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I romanticised overstudying and overworking—it was a sham

Have you ever felt validated and loved only when it depended on the worth of your achievements? 



Photo courtesy of Daniel Fazio, Rakuten Kobo, and Cult Pens. Screengrab from Haikyuu, Penthouse, and Gilmore Girls

In 1963, Sylvia Plath’s Esther Greenwood from The Bell Jar chronicled the grudges of alienation and capitalism that persisted in post-war American society. Although the classic was written years ago, it foretold the brutal reality of our present culture’s obsessive idea of overexertion and productivity. 

Embedded in my copy of the said book was a vivid neon pink Mildliner, highlighting this certain line, “The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn’t thought about it.” Because mediocrity and the human being go way back. 

From time to time, I tried to disassociate myself from the persona people knew me best for; the organized student with a complete set of handwritten Muji pink notes, the punctual girl who routinely submitted an essay a month ahead of everyone, and the robotic being that could not stand a grade below 95. Thus, people knew me for being so academically stable and ideal to thrive on this external validation by acting so characterized

And that’s exactly what I did. Too much of it, however, made me wince at the thought of failureeven if it was significant in development. But has the realization stung when it occurred to me that I am utterly nothing without this studious, hardworking personality of mine? 

But even if I critique this numerous times, I am complicit in perpetuating how fun studying and working can be. Because I do have funI passionately learn, create, and fall in love with new ideas while improving. There was no harm in that. Yet like a lot of people, at extremes, we are pressured to rely on the idea that our worth corresponds to productivity. And that rest is associated with guilt. 

Without this culture, I deem myself as uninteresting and someone who just has no personality at all. Until now, I’m in an existential ponder if I should rip off these polarities of living restlessly or full of restespecially when I couldn’t find the middle ground. 

The golden child cannot help but feel like an impostor 

Screengrab from Black Swan (2010)

Have you ever felt validated and loved only when it depended on the worth of your achievements? 

I cannot account for what a golden or gifted child feels like. My family perceived me as average at a young age. Hence I was fortunately free of parental pressure and prejudiced generational trauma that I am not some exceptional kid. So today, all the academic, skill, and work pressures on me are usually do-it-yourself. 

“The Golden Child is, over time, destined for a moment of breakdown when the hopes invested in it fail to be realised,” said the School of Life. Just like us, “it wants to be seen, and have its faults and frailties forgiven, rather than denied or glossed over.” As a result, the intentional or unintentional narcissism of the parents has misguided the child for fleeting perfection and exceptionality. So what awaits the child’s self-resilience when they are then pushed to a world that will not deem them as perfect? 

Painfully, the cycle continues. A torturous end of the bargain lies with the unwanted fate of gifted-burn-out kids. This cultural offshoot can lead to Impostor Syndrome, inferred as a “culmination of self-doubt and fraudulence, believing one does not deserve recognition despite their education and accomplishments.” Whether you’re a gifted child or not, research has shown that this syndrome can be prevalent in society, especially among students. 

In the video-sharing app TikTok, students used Marina and the Diamonds’ tipsy song, Are You Satisfied?,  to post about their straight A grades, medals, talents, hobbies, and other forms of reward-inducing constructs. But when the song nosedives into a deeper rock bass, they show the brutal cost of working excessively hard, resulting in their downfall of red marks, missed classes, and being worn out. 

They’ve also used this song for edits of relatable obsessed students and high achievers in fiction like Gilmore Girl’s bookworm Rory Gilmore and aggressive overachiever Paris Geller, Penthouse’s miserable Ha Eun-byeol, Haikyuu’s Great King Toruu Oikawa, and Whiplash’s tormented Andrew. 

Girlbosses hustle and grind in a man’s world

Photo courtesy of Kimberly White/Getty Images

Twitter’s current favorite phrase, “gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss” (a satirical reference to “live, laugh, love”) was actually meant to imitate toxic white feminism. But in spite of the positive, cutesy slogans and overpriced merchandise, did it actually mean something? 

Being the picture-perfect epitome of a hustling, bustling woman has its way of snaking up marketability without seeming that it compromises empowerment. And self-made Nasty Gal founder Sofia Amoruso, seamlessly achieved this in her popularized movement, #Girlboss

In her memoir written in 2014, she likened #Girlboss as the new definition for pop feminism, sharing her experiences and tips in becoming the fiercest chairwoman.

