Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Crustacean Problem

Jesus H. Christ. This guy just doesn't get it.

I wasn't going to comment on something said in sky's blog about Dean's antho as I'm kind of biased. But then again, this kind of thinking really pisses me off. To wit, this Siege person said:

I heard of that spec fic anthology by dean alfar.

I.M. not-so HO, I think what dean's offering in exchange of stories is unfair. Two compli copies, and that's it? For a LABOR OF THE IMAGINATION, you only get TWO COMPLI COPIES? Kaya namamatay ang quality nang local literature eh, hindi sinusustain nang fair compensation. A story is a writer's work of love-and-hate, and for somebody to equate that with just two compli copies is insulting. Why would you give your good/better/best works to that anthology when it's more rewarding to post it in your blog and have more people read it? Ganun din naman, di ka rin naman yayaman. :) I'm not saying that money should be our motivation for writing, all I'm asking for is wag naman sanang insultuhin yung trabaho by implying na it's not worth a cent. (Filipino words italicized)

To translate a bit, Siege was saying Dean's payment of two complimentary copies for the antho's contributors was unfair. He added that this "unfair compensation" was the reason why local literature was dying, and that Dean shouldn't insult the writers' efforts by implying it's not worth it, yadda-yadda.

Someone came to Dean's defense and said:

in my opinion, siege's opinion is uninformed. first, dean is shelling out his own money to come out with the book. there is no guarantee of profit in the project, and that's saying a lot considering dean is a businessman among other things. talk about labors of love, there's one right there.

second, about the thing about getting "only" two complimentary copies, siege shouldn't presume to be speaking for those who submitted their works. evidently it's a big deal to them already. congrats to the ones chosen, and i bet the ones who didn't get chosen will buy the book from their own pockets anyway.

third, dapat hindi na lang nagmamarunong yung mga taong wala namang ginagawa para sa philippine literature or even venture their opinion kung bakit supposedly "namamatay ang quality ng (hindi "nang") local literature". in the first place, quality is not synonymous with volume or performance in sales. if one is really attuned with the current crop of writers nowadays, one would never make the stupid comment that there is no quality in their output. (Filipino words italicized)

To translate the third paragraph, this person said that Siege shouldn't act like a know-it-all if they aren't even doing anything to promote Philippine literature nor even venturing an opinion on why "the quality of local literature" is dying.

Some good points have already been raised. However, I thought this is also a classic case of the Filipino crab mentality.

I wonder: why would Siege think that two contributor's copies is "unfair compensation" and "insulting"? Where did Siege get the idiotic idea that the said compensation implied the stories are, to quote, "not worth a cent"? I wonder how much compensation would be enough for Siege but looking at his writing, I'm afraid to ask. Of course, maybe he's not satisfied with just getting contributor's copies. Whatever gets him off, right? After all, he did say he wasn't into writing for the money and that it's more rewarding for him to put his stories on his blog for everyone and his mother to see. Gah.

Personally, I submitted my contribution because I love speculative fiction and I thought this would be a great chance to promote local speculative fiction by helping out someone who also fervently believes in the same thing I do. So even if Dean had said he wouldn't have any money or even contributors' copies to pay his writers, I would still join up. It's put up or shut up time, pal.

Likewise, Siege impugns all Filipino writers' motives by saying that we need to be paid well in order to write well. Quality for fair compensation? What the fuck? Someday, I hope greatly that I would be able to write well not because I'm being paid enough but because I can kick-ass and take names while doing it. Quality is not a matter of compensation but of personality.

Lastly, what also gets my goat is that Siege taints Dean's motives and business ethics, as well as denigrating his status as an "established" writer by comparing him to Danton Remoto. I know I don't know Dean all that well-- we've only known each other thru the web-- but if there's one thing I hate, it's people who think they know better but are proudly only displaying their own ignorant assumptions. Eh.

And it's SNUB, not SNOB. Geez. Get it right.


Edited to add: Sky has come out with succinct and excellent points about the matter, detailing it better than my rantings. After all, I have to bow in the face of the writer who can say:

Call me noble, and all the bromide that you can spray rather than be the proverbial sound of the tree that fell in the forest that nobody heard.

Also, I thought the one who came to Dean's defense in Sky's blog was this guy but it wasn't. Sorry, JSCatalla. My mistake!

A Little Later: It reacts! The arrogance is appalling. Of course when faced with logical arguments, it backtracks and when that doesn't work, it reverts to childish behavior.

Hehe yes, I'm mean when I want to be. (I blame reading weird writer Nick Mamatas, a.k.a. nihilistic kid, for this.)

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