Saturday, March 20, 2010
More Stories by Eduardo Galeano.
Instructions for a Successful Career
A thousand years ago, the sultan of Persia said, "How delicious."
He was eating his first eggplant, sliced and dressed with ginger and Nile herbs.
The court poet praised the eggplant for the pleasure it brings to the palate and the bedroom, for the miraculous feats of love that outshine the wonders of the powdered tiger's tooth or grated rhinoceros horn.
Mouthfuls later, the sultan said, "What garbage."
The court poet then cursed the perfidious eggplant for the torture it wreaks on stomach and brain, for the delirium and insanity that brings virtuous men to ruin.
" A minute ago you had eggplant in paradise; now you're sending it to hell," commented one astute observer.
And the poet, an early prophet of mass media, set things straight: "I am the courtier of the sultan, not the courtier of the eggplant."
Against the Current
The ideas in the weekly Marcha tended to be red; its balance sheet was a whole lot redder. Hugo Alfaro, besides being a journalist, sometimes filled in as manager and had the demoralizing task of paying the bills. Once in a great while Hugo would jump for joy: "We've got the issue covered!"
Advertisers had come through. In the world of independent journalism, a miracle of that order is celebrated as proof that God exists
But the editor, Carlos Quijano, would blanch. Horror of horrors; there was no news as bad as that news. To run advertisements meant sacrificing a page or more, and he needed every sacred column inch to question certainties, yank off masks, stir up hornets nests, and help make tomorrow more than just another name for today.
After thirty-four years in print, Marcha ceased to exist when the military dictatorship that overran Uruguay put an end to such lunacy.
Instructions for Reading the Paper
General Francisco Serrano of Mexico was settled in a easy chair at the Sonora army casino, smoking and reading.
He was reading the news. The paper was upside down.
President Alvaro Obregon was curious. "Do you always read the paper upside down?"
The general nodded.
"And could I ask why?"
"From experience, Mr. President, from experience."