“Just as Anderson asks us for whom Rizal imagined he was writing,

so the agony of every writer is: for whom do we imagine we write? The monolithic implication of the question is misleading, as if “audience” must be a singular unity. As if we are not a country and a world of irredeemable multiplicity. Filipinos laugh at people who do not use “perfect English” — just as Americans in classrooms are often bothered by people who say “ax” instead of “ask” — but few Filipinos are concerned about their lack of interest in Cebuano, in the same way whites are unconcerned about their inability to spell an African-American person’s name.”

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Thoughts on Rizal and Ben Anderson in LA Review of Books

My essay, written a while ago but just oddly rediscovered by me (so embarrassing, really, since I promised Ben a long time ago I would do this review, then I did, then I forgot I had done it!). But the wonderful Los Angeles Review of Books published this updated version:

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