Writer’s Notes: The Stonecasters

Subject essay: ‘The Stonecasters. ‘We Are Our Own Best Enemy’ – Tony Meer, Filipino’ read at frankahilario.com.

smiling-tony-meer-338.jpgIt wasn’t a proper interview with a tape recorder thrust before Tony Meer’s face; it was more like a tête-à-tête, a pleasant exchange of views, a gentle baring of thoughts on GMA’s Metro Manila Dilemma – damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. Actually, I didn’t come to ask Tony Meer what he thought about what was happening in Metro Manila, but it intruded. That’s when he said that quotable line, ‘We are our own best enemy,’ and I immediately told Tony, ‘Now I have a title to my essay.’ It became the subtitle. One author inspiring another. After all, he has written his huge autobiography, A Lawyer’s Fate & Faith (2003, 500 pages). He has had a huge life, and I saw that day that he is still making it huger by learning to paint like the impressionist masters. I liked what I saw.

My main title, ‘The Stonecasters,’ is another coinage of mine. I (almost) always try to come up with 2 or 3 words as my main title to an essay. I didn’t have an idiom this time, so I decided to invent it: ‘The Stonecasters.’ That comes from the Bible story of the adulterous woman who was condemned to be stoned to death by law and of whose case a mob asked Jesus Christ what he thought of that and he replied, ‘He who is without sin, cast the first stone.’ I’m Roman Catholic; I would have liked to quote from the New American Bible, but it doesn’t have the one I like, the emphatic ‘Cast the first stone.’ And the many condemners of GMA? They are the stonecasters, whether they are inside what Church or outside.

I don’t remember now when I started to invent words for my writing. But it must have been in the late 1980s, when I was trying to come up with shorter terms related to writing using the computer, and I came up with ‘worping’ (word processing), ‘worp’ (word processor), and ‘worper’ (user of a word processor).

I recognize GMA’s Metro Manila Dilemma yesterday, today and tomorrow – damned if you do, damned if you don’t – because of all the clamor for good governance by those who don’t recognize it when they see it. They are the blind followers of the stonecasters. I’m not saying GMA is not guilty, as I can’t say that of her persecutors and revilers, any and all of them.

‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of good.’ This is the second time I’m writing that line, another original of mine. I like to pun; the Reader’s Digest taught me.

I have many other original lines in that essay; I’ll give you these two ending sentences in two paragraphs that succeed each other (you’ll see also that I like iteration and parallel construction):

‘Patriotism is the first refuge of soldiers, the last refuge of scoundrels.’
‘Patriotism is the first refuge of scholars, the last refuge of scoundrels.’

This essay refers to so many things that otherwise would not be written about in a single essay: organic farming, Nicky Perlas’ concept of social Threefolding as a paradigm for development, State and Business and Civil Society, the teacher and the learner, the two greatest commandments of God, Pharisees, the adulterous woman, the mass media, the issues of sin personal and social, the lawyer-hero-statesman Tony Meer, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her vociferous denouncers, Loyalty Day at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, UPLB Vanguards Class 58 projects, a documentary film on the February 23, 1945 Los Baños rescue of 2,147 prisoners of war, the Catholic bishops and Protestant preachers and fire and brimstone, the persecution of sinners by sinners, the earning & erring mass media, People Power, a citizen army, the role of a writer in society, a writer’s faith, Senate inquiries ‘in aid of legislation,’ a call to intellectuals, to Christians.

I’m glad I wrote it.

Explore posts in the same categories: condemning, Creative Writing, forgiving

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