9/30/2007
An overworked brain's musings

I actually don't see myself as a smart person. Sure, I'll admit (but not exactly brag) that academics-wise I'm somewhere at the top, but there's always the feeling that someone's meant to give you the one-up on something else.

I haven't really bothered reading most of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine since they refocused and became, well, generally less of an interesting read. This week's issue was on anything that's online, and anybody who's willing to cover a phenomenon is supposed to talk about the thing I've been doing for two years now - blogging. I didn't take offense about the front page blurb that advertised the article - "blogs have now become respectable websites with bloggers perceived to be highly literate and upwardly mobile people," it said - but it got the paranoid-bored-whatever hybrid thinking.

Am I really highly literate and upwardly mobile?

Upwardly mobile, I can doubt. I have a mobile phone with 3G capabilities, but I'm not taking advantage of it because I'd eventually have to pay for it. (My parents are refusing my requests to move my postpaid plan, from G-Text 500 to G-Flex 800, because they'd not want to fork an extra three hundred bucks for my increased reliance on the phone call. I currently only have twenty free minutes, and I'd like to call anyone who refuses to reply, or participate more often on Kelly's show.) If it were only possible, I'd have a Twitter account and make things all better for me. Imagine, I'm blogging bits of information wherever I'd be! But that's not the case, sadly.

Now, I'm not the type of guy who wants to lose. I secretly had a competition against birthday girl Naomi for who gets the higher grade in video production class, especially when I discovered that after two exercises we had the same standing. Eventually she got a 3.0 and I got a 2.0 like almost everybody else, but by then things have changed: I was enjoying editing stuff that's as experimental as Miss Trini probably hates it. So, I must be "highly literate" or else I lose all the will to live.

But being literate is tricky. Of course some of us Filipinos don't agree with the oft-quoted statistic that our country has a 95% literacy rate - some put it at 99%, but that's ages ago - because of stuff like these. The definition is simple, however - being able to read and write. I'm sure most of us can do that, but you'd probably ask me about functional literacy, which, as far as I understand, is the way we apply that capability to good use. That one is tricky, for sure.

In occasional arguments I get into with my mother, she always blurts out that I'm too intelligent - that I know too much, and thus I should just live in my own world because I'd never agree with anyone. So that must be it! Being highly literate is never a good thing. Oh, but sure, literacy is very different from intelligence, but whenever we become good at something it's close to intelligence. And it takes functional literacy to do so. There is a point in all this. Anyway, sometimes I actually wonder what I'd be if I wasn't given with such an aptitude - for psychology students, it's the number of neuron connections that makes me a "fast thinker" as Jaja once said.

But a person like me never stops to think of anything. It takes me such a short time before I could decide on something. It's half-effortless, but very much regrettable if things go very wrong. Some admire the way I argue, but not everybody enjoys an argument, and thus the richest of people are probably making me a planet, in the vein of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

But, among the people I know, I'm the only one who laughs at British comedies the way most laugh at American comedies. That must make me crazy, and crazy is not exactly intelligent, although mad scientists on film and TV manage to be both. I end up not getting a third of the wordplay the British writers employ anyway, which shrinks me in the company of others who actually do get it. Insert the (extremely in parts) competitive self wanting to win, or at least join the ranks. But no, it never happens.

So, am I literate? Maybe not, in some senses. I have strayed from the argument, for one. I don't usually get what Lizette blogs, and whenever we talk online (which is now as rare as an average person's chances to consume caviar) I get stunned by what I see. I have a hard time, believe it or not, writing what I want to say on this blog, and more often than not I end up not happy with what I just wrote, including this one. I can't read minds - but that's crazy! - and so I therefore conclude that I'm illiterate. Or just never makes sense. There, that sounds better.

According to the same blurb I mentioned before, blogging was "once dismissed as [a] shameless attempt at self-promotion" - and rightfully so. Just because I wanted to prove something to the world - that I can set up a website much like Nikki Brion can - I decided to buy books on web design, hand-code HTML during my spare time, and eventually set up this blog to track my progress. Nothing came out of it, except for what some say is an impeccable writing skill, a mention on the Inquirer website, a lot of friends, and a way to silently tell the world about how fascinated I am with my seatmate on that particular day in society class. Well, Karla and Piyar knows about it. (And impeccable apparently means faultless. Strike two for illiteracy.)

But I give up. The PC's been on for more than six hours, most of it spent listening to Chris Moyles and Tony Blackburn, and we're having a pizza dinner, partly because we defeated those who think they taste better. Or maybe not, for I still have arguments to go to with my father, as to who is the better men's basketball team this season. Eventually, though, I'd care more about Celine's own campaign to win the championship, and then to the more important things in life, like ducks, or good food, or dissing Sam Milby, or smarting myself out on Tuesday afternoons. Either way, I must come out on top, or else I lose all the will to live.

Blogs as a shameless attempt at self-promotion? Oh golly. I guess it's time to bring out the ropes...

And your responses...

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