February 18th, 2010

MZ

dum spiro sputo



Elaborating on his fascination with Che’s will, Soderbergh explained: “His ability to sustain outrage is what is remarkable to me. We all get outraged about stuff, but to sustain it to the point of putting your ass on the line to change what outrages you, to do it consistently year after year, and to twice walk away from everything and everybody to do it—it’s not normal.”

Soderbergh’s treatment explains the cult of Che Guevara for me. Its grounds are not to be found in the fighter’s altruism looking out for the victims of oppression contrary to their will welcoming its violation. Neither is the would-be liberator morally disqualified by the resistance of his potential beneficiaries; for what good is his intelligence, if not to warrant his authority to speak and act on their benighted behalves? Be it due to sacrificial selflessness or intellectual vanity, Che’s capacity for staying pissed off makes him stand out.

Anticipating his own political martyrdom, Cicero commented on an earlier occasion of noble failure: “ut aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur”. (Letters to Atticus 9.10.3.) To the sick, while there is life there is hope. Proverbial wisdom condensed Ciceronian dicta to expand their purview: “dum spiro spero”; while I breathe I hope. But to the truly outraged, hope is beside the point. Suffice unto them to spew forth. Dum spiro sputo.