“And once you’ve found success, don’t stop. It’s not about being insatiable; it’s about not resting on your laurels. #GIRLBOSSes make it count. Look up and look around, and if you’re not finding something inspiring, then you’re probably not looking hard enough,” the ex-shoplifter wrote. 

Despite the connotative ring of empowerment to it and going against the patriarchy, other sources entangled a closer definition of it. 

Critic Jia Tolentino wrote a profound analysis of the #Girlboss propaganda in her book, Trick Mirror. “The problem is that a feminism [Girlboss] that prioritizes the individual will always at its core, be at odds with a feminism that prioritizes the collective. The problem is that it is so easy today for a woman to seize upon an ideology she believes in and then exploit it,” she claimed. 

In 2015, Amoruso was accused of poor labor practices such as allegedly firing ex-employees due to pregnancy and kidney disease, and filed for bankruptcy in 2016 when she resigned as Nasty Gal’s CEO. 

Such definitions of hard work have easily become monetizable because it worked, albeit its blatant disregard for intersectionality. Even if this exploitative and liberal type of feminism claimed to set itself apart from a man’s world, it still capitalizes on the male corporate gaze. 

In this one-size-fits-all type of women empowerment, success is only synonymous with the financial stability of a powerful businesswoman. 

By the end of the day, this only fuels internal misogyny, classism, and intimidation among women to become their very besteven at the detriment of kicking and neglecting one another. 

These words ring true to me because I know for a fact that I have been conniving in this type of feminism. A culture of hyper-femininity built on the glorification of competitively working hard as a source of one’s worth has struck me before. However, I’m finally arriving at an ultimatum (as we all should) that our productivity or financial success does not and will never dictate the place of our worth. 

Validating then crushing ugly thoughts 

Photo courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images

What was said previously did not intend to demonize women or a general populace that were deserving of their current success. But this all goes to say that in due time, one will realise that there’s an abundance of unadulterated ways in directing our energy and passion without being tricked into feeling bad for “not working too much.”

Nowadays, I was able to reflect on the luxury of being able to care for myself and my health in the comfort of my home, and how I didn’t need to produce something flawless seven days a week. So what are comforting and effective measures on finding the middle ground? 

Therapists and figures have offered advice on overcoming impostor syndrome by maintaining a work-balanced life. 

First, it was essential to unsubscribe from plaguing thoughts that devalue your deservingness or worth. With the looming presence of social media, this bogus reality has outwitted us into believing there are shortcuts to reaching success when it’s hardly true. Typically, no one would post their failures on their stories, so keep in mind that not every victory or oversight is seen or has to be seen. 

To add, they’ve also advised talking about it with someone you trust. Do they have similar occurrences and thoughts that make them feel like frauds too? Voicing out sentiments and overwhelming stress would be a great breather from time to time. 

Another method imparted by psychologists is journaling, a hidden gem for striking inner validation. You don’t need to aestheticize your journal with expensive materials to be motivated; it can begin with a scrap of paper or a plain notebook to kick off your genuine thoughts. What other people and I like to do is list the things we think we’re good at and correlate this with the memorable things people tell us. 

Finally, validate unpleasant feelings but don’t let them envelop your sanity and health. It is better to understand the root of your negativity rather than keeping a bleak toxic positivity mindset. Upon entering a new environment, remind yourself of the well-deserved hard work that got you where you are now rather than having a defeatist mindset that you do not belong.

Everyone is so preoccupied with themselves too, so at the end of the day, no one really does care. And I mean this in the most nihilistic yet optimistic way: you get to make meaning out of life’s averageness. Here’s a message I gave to myself, which I now pass to you: You don’t have to be the lo-fi study girl 24 hours a day, and that’s okay.

Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro
Blogs Editor, Blogs Writer | + posts



‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is an epic, gripping tale of power and responsibility

Coupled with fan service and brilliant storytelling, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ takes our beloved web-slinger on his most emotional journey yet while teaching us the true meaning of responsibility.



Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

This article contains spoilers.

