"Poor guy." That, apparently, is what I am, because while it does seem that Sassy Lawyer is talking about me (she does drop a few hints, including the understandable factual error of calling the estimable Leo Magno a colleague of mine), she never names me or my blog. Worse, for someone who is acknowledged as the queen bee of the Philippine corner of the blogging hive, she commits the cardinal mistake of not linking to the matter under discussion. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t one of the principal promises of blogging the virtue of transparency? You know, power to the people, or the grassroots, or the citizen as particle of sovereignty, that sort of thing.
Sassy thinks I don’t like her. I am tempted to say this breathtaking act of mind-reading reminds me, too, of the bittersweet fate of unrequited love, especially in the time of cholera, but I must tell the unmagical truth. I don’t know her enough to like her or not like her.
Okay, I appreciate the e-mail. But I don’t need to rise to the obvious bait and attack back on the gutter level. The poor guy lives on that. If he had more substantial things to say–if he raises genuine issues and argues them out as a mature adult–I’d engage him in a discussion. But you know what? It’s personal to him. The guy simply doesn’t like me. And I have no right to insist that he does. His problem really is the inability to discern between an issue and its author whom he does not personally like. Hence, the personal attacks.
When one is in danger of swooning, try the corrective of facts. In Sassy’s case, may I refer to the three entries I’ve posted about her? I criticized her abusive treatment of Deannie Bocobo, using, among other means, an illustration of the argument from snide. I took issue with her position that the PCIJ warning of an imminent raid was premature. I also prepared to lay the groundwork against her proposal to impose an unconstitutional limitation on press freedom.
Were these personal attacks? I don’t think so. Or, to be more precise, only if Sassy cannot be criticized. (If I’m wrong, can someone kindly point me to the gutter level?) The thing is, if you take a look at some of her entries, and most especially at her deus-ex-machina comments, you will perhaps share my conclusion that it is Sassy herself who, in fact, resorts to the argumentum ad hominem, usually of the abusive variety.
As for Sassy’s second contention: What can I say but that she is egregiously mistaken?
It is about insecurity. Media, as an institution, is not the only one reacting. Individual media men are doing it too. And I am simply the best object of attack because I am only a blogger and I broke all the rules of the equation when I became an op-ed columnist. For people like him, it doesn’t matter what I write or what my position is in an issue–they will always disagree and be derisive because my being an op-ed columnist is not acceptable to them. They see themselves as above me, being true-blue journalists, and I, a mere blogger.
No, I don’t see myself as above Sassy, or any other blogger, for that matter. Anyone who actually knows me, or pays my writing any kind of attention, would know that. I think Sassy completely misreads the media situation (which also explains the jaw-dropping factual mistakes in her irresponsible column on yellow journalism last week). I hope I will have time later this week (before I leave for the beach!) to finally make my case. Suffice it to say for now that I criticize Sassy simply because (1) her views may have adverse consequences and (2) they are mistaken.