You don’t need to be a perfect, sinless person to be a critic. You just need to be consistent and rational. More importantly, what you shouldn’t be is a shill like Rappler “thought leader” Sylvia Estrada Claudio who, in her latest “thought” piece I apologize for being a critic, issued this vow:
As a way of repentance I shall henceforth stop all criticism of this government until I am able to achieve moral perfection.
Or perhaps, I shall go in search of that perfect person who has denounced everything that needs to be denounced, worked on everything that needs to be solved. Someone who has never had a single misinformed opinion or shallow motivation in her or his life. I will start by looking among those who keep telling me how unworthy I am for criticizing. That is very likely where I will find this paragon of virtue.
When I find this person I shall tell each and every Filipino to just obey this person.
That would be my real contribution to the nation.
A moving piece indeed; if you are inclined that way, that is.
To indulge my need to do a bit of mansplaining (as I am, after all, a man), Claudio wrote all that forked-tongue-in-cheek — much like the way a woman would typically say “Fine!” to fire a conversation-ender tipped with the poison of emotional blackmail. As a male reader of Claudio’s piece and (as a takeaway from that experience) finding myself on the receiving end of a finely-played Fine! card, I’d be hard-pressed to read Claudio’s girly mind to decide how to navigate the emotional minefield she had just laid on behalf of the womanocracy that is the Rappler “family”.
What else does one say to an apology such as Claudio’s?
That is in seeing that Claudio does not really get what sets a real thought leader apart from the hoi polloi who merely contribute to the din of social media chatter. Ordinary folk like us get to react. Real thought leaders, on the other hand, need to step back and apply coherent thought to what they say. Good leaders, after all, are expected to be the rock to which the rank-and-file seek to anchor themselves to steady their sensibilities in the midst of chaotic emotional reaction. Thus the term thought leader. Thought leaders contribute thoughtful sobriety to the discourse and lead their flock away from shrill emotionalism and back to stable rational grounding.
In this “thought leader” piece, Claudio, in contrast, seeks to contribute the emotional blackmail of that all-too-familiar silent treatment — the cruelest of emotional weaponry. That’s not thought leadership. That’s just being a shill.
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