At that point, few people were using the feature and so most articles were still blank, tataya' ha' sinangan guihi. Lao achokka' taya' comments, esta hu tungo' na ti apmam siempre u tuhuhon i kuentos O.O.G.
If you put a comment function on news articles about Guam, it is only a matter of time before you are flooded with people from all shapes and sizes, saying the most braindead things imaginable and punctuating their vapid conversation additions with the expression "Only on Guam" or O.O.G.
The phrase "Only on Guam" is generally attributed to the cruel genius of former editor of The Pacific Daily News Joe Murphy. Murphy has been a fixture on Guam since he arrived there in the late 1960's to work for the then
For my research as a graduate student in Micronesian Studies at the
But it wasn't all Chamorro bashing in his Pipe Dreams columns, alot of times he would tell funny stories. English language bloopers, his own surprises at the daily rhythms of Guam, restaurants being out of food, color primer cars and trucks, mind and wallet boggling Government inefficiencies and errors, what was completely unnatural for Murphy being completely natural and ordinary for people on Guam. From these tales Murphy supposedly coined the phrase "Only on Guam" of that only on
I remember one story about a newspaper reporter on
For those of you who are industrious about these sorts of things, Murphy's old Pipe Dream columns can be found in very hard to find collections. The title of one of them Guam is a Four Letter Word kind of keys in with the rest of my points.
But before I get to the idea that
First there are those who have left
Second there are the big fish in a small pond. Chamorros who are living on Guam, whose vision extends far beyond Guam itself and constantly acts as if the rest of the world is truly theirs while
Third there are non Chamorros on Guam who jokingly refer to OOG in a way to make parochial Chamorros and
Fourth, we have what you could call a Malafunkshun category of sorts. For them the OOG quality is something which is actually pretty darn cool because it carves out a unique place for Guam in the universe, which if we consider this from the smallness of Guam in relation to the rest of the world, in relation to the US, the sheer size of the ocean around us, and then the similar cultural traits we share with other places such as Mexico and the Philippines because of Spanish colonialisms, finding a place which is particular to Guam is truly exciting. Even if it says simultaneously that
There are other possibilities for categorization, but I am loathe to admit to any positive version of invoking because contrary to popular belief, the forms that OOG takes, while sometimes funny, are almost always brutally negative, and indict Guam as being what Murphy claims, as being some sort of "four letter word." A few months ago I wrote about Sherry, the haole lady who hated Guam and said a number of very disgusting things about
I should note here though that it is possible to flip these statements around, to reverse them so that they start to signify positive things as opposed to negative things, but this is much rarer than people might think. Part of the defining of a home is a reckoning with its aspects, an arranging of them in such a way that it becomes yours as well as those that you share it with.
For example, how do people on
OOG do people complain that driving two miles is too far.
What can we derive from this complaint? That people on Guam have little understanding about the rest of the world, don't know anything beyond their backyard, can't step out of their own shoes and into someone else's who lives in a place where driving two miles is like taking a breath.
But when I was on Guam I constantly used the silly universe of this statement to make
"Party in Santa Rita next week? Oooh, I better start driving now."
"Party in Malesso tomorrow? Sorry I can't make it, I'm waiting for Continental to start giving me frequent flier miles for the trip."
The fundamental problem I have with kuentos OOG is its heavy reliance upon the
In the world of OOG,
So is OOG speech then a cruel sort of way of saying that while life in Guam may be interesting, hilarious, ridiculous and stupid, it is ultimately not really life.
I often repeat this story because it truly represents the traps of commonsense inundated with colonization. Several years ago, I gave a presentation to a group of elementary students on
I quizzed the students if these were the things that added up to a Chamorro, could a Chamorro survive in the “real world?” Most confessed, probably not.
So where then is “real life?” Where do we find i magahet na lina’la that OOG discourse depends upon for its solution to the silliness, chaos or disorder of
Several years ago when Leo Babauta had a column in The Pacific Daily News he was often censored by the editorial staff. You can access his old editorials and thoughts of his times at PDN on the old Malafunkshun website.
At one point Babauta tried to refer to
I was further told that my calling the colony of
Here we reach, beyond i minagof put kuentos OOG, to my fundamental problem with it, namely how it assumes and actively produces the consistency and efficiency of this other scene, the “mainland,” the
Take for instance the response from Babauta’s editors. Note that their argument against calling
Guam in order to provide a positive, full, appropriate and proper image of what is supposed to be (that people in the United States do vote for those who are sovereign over them).
The problem of Guam sort of disappears in this counter argument, and appears to be solved not by anything actually related or having to do with Guam, but rather because the fullness of life and civic participation, political democracy already exists somewhere else! This is authentic, prototypical OOG speech because of the mixture of something problematic and pathological, puts it beyond solution or hope. The answer to Guam’s problems is never here on Guam, it always lies with or in the
The cruel secret of OOG discourse is a colonizing dependency upon the
The United States by contrast is where the Federal Government is so efficient is practically runs i estreyas, i langhet, all of the universe, people can and do vote and therefore understand and embody their civic pride for the rest of the world, stores are fully stocked and carry more than you could ever want at prices which make the commissary look like Louis Vutton, roads are so smooth, well built and nicely paved that you could emergency land several commercial and single engine airplanes on it before even spotting a nick, marriage vows are sacred and defended and kept from subversive gay people, and the teachers are so well paid, well funded and well respected that everywhere they go people bow to them and drop rose petals before them.
The “answers” to problems on
While many may maintain that there are very real economic, quality of life differences between Guam and the
If we look at for instance the way political corruption is discussed on Guam in terms of both Guam and the