I had an epiphany a few days ago: the graphic novel I am working on, Pantheon, is a vampire novel. I mean, it doesn’t obviously share with many traditional elements (blood sucking, undead creatures), but they both feature immortal beings that reflect on our humanity in many ways, and most importantly in an existential fashion. Continue reading Existentialism in Pantheon
A historical novel by Gore Vidal, Creation is an Odysseus styled dialectic on religious dogma. The main character, Cyrus Spitama, is the grandson of Zarathustra, and his encounters with other 5th century sages are clearly the highlights of the novel. Cyrus is fixated on the question of creation, or the origin of the universe or human existence. Initially he was indoctrinated by Zarathustra, specifically the dualistic ontology of Zoroastrianism. Convinced with this religious truth, he sets out to test the alternative answers or non-answers of other wise men, such as those from the East: the Buddha, Confucius, Lao-Tze, and the West: Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, and etc. However, the book demonstrates how much of a fatal flaw the question of creation was for Western philosophy, because it always was the wrong question. Continue reading Creation, by Gore Vidal
Last week I was reading an article on theNation.com about a new generation of writers from Mexico (Jorge Volpi, Ignacio Padilla & Eloy Urroz) in the mid nineties, and it hit very close to home. They called themselves the “crackeros” but what interested me the most was their resistance to writing “Mexican literature.” Literary critics from America and Western Europe insisted that Mexicans writers must write about Mexican themes in order to be authentic. In other words, the crakeros‘ novels weren’t about Mexico, and therefore, the writers weren’t authentic. That implies that the “universal” is restricted to the Americans and Europeans. Commence severe eye-rolling. Continue reading Deafness & authentic writing
In February, I submitted the dialogue, None The Wiser, to a collection of Deaf American Prose, in the hopes of being published. However, the professors helming that project had decided that my dialogue was not “deaf” enough to make the cut – even though in their call for submissions, they specified that the topic did not have to be “explicitly about deaf, Deaf, or hard of hearing American lives, but … the author [must be] deaf, Deaf, or hard of hearing.”
As a deaf author, I thought this project was not necessarily a collection of writings about deafness by deaf authors. But, given the politics behind the rejection, it appears that, in order for me to be published as a deaf person, I must write about deaf issues. I was mistaken in the naïve belief that being a deaf man who could write like a philosopher would be sufficient, and that I need not be defined by my deafness, but this is not the case. Continue reading Not Deaf enough?
A colleague of mine asked me the following question regarding my ongoing graphic novel project:
I wonder, though, whether Nietzsche’s aphorisms, or particularly La Rochefoucauld’s, are the kind of stuff that you are making a use of for your graphic novel stories?
Pretty much. The Maxims was the result of a conversation game between La Rochefoucauld and Madam de Sable and Jacques Esprit played in their drawing rooms. They wrote down sentences expressing ideas of morality and psychology in solitude and then debated them afterwards. Unlike preachers, there are no appeals to a superior moral authority, for their judgments that studied human nature and custom were ambiguous and performed at the level of man. Instead of the ponderous treatise or the prose of Cicero, or academic language, they chose short forms ( maximes, sententia) that deigned to provoke rather than instruct. And La Rochefoucauld played this game the best by turning the myth of Narcissus upside down with a spectacular demolition of heroism. Continue reading Manifesto of Writing
In my readings I came across a fascinating theory by Stephen Toulmin that concerned the relationship between modern philosophy and literature. Philosophy underwent a paradigm shift in the 17th century, a time that was torn by religious wars (only 30 years of European peace between 1560 and 1715). Thinkers who grew tired of the pettiness of their time urged for a theoretical approach that was atemporal, all-inclusive, and independent of context. They were convinced that a pure theory, a formal logic that was free of the taint of history or culture could issue forth truths that avoided the vicious reality of violence (war, punishment, etc.) and the practical wisdom of rhetoric. Continue reading Modern Philosophy’s loss is Literature’s gain
Fiction in literature, as a serious aesthetic experience, took a long time in coming. Many literary scholars have difficulty in determining the date of its emergence. Some of the possible dates are the sixteenth century in Spain, 17th century in France, and the 18th century in England. Continue reading The death of fiction and the birth of ASL….
Hypocrisy, or “frontin,” is one of the least respected vices in modern society. Observe its impact when a politician is revealed as an hypocrite, where his behavior or speech is insincere, that he pretends to be what he is not. When his credibility is shot, his career no longer exists. Continue reading “Hypocrisy is the respect vice pays to virtue”*