The most unstable and destructive figure ever to hold power in the Western Hemisphere, heretofore, was known as The Goat by his own people - under their breath. A vain, lecherous, vicious lout in pimp’s clothing, storming about in an interior kingdom of grandiosity, bankrupty, suspicion and superstition, who made no effort to conceal his love of torture, corruption, and generals he could make or break. He was our pet, our bulwark in unsettled isles against the horrid onslaught of alien ideological terrorism. His name, obviously, was Rafael Trujillo. For 31 years and three months, he was the gaudiest cistern of American largesse against the rule of law and the consent of the governed in what is quaintly called, Latin America. I learned about him as a paperboy, carrying the headlines of his death. It was luridly spectacular, need I say, and the morning newsprint seethed a humid stench to tell about it.
Just as we thought our "virtual" time were safely circumspect in such disseminations, we find it exploited by a "reality" figure, who seized power by vituperations which fastened, first, upon the hateful innocence of menstruation, before garrotting every rival who protested his indecency, and warned of his incompetence. Through it all, a general assumption prevailed against streaming fact, that there is a great taste for such incontinent "carnage" on our stage.
In serial postings, acknowledging that "it's here," it is nevertheless useful to retain a sense of scale in appraising our possession. It's somewhat grave, when the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the land can lie to gain appointment one day, and lie again to say he didn't lie the next, without - you know? - the taking of steps. On the contrary; they're taking only names. But as goes the language, its letters and their words, its statements and their registry, so goes the consent of the governed, by any stretch of the imagination. If I were a student of rhetoric I would say, we don't kill lawyers first. We kill the paperboys.
Mario Vargas Llosa
The Feast of the Goat
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001©
Explosion of the Church Tower