I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.


Over on Filipino Voices this morning, I wrote:

It’s funny how after initially not wanting to talk about it, media now can’t stop hyping up the abduction of Ces Drilon. Here in Voices, most especially, Ding Gagelonia’s constant updates are nothing short of cinematic. Reading through his posts, one can feel a palpable build-up of tension and fear – bordering on hysteria even – worthy of M. Night Shyamalan or even Cloverfield.

It is now the lull…”

Come on. If the situation weren’t so friggin serious, I’d be on the floor laughing from the hamminess of it all. Next thing you know, they’ll be eulogizing Ces. Oh wait. RG already did that.

Then, a coupla hours later:

With the deadline come and gone, the kidnappers are now said to be contemplating scaling down their demand. From cash to livelihood projects. That’s good, of course. It just calls into question how much we needed the ‘ticking clock’ drama.

Every line of text devoted to these jokers gives them incentive to up the ante; every drama sequence increases pressure on people to cave to their demands; every sentence trailing off to silence extends this caper a few more hours. When you realize this, you hopefully understand that this is not just a matter of taste.

There is more at stake here than just criticism of style.

You have to forgive me, folks. I don’t normally quote myself, but I don’t want to be misunderstood. Lord knows I get enough of that from my Mom.

I do not think that the abduction is a trivial matter. I am merely commenting on how the abduction is so easy to plunder for ‘heart-felt’ pieces masquerading as journalism. Worse, the pieces I’m reacting too – mosey on over to Voices and read almost everything by Gagelonia –  don’t really inform so much as craft atmosphere. They pummel the reader with dark gooey sentiments until the whole body of work reads like a fucking death-watch.

Too much, man. And it too closely resembles the kind of mindset that gave birth to that embargo: the mindset that insinuates that the subject this time is more important, more of a loss to humanity, than the other kidnap victims who never get this kind of morose coverage. Ces is a wonderful person, I’m sure. And she deserves all the accolades. But save it, fellas.

As I said, this kind of writing only makes it harder for everyone to approach this thing objectively (as it is, I imagine there will be those who will think me heartless for speaking out now). Imagine how her family must feel when they read these almost-eulogies to their daughter … now imagine how that will affect their decisions in dealing with the terrorists. On the other hand, imagine the kind of mindset being created in the reading public … after reading Gagelonia, I have heard more than one person loudly proclaim that Ces had to be ransomed, that government should put up the ransom money, that the person who allowed her to go unescorted should be court martialed (incidentally, this last one was the same person who, after the Penn,  argued that the government has no right to tell journalists what to do, regardless of the security concerns). Instead of fostering clarity, purple  and unnecessarily melodramatic prose only muddies the waters.

Oh, and Nick? Hammy means ‘affectedly dramatic.’ And “It is now the lull …” fits the bill perfectly.

And I don’t think it’s an excuse either to say that this writer or that has a personal connection to Ces. Writers – especially professional journalists – are expected to maintain objectivity especially when the topic touches them personally.

Be that as it may, it’s Gagelonia’s right to to act out his apparent distress in whatever manner he chooses; i’m just saying that I don’t like it, I think it has negative consequences (perhaps unintended), and that everyone would prolly benefit from being more objective about this whole sorry scenario.


Filed under: musings, , ,

5 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    I get the hammy part, but I still don’t think it was hammy. Maybe, a better description, instead of lull was to describe it as,.

    silence, waiting, and a little suspense. For Ding and RG, I am certain that they are in this situation now.

    I think his writing is clear, it shows the emotions of those that are close to the situation. this is the context with which I am reading Gagelonia’s accounts.

    Heartless? trust me, you’ve got enough of that.

    In any case, this is a point of disagreement, because I believe such writing especially over at Voices gives us another perspective with which we can look at things.

    Sort of like, saying to yourself..

    “ah, ok. I really didn’t think that people were feeling this way about the abduction”


    “I wonder why people are making such dramatic entries about this abduction”

    In any case, there are gaps that are being filled, some are asking some objective questions, writing objective pieces, some have a more “dramatic” feel to them, but each has it’s worth. I don’t think we can take away from that.

    Such as this piece that you have written, it contributes to a multi-faceted debate, that has ensued because of this kidnapping.

    Whether it is Military policy as written by DJB, such as policy of ransom as written by Butch, or media policy as written by RG, or a more personal take and news focused entries such as those by Ding… We can’t say, that there is a lack.

  2. Nick says:

    OMG, I’m sorry, I meant,

    Heartless? You’ve got enough heart..

  3. rom says:

    nick: i understand what you’re saying; and i never meant to imply that ding should just shut up. like i said, i was just remarking on how i think this whole thing should be handled.

  4. BrianB says:

    M. Night Shyamalan’s latest is a complete waste of time. Imagine a very bad Twilight Zone episode lengthened to two hours and peppered by the most incredible pieces of dialogue I have ever heard. The guy doesn’t even know it’s cellphones that’s probably causing the bees to disappear.

  5. rom says:

    brianb: sounds like an excellent description of the drama-rama-reporting of Ces’ abduction!

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