Fair Games

by Katski

When you’re a word peddler, you can’t get thin-skinned when people criticise your work, whether the criticism is on the merits of your content OR on the manner in which you present it. Why? Your thoughts, AS WELL as your style of expression, is always fair game. Why? Because your thoughts and the way you express them is impossible to separate.

Parang painting. Ang ina-absorb nung taong nakatingin, hindi lang isang elemento nung painting; hindi lang yung subject or the idea behind it. It’s always the totality of the work which includes, among other things, the style, the stroke, the medium etc. 

O kaya parang isang dancer. Yung nanunuod ng sayaw niya, ang tinitingnan at niraramdam, hindi lang yung konsepto nung sayaw. Hindi lang yung galaw, kundi yung kabuuan ng pagtatanghal.  Yung grace, yung linya ng katawan, yung tension ng muscles, yung ritmo kung meron o wala, yung kasuotan, yung music–lahat ng kasama sa pagsasayaw niya, bumubuo sa pagtatanghal niya na hinuhusgahan ng manonood.

Ganun din sa writers. Hindi lang yung laman nung sinulat mo ang binabasa at kinukuha. Importante yun pero hindi lang yun. Kasama sa kabuuan–yung sentence construction, the clarity of expression through the choice of words, the voice, the style, the tone or mood created within the piece etc–lahat yan, fair game for criticism.

Kung may sinulat ka tapos may makabasa na hindi naiintindihan yung sinulat mo, at sasabihin sa’yong walang kwenta yung pagkakasulat mo kasi hindi niya naintindihan, hindi ibig sabihin nun, may kakulangan yung nagbasa.

May kakulangan ka, kasi ikaw yung naghain.

Ikaw yung nagpabasa. Parang chef na kaharap ang isang customer na hindi gusto ang pagkakaluto niya. Choice mo na ngayon kung aayusin mo yung ginawa mo, kung tatanggapin mo na hindi ka naging mahusay para sa taong yun OR hindi mo na lang papansinin. Puwede kang manatili sa “hindi tayo nagkakaintindihan, wala akong magagawa, goodbye.” Valid and correct ang either reaction.

Ang hindi valid, yung sabihin mong mali at wala sa lugar yung taong nagsabing walang kwenta yung sinulat mo. Nasa lugar siya. Unique yung lugar niya, karapatan niya yun, bilang hinainan mo siya.

What’s that cliche? Don’t dish it out, if you can’t take it. Let’s amend that to add: Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it, IN ANY FORM (that isn’t of course physically harmful to you, the environment or your pets).

No one has the right to attack your personhood, of course; it’s none of the audience’s business kung yung dancer ba ay lgbtq or yung painter ba ay alcoholic or yung manunulat ba ay may masaya o malungkot na childhood.

But  being called “pretentious” in the context of, let’s say, a film review?  

Totally fair.  

Written pieces have moods, they don’t hit 2 people in the exact same way. If your choice of words elicited that reaction from a reader, that’s a truth you can’t invalidate for that person.

If you wish to be understood, write with the purpose of being understood. But if you don’t care,  then by all means go, seek your pleasure and may you have multiple wordgasms along the way. Write in however and whatever way you want, without thought  or consideration for the people who might read you.

And don’t be a freaking crybaby when you’re called on it.

Accept it, choice mo yun e. Choice mo na magsulat na may ganung assumptions. Choice mo na gumamit ng ganung terminology para ilatag yung opinyon mo. Tapos may nagsabing hindi nila maintindihan, sila ang tamad mag research kung ano kaya ang ibig mo sabihin? Bakit? Hindi mo nga maipaliwanag sa paraang malinaw yung idea mo sa kanya, hindi ka nag-effort sa pagsusulat mong maabot siya, bakit mo i-eexpect sa kanyang mag effort na abutin ka?

You can’t refuse to write for an audience and then expect your audience to understand this conceit.

Hindi obligasyon ng mambabasa na makipag diskurso sa’yo sa “level” mo o sa kahit na anong level na ikaw ang nag define na “tama”.

I don’t like it when my opinions are deemed invalid, so I never invalidate anyone else’s opinion. Validating it doesn’t mean agreement with it, it doesn’t mean I can’t / won’t call your feedback ill-conceived/shitty, if that’s what I believe. But to say don’t engage in discourse if you can’t match the intellectual level of the one you’re engaging with is just plain wrong. Maybe it’s written in such a way that doesn’t really invite me or interest me to further the discussion. That’s not my fault. I’m only the receiver and your material is my stimulus.

Don’t cry pax and call it a stifling of the growth/maturity of the culture of critical thinking when someone calls your work overly intellectualised or poorly written or both.

Kapag tumingin ako sa isang painting, puwede kong sabihin na pangit, walang saysay, hindi ko maintindihan, pretentious, walang kwenta, nakakabuwisit, I don’t agree, this work is shit — puwede ko ring sabihing sublime, evocative, transcendent. I can use plain words and choose to exercise brevity, I can elaborate and hit shift + f4 as many times as I want to use every imaginable obscure word in the English language for “bad painting” or “good piece”.

Kasama sa diskurso yung pinakamalalim at pinakamababaw. Discriminate but never extricate.

When you put something out there, for example, attack something people love with equal passion and even, pretentiousness, don’t cry foul when those who disagree with your views express their disapproval in their own manner, choice of words and intellectual ability.

Genuine, intelligent, as opposed to simply intellectual, discourse, must be inclusive and considerate of all voices, even or maybe especially those who call yours pretentious.