve & rebellion? In the constellation of the sacred the male recovers his power; the women retain their subordinated mediation to the absolutist power.
The Resurrection sounds like a cop-out in this conflation of myths. Medea led the ancient rupture; Christ took over the concept of liberation.
Male dying is sacral redemption; female vendetta is bestial damnation.
The line of cars fronting the church tells you, obviously enough, that Easter is the most strangely festive day in Christendom – more than Christmas itself, dogma-wise. There is a calming down of the spirit, a silence that whistles soft music in the heart. For it adverts to salvation every cult promises its faithful – that there is life after death. & all pain & sorrow are virtually kissed away, as if by a mother when one was a child roused upon a nightmare.
Who would turn to religion anyway – & cherish its symbols in ornate carriages, cathedrals, masses, hymnals & rituals – if death is a dead-end, & there’s nothing, completely nothing, not even air or light, beyond the other side of the wall?
He’s a “man of little faith,” but when she declared she was cured by friendly prayers, he felt genuinely happy for her. He had shared her anxieties & fears… O how relieved was he that she could now go about her days with that childlike smile on her lips – something that seemed like spring coming back in the dread of winter.
He had been skeptical of the rarity of the event, but isn’t the inexplicable always deemed a work of God, a miracle? What the heck! Many things happen in the world & he wouldn’t make out the logic of it: so when CNN reported that a star exploded halfway across the universe – its gamma rays detected years later as if it occurred simultaneously with the gazing eyes – he didn’t know what malaise to feel. Only he had to acknowledge that indeed – his self-proclaimed intelligence & arrogance notwithstanding – ignorance & idiocy keep him company, like a shadow.
Is there harm being a fool?
If indeed there is life after death, does it signal the end of all philosophies of nothingness? Or return us to the questions about the real – this life or the life after?
Borges formulates on an aestheticizing & formalist mode, that either we are imaginary of God, or God is our imaginary.
Which is the raison d’etre of poetry that cleverly covers up our logical incoherence as well as illogical coherence.
Almost like saying in this age of reason & the physics of spacewalk, we turn mystical.
Is it really an incontrovertible fact that language is a Mobius strip? That the inside slides into the outside & vice-versa & the route to truth is always singular & smooth?
Every minute is a step forward in the labyrinth.
In his mind, the phone doesn’t even wait to ring itself. In his heart, the receiver keeps banging inside his ears with a silence he cannot bear to hear.
He can’t go mad. That will be crazy.
There will be no answer. He won’t let the Beatles be.
Tomorrow, it’s Easter Sunday. He allows the irony to escape him.
Pope Benedict XVI must, of course, read his customary message to the global flock, proclaiming the need to stop wars, corruption & human inequity.
Love is in the agenda. Like his predecessors he metaphorized the journey from dark to light while thousands at St. Peter’s Square sought cover under umbrellas like sunflowers in a field of dreams assaulted by rain during the epiphany of the resurrection.
O We’ve heard it before. From the Vatican & all small pulpits in the flashpoints of daily drama, the call for peace is an integral one.
But the Pope’s language is dead. Christ must inhabit a new discourse of contra-despair.
In the early novels of Jean-Paul Sartre, the “I” character is always stalked by the Other’s “Eye,” something of a panopticon in Michel Foucault’s prison houses. A generation removed from the former, he wouldn’t explicitly acknowledge the latter’s existential politics with his structuralist indifference – though ironically both would trace their discursive source from Marxism, in the character of the European falling-out, philosophically, at the time.
Which reminds him of a banker cousin who quipped to his daughter that her father must have, uh, mellowed – that word steeped in bourgeois smugness about being a fire eater at a certain age, & so forth. She could only protest, smiling: “But he isn’t my father, if he isn’t radical.” His imagined I is gazed at by the Other as a subjectivity diametrically divergent from his notion of his imaginary… Could it be conclusive? He could only giggle at how, at this point in life, the psychic mirror reflected back some strange persona, an alien object…
It’s elementary then that he would guess why she’s la belle dame sans merci.
It’s something of a warden’s tower in herself that has prepared him to confront. Yet he is scared to realize that nothing of significance could have happened to him. & for all the world to care.