Saturday, May 11, 2013

crocs across, beyond pages

[note: i think this entry is more about the process of coming up w the image herein rather than engaging the narrative, so please bear w me if i refer to previous works and processes and stuff that i have been trying to sort in order to write this entry in as comprehensible a manner as possible. if you're fine w that, let the chaos of rizal's el fili x morrison's batman x crocodiles x upcoming elections x etc begin. if you're not interested, postpone reading this and begin w omaca-an wanderings.]


two days prior the elections; thus this second installment to this series. the first being [OPEN SEASON: The Crocodiles of El Fili] up at the tekstong bopis blog, where a backgrounder of this attempt to dive deeper into the rivers, actually and figuratively maybe, of rizal's El Filibusterismo is provided by dennis. he discussed how simoun the jeweler "traverses the strata" of the upper (chapter 1) and the lower (chapter 2) deck of steamship tabo. indeed, "excesses from above result in suffering below, acquiescence or struggle from below stabilizes or destabilizes the powers above."

the annote went on the next two chapters, ones w crocodiles, "Legends" and "Cabesang Tales." i'll focus on the former and tackle the latter come my next illus / entry. fictions within "Cabesang Tales" have been discussed in OPEN SEASON. here's the legend:

"...once upon a time the river, like the lake, was infested with crocodiles so huge and voracious that they attacked boats, overturning them with a blow of the tail. Our chronicles record that one day a heathen Chinese, who had up to then refused to be converted, was going down the river past St. Nicholas Church when suddenly the devil appeared before him in the shape of a crocodile and overturned his boat to devour him and take him to Hell. Inspired by God at this crucial moment the Chinese called for help to St. Nicholas and immediately the crocodile was turned to stone. The old-timers say that in their day it was possible to recognize the monster in the fragments of stone that still remained of it; I myself can say that I was able to make out the head of the reptile and judging from it the monster must have been enormous!'"

in roughly the same fashion and spontaneity as the [mayo uno poetry komix] annotes,  here's what came to mind, resulting to that vandalized photograph above: scenes from grant morrison and dave mcKean's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth, morrison's annotations in particular. in a nutshell (i'm careless as fvck, so you may want to fvck off if you don't want any spoilers and you plan on reading the comic book yourself, but i'll just quote from the back cover anyway, so--), arkham inmates "take over the asylum and seize control of the staff," holding them hostage and demanding that batman be "turned over to them and become one of their own."

if OPEN SEASON tackled chapter 4 w fictions in fiction, let me quote annotations in this annotation. in the scenes where batman brawled w the killer croc, esoteric, religious, psychological images and implications blessed and cursed the pages. in the same way that friars and the saints they claim to venerate, and the divinities they claim to represent are, well, saintly and sinister, depending on what light you shed on them, black is white, right is left, center is margin, and so on. as morrison puts it, "in Qabalistic numerology, Christ = Satan = Messiah."

however, i find these thoughts dangerous, even double-edged, imho. this decentering flirting w this so-called fragmentation, indentity crises during the era of the so-called postmodernity, blurring the boundary lines of which is which is reflected in the elections, crocodiles, i.e trapos and their conspirators in religious and political institutions, are christs satans messiahs, three in / is / as one. as, for instance, money that bought votes is also money that gets that vote-selling poor family through starvation for one day. here comes the all-knowing, just, neutral, sensible middle class blaming both the vote-buying trapos (often dynasts) and the vote-selling poor. but consider that the former have all the cards to lay and  all the strings to pull, thus focus of offensives shall be at the ones with purchasing power.

there's another way out of this circus / ritual of rich buying the poor so the rich may be elected into power to maintain the stranglehold and so on, but as we all know, resistance backfires, gunshots recoil. in the panels where batman impales croc w a spear, its blunt end piercing batman as he tries to support the reptile's weight, the 'Old Dragon of the Revelation' appears, morrison writes, "in crucifixion pose, taking the place of Christ on this blasphemous cross." All the saving / salvaging himself (from himself, as we near the end of the book), without having to rely on god--or st. michael (aside from 'providing' the spear) who bound the dragon in hell (croc in arkham, morrison notes) or st. nicholas who the chinese called upon.


Batman "reunites Christ and Serpent," and returned to his internal struggle, as he "confronts and overcomes his own attachment to his Mother in a perverse nightmare of lizards, lace and bridal embroidery." like the converted 'heathen Chinese,' if we are to believe the friar's story, batman was threatened. his thoughts prior the reuniting scene: "there is nothing to hold onto. no anchor. panic-stricken, i flee. i ran blindly through the madhouse. and i cannot even pray. for i have no god." unlike the 'heathen Chinese' who prayed to st. nicholas who turned the croc to stone, batman took the spear from a stone--statue of st. michael (and satan)--and used the weapon himself towards his (attempts at) salvation (from himself).

either way, it works as both protaganists (boatman and batman) carried on after the story. if you cast your spear, your vote, whatever you treat as a weapon, against whatever you consider as a crocodile, and you still feel alive and fulfilled thereafter, then maybe, the offensive you launched (or, maybe, prayed for) worked to your advantage. otherwise, change, tweak strategies.

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