31 agosto, 2005

||| Fazer, não fazer. A pergunta leninista: «O Que Fazer?»
Alguns exemplos autárquicos, colhidos aqui e ali, podem ser excepção, mas confirmam o essencial: que o melhor presidente de câmara, nos tempos que correm, não é aquele que promete que vai fazer ou que ameaça que vai fazer. Pelo contrário: é aquele que sabemos que vai impedir que se faça. «Fazer», na vida autárquica, é relevante demais. Eu quero uma autarquia que previna os fogos no concelho (vejam o exemplo de Castanheira de Pêra), que recolha o lixo a horas, que limpe os passeios, recolha as taxas legais e se preste a deixar as ruas mais seguras. Esta ideia é reaccionária o bastante, eu sei, para o espírito que quer «o progresso da nossa terra», rotundas, construção civil, obras públicas, galpões de zinco e fibrocimento, e que contesta «fundamentalismos ambientais que impeçam um desenvolvimento adequado». Mas acho decente defendê-la. Um candidato que apareça a prometer coisas novas é um candidato para desconfiar. Ao que chegámos.

||| Slavik.
Slavik é ucraniano. Lá, era militar. Aqui, dirige uma equipa de outros compatriotas e encarrega-se de obras de construção, pequenas e grandes reparações gerais. Ele não leu as declarações do director da emigração, mas havia de concordar. É educado no trato, rápido no trabalho, exigente em matéria de limpeza, cumpridor nos horários, competente quando assenta ladrilhos; o defeito: de vez em quando assobia aquilo que me parecem ser cânticos do Volga ou do Exército Vermelho (tem a sua melodia, reconheço, mas ele ri-se). Ninguém o chamou com «carta de trabalho»; ele veio para disputar um lugar que já ninguém queria. A «ameaça dos estrangeiros» é uma patifaria de indigentes.

||| Rex Stout. Adormecer em paz (1).
Lucy Langlon quer saber quem é a mãe de um bebé abandonado à entrada do seu apartamento; ela sabe quem é o pai: o marido, falecido há nove meses. Ando nisto, ler a altas horas, para adormecer em paz.

||| O Bucha e o Estica.
A campanha que aí vem, a das presidenciais, ficará doravante conhecida como a do Bucha & do Estica.

||| Declaração de início de actividade
A coluna completa dos links estará disponível apenas dentro de uma ou duas semanas. O resto, no entanto, irá começar a vadiar por aqui.

30 agosto, 2005

||| We no longer learn by heart.
«The atrophy of memory is the commanding trait in mid and later twentieth-century education and culture. The great majority of us can no longer identify, let alone quote, even the central biblical or classical passages which not only are the underlying script of western literature (from Caxton to Robert Lowell, poetry in English has carried inside it the implicit echo of previous poetry), but have been the alphabet of our laws and public institutions. The most elementary allusions to Greek mythology, to the Old and the New Testament, to the classics, to ancient and to European history, have become hermetic. Short bits of text now lead precarious lives on great stilts of footnotes. The identification of fauna and flora, of the principal constellations, of the liturgical hours and seasons on which, as C. S. Lewis showed, the barest understanding of western poetry, drama and romance from Boccaccio to Tennyson intimately depends, is now specialized knowledge. We no longer learn by heart.» George Steiner, No Passion Spent. Essays 1978-1995

||| After culture.
«There is nothing natural, nothing self-evident in this wager against mortality, against the common, unharried promises of life. In the overwhelming majority of cases -- and the gambler on transcendence knows this in advance -- the attempt will be a failure, nothing will survive. There may be a cancerous mania in the mere notion of producing great art or philosophic shapes -- acts, by definition, free of utility and immediate reward. Flaubert howled like a man racked at the thought that Emma Bovary-his creature, his contrivance of arrayed syllables -- would be alive and real, long after he himself had gone to a painful death. There is a calm enormity, the more incisive for its deliberate scriptural echo, in Pope's assertion that "to follow Poetry as one ought, one must forget father and mother, and cleave to it alone." For "Poetry" in that sentence, one can read mathematics, music, painting, astrophysics, or whatever else consumes the spirit with total demand.» George Steiner, In Bluebeard's Castle.

29 agosto, 2005

||| Not one living species will transmit its unaltered likeness to a distant futurity.

«Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual. When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled. Judging from the past, we may safely infer that not one living species will transmit its unaltered likeness to a distant futurity.» Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species.

28 agosto, 2005

||| The origin or descent of man.
«The sole object of this work is to consider, firstly, whether man, like every other species, is descended from some pre-existing form; secondly, the manner of his development; and thirdly, the value of the differences between the so-called races of man.» Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man.

||| A single glance at the landscape.
«DECEMBER 17th, 1832. -- Having now finished with Patagonia and the Falkland Islands, I will describe our first arrival in Tierra del Fuego. A little after noon we doubled Cape St. Diego, and entered the famous strait of Le Maire. We kept close to the Fuegian shore, but the outline of the rugged, inhospitable Statenland was visible amidst the clouds. In the afternoon we anchored in the Bay of Good Success. While entering we were saluted in a manner becoming the inhabitants of this savage land. A group of Fuegians partly concealed by the entangled forest, were perched on a wild point overhanging the sea; and as we passed by, they sprang up and waving their tattered cloaks sent forth a loud and sonorous shout. The savages followed the ship, and just before dark we saw their fire, and again heard their wild cry. The harbour consists of a fine piece of water half surrounded by low rounded mountains of clay- slate, which are covered to the water's edge by one dense gloomy forest. A single glance at the landscape was sufficient to show me how widely different it was from anything I had ever beheld. At night it blew a gale of wind, and heavy squalls from the mountains swept past us. It would have been a bad time out at sea, and we, as well as others, may call this Good Success Bay.» Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle.

||| Verden er en scene.
Og scenen er en lekeplass. Og en kampsone. Vi er skuespillerne, språket er teksten vi lærer utenat, og leser opp, bevisst eller ubevisst. På en scene. Som er verden. Fra talerstolen. Og tv-skjermen. I bøkene. Og teatrene. Og filmene. I debattprogrammene i radio og tv. I barnehagen og på jobben. Leker vi oss. Spiller. Iscenesetter oss selv. Iscenësetter verden.