Monday, 22 August 2011

Adieu, Jack.

« Si le rire sacrilège et blasphématoire que les bigots de toutes les chapelles taxent de vulgarité et de mauvais goût, si ce rire-là peut parfois désacraliser la bêtise, exorciser les chagrins véritables et fustiger les angoisses mortelles, alors oui on peut rire de tout, on doit rire de tout : de la guerre, de la misère et de la mort!
Au reste, est-ce qu'elle se gêne la mort, elle, pour se rire de nous ? Est-ce qu'elle ne pratique pas l'humour noir, elle, la mort ? Regardons s'agiter ces malheureux dans les usines, regardons gigoter ces hommes puissants, boursoufflés de leur importance qui vivent à 100 à l'heure. Alors ils se battent, ils courent, ils caracolent derrière leur vie, et tout d'un coup, cela s'arrête, sans plus de raisons que ça n'avait commencé...
Alors le militant de base, le pompeux PDG, la princesse d'opérette, l'enfant qui joue à la marelle dans les caniveaux de Beyrouth, toi aussi à qui je pense et qui a cru en Dieu jusqu'au bout de ton cancer... Tous nous sommes fauchés un jour par le croche-pied rigolard de la mort imbécile, et les droits de l'homme s'effacent devant les droits de l'asticot. »
Pierre Desproges, dans Le Tribunal des flagrants délires réquisitoire contre Jean-Marie Le Pen (28 septembre 1982)

"If the sacrilegious and blasphemous laughter that bigots of all religious dogma claim to be vulgar and in bad taste, if that laughter might desecrate stupidity, exorcise genuine grief and castigate mortal anguish, then yes: one can, one should laugh at everything: war, misery and death!

After all, does Death hesitate to laugh at us? Is Death not a practitioner of black humour? Look at those unfortunate people stirring in the factories, look at men of power swollen with their importance who scramble to live at full throttle. So they fight, they run, they prance behind their lives, and all of a sudden, it stops, with no more reason than it had started ...

So it is for the activist, the pompous CEO, the princess of operetta, the child playing hopscotch in the gutters of Beirut, and you too who believed in God until the end of your cancer ... All are mowed down eventually by death's imbecility, and the rights of men give way to the rights of the maggot."

Someone on Radio-Canada observed that Jack Layton was a ferocious negociator. Who knows what deals people make when they learn that insidious, merciless cancer is raging within them? When my sister fought ovarian cancer, she confided in me that she *asked* for two years. And she lived, in the time left, to the fullest.

From Joan Baez:
"You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now."


deBeauxOs said...

BTW, we don't do glurge at DJ!

Anger and grief, yes. Glurge, no.

fern hill said...

Well said, deBeauxOs.

Jack's letter is his last classy act.

Dr.Dawg said...

You moved me to tears, as I remembered once more the death of my partner from pancreatic cancer nearly five years ago. She had no time to negotiate--she sank quickly--but she lived life to the fullest, and taught me that most important of lessons.

Thank you for your words, dBO. Best I've seen on the web so far.

Beijing York said...

Thanks for this, dBO. I am gutted because I was hoping he would have more time - especially time to enjoy the company of his family and friends. I feel such sorrow for Olivia.

deBeauxOs said...

And more time for his family and intimate friends to spend with Jack.

Jack does not grieve; his life was glorious and fun, engaged and fierce.

Nalliah said...

It is a sad day for Canada.. Jack Layton was a believer in Canada. Jack Layton's absence from the political table will be a profound loss.
- Nalliah Thayabharan

Niles said...

*Creeps* back from reading National Post comments.

Apparently, having time enough to know he was not going to make it, and using that time to say farewell to people beyond his immediate family and give them the faint solace of grieving WITH him, not just FOR him, was a Terrible Horrible Socialist Thing TM. (Unlike say, Ronald Reagan and the Bushes Winning One for the Gipper every political rally possible)

Mr. Layton was supposed to just die off camera and let his political opponents frame the narrative around his casket. They are some peeved he denied it them.

I'm not saying Mr. Layton was Hamlet in his personal tragedy, but his letter was his "The Rest is Silence". The words so many of us wish we could guarantee time and coherence enough to share at our ends, so others can go on.

Can you imagine if, in the play, Hamlet had managed to give his final public words and then everyone opposing Fortinbras immediately started in on Hamlet's blessing of the man and how he was venally using his dying breath to be crassly political?

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