Spider-Man: No Way Home didn’t meet my expectations. It exceeded them. 

The mere nostalgia trip that I expected had turned out to be an ambitious cinematic masterpiece that finds the right balance of action, emotion, and nostalgia. Throughout the film’s highs and lows, we see protagonist Peter Parker (Tom Holland) discovering what being Spider-Man truly represents and finally coming to terms with his mantra, “With great power comes great responsibility.” 

Coupled with fan service and brilliant storytelling, Spider-Man: No Way Home takes our beloved web-slinger on his most emotional journey yet while teaching us the true meaning of responsibility.

A tangled web of consequences

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up right after the harrowing cliffhanger of its predecessor, Spider-Man: Far From Home, where Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) exposed Peter’s identity to the world, and subsequently, framed him for murder. From paparazzis to criminal charges, Peter faces the pitfalls of his newly-found fame and ignominy.

But it’s not just Peter who suffers. His loved ones, including his girlfriend Michelle Jones (Zendaya), best pal Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), and his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), also face the same ramifications. While his loved ones simply accept the situation as it is, Peter is wracked with the guilt of putting their lives at risk. This is what leads him to enlist sorcerer Stephen Strange’s assistance to cast a spell that would erase the whole world’s memory of his identity. 

By taking the risk of casting a dangerous spell to free his loved ones from suffering, it’s clear that Peter still wants to do the right thing. Subsequently, Peter’s inner conflicts unfold. While he’s very inclined to do good things, he’s not always willing to pay the price, causing him to tamper with Strange’s spell. Unfortunately, it goes horribly wrong and only raises the stakes for Peter’s already messed up life.

Butchering a spell was a reckless thing to do, but it reminds us that behind the mask, he’s really just a kid. Like most teenagers, he’s naive and overly impulsive, which often leads him to make mistakes. However, his vulnerability to mistakes isn’t inherently a bad thing. It only goes to show that he still has a lot to learn, and he’s still evolving as a person. 

Even after defeating powerful opponents and taking on Avengers-level threats, he’s still navigating the perils and pressures of growing up. There are times when he becomes misguided, his judgment gets clouded, and he cracks under pressure. But in the long run, it’s not his mistakes that would define him. It’s how he learns from those mistakes and pushes himself to be better.

Morality in the face of adversity

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Ultimately, Peter’s recklessness cracks open the multiverse and brings over a menagerie of villains from different universes to their universe, including Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), and most ominously of all, Norman Osborn/Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). 

Upon learning that the villains are doomed to die while fighting their universes’ versions of Spider-Man, Peter refuses to send them back to their deaths. Instead, he attempts to rehabilitate them from their antagonistic natures and give them a second chance to live better lives.

Peter yet again tries to do the right thing. He puts his life on the line to help dangerous villains because even in the presence of evil and danger, he doesn’t lose sight of his morals. But when he loses the person closest to him and his world begins to fall apart, those morals are put to the test.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” Green Goblin tells Peter, moments before he brutally kills Aunt May in front of the young hero. 

Throughout Peter’s journey as a superhero, his Aunt May had always been his moral compass. From time to time, May imparts words of wisdom that influence Peter’s moral and ethical decisions. And in her last moments, she is the one who reminds Peter of his responsibility as a hero, delivering the classic Spider-Man motto, “With great power comes great responsibility.” But as impactful as those words are, Peter doesn’t immediately understand what they mean. 

Now without his moral compass, Peter’s morality takes a dangerous turn. He finds himself on the brink of madness, as rage and vengeance begin to overwhelm him. At this point, he no longer cares about rehabilitating the villains or saving other people; he just wants revenge. 

After constantly trying to do the right thing, we now see Peter wrestling with the question: “Should I continue doing the right thing, even when my world is already crumbling?”

When fan service serves the plot 

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

At Peter’s darkest hour comes the light of ultimate fan service, when previous Spider-Man actors, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, finally make their heavily-rumored and highly-anticipated return. They reprise their roles from their respective films, being brought into the fold as Peter’s older counterparts from alternate universes.  

