Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dear Randy,
What's with all the Western Civilization Hate?

Written in: Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Composition: Response to a Comment
Previous Post: Lessons from Filmmaking

Dear Randy,

What's with all the hate for Western Civilization lately? Aren't you a part of it? Don't you live here? Did you not benefit from it all this time? Why are you putting us down all of a sudden? What's with all these posts criticizing it, putting it down, humiliating it, and making us feel bad all over?

What gives, yo?


Dear Anonymous,

Understand that everytime I write about anything or anyone, I'm not pulling feelings from a place of hate, but rather a place of love. I tend to not critique anything or anyone unless I have insider's perspective. Which means that, more than anything, I am critiquing myself. So whenever I talk down on anything or anyone, I have already talked down to myself first. If ever that I have made anyone feel bad, I have felt worse myself prior to that.

And then, after processing everything, I take myself head-on, breaking down all the reasons why I could possibly feel a certain way about an issue. I then call out my own bullshit, I call out my own privilege, and then I call out my own excuses. What you're basically reading everytime I rant about something or someone, is me calling out my own crap.

If the previous post defends Hollywood's financial decisions and talks of how we shouldn't whine too much about how current blockbusters now suck, know that it's basically me telling myself to "STFU and stop whining, that's how the global economy, as we have rigged it, functions". You know, in case the sarcasm doesn't make it all that apparent.

It works for 'the other' part of my personality and identity too, in case you hadn't noticed.

The post, Erik Matti's On The Job started off as praise for how far Philippine Cinema has gone, but very quickly criticizes certain sectors of Philippine Society which comprises its moviegoers, where I say:
"...vast swaths of the middle class would have no part, whatsover, in shaping local Philippine art - though they would gladly put it down with intense vitriol. ...I have met many a conservative Filipino family more conservative and white-bread than actual white-bread, white North Americans. It's almost scary how these white-bread Pinoys have consumption patterns and aspirations more closely approximating Middle America than something you would have expected from the Philippines. But you know the old tale - these are the types who, given the chance, would leave the motherland in a heartbeat for the greener pastures of other lands.
In case it wasn't clear that, this was an indictment of my own origins, I then went on to actually say:

"...these types are to blame for why Hollywood will continue churning out stupid blockbusters. While everyone I know here in Canada has grown tired of Hollywood remaking our childhoods, foreign audiences on the other hand - including the English speaking viewers in the Philippines - would still spend good money on the latest Transformers, Avengers, or Ninja Turtles sequel.

In case it weren't clear, I am basically indicting my old self here - had I grown up in the Philippines, I would no doubt have continued to be as slavish to Western Pop Culture."
So, going back to the original issue at hand - the one asking about why I have been on a roll of Western Civilization 'hate'....  No, I don't believe I've been on a 'hate roll' necessarily.

Nonetheless, if it seems that way, then please understand, I have been trying to make sense of all the mistakes I have made since I made this "Existential Trip" of mine.    (It's closing in on a decade now, by the way... OMG! Has it been that long?!!????).

No need to sugarcoat it anymore: It was a mistake trying to pull off certain things in Calgary what I could have easily done in, let's say for the sake of comparison, Greater Manila Area. And it's not just a sneaking suspicion anymore, it's a fact.

I don't just 'think so' anymore, I now 'know so'.

And I am kicking myself for having made the wrong choices.

In trying to make peace with that reality, I have been unavoidably making direct comparisons, case studies, and numerous other examples of why I now know this to be the truth.

Unfortunately, in so doing, I may have uncovered a sore spot for many Calgarians - that of being considered/ portrayed/ accused of/ regarded as being 'backwater and rednecky'. Indeed, I may have used such exact phrasing in a post (or two). But like I said, in my defense, I do that to exaggerate and poke fun at it, and by extension poke fun at myself as well.

...much like how other authors have done, here and here.

Basic rule of comedy: Punch UP, or at least punch yourself with self deprecating humour. Essentially, I am saying that I myself am a backwater rednecky person, having lived here for so long. If ever that I seemed to be blaming Calgary and/or Alberta for anything, I am really only basically blaming myself for making the wrong choices. It just so happens that the choice I am scrutinizing here is the choice to stay in Calgary - so I guess I could see why that could be misconstrued as insulting.

Next Post: Not to sound hipster or anything, but I've been hating on Manny Pacquiao's public antics before it was cool to hate on Manny Pacquiao's antics.

Related Posts: We all have different fortunes
                              Thoughts on Racing With Legends
                              Of Slalom Events and Car Culture
                              A Really long story of what it was like to be new to Calgary

Further Reading:  Growing up Weird in Calgary, by Bruce McCulloch, Swerve

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