By RUFFY MAGBANUA
WITH all the hullabaloos about Duterte’s manner of speaking, a book was recently launched by communications gurus in an attempt to find out what ‘s in the mind of the President and why he badmouths in public like no other.
Dissecting the President’s language had generated several takes, depending on what fence they belong. Contrasting or not, the book had presented varied views in such manner that the subject, in this case the President’s mouth, has been deconstructed to the max.
Farah Cunanan, PhD, a UP linguistics professor had her candid reading on the President’s language: “Duterte speaks his mind how his emotions dictate him. Being open is often thought of positively; but for the President of the Philippines who is speaking to a wide audience, this poses a lot of questions . . . we often forget that our language use defines us and shapes how other people see us.”
On the other hand, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella explains what drives President Duterte: “By listening to what he says, one can reconstruct a consistent narrative. He was a reluctant candidate but ran because certain crucial national issues were not being addressed–the Mindanao peace situation, the pandemic illegal drug trade, corruption, poverty.”
On the other extreme, National Artist and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Francisco Sionil Jose has this to say: “The President does not realize that his greatest enemy is his own self, his mouth, because he thinks he knows all the answers. This differentiates him from Ramon Magsaysay, who surrounded himself with the best minds . . . Whenever Magsaysay realized that he made a mistake, he corrected himself immediately. “
But Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar has justified the personality of his boss: “He talks of a Public Duterte—the tough-talking mayor of Davao who forged order out of chaos, the man who rides a big bike and swears like a sailor . . . and Private Rody–a mellow fellow, an introvert pushed to the brightest stage of the land, a kindly and unassuming man driven by empathy, and a romantic visionary . . . Private Rody is the man who went to his parents’ grave after winning the election, there to weep.”
Inquirer digital edition editor John Nery has raised this key question albeit sarcastic: “Does President Duterte listen? We don’t know. The former archbishop of Davao, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, thinks that Duterte’s seeming inability to take advice or criticism is precisely the problem. If he can only listen … listen to other people. Recently, I heard an ambassador summarize an overview of the national situation through a plaintive question: Is there anyone the President listens to?”
The 100-page book, titled Deconstruct to Understand: Why President Duterte Speaks His Way was edited by Crispin Maslog and published by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication.
It was launched last July 26, a product of a major National Communication Conference hosted by The Asia Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) late last year.
It has the theme: “Deconstructing Toward Understanding: The Communication Content and Style of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.”
With the purpose of dissecting Duterte’s speaking style in public, the book described the President’s language as very raw — direct, unedited, no pretensions.
The book’s conclusion? President Rodrigo R. Duterte is a communication phenomenon who needs “deconstructing” to be better understood and appreciated.
According to AMIC chairman Dr. Crispin C. Maslog, deconstruction is a social science method of critical text analysis that does not actually mean “demolition.”
The term was coined by French philosopher and semiotician Jacques Derrida in the 1960s. Social scientists use this as method to discover, recognize, and understand the underlying assumptions, ideas, and frames that form the basis for thoughts and beliefs.
AMIC is a media international non-government organization (INGO) committed to promote communication and media development in the Asia Pacific region. It seeks to provide a platform for discussion of current and emerging communication issues.
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