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Misery

Bencyrus Ellorin . 

“Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make other people miserable, too. But it never helps.” – Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

WHAT misery of a man.

I have the unfortunate habit of listening to queer things. One time, I was riding a taxi, the AM radio was blaring with the painful rendition of two sisters who lost a brother to TB. The radio host just egged and egged on the sisters — they must have ran out of tears recalling every bit of painful memory.

By the time I realized the negativity got under my skin, I arrived at my destination. While walking to the venue of a meeting that misery-filled morning, I asked if that sorrowful taxi ride would have an impact on my disposition that could possibly affect the outcome of my meeting.

I tried to brush off the wailings and what-was-it on the air, but it just kept on repeating. I decided to tell the story before serious business on the table was tackled. I survived that morning. I came home happy.

Then, there is this radio program that again caught my curiousity. A friend claimed to have experienced heart palpilation after listening to this radio program — she spent a few days in the hospital.  A few days later, my mother-in-law called and asked if I had the number of that radio station so she can have a tit for tat with this man. That should be interesting. Mothers-in-law always win the argument, right?

On my way to a work one day, I tuned it to this radio program. At the start, they were talking of a breaking news. Then the host and the politician started talking.

I had thought this politician was conscious of his Jesuit education, maybe at least, a topic in Philo 101– Logic.

For one to come up with a logical conclusion, it has to be supported by at least two declarative sentences or propositions which serve as premises to a third declarative sentence called the conclusion. I remember being taught that.

This politician knows how to craft logical conclusions, at least in structure.

For example, he has been berating his opponent as kawatan. He has a list of cases as his proof. But even a million cases cannot support his conclusion that his opponent is kawatan. Such accusations require proof beyond reasonable doubt in a fair trial.

No thanks to the freedom of expression, one can make conclusions without the same quantum of proof and pass it off as a constitutionally protected opinion or idea. I can live with that though.

Thus, this man, like a broken vinyl record keeps on repeating that his opponent is indeed kawatan. As I said earlier, he structures his claims logically.

He would say, for example, “Ingon nila, okay ra ang kawat basta naay daghan nga proyekto. Kini si … (names his opponent) has many projects. Therefore, grabe iyang kawat gikan sa budget sa mga proyekto.”

He may have presented a logical argument but that cannot pass the truthfulness test. In any expression, be it verbal or written, the rule on accountability is sacrosanct.

Bylines are not for popularity. Anyone who knows his salt in writing is careful with bylines. It is there for accountability purposes. If you wrote something wrong, the wronged can have a person to address his/her grievance to. The same is for declarative statements. The one saying it should be ready to substantiate his or her statement. In cases, he or she is not the one making the statement such is placed in quotation marks with attribution at the end. That way, it can be traceable to the source who can then be held to account in the event the declarative statement turns out to be inaccurate or wrong.

Back to this politician’s logical construction, he starts with “ingon sila.” That is immediately problematic because it is not clear who are “sila” or they? And even if somebody indeed said that, does he or she have personal knowledge of the irregularity? In the absence of identifiable source and if indeed there is an attribution, lack of personal knowledge can satisfy the substantial requirement in making truthful declarative statement or statements.

Sans a valid proposition, no valid conclusion can be arrived. Whatever conclusion arrived is called fallacy – either a wrong belief or bad argument.

The ultimate victim of bad argument is the truth.

Now, I understand why this person has been called the “Father of Fake News” in the country.

Listening to his radio program made me realize how miserable the life of this person must be. The way he delivers his conclusions is convincing. I doubt if his anger is theatrics.

For him to have genuine-like anger, he must believe his propositions. He believes his own lies and then gets angry — really angry.

After a few times of listening to his paid radio program, I asked if I had exposed myself to serious risks, something that would cost the cat something.

Nada. If I had any realization, it is the pity for the person who has made himself miserable by his own lies.

Dili nalang tumpangan. Let him wallow in his own misery. And as a rejoinder to Lemony Snicket: Ikaw ra dja!

(The author is a former journalist with experience in managing and editing online news portals here and abroad. He is now a public relations consultant and political campaigner. One of the social media groups he co-administered was a finalist in Globe’s Tatt award in 2012.)

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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