I had to run errands today so I asked Bob and Kathy to accompany me to Alabang. One of the errands was to go to Powerbooks and renew my powercard, and at the same time, I had to see which books I was going to get in their VIP sale next week. I wanted to make a list of the books so that when the sale comes, all I need to do is ask them to get it for me and I can pay right away.
While writing the titles down, a thought struck me. I remember a thread I started on an online dating site where booklovers could get together to talk about their favorite books. I was hoping that gay people could meet as a group not to have an orgy but to discuss different authors and their works. It became a hit [I guess a lot of gay men were tired of the usual wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am], but I remember getting upset at the first person who posted. I don’t remember who he was, but he made a snide remark about how he hoped it would be a real book club where they could talk about high-brow literature.
I don’t remember how he phrased his statement, but it was just as clear. He doesn’t like pop lit because he thinks it’s trash. Actually, the thread got stellar ratings because of what he posted, and everybody ganged up on him and he never posted again. Currently, the thread is running without me [I had a lot of things on my plate that I neglected the thread altogether] and it’s very successful.
Oddly, there are a lot of people who think that pop lit is trash. I swear, somebody even agreed with the asshole and called it pedestrian. Which is really weird because literature is literature. It’s one and the same. What differs is that it’s either well-written, or badly written. And I believe that just because a book is badly written doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading. Unlike badly written books, I don’t know why those people call pop lit trash. I mean, it’s popular because it’s good, right? And come on, it’s popular for a reason.
I don’t understand why some people think they’re better than others because they read Leo Tolstoy. I have no clue why they lambast those people who read Coelho’s or Rowling’s books. Maybe they think they’re all that because they could get through half of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. To tell you the truth, I know a lot of people who read classics so people would think they’re intellectuals. I also know that they’re nothing but pretentious S.O.B.s. I’m not saying that everyone who reads Hawkings’ works is pretentious. They’re not. I’m just pointing out those who think they’re better because they read “high-brow” lit. I bet even before Anna Karenina became a classic, it was considered pop lit as well.
Who cares if you don’t read Virginia Woolf or Umberto Eco? Let them eat cake. To quote my world lit professor: ano naman ang gagawin mo kung may bagong kotse sila, o may bagong cellphone? Eh kung pangit sila, so? Basta ikaw maganda, okay na yun. [Why should you care if they have a new car or a new cellphone? If they’re ugly, so? As long as you’re prettier, then it’s okay.] Of course I’m not serious about this. I was just injecting humor into an otherwise boring piece. But you get my point, right?
So today, while I was writing down the titles of the books I was going to get, I wasn’t afraid to announce to everyone that I was going to get copies of Paulo Coelho’s and Bob Ong’s books. Why should I care? To each his own.
So if ever you find yourself at the R section looking for Rowling, don’t mind those people sniggering because they’re reading Ayn Rand. If they look like toads, just flip your pretty locks and go on browsing. If you have enough guts, you can even go up to them and ask where they want you put their high brow. Up their ass or in their face?