Personally, I liked how Garfield and Maguire’s entrances were underplayed. Rather than coming in with glorious or heroic entrances, their entrances were rather comical. It works perfectly for the film, as it minimizes the impact of fan service on the storytelling and doesn’t overshadow the compelling, character-driven story that the film has already established.

But more importantly, Garfield and Maguire don’t just appear for the sake of nostalgia. Their characters serve a crucial narrative purpose in the story, further propelling Peter’s emotionally-charged character arc.

During this moment, Peter has already lost the willpower to carry on and keep his morals intact. He becomes hellbent on revenge, completely ignoring the wisdom his Aunt May imparted to him. Luckily, his two older counterparts arrive just in the nick of time to console him right before he makes a wrong choice, not wanting Peter to end up in the same path of darkness. 

Like him, both alternate Peters lost their loved ones and were once consumed by rage and vengeance, and it only brought out the worst in them. Through his older counterparts, Peter grasps what responsibility truly means: doing the right thing, even with the pain and torment that inevitably follow his journey.

Amid all the hooting and hollering in the theaters, this is what really makes Garfield and Maguire’s appearances in the film remarkable. Their characters add another layer to the word “responsibility.” By teaching Peter about it, they also show us that an integral part of coming to terms with responsibility is teaching others about it. It’s not enough that we’re able to capture the spirit of being responsible — we must also instill that spirit in other people.

For them, teaching Peter to be responsible is already one of the most responsible deeds they’ve ever done as Spider-Man. Part of their journey towards responsibility is making mistakes that will leave a deep-rooted burden on them. But by preventing someone else from making the same mistakes, they are able to ease that burden and show us the essence of being Spider-Man. 

With great power comes great responsibility

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Finally understanding the meaning of responsibility from his Aunt May and his older counterparts, the aftermath of the final battle sees Peter striving to do the right thing, as he always did—but this time, he willingly pays the price for it.

As Stephen Strange prepares to send the universe-displaced villains and Peter’s older counterparts back to their respective universes, Strange struggles to hold the floodgates of the multiverse, making infinite amounts of people from different universes enter their universe.

Peter realizes that those people are getting displaced into their universe because of him. He deduces that one way to fix the problem is to completely erase himself from everyone’s memory. 

It is during this heartbreaking moment that Peter proves his maturity as a hero and person. From a naive and childish teenager who is negligent of the consequences of his actions, he matures into a responsible hero who is determined to do whatever it takes to put the good of others before himself. He accepts losing everything in his life so that he can rectify the damage he had accrued and no longer put his loved ones in harm.

And now, he’s all alone, living only in a small apartment and having to start his life all over again. He can still resume his heroics as Spider-Man, but as Peter Parker, he is no more than a ghost to the world. 

In the end, he decides that the world can’t live without Spider-Man, but it can live without Peter Parker. As Peter Parker, he has only endangered the people around him. But as Spider-Man, he has saved the world countless times, and may still continue doing so.

In essence, this is the core of Spider-Man’s character. He has the capabilities and privileges to do almost anything he wants in his life. But at the end of the day, he chooses to be righteous and selfless, even when it may actively harm himself to do so.

It’s worth the hype

Spider-Man: No Way Home has everything in its formula to be heralded as one of the best superhero movies to date: stellar performances, grandiose cinematography, and a compelling story. But on top of all that, its real trump card is its profound understanding of Spider-Man’s character. The film really gets to the heart of who Spider-Man really is by immersing both avid and casual fans in emotional depth and what makes him human just like us.

As we watch his journey towards redefining himself as Spider-Man, we get a clearer perspective on responsibility and how it can also shape our lives. We may not be climbing walls or slinging webs, but we can use our own gifts to do what’s right and make a difference in other people’s lives. To quote Aunt May: with great power, there must also come great responsibility.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now showing in theaters.

Andrei Miguel Hermosa
Blogs Writer | + posts


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‘Don’t Look Up’ is a powerful satire slapping you back to reality

‘Don’t Look Up’ revolves around individuals’ negligent behavior and their flawed characteristics that collectively spiral into a dooming fate of extinction一mixed with a sense of humor. 



Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb

This article contains spoilers.

