Searching 3.0: OPM and Figures of Speech

I found an interesting query under last week’s Search Terms:

My OPM favorites post has a few examples but it doesn’t explicitly state which lines count as personification. Hopefully the kids who were searching still found it helpful — I bet you they were actual kids cramming for an assignment. 🙂

Anyhow, I decided to do some further digging and write about the different ways figurative language has featured in OPM lyrics. I initially wanted to explore at least 10 figures of speech but because I tend to get way too chatty about these things, I eventually narrowed them down to three: simile, metaphor, and personification.

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I know when to use ng and when to use nang. I also know the difference between pinto and pintuan. But is it spelled anu-ano, or is it ano-ano? And is “although” bagaman? Bagamat? Are they both correct? Beats me.

But I do know that hyphens are used for repeated words and that repetition necessitates likeness. So technically it should be sino-sino, not sinu-sino; taon-taon, not taun-taon. This rule, however, also implies that halo-halo (a combination of unlike objects) is different from haluhalo (our favorite dessert).

It reads wrong, and it looks wrong — who spells it haluhalo anyway? But experts insist that this isn’t a matter of preference. “Paano ka magtuturo ng language kung lahat ay tama?” asks national artist Virgilio Almario in a Wasak interview with Lourd de Veyra. Everyone, including the media, must follow the rules. So it should be ni’yo, not n’yo (rule on contraction); imahen, not imahe (rule on etymology); siyokoy, not syokoy (rule on diphthongs).

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Supermassive Black Hole

“You can throw television sets, diamond rings, or even
your worst enemies into a black hole, and all the black hole
will remember, is the total mass, and the state of rotation.”

– Stephen Hawking, in a lecture

“I’m sure if Shakespeare were alive today,
he’d be doing classic guitar solos on YouTube.”
– Peter Capaldi, in a meta-diary

As a kid I used to have an irrational fear of black holes. I learned from the I Wonder Why series that one cannot escape a black hole — you either travel faster than the speed of light (highly impractical, according to a nerd called Albert) or you destroy yourself piece-by-piece as you get closer and closer to singularity. Fun stuff.

Black holes also distort our sense of time. Inside a black hole, time slows down and everything else speeds up. Time gets whacked, so to speak, which is also what happens when we spend hours and hours on the Internet engulfed in the cold celestial blob that is YouTube.

But I don’t fear YouTube and I don’t hate it either. I just don’t like myself when I get swallowed by those insipid artista videos like Boy Abunda’s Fast Talk or Darla’s bag raids. Bag raids, in particular, are unexplainably addictive. The attempt to humanize celebrities does nothing to mask the brazen displays of luxury — and still, I dive in.

The better part of YouTube has an even stronger pull. Two of my favorite channels, for example, are Lessons from the Screenplay and Every Frame a Painting. They use the video essay format to deconstruct movies with keen attention to cinematic form (i.e. screenplay, musical score, camera movement, etc). I think film analyses that focus on form are better expressed through video essays. By showing us clips from the movies being dissected, video essays are able to present the argument and the evidence at the same time.

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Bedflix and Chill

I had a wisdom tooth removed a few weeks ago, so I also had a fuckton of free time to do absolutely nothing. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t exercise, and I couldn’t go outside lest the world discovers my sore, swollen face worthy of a Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho feature (“Kilalanin natin si Jolens, mga kapuso, ang babaeng diumano kalahati pisngi, kalahati noo!”).

I was stuck in bed the entire time so I plopped the laptop on my chest and did my favorite slacker hobby: I watched movies.

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Dunkirk, Paraluman, etc.



My boss, hip and feisty and German, told me to try visiting this tiny movie theater close to work. “It’s indie,” she said. “You’ll love it.”

Dunkirk + onomatopoeic musings

I watched Dunkirk. Not indie, no, but I only paid 3 bucks. The film’s main character, I believe, is the specter of survival — or am I reaching too far? There should be similar instances in fiction in which a non-character is the character. Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” comes to mind because its main character, the entity around which the conflict revolves, is the setting. But I could be wrong. Hmmm. Ay ambot.

El Bimbo

I admit, shamefully, that I’ve never read Adam David’s The El Bimbo Variations until a few weeks ago. It’s a collection of avant-garde poetry with Oulipo influences that feature the Eraserheads — all cool “counterculture” shitbits that I proclaim to love.

David writes different versions of Ang Huling El Bimbo’s first lines, “kamukha mo si Paraluman / n’ung tayo ay bata pa.” I suggest you read the entire thing — brief and funny and overall astig — and here’s a sneak peek if you still need more prodding:

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New comics

I just bought a copy of Kristen Radtke’s Imagine Wanting Only This and Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s Daytripper. I knew about Daytripper because of Ip the Vertigo Fanboy, but Radtke’s Imagine was an impulse buy. The reviews are on the negative end, unfortunately, but I hope the story is at least tolerable and not agonizingly cheesy. Ang mahal din kasi, sayang.

Pakyu, Zadie

I stumbled upon this 2-part list on The Guardian about writers’ writing advice to other writers (daming write, right?). Not a big fan of rules and tips but I tripped over this line from Zadie Smith, possibly the most harrowing words to have resonated with me this week: “Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.”

Hayayayay buhay. #

The featured image is a photo of Paraluman taken from Blast from the Past.