9/17/2007
Worth your expensive attention

Austine's documentary made it to our class. Well, I don't really know her, but I do know the documentary - their trailer was on our proposal defense day last term. The almost-forty who saw it in our class, and probably the forty others who saw it later, probably know that it's about the attention one can give their dogs. A yuppie with a lisp knows dog food is made of chicken and a gazillion extenders. A girl (was she the one on this blog entry?) has dog diapers and dyed dogs. An older woman bought a lot for seventy of their kind.

At first I doubted what this had to do with the readings on Marx we were assigned last Friday. I was happy to pounce on trying to think about what dogs possibly feel, trying my best to insert thought bubbles about social disparity on a story as simple as that of a dog lover and her dogs. I think everybody went in that direction, even if they didn't really get much of the readings. Maybe it was the question as to whether anyone would want to give lavish attention to a dog, or because it seemed unimaginable at first. Well, sure, Piyar did admit to giving her dogs the occasional trim, but as her mother said, you've got to know your limits. I almost threw in my thought bubble about childhood issues.

Sir Doy was still striking about the issue of poverty, it turns out. We've been talking about it since last Monday, with the statistics that I half-interpreted, and now the obvious gap is there again. The world insists we maintain the status quo, thus we get fantasy series where Ruffa Gutierrez plays someone who's poor and yet wears really affluent clothing. (Sponsored, I can guess with my eyes closed.) It's the same with the press, with the game shows, with the mainstream films, or at least that's what we've been discussing lately.

Sometimes I wonder why we never bothered to do anything about it. I'm sure some of us go to school driving private vehicles, or at least as passengers, and probably we've seen someone tap on the window, and we've vigorously swished our hand in apparent disgust. I don't do that - I instead pretend to be asleep, delegating the swishing to somebody else. But in a time when nobody seems to be capable, or willing, to do anything, we have to do something. Actually, we are doing something - we are watching them. Just that.

To each his own. Misha never runs out of words, and this came out of her mouth today, and I found the need to reiterate it in a different question. I guess this is the attitude we've decided to take, on almost anything really, because we can't just spend time on something we've never cared about, or never really thought of, or never wanted to think about. We see what we want to see, some say, and that happens without us thinking about it. It's effortless!

Sometimes I actually wonder why we are still taught about being good to others in a grand scale, when obviously we are not capable of doing that. It's very much like passing notes when you're supposed to listen to your teacher, and then you complain about it later on. But we like things on a grand scale. A grandiose production, a class suit, a big mansion, a million protesters, one ill-fated idea, stuff like that. Instant noodles, even, because you have a bowl of chinky-eyed food to eat in as short as three minutes. For fifteen minutes I sat in the classroom wondering why we should even bother having some noble purpose when we eventually work in the media, and then I snap out of it and realize we should really be. We're powerful, after all.

As usual, only ten people or so participated in the discussion. There are some who preferred to remain silent, or pass notes, or as Kizia said (most probably as an alibi), "absorbing everything they say." Understandably so, though, since it was a hot, lazy Monday afternoon, and for most this was the only reason to go to school. I felt that empty feeling again when I rode the bus, realizing that I have spent only three hours in school, and collectively around six hours away from home, when it usually takes around ten on the average. And yet I fail to make the most out of it, because aside from trying to comprehend what the articles were trying to say, I also lapsed into a conversation on how Austine's Chinese features worked very well for her. There was me pretending to get it, but that is a different story.

I think it's time that we start paying more attention, but hopefully not to the extent that we become subjects of a documentary whose argument is having none. There are just so many things happening, and most of the time it skips us and we miss what could've been our best chance at making it big. Besides, that's what we all want. That's what we grew up wanting, more so in a world where larger crackers means a lot!

And if it gets tiring to pay so much attention without getting anything, then perseverance is what I recommend you. Eventually someone will notice and it will be all worth it. It's pretty much like me saying goodbye to the air when it's actually aimed to a large crowd. I do wish more paid attention and wished me a safe trip the way I did to them, but for today, Misha giving back the greeting, like she always has in so many similar situations, is enough. That is a clumsy metaphor, but it's better than nothing at all. I did get home safe, and I didn't have to shake my hand vigorously at anyone.

And your responses...

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