Monday, January 17, 2011

Ophiucus and Sotto

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.

When I told my friends last Saturday that I couldn’t understand why millions of people are so worked up over the supposed addition of the 13th zodiac sign Ophiuchus (November 29 – to December 17), one of them snapped back at me: “That’s because your zodiac sign has not changed; you are still a Pisces!”

For a moment, I was dumbfounded. True, unlike in their cases, the supposed shift in the dates covered by each of the zodiac sign didn’t affect me. I was born March 12 and the supposed new cutoff dates for Pisces, which now covers March 11 to April 18, still makes me a Pisces. In the case of a friend, she went to bed Friday night as a Scorpio and woke up Saturday morning a Libra. She was not showing signs of disorientation, she was fuming mad because the dates covered by Scorpio were now apparently reduced to only six days! And she said she hated Librans with a passion! We joked that she probably now needs to get legally separated from her husband because their zodiac signs were now completely at odds with each other, and that she probably needs to stop thinking of herself as a sexual goddess (Scorpions being, well, supposedly more sexual according to stereotype). She bristled at the suggestions.

We discussed the implications of the supposed changes. Would this mean that some people would have to get tattoos removed? Ouch. Would this mean business establishments named after zodiac signs would have to change as well? What about those who religiously followed birth charts for their children, would they have to alter birthdays now?

I told them I still didn’t get it. I told them I went to bed Friday night as a Pisces and woke up Saturday night as, well, still Bong Austero!

But apparently, some people take astrology and their horoscopes serious, verrrry seriously, to the point that they’ve allowed these to define who and what they have been and are as individuals. I am aghast that there are people who, in essence, are going through a serious evaluation of their personalities to align with the new zodiac signs. I know at least one blogger who went into full rumination mode suddenly and belatedly “discovering” the rationale behind quirks in her personality. “Kaya pala,” (so that’s the reason) she exclaimed, as if the whole universe has just presented to her the keys to a riddle of earth-shaking importance.

But what caused the ruckus? The whole thing supposedly started when an astronomy professor (the now much-maligned Parke Kunkle of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College) explained to a newspaper about the movements of stars. He said that the sun is now in a completely different position than where it was thousands of years ago. His dissertation went viral as many media networks picked it up. The cause of the misunderstanding can be traced back to the fact that most people think astrology is based on constellations.

Orphiucus is a constellation. It’s represented by a man grasping a snake (representing the constellation Serpens). I can go on and on about the science bit, but that’s really stretching things so far for purposes of this column. Besides the jury is still out on this controversy. Obviously there are those who insist that Kunkle’s theory is wrong. There are those who insist that the man is correct.

To begin with—if we are to buy this new development, which is still being hotly debated by astrologers and astronomers—the changes are supposed to cover those who were born in 2009 and beyond. So it really does not affect those who are old enough now to actually bother about these things. Those who believe that their lives and destinies (supposedly preordained at the time of birth by the position of the stars) are intertwined with movements in the cosmos, have no need to fret—Kunkle did not propose that the position of the stars at the time of their birth has not changed.

So theoretically, if one were a Taurus all his life, he should still be as bullheaded and as obstinate regardless. Theoretically, I’m still supposed to be a wimp.

***

We all know that many of our leaders are immature; they cannot do their jobs professionally or objectively. They insist on viewing the world and interpreting their job descriptions from the very myopic confines of their often bigoted worldview.

Senator Vicente Sotto III recently made pronouncements that smacked of irresponsibility. He recently indicated, in so many words, that as long as he is Senate Majority Leader, the proposed reproductive health bill would not get through the Senate. This kind of swagger is representative of the kind of obstructionist politicians we have today, people who subscribe to the notion that if they can’t have their way, they will use power and influence to ensure that others don’t get their way as well, even if the cause is beneficial to others.

Certain sectors are understandably up in arms. The Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines represented by its National Chairperson Elizabeth Angsioco (who is also a columnist for this paper) chided Senator Sotto last week and told him “to stop irresponsible talks and instead do his job.”

I agree with Angsioco: Sotto’s responsibility is to facilitate the legislative process, not derail it. This includes calendaring bills already reported out by the committees for plenary debates.

“Saying that he would rather be replaced from his position than see the RH bill enacted into law reeks of arrogance. It’s proof that the good senator only cares about what he personally believes in, even if this runs counter to public welfare,” stressed Angsioco.

‘‘If he truly is a statesman, he would not impose his personal opinion on the whole nation. Using his important position as the Senate Majority Leader to derail the legislative process is being untrue to his mandate as a lawmaker. If he doesn’t want to do his job, then he should resign,” said Angsioco in a statement E-mailed to me.

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