Mar 8, 2002

Criticizing Critics

Happy day! I just finished reading The Return of the King. Thus ends my reading of The Lord of the Rings. As for my being a Tolkien reader, I may have only just begun. I am disinclined to reread The Hobbit or any of the LOTR books, as I've just finished poring over those. What I have in mind (and stored in this impersonal computer of ours) is a copy of Silmarillion. For this I am grateful to Paul, Sandigan's erstwhile webmaster.

Critics said it was the best among Tolkien's works. Critics usually do that. They pick some less popular piece in a certain author's corpus and say it's the true classic. Hell, I don't know any "decent" Shakespeare critic who would choose Romeo and Juliet over Macbeth or King Lear!

It's like saying, "all you guys have been reading the wrong book. I on the other hand have gone through all his works, I've read his unpublished thesis, I even read those little love letters he wrote when he was a pimply adolescent! From that wide selection that nobody else cared to labor over, I say this obscure work no one cared about is the real deal."

"Got any questions? Or have you read what I read? What framework are you coming from?"

I can't blame them (or "us?") though. I mean, they spent their baccalaureate degrees over literature getting everything - language, stylistics, milieu, tone, plot, every excruciating detail! What was the color of the wallet that the American soldier let drop? How many witches were there in Macbeth, with or without speaking lines, three or four? Did you count Lady Macbeth? Explain. Was there really a devil or was that just Ivan Karamazov's hallucination? Or is this whole exam just a hallucination in Ivan's world-view? In yours?

They got everything really. Maybe except entertainment?

And they (okay, "we") devote postgraduate time and toil too. We look and sound so erudite, such connoisseurs of "high thought." And what do we tell the masses? "You watched Romeo and Juliet? That's Shakespeare at his best you know!" or "You've just finished The Fellowship of the Ring? It's just the greatest, isn't it?"

"Duh? Hello," the brave reader speaks, "We knew that. You spent your time studying literature just to say that?" They have a point too. They have an engineering, medicine, or law degree (and salary to boot) and they also got that.

So I'll just raise my erudite high brow. Oh. Romeo and Juliet? He was such an amateur then, wasn't he? Oh. LOTR is good for starters. I assume you're just warming up to read Silmarillion. Now that's worth reading!

And those years of snobbish faithfulness to the canon, those excruciating minute detail studies, the piled fiction that I never really enjoyed with those doses of caffeine, all that money I'm not going to have, it's all worth the puzzled look on his face and the forced, hesitant, nod. A pretense of acquiescence. "Uh yeah, right, 'Selma Reyon,' I'll start reading on her soon!"

But he may just say "Screw you! You wasted years in that nuthouse academe! Everybody loves Romeo and Juliet, freak!"


Belle, kakukuha ko lang nga nung link na iyan para sa mga komento per artikulo. Sana nga e magamit mo! Ok lang sa akin na mangarag riyan. Pwede ko naman i-delete e, hehe! Pero yun naman talaga yung silbi nyan. Para medyo makapa ko naman kung ano ang epekto o kawalan ng epekto ng sulatin.

Ok lang na magkwentuhan blues tayo rito! Medyo naintriga nga ako sa sagot mo sa mahal nating Mel sa susma e. Huwag kang maasar ha? Wala kasi akong tuwirang karanasan sa ganuong bagay e.

Trixy, salamat sa komento mo sa deskripsyon sa blag! Malaking bagay lalo na't galing sa iyo.

Ria at Chie, papunta na ako riyan sa Cavite! Antay lang! At ikaw nastranded dyan, musta na? Heto yung SMS mo sa akin, ibablag ko kasi trip ko:

"The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes."
-Andre Gide

O di ba? Pangkalahatang gabay (at deskripsyon na rin nga) sa mga nagbablag katulad natin?

Narito nga pala sa v 11.0, ang pagbasa ko sa pagtatapat ng mga pwersang Amerikano at Abu Sayyaf sa Filipino psyche. Alam kong ilang beses ko na nasabi ito pero sasabihin ko uli, dala ng sobrang emosyon. Nakakaasar talaga na matawag na Abu lover ng tumatayong lider ng bansa. Hurt ako.