Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Veiling your ignorance about some issues with overconfidence and cloying proofs of your being a braggadocio sometimes just magnifies it a hundred times. This is true.

A friend sent me a link to a blog entry that contains “reactions” about campus issues, particularly ones that concern the Lyceum Independent Sentinel. It's entitled The Outspoken Unedited--Can You Sue Me of Libel by Telling the Truth? (yep, that's a grammatical error in the title) and was dated October 2010. It's a great real life example of the adage above.

I only saw this "article" a couple of hours ago. I wrote a comment and it’s currently awaiting moderation. I hope he approves and answers it—I’m not afraid of any kind of confrontation about this. I just can't keep quiet when someone calls literature "crap."

Here’s my response to his article:

Hello, Jeremy.

I just want to say, first of all, that I’m so tempted to proofread this post of yours. I kept on stopping mid-sentence when encountering your glaring grammatical errors. For someone who sounds so confident, your blog entry is full of what most people would call—pardon my French, though I know you won’t mind it anymore after using the word repeatedly here—“crap.” This would without a doubt go straight to the trash bin if you handed it to our sixth grade teacher. I wish I’m kidding. Errors in hyphenation and preposition usage, the very elementary SVA (you’re free to Google it if you don’t know what it means)…I could list more, but I guess I made my point. If you’re going to be “courageous,” go all the way, and be sure to be armed. Putting UNEDITED in the title or saying that you’re too sleepy when you wrote this are lame excuses, especially if the paragraphs that are not even part of the column can give any Grammar Nazi a nightmare. Sorry for being nitpicky. You can edit your article after you read this comment, just for the sake of other readers that may pass here.

“This is the kind of writing our newspapers don’t have—broadsheet or tabloid.” I TOTALLY AGREE. Even the local English tabloids don’t have grammar issues that are THIS bad. But you know, grammar is not your only problem here. We’ll get to that later.

Because of the thing I just mentioned above, you have no right to call any kind of writing that is a hundred times better than yours “crap” or “immature.” None. Your kind of writing will not even receive a decent mark when passed as a grade school essay assignment. How come can you call a paper that underwent scrupulous editing “crap?” It really baffles me.

People like you deter the development of good literature. When we worked with Mr. Eros Atalia (I trust that you know him), he once told me that literary pieces should never be belittled. Other schools are garnering a lot of support for their literary department, and their literary pages in their official school organs helped a lot. The budding artists in literature come from something as small as a single page for their pieces. Case in point: Carlos P. Romulo, an editor who wrote poems and short stories for their school paper, became a National Artist in Literature (1982). He acknowledged his experience as an editor/literary writer of their paper as a great contributor for this win. If most people are not as narrow-minded as you, maybe Lyceum will be successful in being a hub of future true artists, too. Mr. Atalia encouraged us to strengthen our school paper’s literary voice, and in our short stay in Lyceum, I guess we accomplished this little mission. You do art, Jeremy—you do music. Things like this should not be misunderstood by someone who is flaunting himself as a true artist. Are you a true artist? :p

Another FYI: the literary page is one of the only pages in the paper (aside from VOX LYCEUM) where students are free to speak. In Vox Lyceum they can express their opinions on campus issues; in the literary page, they get to showcase their creative sides. Our paper informs, entertains, and serves as a conduit of the school body. And believe it or not, the school loves that our pages exist.

I would like to comment on those “immature articles” you mentioned, but you only singled out the literary page, so that’s how far I’ll go. I would gladly defend those articles if you tell me which ones.

While we do our thing in the literary page, we never neglected our news PAGES. As for not being newsworthy…clearly, it’s either you didn’t research enough or you weren’t around the school a lot. We got multitudes of students informed about what is really happening inside the campus. Our first issues caused great stirs too that proved we are indeed an organ “without fear or favor.” Articles that are not remarkable can’t provoke a group of people or a department to react. If you can’t tell what “stirs” I’m talking about, then I’m sorry for you. A so-called journalism enthusiast who doesn’t even have a nose for news AND correct researching skills? I don’t know what to say.

Let’s move on to my third point. Technically, in our field of study, “facts” can’t be considered “facts” at all if they’re wrong or not strongly supported by objective evidences. Journalism 101: recheck and recheck and recheck and recheck your facts before you write anything about them. You didn’t even interview anyone for this piece of…ahem, this piece, right? Your observations alone don’t equate to trusted data, so you may delete the phrase “backed up by facts” in your introduction—at least for the Sentinel part. Just so you know, the minor flaw you indicated (the miscalculated years of being present in LPU’s circulation) is not even a flaw at all. The way we count the years of the paper is not the same way we count our birthdays; we count them by school years. You do the math. Also, I want you to know that our “independence” is not what you think it is; it can’t be defined by any simple lexicon, nor can it be understood easily by someone who is not even a part of the school organ. Don’t assume you understand it. This was discussed to us before we passed the editorial exams, and we were repeatedly reminded of the limits of our independence. You could have requested an interview with our technical adviser before writing this to support your claims, but you didn’t. Journalism 101 again: in order to establish credibility, you have to present BOTH SIDES of an issue. I was a grade five student taking up a journalism elective class when I learned that. So basically, to answer your titular question, anyone can sue you…if they want to. We are taught in one of our classes that truth alone cannot defend someone from libel because truth has many versions—and YOURS is so easy to disprove.

“But, hey! I won’t be doing this if I wasn’t that ready. By saying “ready” means I have a lot of supporting documents.”— REALLY? OH MY GOSH I MUST HAVE MISSED SOMETHING.

I want you to know that I’m commenting not because the “truth” you claim to present here hurt me or us—that’s impossible, because you didn’t even present concrete facts that make your arguments stronger. Your observations weren’t even keen enough, and you voiced out your opinions on things you weren’t knowledgeable about. Sorry for redundancy, but I want you to see that’s the core of your writing dilemma. I’m commenting because I wish to inform you this isn’t how journalism works—liberated or otherwise. Please don’t mar its name.

You could have posted this on our official Facebook wall too when you wrote it, you know? We’re all ears, and back then you’re a student. We listen to students. And like I said, if you’re going to be courageous, don’t hold back…but maybe deep inside you knew you can’t go all the way at all because you’re aware you can’t go to war if your weapons are defective or not enough. That’s wise, but it’s a proof you’re not gutsy enough to believe your own words. :p

-Airiz Casta


  1. "Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience."

  2. I understand what you mean...but it's not the first time he's done something like this. For once I think he just needs to have a taste of his own medicine. Bet he didn't like the taste of it--I got no response, so basically, NO ARGUMENT. :p

    And LOL, sorry for my impulsiveness, but the first time I heard someone call literature "crap," I can't just shut up. It's like calling someone I love so much the most useless thing to exist on earth. I'm not sure if you feel like this, but I do. :p So yeah. I'm sorry but not really. Haha!