Say for example you’re drinking coffee at your house, the news is turned on while your eyes are hell-bent distracted on the screen of your laptop. The floor starts rumbling, the walls start shaking, and the greenish milieu outside your window is beginning to fade. Cars were already skidding out of the pavements, the skies already turning a yellowish hue because of what’s to come. 

You never expected any of these to occur, all because you couldn’t look up from the screen for a fraction of a minute.

Don’t Look Up is a satirical sci-fi film that takes place on the freshest realities of buzzing political agendas and power, a demand for profitable luxury and lifestyle improvement, and the literal star-studded skies being filled instead with the grave promise of a catastrophe annihilating every living being on Earth. 

Directed by Adam McKay, the film stars award-winning actors Leonardo Dicaprio as an astronomy professor in Michigan State (Dr. Randall Mindy) and Jennifer Lawrence as his graduate student (Kate Dibiasky). It also features highly acclaimed actors Timothée Chalamet (Yule), Meryl Streep (Pres. Orlean), and Mark Rylance (Peter Isherwell) along with supporting characters that made everything about the movie much more interesting and comically aggravating. 

Don’t worry, it’s safe not to look up while reading ahead. 

Not your ordinary end-of-the-world movie 

Photo courtesy of The Guardian

For a sci-fi disaster movie to embellish on an end-of-the-world crisis, it has the guts to portray the odds of it happening. 

As straightforward as it should be, the first few minutes of the film were already a testament to the complications of how a real-life end-of-the-world scenario plays out. 

Two astronomers, grad student Kate Dibiasky and adviser Dr. Randall Mindy discovers a rogue comet — Comet Dibiasky — heading towards Earth that could cause a similar extinction in the past of nearly every living being on the planet. After getting shunned by the White House and being humiliated on a televised morning show called The Daily Rip, the president finally agreed to take matters into their hands. 

The film ventures further into a flurry of media presence and criticisms; while technology company BASH of Peter Isherwell, swoops in to profit off of the arrangements for deflecting the oncoming threat. The six-month period ends with Comet Dibiasky finally landing on Earth; an epitome of the atrocious effects of unpreparedness and neglect. 

McKay, famously known for his films The Big Short and Vice, intended for the movie to include “absurdist, ridiculous comedy living right next to sadness” in which explains the whole seemingly dark premise of his most recent work. 

Taking great resemblance to films like Deep Impact and Armageddon, Don’t Look Up decides to instead revolve around individuals’ negligent behavior and their flawed characteristics that collectively spiral into a dooming fate of extinction—mixed with a sense of humor. 

The sardonic humor is awfully realistic with real-life parallels

Photo courtesy of The Verge

From Lawrence and DiCaprio’s raging yet sensible monologues during their interviews in The Daily Rip show, we all felt that bubbling frustration finally surfacing after treating the comet issue as next-level entertainment and mineral source. 

“I’m sorry, but not everything needs to sound so clever or charming or likeable all the time. Sometimes we need to just be able to say things to one another,” Mindy emphasizes. 

The threat of Comet Dibiasky was the main premise of the film, accounting for the raw parallels of the perils of climate change. It was a looming threat that could’ve long been prevented, if only everyone reminded themselves that time was essential.

But alongside that, communication is also paramount to the equation for success. If we keep on sugar-coating every major conflict there is, then how can we be honest with each other? 

Climate advocates and scientists regard the film with high praise for such authenticity when it comes to climate change awareness and superficial political inaction, as well as the meaningful analogy behind the global threat. 

Climate change is comparatively much slower than the comet threat from the movie, yet the problem was never eradicated. It only worsened as the years went on and more collective ignorance feigned. Due to numerous sociopolitical factors and personal gain, the rift between the issue and the solution just grew wider and bigger. 

Even though the comet was the main issue, the film also shed light on other major topics that need to be probed. 

Worldwide issues like the climate crisis and COVID-19 were poorly handled by our own government authorities, leaving it to us to suffer the consequences of their actions. 

Similarly in the film, Pres. Orlean could have addressed the impending comet immediately rather than treating it as a doomsday prophetic phenomenon. She could have just given the signal to continue the mission of deflecting the comet back to space rather than succumbing to her and Isherwell’s selfish desires of making profits. There was still so much time, yet it was lost because of their own carelessness and narcissism. 

