This iPad drawing in Fifty Three Paper from a couple of months ago was animated by a fascination I’ve had with the notion of loyalty as the glue that bonds followers or subscribers to both a.) whatever and/or whoever they hold dear as well as b.) their like-minded, fellow followers. Who better than the Koch brothers using Elmer’s Glue with their own bare hands to assemble their followers, I thought, to illustrate this? When the unidimensional adhesive cures, you’ve got yourself something like solidarity, an exclusive affinity group, a virtual gated community of sorts; it’s the basis of culture without all the messy pluralism and diversity.
Say what you will about him, but this pope seems to be shaking things up. Seems like every time he opens his mouth, he symbolically knocks over another money-changer’s table in the temple! He has a way with words. In his first public address he caught everybody by surprise by deviating from the traditional script and speaking directly from the heart. Soon after we learned, that, naturally, as a Porteño, i.e., someone from Buenos Aires, Argentina – and a Tano to boot, a Porteño of Italian descent – he even threw out a word in Lunfardo for Christ’s Sake, Porteño street slang! He said, “God nos primerea!” which draws on a fútbol reference to convey the notion that God firsts us, bests us, will always have a hail mary pass up his sleeve! Che, and that was code for something bigger, something more generalizable! You name it, think of anything, and all of us, everybody, todo el mundo, we are all tied for second place, at best!! What a refreshing solidarity. “Who am I to judge?”
Sources close to Pope Francis recently reported that one day he looked out of his simple apartment’s window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, saw the multitude gathered there against the backdrop of the world he has been asked to shepherd, and uttered another common Argentine expression in sotto voce:
Imagine the pope looking out his window and seeing all of us. For those who don’t already know what ¡Qué quilombo! means, check out Item #3 here. It’s no big, mysterious deal. It means something like, “What a mess!” Or my favorite translation is “What a shitstorm!”
Over time I’ll tell the story of how the pope used to be my boss…indirectly.