There are some topics in life that I don’t approach. And I don’t because I just know it’s way up there in the stratosphere for me to ever get a handle on.
Physics, for instance. I see my children whiz through it and it makes me feel like I had given birth to aliens. These babies grew up fast and here we are, aliens who are Math Olympiads and who would choose Physics as an actual college course. (I bled in so many places in Physics 11 and the sight of pulleys can still make me shudder.)
International relations, another one. All I knew was there was this unending battle in the Middle East. For what reason? Don’t ask me please. I couldn’t make heads and tails out of all the accusations and the body count and the bombings and strafings. And because we were little brown Americans, I also thought Russians and Chinese were the bad guys.
I had no interest. And I had no interest because international relations seemed so high up there and only meant for the few who breathed the rarified air of erudition. The elite.
And then Duterte happened and he, as we all know, upended our world— had the arrogant Americans gasping for air like they’d been sucker punched in the gut.
Duterte who pulled the plug on Pax Americana—this world view that America is the world’s peace keeper and policed the world whether we liked it or not. And was therefore the good guy.
Didn’t matter that, in reality, America started wars they couldn’t end and it didn’t matter that thousands upon thousands of lives were snuffed in their pursuit of their version of world peace.
Pax Americana and that was that. Amen.
And then Duterte came along and declared that from now on, the Philippines would be pursuing independent foreign policies.
And this is where Sass enters my world. And, as it happens, the world of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos. She is why we know, quite suddenly, what détente means (and even how to pronounce it– deytant) and the difference between a strategic alliance and a partnership and why Duterte’s big mouth is actually what puts us on high ground where international relations are concerned.
I find it a joy to read ordinary Filipinos on Sass’ wall discuss with some degree of ease and with great clarity the West Philippine Sea issue.
And I love, that, most of all, the knots in my mind about international relations and policies are getting untied. That things are making a lot of sense to me now. Or that I have now the audacity to chime in and make my opinions heard where before I just sort of, blended with the walls.
I love that Sass has democratized knowledge—given the Common Tao access where it was just reserved for the elite few not so long ago. And because of her, we understand the world we live in a little better and too, our place in it.
I am grateful for the generosity with which Sass shares her knowledge—patiently, with humor, humbly even. And with great respect for whoever it is that’s asking it so you don’t feel that your questions are stupid.
We’re all students in Sass’ classroom as she shares a subject she is so good at that you can ask her from any angle and she’ll tell what she thinks. And I love that she has asked me to question the prevailing world order and that she has made a lot of us think hard.
So I looked at my newsfeed –and my inbox – and see that it is swarming with hate for Sass. The takedown of Sass has been going on for quite some time now but lately the punches have been relentless. And savage.
They’ve taken one phrase out of context and have used it to flog her. Finally, a snag they can hang their enormous personal issues on.
I’ve seen grown men call Sass stupid, pretentious, empty headed. And I am going “Huh?” If Sass is stupid, what does that make the rest of us? Worm poop? Because I looked at her CV and it is impressive as hell.
Sass did her BA in Leiden University which, according to studies done by QS Top Universities ranks 23rd in the world for Sass’ course—the Combined Major in World Politics and Global Justice, minoring in International Development.
Then she went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude. She also externed at the UCLA for Foreign Relations of the United States and International Relations of China and Global Poverty and Local Solutions. She is currently doing her post grad on International Relations at Leiden and if I remember right, her thesis about the West Philippine Sea issue our country is facing.
Sass has published works in peer-reviewed journals and other international publications. (“The Thomas van Beersum Affair: Who has the right to participate in the parliament of the streets?” Under review: Philippine Political Science Journal)
And she’s won legitimately awesome awards.
I could go on and on and on and I would lull you to sleep from the tedium of being impressed with Sass’ CV.
So I don’t get why anyone would think of Sass as stupid or a pseudo-intellectual.
And I’ve had a moment to think about all these and I think what underlies all that poison is the ugly head of elitism rearing itself. Yet again.
How dare this tranny, this slut in gagamba outfit run circles around us, the intellectual elites and how dare her make pretenses to knowledge.
You see, one ugly side of elitism is this notion that they have exclusive access to knowledge and that they’d like to keep it all to themselves, the old boys’ club. So this idea of knowledge being passed on like it were free candy, raises their shackles and makes them mad as hell.
I also noticed that a lot of the most vicious takedowns of Sass are from men—all across the age spectrum, yes, but mostly from men who fancy themselves intellectuals.
It’s really too much to them that a tranny who came from nowhere, not landed family, not buen familia, knows so much about such an impressive topic and has this much sway –hundreds of thousands of followers –where no one –just their mother –reads them. This is where I sense the bitterest of poisoned barbs.
Weak men do not like powerful women. That’s how it’s been for all time. And it takes a smart and strong man to appreciate strong women. I know this. This is the story of my life.
This is not to say that I’ve not read barbed poison from women against Sass. As it has been for all time, the ones who made it possible for the patriarchy to subjugate women through the ages are this bunch of women who assisted in this subjugation and endeavored to put women in their place.
And because they themselves are so disempowered, the thought of another woman escaping the clutches of the patriarchy they are so beholden to and so defined by is just unbearable to them.
But as it happens, the greatest supporters of women are women themselves.
So this is me taking my stand—right beside the sassy Sass, grateful for all she’s given me and all she’s given those who would otherwise not have had it if not for her—the priceless flame of knowledge.
Thank you, Sass
You go, girl.