Manila Times - - FRONT PAGE - Con­tr­erasA5

IT is easy to get lost in the vit­riol and let your­self to be sucked into the throw­ing of ad hominem attacks.

But if there is one thing I learned as I’ve aged, it is to un­leash my en­ergy not on the pet­ti­ness of per­sonal attacks, but on the value of de­mol­ish­ing an ar­gu­ment, or an act, be it in ex­pos­ing man­u­fac­tured so­cial me­dia fol­low­ings, or in show­ing the

How­ever, it looks like this is a the bru­tal instinct of go­ing for the at­tack trained at the phys­i­cal­ity of urge to maim and de­stroy the body of the en­emy is but what our an­i­mal in­stincts have taught us.

Hence, when we are con­fronted with an ar­gu­ment that chal­lenges us, the eas­ier path is to call its bearer ugly, or fat, or a per­vert. The urge is to de­mol­ish the body of the en­emy, in­stead of pound­ing on the ar­gu­ment. Af­ter all, win­ning has al­ways been about de­mol­ish­ing the other side, by dec­i­mat­ing its army and leav­ing the bod­ies of its war­riors by vul­tures, and not about con­vert­ing them to be­come be­liev­ers.

This logic of con­tentious en­coun­ters was per­fectly cap­tured by the older prac­tices of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, when the power of the sov the crim­i­nal, by sev­er­ing body parts as in be­head­ing, or quar­ter­ing while power on the ones who chal­lenged its rule by us­ing their bod­ies as the tem­plate for the pun­ish­ment.

In mod­ern times, we pun­ish one who trans­gresses our val­ues, views and com­forts not by at­tack­ing the idea that this per­son prof­fers, but by fo­cus­ing on his or her body and sex­u­al­ity.

Thus, in­stead of fo­cus­ing only on what Jover Laurio aka Pi­noy Ako Blog is say­ing, many of her crit­ics zero in on her phys­i­cal­ity. And in­stead of en­gag­ing only what Sass Rogando Sasot is do­ing, many of her ad­ver­saries make an is­sue of her gen­der iden­tity.

Both Laurio and Sasot have deeply of­fended me. It would be easy to join the fray and at­tack their phys­i­cal­ity.

But I be­lieve that you can only at­tack peo­ple for the choices they make, and not the at­tributes that they have been born with.

Jover Laurio did not choose the way she looks. It is not just and fair for any­one to fault her for look­ing that way. Be­sides, one has to ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that beauty is in the eye of the be­holder. And the use of phys­i­cal looks as a ba­sis to en­gage an ad­ver­sary is such a su­per­fi­cial strat­egy that only be­trays lack of sub­stance in the counter-ar­gu­ment, or the in­abil­ity to re­spond log­i­cally.

Stereo­typ­ing has be­come a weapon that has been de­ployed to marginal­ize and op­press. Women have been stereo­typed and cat­e­go­rized in terms of phys­i­cal at­tributes. Peo­ple of color are de­meaned be­cause of

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