Friday, August 28, 2009

Fraid of change?

When I discovered GK Chesterton, the biggest question in my mind was "Where have you been all my life?" Funny how he was practically invisible all this time; I have never gotten my hands on a copy of any of his books, and perhaps the only glimpse I had of the man before graduating college (!) was when I stumbled upon a quote of his in a Neil Gaiman book, and even then I didn't notice enough to remember the name.

What is really puzzling is I graduated with degree in BA-Creative Writing, which means I'm a specimen most people call an English major, supposedly an expert on anything and everything written in the English language. And here I am all ignorant of the works of one of the greatest English writers (thinkers) of the 20th century.

But wait! Here's an interesting article my friend Ditas came across. (She is primary person I complained to about the lack of Chesterton in the CW curriculum.) Read, read!


Author calls for end of 'academic embargo' on GK Chesterton
Paul Nowak

Despite having a profound influence on the 20th century, English author G.K. Chesterton has remained virtually unknown to modern readers. This discrepancy may be due to an unwillingness for universities and colleges to include him in literary and history curriculum.

“The academic embargo against recognition of Chesterton’s stature remains in place, for reasons which remain a matter of speculation,” states William Oddie in the introduction to his biography published earlier this year, Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC.

Perhaps it is the effect Chesterton has on college students. In 1909, Mohandas Gandhi read one of Chesterton’s regular columns for the Illustrated London News, and was, according to his biographers, “thunderstruck” by the idea of truly Indian independence. He translated the article, and it became the basis for his book Hind Swaraj.

C.S. Lewis, who read Chesterton while serving in the army, has said that it was Chesterton who first showed him that the Christian world view made sense. J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as other Inklings, were also greatly influenced by Chesterton.

His friends, H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw, though they did not agree with him upheld him as an important literary figure, both in their own time and for future generations. T.H White, author of The Once and Future King, remarked upon G.K.C.’s death that he had been the greatest living master of the English language.


Why then has G.K. Chesterton been left out of academia? Perhaps, after seeing what Chesterton’s influence has done to shape the literary and political reality the 20th Century, colleges and universities are wary of that degree of change in the 21st Century.


Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Un-balanced views

I read Arrogance some weeks ago, but haven't gotten round to talking about it until now. This book by Bernard Goldberg talks about the liberal bias in the media and how it is constantly overlooked by the big guns because somehow the liberal ideas are never contested where the news is written. Goldberg talks about journalism in the USA, but I think the liberal bias also happens here in the Philippines. WillyJ points this out in this entry, and I think I've already pointed out a few instances in the past.

People will always have their own opinions--let's give it that. And people will always air them. Opinion pages are full of "what I think is right" and that's ok because it is the opinion page. What is wrong is that these opinions seep out of the opinion pages and go into general news masquerading as balanced views. How? By use of subtle language cues (like using the word "conservative" to label the Church and then forgetting to use "liberal" to label pro-RH bill advocates), or in the medium of radio, acting indignant about anything that isn't liberal--how many times have I heard somebody crack "Make love, not babies" on the radio? Or "We're so overpopulated already!" delivered in a complaining voice and without facts to back it up? Lots. And these words are always spewed from the same two mouths. (Supposedly, this AM station is reputable, but I've been wary of it for a long time now.)

It's like they're imposing that the liberal opinion is the balanced view and the conservative is far out extreme right. It gets really sickening when you're stuck in traffic on a Monday morning and that's all you hear about. How grand to start off your week to that! Sometimes it's best to just listen to a CD and assume there's no news for the day.

Then there is the non-coverage of not-so-liberal events like pro-life marches. Ever read about them? Only in blogs, I suppose! You won't see anything in the media, whether print, TV or radio. And no coverage makes it look like there is no action on that side of the opinion spectrum. And no action = no existence.

And why is it that when it's a conservative opinion, it must always come from a priest or bishop? Aren't ordinary people also part of the Church? Get them to talk too! It's unfair to make it look like all ordinary citizens are for reproductive health and only bishops, priests, and nuns, who have a vow to celibacy, are against contraceptives. There are young moms and dads who say no to being not open to life. Isn't it only fair to go ask them why they think so?

As a reader (listener, watcher) of news, I am, like everybody, prey to these tricks. What I think helps is to keep talking to different people about things that come out in the news. (Or perhaps the big guns in media can do us all a favor and also start talking to more different minded people and considering their opinions as valid arguments too?)

Because truly, it's exposure to different ideas (and knowing where they come from and then discussing them with a level head) that make us open-minded, not the attitude of permissiveness of culture corruption because "it's their life, they can do what they want with it." The latter, obviously, is just plain old apathy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Even fashion designers notice

...and are turned off by overexposure.