We all wouldn’t suffer from the damaging effects of COVID-19 and its variants if the government response was quick, if protocols gave strict compliance, and if only they trusted the science enough for collective action. 

The public rather believed that BASH was doing such an astonishing job, publicizing the comet as a ‘money-making’ or ‘job-making’ source that could help everyone with their financial situation. 

And here’s where the media comes in. Its unabashed advances on allowing a passive reaction and filtering to these kinds of world crises is omnipresent; misshaping what’s relevant and what’s not, with what’s appealing rather than revealing. People avoid looking up from their devices now, so what is one way for huge media giants like these to exploit that advantage? 

Compare the attention of this subject to the breakup of popular celebrities—parallel to Riley Bina (Ariana Grande) and DJ Chello’s (Kid Cudi) controversial break-up from the film—and you’ll get staggeringly contrasting ratings for each. 

Dr. Mindy was given much exposure and media training to appear in more interviews, photoshoots, and even children’s shows; he was the nerdy ‘sexy’ scientist everyone raves about.

And then profit comes when ratings go up. On the contrary, the media coverage for climate change nowadays is improving, despite the COVID crisis headlining the news every single day. This doesn’t mean one is superior to the other; they’re equally important and must be given the same attention. 

Problem is, it’s still not enough for everyone to be completely conscious of. All the humor and themes surrounding the film made too much sense—from the parallels and euphemisms to the flaws of every character. 

A small margin of error can cost the entire planet

Photo courtesy of Deadline

“Thing of it is, we really did have everything, didn’t we?” 

The science was sound and the calculations were accurate. We knew of the media, politicians, and the public being involved in a ‘near-mass hysteria’ but the comet still prevailed and landed.

In the film, Comet Dibiasky was met with believers and non-believers; the science denialists, and those who consider it a hoax to terrify the public. Pres. Orlean became a reimagined version of Donald Trump, inspiring the ‘Don’t Look Up’ movement which was all sorts of wrong.

McKay’s storytelling was too realistic. Laughable, but possible. 

I also have to commend his way of inserting Chalamet’s character, Yule, as a symbol of religiosity in a time of hopelessness and corruption. It goes to show how religion can continue to be a source of one’s strength and their will to live despite their stereotyped nature. 

Peter Isherwell’s tech company—and eccentricity—was strikingly similar to today’s Musk, Zuckerberg, and Bezos; billionaires who have the power in money to save and improve human lives. 

Dr. Mindy’s bluntness to Isherwell was well-said, despite Isherwell taking the offense personally. He did approach the situation as a businessman, and he disallowed anyone criticizing his work.

But as scientists, Mindy was just as determined for everything to work out. Besides, it’s the end of the world we’re talking about. A room for discussion and inquiry would have single-handedly kickstarted the success of Isherwell’s drones, leaving no room for error. Yet, he did, leaving a boatload of mistakes that led to the world’s destruction. 

In another scene, Kate asked, “Is any of this even peer-reviewed?” 

The system of peer-reviewing is an accepted process for scientific and scholarly communities to validate and improve on existing studies. Replace that with self-adulation and you get an Isherwell who believes everything that he’s doing is purely correct and infallible. 

That’s why it’s relevant to ask questions—to constructively criticize and learn more. Knowing less will only make us more ignorant when we have a chance to correct the mistakes of the past.

Inspiring action amid trying times 

Photo courtesy of The Week UK

Watching the fully-stacked cast with this complicated storyline was taxing.The comet was anticipated, but it still left us reeling over the doable what-ifs that could have prevented the ending from happening. There might have been more to elaborate on certain topics surrounding the film, but this could be sufficient enough to relay its central theme to all who have or haven’t watched. 

*Despite the frustration from seeing the ‘villains’ end up surviving 22,000 years later—and bidding billions of dollars for building houses—as part of the post-credits, it was gratifying, to say the least, to see them end up in a much newer environment where they are totally unfamiliar with. They’re still undeserving, but it would be their doomed prison too. 

As the main characters gathered together for their ‘last supper’, their faces were solemn enough to hide the existential dread creeping upon them in a few minutes; their deep breaths were already an exasperated response to accepting their fates. When the walls crumbled and the windows broke, it was the end.

