December 27, 2008

A Repartee on Bob Ong's Ugly Covers

I was searching for book covers to feature for 2008's fin-de-annee when I saw a familiar entry at a forum over Bob Ong's site where apparently an entry of mine concerning the ugliness of Philippine book covers caused a furor amongst Bob Ong's fanatical fanbase. I can hear the rabid Rah-rah-rahs of his minions. While I don't like his oeurves as a personal opinion, preferring more to the likes of Butch Dalisay Jr. and Conrado de Quiros, I respect the fact that a LOT of teens, tweens and kiddults like his earthy and intimate way of writing. If they like reading what's inside, that's their business. It's similar to the feeling how all teenie-boppers swoon over the Twilight series catapulting it to National Bestsellerhood and yet for the literary value of it, it turned out to be such a tedious mess of words.

Apart from its contents, the COVERS of Bob Ong's tomes suck terribly. If there's a word to describe the creative mind behind all of the designs, it would be "atrocious." Oh no! I can hear the squeals and shrieks of loyal peons ready to burn my blog to the stake. Such Salemesque mentality is not flattering to the author for such heightened emotions reflect the maturity and rhetoric partiality of its audience. It's all about the design and quality of the books, not the contents however sleep-inducing it may be. Anyhow, if they have been keen in understanding what I wrote, they would appreciate the reality that GOOD book covers SELL well. And by having terribly done covers will do a disservice to the author who slaved for months to write those pages. To see it all go for nothing just because a second-rate hack has monochromatic vision is truly an injustice. Period. If they'll publish it as an limited-edition omnibus with good creamy acid-free paper and French flaps and matte-laminated cover design, people will surely stop and buy it.

However, if it was the author indeed who designed those books, then it becomes another contention altogether.

What I can't comprehend is how such an entry became an exercise of fallacies. Fallacies of ad baculum, ad misericordiam, and ad hominem became sparking points in maintaining the debate. It bemuses me to see such caveman antics but also saddens me to note that we cannot have a healthy debate without spiralling into the abyss of mudslinging. Is it because of lack of education? Or because of undeveloped emotional maturity? I don't know. A lot have their heads screwed to their shoulders but many still have that mob mentality when they comment: it's either you're with us 100% or against us 100%. You can't criticize our idol unscathed! Hahaha...

Here's the NY Times Book Design Blog to give you examples on books that failed and succeed thanks to their catchy covers. And another article why we must judge a book by its cover.


1 comment:

rolly said...

I followed the link to the forum. I've seen wilder negative comments in other sites. Tame pa ang mga yan. :-)

Happy New Year.