Ago 19, 2002

On Spurious Solidarity

This day is dedicated to Quezon, the recognized "Ama ng Wika" or father of the Filipino language. I remember this because back in my elementary days, we had "Linggo ng Wika," a whole week with essay-writing contests, declamation jousts, and morning assembly speeches by Filipino teachers. Most of all, the fines were suspended and we could speak in Tagalog, my beloved mother tongue, without paying a peso for every word we didn't deliver in English.

Although, I don't want to dedicate this piece to Quezon, I'd love to write more about language. I hope my readers will forgive a few more meta discussions, more writing about writing.

The previous article notwithstanding, I confess I've trimmed down on the use of the theoretical "Man." Sometimes, the tendency of presenting and encountering the construct is the feel of abstractness, of imagining the collective embodied as an individual, homogenous throughout its parts.

Using "she" as the pronoun at least removes the phallus from the embodiment or repopulates the embodiment with the identities of the marginalized genders. One could see that it is also more faithful since the population is quantitatively more female.

But I still find the theoretical man construct a bit intrusive to the process of stimulating critical thought. Upon viewing the embodiment floating above us, sometimes our minds also fly with it and leave on the ground the diversities and contradictions inherent in humanity.

After my thesis, I've found that I lean more on the use of "we," "us," and "ours" and (since the the work was entirely in Filipino) "tayo," "atin," and "natin." At least here, the reader is free to check if the statement really applies to her and her own experience.

The guiding text for the thesis was Norman Fairclough's seminal work entitled "Language and Power." Here, he encourages the researcher and writer to put themselves in their work. I agree that the scientists' traditional omission of the "I" in their technical ouevres is questionable. I don't think they need to gloss over the fact that there was a human being behind their empirical presentations for the sake of appearing more "objective."

Nope. I'd like to see more of those I-me-mines, especially so that the accent on responsibility for findings could be more audible. I believe this is especially necessary in the social sciences where the readers must be made aware of where the author is coming from.

After warning the reader that he will write in the first person, Fariclough proceeds to discuss his use of "we." Here's a clipping from his note on style:
"...I have operated with an image of the reader as not just someone to whom I am telling things (though sometimes I am!), but also as a partner in a collaborative venture. This is why I have sometimes used the pronoun 'we' inclusively, to refer to the reader and myself. But... this use of 'we' can be manipulative; it can claim spurious solidarity, for instance when a politician uses it to convince people that she is 'one of them'. I hope that readers will not feel similarly dragooned into partnership: obviously, some readers will not see themselves as partners... but... I have found it easier to write as if they did."
I guess that's a mouthful. In typing that, an eyebrow reflexively cocked with Fairclough's use of 'she' as a pronoun for the theoretical politician. Then, remembering recent speeches especially of the state-of-the-nation variety, a naughty grin followed.

Not Elsewhere

Tinig's volumes 17 and 18 are out. I've got SONA articles left and right, but I'm thinking of submitting literary pieces for a change. Jol, I never thought I'd say this but I miss the Adarna workshops.

I miss too, the man behind the finer points of my thesis, Prof. Monico Atienza. I make sure not too mention him too much because I dread to disgrace his legacy. But that stricture can't be allowed here because he lent me his Fairclough and Mao. Also, I want to direct friends to his poem in the same way that Alex tipped me in the forums.

Thank you Sir Monico, for believing in my work and still signing the recommendation to the Asian Center despite every inconvenience. It is my honor that you peruse of my thesis to instruct your classes, while all errata there reflected my stubborn affront to your diligence in evaluating it. Someday, maybe, I will catch up with it and teach in my own fashion.

Still Not Elsewhere

Well, workers, students, and inhabitants of Quezon City, have a nice day! I'm going there this afternoon to claim some loose pages I had bound at the university shopping center. And of course, I'll meet my angas team mates there to gather around the birthday kantogirl!