Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ely Buendia - Sometimes, the title is all it takes [Cursor]

Did you know that Eraserheads ex-frontman Ely Buendia used to have a column for the Manila Bulletin? Yes! Ely Buendia had a broadsheet column, called "CURSOR," published every Saturdays in the Entertainment section of the Manila Bulletin. Some entries are “Cloning Music,” “Crude Little Robots,” “Biocast Entry No. 13,” “A Dystopian Holiday,” “Mental Floss,” and “A Cause for Elevation” which was his final article. Now because of Ely's busy musical career, CURSOR had ended and was last published during the first Saturday of September 2006.

Here is the debut entry that Ely Buendia wrote for Cursor.

Sometimes, the title is all it takes...
by ely buendia

Bsst! Over here! Yeah, you, holding the newspaper. Come and have a look at this.

It’s my new column in the entertainment section of this esteemed broadsheet. I’m Ely by the way. You don’t need to introduce yourself; I won’t be able to hear you.

See, I’ve got a bit of a problem. Well, two problems actually. One is, this being the debut and all; I don’t really know exactly what to write about. What’s that? Entertainment? What an awesome idea! It’s not only right for this section, writing about entertainment is also downright, well, entertaining!

It’ll be a cinch filling up this space. Wait, now you’ve got me thinking, entertainment? It’s such a broad term, it’ll take years, maybe even decades to discuss it. We don’t have that much time. If my calculations are correct, you’re going to shift your attention to other, more entertaining articles (or God forbid, the front page!) in a couple of minutes. We don’t want that.

And what passes for entertainment nowadays, anyway? Hell, some people find root canals entertaining. Not me. No, I wanna write about something worthwhile, not just some crap to fill up this space and meet deadlines. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from essay writing in high school, it’s never take your reader (or grade for that matter) for granted. Never, ever, under any circumstance, no matter how desperate or bereft of ideas you are, try to beat around the bush or use senseless arguments as padding for your work. People notice these things.

But on to more pressing matters. The other problem I told you about? I need a title for this column. What’s so hard about picking a title, you say? Well, you see, I have this theory that sometimes, the title is all it takes for something to sell. Case in point: I recently read that Hollywood still can’t reconcile the fact that last year’s critically acclaimed "Cinderella Man" flopped while the universally panned "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" opened at number one.

If you had absolutely no idea what these movies were about, which one would you watch? In reality, there are so many good movies that suffered greatly because of this. "Mystery Men" should have been a hit were it not for its vague title.

The Coen Brothers seem to have the record for sabotaging their great movies by giving them bad titles: "The Big Lebowski," "O, Brother Where Art Thou," "Fargo," and who can forget the it-looks-like-a-typo classic, "Blood Simple." Think about it, would the Mona Lisa be as famous if Da Vinci called it "Chubby Lady With Long Hair Smiling"?

Or imagine how much better an album Limp Bizkit’s "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water" would be if they named it "Auburn Seaweed Marinated in Virgin Coconut Oil" instead. Okay, not really, but you get the picture.

As theories go, mine remains unproven, but I make it a law anyway. Sometimes it takes a lot longer to name a song than write one. I double- check everything. Is it definitive? Is it giving too much away? Is it not giving anything at all? Is it John Wayne classic? Has it been used already? Is it the truth? Is it fair to those involved? The creative mind swirls with endless considerations. Ah, but such is the cost of perfection. And we must practice what we preach, don’t we? Which is why I’m naming my column Polyglutamate Rigmarole Tomato. A bit unusual, perhaps, but…what? You don’t like it? Yeah, well some help you are. All this time you haven’t said anything and all of a sudden you’re a title expert. And look, while I’ve been trying to share my opinions I’ve run out of space. Perfect. Just perfect. Okay, what if it’s just P.R.T.? It’s short, sounds like L.R.T. and…what? You still don’t like it? Okay, that’s it.

This monologue is over.

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