Friday, February 03, 2006

You Be The Judge

Here’s the reply of Mrs. Gail Ilagan of MindaViews:

to a blog posted here.

If delays are noticed, please remember blogging for me is still very much a passionate avocation that I engage in when I have the time away from the concerns of continuing to attend to my family’s future. And blogging itself continues to be a learning process, essentially a self-learning process.

And importantly also, I have learned to try to always take a long and hard look before I put out there anything that may not be edifying. For once released, it is quite difficult to undo or repair. Still, I find myself failing this test at times.

Anyway, these are the points of explanation and clarification I would like to bring up relative to the reply above. And I bring these out only because they reflect on my personal character, admittedly flawed as it already is. And not because they relate to issues that were initially brought out by me.

1. Mrs. Ilagan berates me for taking 10 weeks to reply to her two columns. I have me to blame for that since on the latter half of 2005 I was away for one of my regular trips to my old hometown, this time for a total of 5 months, and have only gotten back here in my adopted place in the middle of January. Thus, though I was quite physically near Mrs. Ilagan when she wrote her columns, I was in the dark having only very limited internet access and having used whatever available time I had in internet cafes to attend to personal business.

And pointing to my many short trips to the old homeland, I take exception then to Mrs. Ilagan’s insinuation that I am part of the “uninvolved” quite unconcerned about domestic problems. The reason for the last longer stay was because we now operate a little vegetable farm in a barrio in Bukidnon which employs at least a dozen farmers and other workers. Aside from a couple of private projects in the city where we have invested outside capitalization, with the earnest hope that the added financing generates more employment for the local economy. And I issue an open invitation to Mrs. Ilagan to look us up when she gets the chance to be in our part of Mindanao.

2. Regarding the issue of blogs and blogging, I would advise Mrs. Ilagan, though she adamantly resists the urge, to learn more and immerse herself in the blogosphere. For this is now the new medium, manned by unkempt writers in their pajamas, that has exponentially prospered in its task of leveling the playing field between the MSM and the rest of us. She should really take the effort to understand that the blogosphere is now where ordinary people can air their gripes and grievances against MSM operatives, and not really be restricted by the traditional practices and conventions such as of writing letters to the editors to seek audience and redress.

3. I apologize to Mrs. Ilagan for her misconstruing the implied connection made by me between the manner she writes about her opinions in MindaViews and the way she teaches her students in class. I never for a second doubted that Mrs. Ilagan teaches her students with the strict standards and demeanor that exemplify teaching in a Jesuit University. That was not the point I wanted to make. The question was: do her students also read her opinion columns and what do they think about how she expresses her opinions? Do they think it fair for her to prejudge and condemn others so gratuitously? Etc. For after all in the real world, it is really difficult to claim that we can compartmentalize our different personas and hope that people will not connect one with the other(s).

4. BTW, aside from also making available my initial blog to a close email group that I belong to, I also copy-furnished by email all my children. So far not a single comment from them. Maybe when we are able to get together, I can elicit some comments. But all this will go the same route.

5. Mrs. Ilagan also takes me to task by implicating me as part of the deserter teachers. But truly, it looks to me it was the other way around. Teaching deserted me. I found out early on that teaching did not really take too kindly on me, for I lacked the intellectual aptitude and of course, proper academic degrees, to even qualify as a good instructor. Add to that the realization that I was also missing the more important intangibles such as patience, perseverance, and maybe even passion that were so exemplary in the teachers that I admired.

6. In her reply, Mrs. Ilagan uses the phrase “bully’s pulpit” twice, in an apparent reference to my follow-up in the initial blog in which I used the word, “bully pulpit”. I sure hope she distinguishes the big difference between the two because again I apologize if misunderstood. I only meant this:

bully pulpit ,n.
An advantageous position, as for making one's views known or rallying support.

and not to refer to a bully using or owning a pulpit.

7. And lastly, I find it quite unfortunate that Mrs. Ilagan never addressed any of the issues that I exposed and which were the primary and maybe only, reasons for the personal judgments made by me in the initial blog.

But maybe also I should never have expected answers to the issues I raised.

In any way, you be the judge. And let it be known, I mean and harbor no ill-will toward anybody, in case any such malice appears to any reader of this writing.

And finally, this will be my last blog on this same issue. I shall lay it to rest, as any dead horse ought to be.

A little UPDATE for a finale
Some excerpts from a column aptly titled:

The work of a columnist

Feb 05, 2006
By Randy David

In the spirit of public debate, of which there is so little in our society, I will respond to his rejoinder.

He thinks that in criticizing Abueva and Davide, I have made "judgment calls that clearly lack academic detachment." So far as I know, "detachment" is a posture that has been questioned even in academe. If "academic detachment" were my goal, I would not write an opinion column. I would write dull monographs for specialists, in a language stripped of social judgment. Surely, Doronila does not believe that academic treatises, written in the dry dispassionate style of scholars, are the only justifiable statements that can be made about the world we live in. I have precisely kept one foot in media while continuing to teach at the university because I refuse to be trapped in academic debates that have little to do with the social reality of ordinary people.

Of course, this does not mean that a columnist is free to make irresponsible statements. I do believe that, harsh as it may seem, I am justified in my assertion that Dr. Abueva has lent himself as a "prop to a moribund presidency.