Last semester, my literature professor discussed to us the four components that make up mainstream Filipino films in an essay written by Nicanor Tiongson, and to sum them all up, they were as follows:
– White is beautiful. If you’re anything other than white, then you’re doomed to become the sidekick or even the antagonist.
– Shows follow a certain formula that aims to only please people and not disturb their souls from their comfortable state. There’s nothing more to these films than just comic entertainment.
– If you’re in a pitiful state, you need not worry, for you will be redeemed one day. Believe that it’ll happen, wait for it, and do absolutely nothing about your sorry state.
– Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.
Although they weren’t the exact words from the essay (and perhaps if Tiongson encounters this post, he might as well say that I’ve defiled his words, but that’s how I understood them), the point is that because of stories or films that are founded on these principles, it would actually hinder the progress in you, the people around you and the nation as a whole. (If you’re curious as to how these things are linked, google “Four Values of Filipino Drama and Film” and read the piece for yourself).
If I haven’t made this clear, I’m going to say it again: that if things aren’t what they are right now, I would be taking up Humanities. I am an amateur writer, yes. I post my works at a certain FanFiction website and I find it disappointing how most of the stories posted there are centered on romance and nothing else. Not even a person’s search for his own self and getting through the obstacles/ghosts from his past–NO.
Basically, the typical FanFiction that you’d ever read there are as follows:
– This kind and beautiful girl who meets this cold-hearted guy whose world is going to change upon meeting her, and the girl will be threatened by potential/past lovers of the guy until eventually they get married and live happily ever after.
– This reclusive man meets a beautiful girl (who doesn’t think that she’s pretty at all–give me a break) and is willing to cross oceans for her in spite of their social status, how big-ass great the guy is, whether he’d be the head of a gang or CEO of a company, their flaws and differences that would result to constant fighting and yet they’d be all lovey-dovey in the end and have babies and all.
– Girl keeps getting bullied. Guy who happens to be rich and heartless chooses to rescue her because he experienced sparks upon seeing her. PRACTICALLY EVERY VERSION OF THE FAIRY TALE, CINDERELLA KNOWN TO MAN.
– Stories that make no sense. What matters is that the girl and the guy argues until they fall in love. LIKE HOW THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN? You’re already enemies! And how can you say that such events occur? Have you ever had an enemy you loathed to death and you find yourself falling in love with that person?? For crying out loud!
I must admit that during my early years in writing (I was like, 11-13 years old!) I used to write these sorts of materials, but mainly because they were the only stories that I’ve ever been exposed to: rom-coms and melodrama. I never bothered to look for something more than that because, fuck yeah who cares? I’d like to read people’s comments on how great my story is and screw anyone who flames my stories and all. BUT MOVING ON… I am guilty of still writing stories like this, however they’re more of a side story that I managed to place in the summary so as to attract readers’ attentions because they wouldn’t bother to read a story unless there’s romance involved. I have to mask coming of age stories and reality with an event in my story that’s significantly small (or not as important as the themes presented) just so that I could get people to read and hopefully, be pleased with how there’s something more to it than just… romance.
I find it hard to say that I’m going against what I’m saying here but heed me, please. There are two reasons why a writer writes: to express and to be heard. What’s the point of expressing yourself when there’s no one there to listen? Listening has its other subelements such as “for persuasion, entertainment, insert other reasons why you listen to what other people say…” but anyhow, you have to be somewhat appealing as well, but not to a point wherein you’d completely ignore that voice within you and follow what the crowd has to say. What I hate about stories like the ones I’ve mentioned above are that they’re extremely predictable, the girl is always a poor lass and the guy is like a god or something with an attitude problem, GUY WOULD ALWAYS SAVE THE GIRL even though she stresses countless times that she doesn’t need saving (though she’s just an ignorant prick who’s unaware of her surroundings and couldn’t protect herself unless of course, you’re in a totally helpless situation like being attacked by gangmen because you’re pretty and all), girl was oppressed before and now that she’s returned, being stronger, the guy realizes how much of a douchebag he was and tells her that he’s been attracted to her all this time, good girl bad boy love story shit… there are a lot more; I’d probably have to edit this part right here but basically, those are the shit.
So if I write a coming of age story about teenagers in the 70’s dealing with drugs and alcohol and other events before being able to watch a Led Zeppelin concert, would people read it? No. But if I write a coming of age story about teenagers in the 70’s dealing with drugs and alcohol and other events that would lead to the romantic tandem of this couple before being able to watch their favorite band, Led Zeppelin, live onstage? Questions like “Ooh, I wonder how they’re going to meet; I can’t wait to read the mishaps and arguments between those two; what’s Led Zeppelin?” will pop in their minds, their curiosity rises and alas, they’re bound to read that story.
Sad, isn’t it?
That not everyone knows Zeppelin.
Oh the irony that every writer battles within himself.
Oh, and another thing that bothers me–BANDFICS.
Like, wtf are these people thinking?
If the protagonist is a girl, she HAS to be the singer. OF COURSE. She can’t be a guitarist or pianist or drummer or bassist because that’s a guy’s job. To top it all off, a girl actually wrote this story!! And they have the guts to talk about feminism when they’ve already limited their female characters to specific roles??
Also, if it’s a rock band, the name has to have a trace of darkness to it. BLACK KNIVES. DARK HOLLOWS. BLOODY ROSES. MACHINE GUN METAL DEATH HARDCORE SCREAMO JET BLACK SOULS WHO SOLD THEIR SOULS TO THE DEVIL. Like, what the fuck?
And what’s ironic is that in spite of their hardcore band names, they sing songs by Avril Lavigne, pop rock mainstream that is very irritating to the ears when their names are like, for what? A heavy metal band? That doesn’t make any sense!
So yeah, all that steam has been released. I look forward to the day I write a story that would definitely move others in a way that THROAM has served as a wake up call for me to write more stories that delve into reality and influence others to see life in a different perspective, so that we may not manipulated by the likes of those who aim for fame, money and attention, but for us to create a stand and pass that perturbed thought to others so that they may be shaken, stirred and trigger the release of their soul in order to make a better world.
For without art, the world would be just “eh”.