One of the problems of Ilokano writing and the practice that goes with that writing is the almost impossibility of ‘critique’ that we can clearly call ‘Ilokano.’
‘Critique in Ilokano’ could be a difficult phrase, but we can clarify: it means that reflexive act of those who have something to say about Ilokano poetics, in any language, but ideally in the languages that are accessible to many of the more informed Ilokano writers.
That something that a critique can say about Ilokano poetics is a well-thought out understanding of the patterns of writing that we have produced in the interest of our people and in the interest of sustaining that vitality and vigor of our language and culture.
In effect, Ilokano critique is an erotic act: creative, creating, conscious, constructive; it is sharing in that eternal act of Eros to renew the world.
It is opposed to the act of decapitation—as by the act of Thanatus—as being practiced by some of the writers trying to write by populating the blank spaces of message boards with trash.
Theirs is a destructive act indeed, deathly and deadly; it is an act filled with arsenic; it is an act with no political and aesthetic power to redeem and reclaim.
Critique, in whatever form, is of course impossible to ‘idiots’ passing themselves off as writers, Ilokano writers pretending to be informed, and Ilokano idiots pretending to be the serious and grand writers we have always been awaiting. No, their act is grandiose but never, never grand: feigned, affected, pompous.
Include in these the idiots pretending to have other names—or worse, hiding behind a name or names.
If this is not Sybil for you—and if we are not going to have that boldness and daring to unmask this pathological condition of Ilokano poetics; and if we continue to believe in the lies these anonymous Ilokano writers peddle for everybody to read and consume in the cyberspace world, secure as they are in their anonymity, and so darn insecure in the courage and daring and boldness they have, if at all they have any of those, then there is no reason why we keep on with this struggle to sustain our sense of self and community and heritage.
For here are idiots on message boards who worry about the inane without looking into contexts, them the bigoted lot of writers who know only how to make a scratch and call that writing for goodness sake!
The elision to anonymity by people pretending to know what Ilokano poetics is must be judged as an act of cowardice and by the rule of the principle of ethics, these people, while either coward or ignorant or both, are still held liable for what they write about, particularly their penchant to decapitate other people, stand on the decapitated bodies of the people, and rise up and rule the world of Ilokano writing.
This is an obnoxious practice and the message boards of some Ilokano writers are filled with these writings on the wall that do not merit any second look except to say, woebegone.
It really is—a real ‘sayang.’
How can anyone who thinks of herself or himself as an ethically informed writer have that courage to remain anonymous while at the same time naming her or his enemy?
This situation is without merit in critique—at least the reflexive kind, the real kind that we are saying in this series.
For, indeed, critique is a species of conversation, that kind of a conversation that we fall into.
Or human communication—if you will.
And in conversation, there is that mystical, almost sacred act of ‘falling’ into it, enthralled, seduced, mesmerized, because in the event of summoning the healing and creating power of words, there, there is language in its silences, gaps, gulfs, and possibilities.
You call this symmetry, that exchange and diffusion, that to-and-fro, that ‘betweening’ or ‘middling’ so that a new world could come about, with one conversation partner ever ready to listen while the other conversation partner talks, and always, always, in a vice versa way.
And these idiots?
Tell them to read the critical hermeneuts.
Or tell them to ask Ka Loren what this is.
One observer of the pathological condition of our Ilokano life wrote to me: Why, on earth, are you blogging those obnoxious messages on your site?
I wrote him back: I am not going to allow our people to forget. Trace is trace even in a palimpsest, even in the palimpsest of our pathologic Ilokano writing lives.
In memory, there, there is going to be our relief after these long days of poetic bereavement.
A S Agcaoili/Hon, HI/Feb 8/09