Sunday, March 19, 2006


Why talk politics, then?

Astute observers will have noticed that I hardly post any talk of politics, activism or current events on this blog. It's not remarkable, mind you -- there are plenty of blogs that don't engage in analytical discussion like that. What should make us wonder, I think, are the reasons behind such direction.

We can't help talking about current events. Human opinion is almost a reflex action in this regard -- we involuntarily generate opinion on any distinct (historical) events once the initial shock rubs off. Give us news of an event, and we will inevitably consider the who, what, where, when and why it happened.

From there, it becomes a question of the outlets we use. Some of us sit back at the table, a bottle of beer in hand, and proceed to tell our partners exactly what we think of current events. Some of us take to the streets in the perception that we're screaming our displeasure for the sake of the majority. And some of us -- those with blogs, I mean -- write our stuff down for perusal by an online audience.

So why talk politics, then?

I would say that recent events in the Philippines have inspired plenty of reaction, if only for the fact that that would be an obvious understatement. We've had a stampede that somehow became representative of the poverty situation in the country, a martial-law-esque proclamation that further eroded confidence in the President, a failed coup attempt that would have resulted in a glorified military junta, and a persecution of libelous elements that looks supiciously like media-muzzling.

In short, there's been plenty to opine about in the last few months. Any blogger worth his or her salt would have had their statements up in a heartbeat, I think. For that matter, there have been more than a few authors who have made points salient enough to beat what the newspaper columnists are putting together. Blogging gives us a voice, and it's good to see that people are using it as an outlet for their beliefs.

The involvement of blog-based opinion may also be important when we consider the last of the above four issues. I'm not sure how the Philippine government words or numbers its proclamations, mind you, but any moves on their part to rein in the media certainly do not bode well for the public at large. In a worst-case scenario -- that of a complete state suppression -- blogging may very well end up as one of our few outlets for free speech.

That still doesn't answer the question, though. Why talk politics?

There are already plenty of people out there who post political, social and cultural opinions online. Some of them break off from any combination of recurring topics to write these statements; Others devote entire sites to them. Whatever the case, there are plenty of these writers out there.

The issue I have, therefore, is that there may altogether be too many of them. Everyone has an opinion; For that matter, anyone can come up with an opinion at the mere drop of a hat. We may very well be prepared to read the reactions of one man on yesterday's news headlines, but show us seventy-three other blogs that do exactly the same thing and we'll probably get bored trying to read them all.

In a sense, once you think about it, a monotony of public opinion may be every bit as dangerous as a suppression of the primary outlets of media.

And, of course, that would still beg the question: Why talk politics?

This blog is perfectly capable of expressing the political opinions of its author. It's perfectly capable of expressing anyone's political opinions, for that matter. It's one of the many outlets available to us, although it's unique in that it's one of the few outlets that gives us access to an online crowd of readers.

As an outlet that is less guarded and regulated than the more popular media bases out there, this blog has an interesting place in the current situation. It can easily continue the practices of free speech without the immediate reprisal or wanton bias that threatens or dominates the newspapers and television networks. Its author can say what he wants, and there will most certainly be no shortage of things to talk about.

As one blog among thousands and thousands of others, however, it must be acknowledged that the words here are but one voice in a massive multitude. And although the multitude accomplishes great things, it also tends to compromise the uniqueness of personality. We can express our opinion all we want, but such expression can all too easily be lost in the great depths of chatter out there. It would be just as bad as remaining silent.

So why talk politics?

Why do people find a voice in their online writing? Why do some of them perform their political analyses there? Why don't I publish anything significant about similar matters?

Your guess, I think, is as good as mine.


DarkHalf said...

Let's leave the political stuff to the people who want to involve themselves politically. :) There's really no need to delve into it unless you want to-- just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you have to.

At the same time, not talking politics doesn't mean we don't care either. We'd rather just voice out our concerns in an intellectual discussion that makes sense. Not the overrated riffraff they broadcast all over the news. ;)

IMHO, politics are nothing more than the biased personal opinions of a narrowminded set anyway.

Sean said...

Darkhalf: All opinions are biased by their nature, I think. We're all narrow-minded in our own little ways. (It's probably best that we keep that in mind when slogging through the swamps of personal analysis.)

DarkHalf said...

Agreed. I dislike talking anything politics anyway. ;)

Sean said...

Darkhalf: Talking politics is much like playing cards, watching TV, or drinking beer -- you do it every now and then, but you don't want to end up doing it all the time. :)

kat said...

Eck, politics. I have enough of discussing that when I'm at home. Can't help but agree with your last comment there. Even if I don't care much about it, I still have my own opinion. Working with the media back in college has shown me that although journalists would say they're objective and all that, there's still a bit of subjectivity going on. I'll say my piece, then I'm outta there.

Sean said...

Kat: Hi, Kat. I'v heard the news. Are you okay?

I fully agree with the objective/subjective issue in journalism. As "fair and unbiased" as newspeople purport themselves to be, they're only human after all. For that matter, it would make for an interesting discussion sometime...