First of all, who is Marcelo Santos III? He is the author of two books with themes revolving on love and relationships. Based on the number of his followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, he is a social media superstar.
His followers are mostly Filipinos in their teens up to late 20s, and they are very likely to share Marcelo Santos III’s quotes through their respective accounts.
By the way, I previously taught communication and literature classes for a private college in Quezon City and it is through my students that I became acquainted with Marcelo Santos III’s quotes.
The young author has received criticism for a wide array of things, from his rather absurd claim that writers don’t really have to read to excel in their craft to the shallow theme of his writings. Some of the critiques are valid, while others are nothing more than an exercise in verbal diarrhea like this one that became viral on Facebook.
I really don’t like those who criticize his writing style and the theme of his books and quotes. I’m not a fan of his work, though I share his quotes sometimes (a sort of guilty pleasure for me, actually). Look at this: writers like me write for different purposes. Some write just to express themselves, others write to inform, while others write to persuade.
If Marcelo is doing his stuff with the aim of ENTERTAINING people and earning millions in the process, let him be. Why are those supposedly “intellectual” writers demonizing him for doing something that’s perfectly within his right? It’s as absurd as the thought of looking for social significance from comedy movies like “Sisterakas” and “My Little Bossings.”
If they are looking for authors whose writings carry social relevance, then they should look for someone else. Or better yet, THEY can be that writer.
At this point, let me add that I agree that given his large number of followers online, MS III can use his clout to espouse worthwhile advocacies. For example, since he writes mostly in Filipino, maybe he can raise awareness about the Commission on Higher Education’s recommendation that Filipino won’t be taught in college anymore by 2016.
However, that’s not how things are. And it’s not right to bash him for choosing NOT to go in that direction.
To sum it up, I am writing this sort of “defense” not as a fan of him but as a writer who respects the artistic freedom of another writer. Though I won’t recommend anyone to read his works (I haven’t done so myself), it can be included in classroom discussions about contemporary Philippine literature.
(PS: This blog entry is based on a post I made on Facebook a few weeks ago.)