“I’m grateful that we tried,” as Kate said.

It’s best to say that the ending was almost necessary. Bad endings in stories are uncomfortable and sometimes sob worthy. But McKay’s ending to the film was a cruelly realistic one, conveying the cold-hard truth before us with immense precision and dark undertones of humor. It stays true to the notion of delivering to the people what they need to know; yet the question is, what’s the next step? 

The next step we take is for us to finally recognize the gravity of our situation—look up, and see for ourselves the reality we are in and the future we can uphold. It’s better to die trying than living without doing anything. 

Stream Don’t Look Up on Netflix

Sophia Katherine Sarmiento
Blogs Writer | + posts


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Warning for 2022 elections: Beware of the crooks—but hope must endure

The battle cry for the 2022 elections is creating a culture of conversion. It is through these tiny ripples of resistance can we practice our freedom.



Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb

It’s five months before the national elections in May 2022. It seems, for first-time voters like me, that the coming elections will define the future. Well, don’t all elections prefigure what lies ahead for the country?

The filing of the certificate of candidacy in October proved that this coming race for national and local positions in public office does not offer something different or special. Political dynasties teaming up, old names as frontrunners in the pre-election surveys—it is Philippine politics as usual. 

Nonetheless, it is an important event to register the people’s calls for better governance, a corrupt-free institution, and effective and efficient leadership, responsive to the needs of the people. After all, as we’ve seen in the pandemic, public policies imposed by the government decide who gets to live, who will die, and who will thrive.

I know merely saying “beware of the crooks” in 2022 and beyond is as cliché as it could get. I mean, we’ve heard it since we were in elementary. Since time immemorial, we’ve been echoing campaigns for voter education, information drives, among others. But this appeal, if you may, bears repeating all the more when we see. 

‘Love as the practice of freedom’

Photo courtesy of Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

On Dec. 15, 2021, world-renowned cultural critic and feminist Gloria Jean Watkins, also known as bell hooks, passed away. Reading her work that delved broadly on topics about culture, representation, feminism, race, and media, I turned to her for much-needed clarity—when everything around me looked too hopeless and irredeemable. She made seemingly abstract and vague concepts such as love, care, and community uncomplicatedly possible, clear, and actual. 

How can we carry hope when the highest public official in the land says he doesn’t care about human rights? How, at this time of great disasters, like the current pandemic and the climate crisis, charge on with love when people who speak truth to power are gunned down, called names, and stripped of their human rights? Why should we still care about other people when we ourselves are hungry and jobless due to the inept response to crises?

Even at times of great disillusionment, love is a powerful binding force. This, I think, is something we should all carry whenever we feel defeated with whatever is happening. bell hooks believed that love can be the transformative force with which we can practice and perform our freedom.

She said, “Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed. As long as we refuse to address fully the place of love in struggles for liberation we will not be able to create a culture of conversion where there is a mass turning away from an ethic of domination.”

With the dominant culture of impunity, sexism, and classism, practicing care and love towards others becomes an act of resistance against the structures of power that strip every individual’s capacity to be compassionate and empathetic. 

The battle cry for the 2022 elections is creating a culture of conversion. 

It is through these tiny ripples of said resistance can we practice our freedom. And with the elections coming, all the more we should soldier on with this in mind.

Healing and solidarity

Photo courtesy of Deseret News

One of the conversations going on in social media is the resounding sentiment of leaving the country depending on whether their desired politicians get the seat they are eyeing for. Is this attitude defeatist or a sound, pragmatic option? 

For one, this sentiment is rooted in the premise of privilege. Elections, too, isn’t something that is sacrosanct, which limits our struggle for different causes. But other than that, I think we must direct our focus more on the necessity of healing and solidarity.

Healing, as hooks said, is an act of communion. Both the individual and the collective fight for freedom for the country that has been ravaged by the pandemic, economic recession, corruption, war, joblessness, and hunger, among many others, are the way for us to move forward.

Yes, beware of the crooks in 2022, but don’t forget the overwhelming imperative to unite in order to heal the wayward and disarrayed nation. And as we tread on, hope must and will ultimately endure.

Paolo Alejandrino
Blogs Writer | + posts


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