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The humour of Father Castañeda

Political satire can be cruel. However, it is a way of understanding free expression. Sometimes, at times in Argentina, it becomes a symbol of a time.


Miraculously, there had been the few books that were kept from the collection stolen from the Franciscans by the Minister's minions Rivadavia. It was clear that something like this was about revenge. He could only respond to the confiscation of the Convictory of San Carlos by the Bishopric of Buenos Aires in 1801. Father Castañeda considered that little less than a sign of the saints. When he faced the books, despite their dilapidated state, his heart fell out of his chest. Spoiled, moldy and even modied, they had suffered the distreatment of the Rivadavian armies and frankly little remained of their former splendor. They were hidden in the basement of the first headquarters of the University of Buenos Aires, located in Peru 222.

Castañeda would imagine that very little did those sinners know about the content of such relics. Some pages had already become palimpsest. In other words, on the original blurred ink, priests of later generations ended up writing new texts that had little to do with the originals. This old practice was due to the higher price of paper imported from Europe from the 16th century. Consequently, both the reading and the interpretation became confusing.

However, an illustrated specimen still kept intact a certain miniature representing the Universal Flood. There was no doubt that it was a very elaborate work once conceived by an anonymous artist, of those who lived in better times. With astonishing meticulousness, he had drawn Noah's sons next to the Ark under construction, located exactly to the left of a large, beautifully delineated scuerzo. His deduction was immediate: that animal had to be more important from a symbolic point of view than all the rest of the miniature.

The scuerzo is a bathracian. Batracians are amphibians. It was logical to think that that strange creature had survived the Universal Flood, beyond having not been invited to Noah's Ark. Therefore, according to Castañeda's deduction, the scuerzo in question was nothing other than an antediluvian animal. A monster of times when God had repented of creating men.

It was very clear that the drawing meant, in an abstract way and according to its own interpretation, something that he already knew:

One must free himself from the flood monster, hemust have thought,becausethere is no future. Wonderful.

Could such a strong image reflect to some extent the feelings of Argentines? His mind began to work at that very moment.

He immediately closed the book, hid it in his clothes and ran to the stairs. Brother Cayetano Rodríguez and a gaucho friend were waiting for him. The warden had been paid to enter the university building, where many of the Franciscan property had ended after the expropriation requested by the government of Buenos Aires in July 1822.

Following the gaucho, the two priests ran like they had never done before. They passed through in a jiffy the current lime

Publication Date: 04/08/2019

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By: Juana 04 August, 2019

muy interesante

By: Juan de Capital 04 August, 2019

Personaje siniestro el tipo este Castañeda

By: carlos 04 August, 2019

Interesante y poco conocido personaje

By: Andrés de Miramar 04 August, 2019

Soberbio ver como nació el humor político en argentina. Una idea fabulosa

By: Andrés 04 August, 2019

Más que humor era insultante. Todo lo laico les parecía malo. Como ahora. El papismo se ha dado siempre en la política argentina y sigue. Es verdad lo de Rivadavia pero también es verdad que los papistas nunca quieren salir del poder y dele que va.

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