Friday, October 26, 2007

Stupid Question

I despise it. It is, in my opinion, an act of speech whose vapidness is comparable to asking an earthquake victim, "How do you feel?" when a 30 story building has fallen on said victim's house and family. I hate it because it is undefined, pointless and wasteful and because of the fake respectability that cloaks its emptiness, pointlessness and wastefulness. It makes the asker of the question APPEAR serious and thoughtful, when he is not being anything of the kind. I refer to question whose general form consists of the formula:

"Is the Philippines Ready for X?"

"The Philippines"
"ready for"
"X" (Not because "X" stands for the unknown, but because the terms usually inserted here refer to new/emerging/poorly understood art forms.)

To ask people about their opinion about the likelihood of X happening in the world is to accumulate information about people's opinions, not about X or the likelihood of X.

Parable: Someone asks 5 lovers of alligator sausage, "Do you think there is a Philippine market for alligator sausage?" One guy says yes because a, b, c, d. Another guys says no, because e, f, g, h. At the end of the discussion, there are 5 opinions and 20 reasons, none of which have been verified as accurately describing anything in the real world. For the question to even begin to have the shadow of a point, it would have to be reframed, critically and specifically, as a statistical question. However, a statistical question can only properly answered by a statistical survey.

It is a waste of time and spit to ask this question of an enthusiast/artist/maker, because you are in effect asking him what he thinks OTHER people think, or worse, what he thinks other people WILL think. Listen: He doesn't know, and his opinion is an enthusiast's opinion, meaning that a positive answer is probably colored by his enthusiasm anyway. An enthusiast or artist might have some expert knowledge about X. He has no expert knowledge at all about what other people think about X.

On the other hand, there are endless SPECIFIC questions that an enthusiast with his store of personal experience could USEFULLY answer. Questions which actually are questions of fact, or useful guides to personal experiment/investigation like: What are the different kinds of sausage? What are the different ways you can prepare alligator sausage? Are alligators farmed, or are they just hunted in the wild? How is alligator sausage different from pork sausage? from beef? Does the alligator's diet affect the taste of the sausage, and so on and so on and so on.

Can we just put a stake through this question's heart? I propose that we should all publicly recognize this question for the piece of emptyheaded fluff that it is and herefter suspect all framers of it to be emptyheaded and fluffy by association and therefore to be just and proper targets for our concerted hilarity and disdain. Kh!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree. i was quite surprised when someone asked the question during the forum.

just because (we think) the philippines is not ready, doesnt mean we shouldn't keep creating.

oh well.