Sunday, October 06, 2002

strip: pop as influence

The fact of the matter is that while the entire Zeitgeist tendencies of some writers is good, I think we need stand away from the commonplace and everyday to write something that floats above the banal. We need to strip away Pikachu and the mangazines , telenovelas, "Ano Ka, Hilo?", Jerico Rosales and whatever you're listening to or reading ot thinking about daily for something deeper, more meaningful, more true.

Don’t get me wrong. We are surrounded by pop and the notion of writing about things you know derives its strength from the mundane. And really, if you think about it, everything is quite ordinary, and therefore fodder for writing of any sort.

The danger is when pop culture determines what you write about, due to its sheer influence. For example, here in the Philippines, films that involve prostitutes will invariably cast them in the sad stereotypes that pop culture informs us with – noble, selling their bodies only as an escape from poverty, wanting something better, etc. There is no room for an anti-statement or a privileged reading because pop culture has imposed this “truth”. We are constrained by the ordinary.

We tend to dwell too long on things of the here and now, as if all meaning is derived from the current experience. Again, do not mistake me – obviously the present has every right to be mined for truth, but how much truth can you mine when you are in the midst of things, and you refuse to go back to the superficial diggings previously (and haphazardly) done?

We need to undermine the present. We need to bitchslap pop in the face. We need dissonance - voices that go counter-culture without becoming precious. We need to look to the past and learn from it, respect it. We need to create a new literature. We need to free ourselves from the tyranny of deterministic pop culture.

We need to strip.

Then we can create.


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