Whereas the last work we had to analyze for our online journal made me think deeply and feel strongly about it, the works for this online journal instilled lighter emotions within me: making me laugh out loud, smile, or take in its content with slight confusion.
A few excerpts from RJ Ledesma’s work, I Do or I Die! were certainly fun to go through. Telling his side of things when it came to the process of getting married and entering the domestic institution of it all, we are presented with snippets in what you can observe is a collage/mosaic structure. Divided into four parts, we are shown the process of it all through these parts that make up the whole, and are told of his extra thoughts and first-hand experiences when it comes to these four aspects. It is told in a first person point of view, a lighthearted read with all of its witty jokes told in between the experiences.
Then we have excerpts from Bob Ong’s Stainless Longganisa. Written in a first person point of view, the writer’s thoughts, opinions, and experiences on various topics are shared with the reader in a very personal way and tone. Ledesma’s work was lighthearted and casual, while on the other hand, Bob Ong’s is the same, but more so — its way of telling things is on a direct level, as if you were having a one-sided conversation with the writer, or you were a mere listener to the writer’s thoughts. Its flow is something of the stream of consciousness level, jumping from topic to topic, thought to thought.
Both pieces are, in my opinion, quite neat. Although I had a bit of a hard time digesting Bob Ong’s piece as a whole, I found the topics interesting and still respectively easy to take in. My favorite bit in particular was a single line separated from the rest of the narrative through dividers, which I found to be an interesting decision in crafting the flow. It caught me off-guard with how the rest of the narrative kept coming non-stop. It made me pause and think. The line being:
Sino nga ba ang misteryoso: Ang taong alam mo na ang talambuhay at takbo ng isip pero hindi ang pangalan, o ang taong alam mo ang mukha, tirahan, edad, at pangalan pero bukod doon e wala nang iba?
Another notable change in narrative was how the structure suddenly shifted to a text message-like conversation. I found it nice and how it connected to the overall subject that the excerpt was coming back to.
When it comes to excerpts from Ledesma, I have to admit that my opinion was somewhat mixed by the end of reading. This was a very easy read for me with how, again, lighthearted it was, and how I found myself laughing at most of the jokes. I find Ledesma’s experience a fun little journey to read about and by the end of it, I was cooing at the couple’s wedding. But by the end of it, I also felt a bit weird, though I couldn’t explain why. So, I read through it again. Read a few bits again. Thought about some things some more.
Here’s the verdict. I found myself feeling a bit queasy with some of the jokes concerning his wife’s behavior, and found them to be a bit sexist. These are just excerpts, yes, but it still made me a bit uncomfortable how these behaviors — that were already stereotyped enough on women through other forms of media — were played out as jokes or punchlines. I have no doubt in my mind that Ledesma had any ill intention, really. You can see that he cherishes and loves his wife very dearly from the narrative of the excerpts we are given, but it still doesn’t erase the negativity I felt from some of the jokes thrown our way. Perhaps this was on the editor/proofreader. Perhaps this was just a bit of an overreaction from my side. Perhaps this was the highlight of these analyses we do — we all perceive these works in different ways, and maybe it was just a bit of a miss for me.
Despite this minor inconvenience, I still found the work to be funny. As compensation, here is my favorite bit, which at least somewhat attempts to subvert expectations.
We knew of each other in college, but during those days our paths never crossed. One of us was a cheerleader slash model, the other was a debate team captain slash geek. And to this day, I still don’t know what she saw in a cheerleader like me.