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Showing posts from May, 2006

When books are burned

When books are burned

There is something very sinister with a book burning, an evil that is worse than murder. The world first realized the horrors of what the Nazis were to unleash in Europe when they burned books. A renowned American writer who wrote a biography of Anne Frank rightly placed these events in their proper context. The Holocaust started with a book, (Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, a book infinitely more evil and lie filled than the “Da Vinci Code”) continued with the burning of more books, then the burning of millions of men, women and children and ended with a the publication of a book.  And that book is none other than Anne Frank’s diary. “The Diary of Anne Frank” is the second most printed book in history, outranked only by the Bible.

Why do we burn books anyway? John Steinbeck in an essay about books in 1951 writes that “When a book is burned, the ultimate tyranny has been committed” Why? It is because that books are believed first before other forms of media are believed.…

Da Vinci Blah 2

Wel I have seen the much talked about film version of Dan Brown’s  book “The Da Vinci Code”.  I can summarize it all in one word… OK two words… ho hummmm. Yawn!

Well the movie version has the Opus Dei cast in extreme stereotypical terms. Do Opus Dei members talk in Latin? I don’t think so. I know a lot of Opus Dei people and  many can’t say a single coherent Latin sentence. Their joke is that the best Latin they know is the name of their organization, Opus Dei. Now this writer a taxonomy trained PhD knows enough Latin to read some Latin texts, still can’t construct a decent Latin sentence aside from Mulum spectat Episcopos.

Although I do not agree with some aspects of the Catholic expression of belief by the Opus Dei, I have to give the Opus Dei its fair go. And as a Catholic I know that the Opus Dei is just part of the diversity of Catholic expression of spirituality.

And why single out the Opus Dei as a conspirator? Why not the Jesuits? who have been traditionally ascribed to be the sc…

Da Vinci Blah!

Like many history buffs I am waiting for the movie version of  Da Vinci Code. I read the novel a few years back while convalescing from a possibly mortal illness. It is a work of fiction true and as Frankie Sionil-Jose has for disclaimers in his novels, “The characters and events are real in the reader’s imagination”

That is fiction true and through. Now only someone who is trapped in fantasy would believe that fiction is real life, though real life at times play fiction. But that is an extremely rare case.

Now what possessed some Filipino Catholic bishops and laypeople to demand the banning of the book? And one of these Catholic groups is an ant-pornography advocacy. Now when I read the “Code” I wasn’t at all erotically stimulated (The Song of Songs in the Old Testament is a better work of erotica) but like a good British procedural, my mind had to follow the clues. Only the clueless would think that the “Code” is porn!

These Catholics are extremely scared that the faithful will be led …

Meanings and journalistic lapses

PS: This came out in the March 19, 2004 edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Hope you find this interesting reading - Ben

I FOUND Jeremias Canonizado's ("Exasperated faithful Inquirer subscriber," Feb. 14, 2004) comments timely. The lapses in journalism that he noted aren't limited to the Inquirer. I have noticed similar lapses in its competitors.Many of the lapses involve spelling, subject-verb agreement, prepositions, tenses, plural and singular forms and sentence construction. To err in spelling is human. But as my high school teacher once told her class, an error in spelling is bound to change the meaning of a word. Subject-verb errors can change the meaning of a statement. Errors in plural and singular forms can also change the meaning of sentences. All these errors can lead to a faulty sentence construction.

The true mark of an educated citizen is the ability to be understood clearly in spoken and written language. Since good journalism lies in the ability t…