Karl Lagerfeld: "We've seen too much sexually aggressive fashion. Too much is too much. And too much for a long time is worse."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sunny-ness is contagious

Last Saturday, I had to make my own way to my alma mater because my dad took the car out of town and I had to attend a forum. I decided the fastest way to go was by cab, though I would always have misgivings about taking a taxi alone. Partly it was because I used to have a hard time hearing what the cabbies tell me, and it really creeps me out if they're chatty (the former isn't a problem anymore, but the latter still happens). What really makes me think twice is that taxi drivers often refuse passengers going to UP (or Makati) for reasons such as "traffic," as if traffic isn't already part of the job.

That Saturday morning, I was hoping not many cabbies would reject my proposal to go to UP. The first taxi rejected me after I said, "Sa UP lang." I let it go with mounting panic (yes, it was getting late).

Waiting for another cab, I had a funny idea--I could try to be sunny and see how the driver would react. The next cab stopped for me and I put on a big smile and said, "Good morning! Sa UP lang po ako!" The driver smiled back and said, "Opo, ma'am!" And off to UP I went.

True, not all taxi drivers have the same disposition, and perhaps I just got lucky my sunny-ness turned out to be contagious for this one. But isn't that a lesson! Even when it's someone's job to drive you around (or sweep the floors, clean the toilets, do the laundry, cook the food for you and/or the public), it's no reason to treat them like they don't feel. They're not robots--they need a dose of sunshine too.

In other words, you just aren't pleasant to clients or interviewees or bosses (besides people you're really close to, because, obviously you're pleasant to them already--and if you aren't they'll understand), but to everyone. I may find this a bit hard to do--because I'm not the blatantly cheery type of person--but with random people one meets daily, usually a "Good morning" suffices... you never know how much your two little words can change how someone's day is going!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stay safe!

This month's Baby Magazine is all about safety! See that adorable tot on the cover? His name is Mark Angelo Pardilla--and he had lots of fun in our shoot (as you can see) because we let him rule the play area of Tumble Tots in Libis, QC! That "no paparazzi" sign on his shirt was happily disobeyed by photographer Ralph Alejandrino, who said, "Sana lahat ng baby ganyan!" after the shoot. Gelo is such a sociable lil'un!

In this issue we did stories on being safe with kids at the mall, a family's struggle with losing a child to rabies, preggy-safety when walking on heels, bathroom safety, among other pertinent topics. Get to know members of the school community who help make schools safer for kids.

I had the chance to interview Rex and Nina Tomen, advocates for rabies awareness in the Philippines. They lost their 5-year-old son Gian Carlo, whom they fondly call Poypoy, to the disease. And he got it only via scratch! Parents must be informed about what to do when their kids come in contact (get bitten, licked or scratched) by unknown and unvaccinated dogs or cats. You can visit the website for rabies awareness put up by Rex and Nina with Sangkap here.

Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama), Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Appearance and the pro

Working from home offers a lot of advantages: one, there’s being able to use the time you would have spent commuting to actually sitting down and working (in my case, writing); two, there’s the healthy stash of food at arm’s reach; and three, there is no time to get oneself soaked in the rain (or in sweat because of the sun).

You accomplish more because you have more time; and that’s really all there is to it. No problem? Here’s something to think about: doesn’t the casual setup of working at home make one seem a bit less professional? Donning house clothes and forgetting to fix one’s hair are some examples—can you imagine going to work looking like that? Not to mention there’s a constant temptation to procrastinate: What’s a few more pages of this novel when you’re saving three hours for skipping the daily commute, right?

The big problem with working right at home (maybe also: “feeling right at home in the office”?) is that there is the tendency to forget oneself: you may be professional but you don’t look it. How could you when you’re writing in your laptop on a bed? Or wearing your hair like Ronald McDonald? Or simultaneously glancing at a transcript and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

With the kind of mess you make working at home, it’s hard to see how you get anything done. Some people say appearance doesn’t matter—one can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t say a person in a bathrobe is any less productive than a person in a suit, and that may be true in every way, except it doesn’t change the fact that the bathrobe still looks less pro.

Working from home is good—it just has to be done with some finesse! A casual setup doesn’t necessarily have to be a pigsty; the way you prepare yourself for work (wherever you work) is also a part of being professional—it’s a duty! Not only because appearance affects attitude (I think it really does) but also because it’s a way of treating your work with respect it deserves. After all, what would you be without your occupation? Bored!