Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr started writing for the Philippines Free Press in his teens. He has been the Secretary of Information and presidential speechwriter (for President Cory Aquino), publisher and editor-in-chief of the Daily Globe and then Today, presenter of the television shows Assignment and Points of View, and a member of the House of Representatives. Having completed three terms in the House, he is figuring out what to do next.
Teddy Boy’s list.
The ship in Ridley Scott’s film Alien was called Nostromo after the novel by Joseph Conrad. In the sequel Aliens by James Cameron the ship was called Sulaco, after the fictional South American setting of Nostromo. Photos from denofgeek.com.
Ten best books of 2010 I have read. First, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean…blah, blah, blah by Kaplan who has exploited the Balkan Wars and everything Middle Eastern and South Asian that Dalrymple does infinitely better is not one of them. The idea that backwaters in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal will be anything in the next 1,000 years but curry and papadom is absurd.
Now the good stuff: I told you that I am rereading all of Joseph Conrad and have finished Almayer’s Folly, Outcast of the Islands, Gaspar Ruiz, Secret Agent, Shadowline, etc. All fabulous and they will tell you, by the way, that Mindanao really doesn’t belong to us but is part of another world altogether–Muslim, feudal, honor bound.
The Stories of John Cheever
The Four Fingers of Death by Rick Moody
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Erotic science-fiction, the best kind.
The Mexico City Reader by Ruben Gallo, one essay at a time.
The last volume of The History of England by Thomas Babington Macaulay again, because he says there that crooks may in the end make good public servants because they steal to get to public office and once there may actually find themselves more interested in public service than serving themselves—but then Macaulay never met a Filipino politician.
The Bourgeois Virtues by Deirdre McCloskey
Dante’s Divine Comedy in the Longfellow translation which sings.
This Time is Different by Carmen Reinhardt, a book of statistical economics arguing against building up public debt because paying it off is usually done by inflationary measures.
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes, a novel of the Vietnam War, will blow your mind, sorry to descend to cliché, and so will The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell, which shows what I have always suspected that there can be a good in the sense of sensitive Gestapo officer bashing in skulls with some though not as much angst as having sex with your sister or did you just imagine it, but then what are those twins she takes care of in the luxury provided by a proper but sterile, impotent though aristocratic husband?
For Love of Country? by Martha Nussbaum is a collection of essays in response to her unanswerable one arguing for a Kantian cosmopolitanism as opposed to nationalist and otherwise parochial values which should be read with McCloskey (above) and Nusbaum’s Own Upheavals of Thought, arguing for emotions as a mode of perception, judgment and expression distinct from reason and sensory experience–or the heart has reasons the mind needs to supplement its own cogitations.
Some Henry James, especially The Aspern Papers.
Apologia Pro Vita Sua in type so small I am going blind but what beautiful thoughts.
The Shanghai Moon, a police procedural by Rojan, was a total waste of time.
And best of all Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilization. Sure he tries to bring it down to earth by relating it to his taciturn (and why shouldn’t he be, he was so undistinguished, a complete English nobody who was one of a million in the trenches of World War I) father but with it he unrolls the whole tale of the Middle East since the whites went there to fuck it up at the turn of the century.
Also Slavoj Zizek who is interesting for the occasional insight, and because it is nice to lose oneself in all that density, but never attempt to use any of it in your own writing like some idiot editorial writer in the Inquirer. There are thinkers you just immerse yourself in–Zizek is not one of them but I can think of another who is–like swimming 100 laps in 50-meter pools in midtown Manhattan all alone with just a Peruvian life guard with whom you can speak critically of the other swimmers, especially the V-shaped hunks with close-cropped hair who cannot swim longer than 15 minutes anyway, because they don’t know Spanish. I hate competition, especially from six-footers with 24-inch waists and blond hair. Not that I’m envious or anything like that. Shet them. Why couldn’t God make me taller? I am starting to read up seriously on ballet and dance in general.- TLL
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After Thewinesucksgate, pundits noted that previous presidential speechwriters had done much ruder things than denigrate the wine served at an official dinner in a foreign country. Of course the example they cited was Teddy Boy Locsin, who had given the finger to the employees of San Miguel who were on strike. No, there is no comparison. Ted did give them the finger, but
(1) the employees on strike were supporters of Danding Cojuangco, whose shares had been sequestered by the first Aquino administration. At that moment they were his adversaries, not his hosts.
(2) there were hundreds of them but he was alone. He was rude, but brave.
(3) most importantly, he did it in their face. He wasn’t sitting at their table feigning politeness while dissing them in the social media. Rude, but forthright.
I remember this episode because I saw it on the TV news, where the rude gesture was repeated forwards and backwards in slow motion. At that moment I knew I had found my Jedi master.