battle of the blogs

si manolo quezon ba ang pinatatamaan ni benignO?

one blogger’s citation of another blogger’s work serves the double purpose of also promoting the former’s own blog (at least if the latter sets their blog to allow trackbacks). This eureka moment of mine suddenly makes the style of some bloggers suspect in my book – those who pepper their work with so many links to other blogs. I made the observation yonks ago about how the style of a noted blogger has evolved from making very sharp-edged, highly-focused entries to the ones we see today that have more of the stock-take-cum-shotgun approach of a content consolidator.”

the daily dose is the only blog i know that is always peppered with links to other blogs, which style, yes, promotes the daily dose, but also provides a unique service to readers like me who want to know the latest developments and utterances on the political scene but can’t be bothered or don’t have the time to do all that research. i don’t know though that manolo’s posts have lost some edge and focus over time – i haven’t been into the blogosphere all that long. truth is, i never count on manolo for edge or focus. for that i read dean jorge bocobo and ellen tordesillas.

but yes, benignO raises a valid concern re the “establishmentisation” of the pinoy blogosphere where the success of a blog is measured by its popularity, i.e., the number of other blogs that link to it and the comments it gets per post, never mind the substance or lack of it or the vision or lack of it. it’s like preferring formula box-office hit movies to indy films when indy films are easily the more edgy and visionary:

For Indy film producers, an audience is a bonus. For Studio movie producers, an audience is the whole point. The latter is driven by credentialism and the former by insight. We all know mass appeal brings home the bacon, whilst edginess and loyalty to vision attracts a far smaller subset – insightful minds. That ultimately is the choice faced by every content producer, be they film makers, illustrators, writers, and – yes- bloggers.”

which brings me to tonyo cruz (whom i found through manolo’s daily dose) and the filipino blogosphere’s insipid aristocracy.

… the Pinoy blogosphere aristocracy are just behaving as expected: aristocratic and elitist. Some would cry “repression!” only when its their own voices that are being muffled or muzzled. Some would gladly lay down a virtual red carpet for their own online writing projects on Philippine issues, but would demean the efforts of others. At other times, these clowns cry for “democracy” when all they really want to say is “listen to me only” or “listen to me first”. Some are fans of a near-total absence of online accountability. As to the threat of repression, the question of the need to fight repression is set aside by insinuations that the new ones may be inviting harm all by themselves (ain’t that the same “blame the victim” outlook which they also detest in posts elsewhere).

There is a danger to the way these characters view themselves. They may be harboring not ill thoughts about others, but an overestimation of their self-worth. Given the discussions on related topics, it is not farfetched that they would soon propose a canon for the Pinoy blogosphere and anoint themselves as the new “gods” to whom we should solely and exclusively look for truth.

That is not democracy. That is only a complete reproduction of mass media and Philippine education in general. Full of elitism and bullshit, exclusivist rather inclusive, and finds as questionable the entry of new voices such as Lozada, Panlilio and the nameless masses.”

i LUV it. this is the kind of “edgy” i’m looking for – not the personal angst-laden kind of edgy but the politically edgy that takes a stand, that selflessly fearlessly speaks out against elitist bullshit, never mind kung makasakit man o makasagasa. ‘ika nga, truth hurts but it cures. (well, it should.)

tonyocruz is, i gather, correct me if i’m wrong, referring to some of his fellow bloggers in filipino voices whose reactions to the recently launched blog of jun lozada verged on the supercilious, judging it wanting just because it’s not like their own blogs? because jun lozada dares do more? because, oh no, he has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of comments already, talbog silang lahat, talbog tayong lahat, pati si kitty go? he must be doing something wrong, like brian gorrell? LOL

even the noted blogger has fallen into the trap. almost belittling lozada’s filipino ideology of nationhood just because it wasn’t crafted with the help of the blogocracy? and even warning of capital flight because jun lozada quoted lenin, never mind that lenin was speaking a truth about land reform? maybe benignO’s right.


  1. Yeah, i think Benign0 meant Manolo although it’s very Filipino for him to do so in a ‘parinig’ manner. Connie Veneracion previously voiced out the same criticism although also by way of parinig. IMHO, i prefer Manolo’s style of aggregation because (over that of a run of the mill content aggregator) it’s the personal touch that matters. I don’t think anyone can automate the way he selects his links. Some of the foreign blogs that i like best are also aggregators like 3Quarksdaily and Bookforum. What amuses me is that, true to his nature, Benign0 cannot imagine anyone doing something without an underlying selfish motive.

  2. And yes, Tonyo Cruz was criticizing Filipino Voice contributor Benj (of although again in a very Filipino ‘parinig’ style. It’s also not clear to me whether he was criticizing just Benj or the entire Filipino Voices Team. Kinda reminds me of my Mom who when scolding my younger brother always says ‘kayo’ even if i was well behaved in one corner.

  3. so the non-confrontational style is an asian thing. but the ‘parinig’ gimik is pinoy. interesting. ayaw natin maka-offend pero ayaw din nating palampasin without comment, so we make parinig, batobato sa langit style. maybe it means there’s hope for pinoys ;)

  4. Identifying the person/s and linking to their posts would have defeated the very point I wish to raise. The omission of the name/s and post/s was therefore intentional. In the blogosphere, (cross-)linking is a matter of recognition and legitimization. I do not wish to link my blog to what I consider perverse ideas but I would insist on my right to react in a manner and tone I see fit.

    The varied reactions to Bloggers Kapihan’s blog evangelism (starting with Lozada last week and Among Ed later this morning) are all interesting. But some wittingly or unwittingly seek to limit the choices in our so-called marketplace of ideas and put out a “scenario” or two.

    Take the scenario that Lozada’s blog may incite a crackdown as an example.

    Knowing what already happened to Lozada, such a crackdown may actually happen. Those with truly democratic and pro-free speech instincts would INSTANTLY AND WITHOUT DOUBT expose and fight ANY crackdown. They would consider such an attack as an assault not just on Lozada but on all citizens.

    FOR IN RAISING THE SPECTER OF A CRACKDOWN THAT MAY ARISE FROM THE LAUNCH OF THE BLOGS OF JUN LOZADA AND AMONG ED, some bloggers expose themselves to have already been successfully conditioned to accepting as natural what the Arroyo government has been doing to dissent and dissenters. They are wittingly or unwittingly spreading a culture of fear and impunity — apart from insipid thinking as members of a self-styled aristocracy in the blogosphere.

    Pasensya na kayo at natamaan talaga ang raw nerve ko.

  5. Tonyo, i was also concerned when Benj raised his fear of ‘collateral damage’ but he did explicitly deny afterwards that he was preventing Lozada from blogging so i’m taking his word for it. Another way of looking at his reaction is that the concept of democratic space (in contrast with genuine democracy), which was controversial when it was first introduced by the Left after EDSA ’86, has now become part of the Middle Class’ Conventional Wisdom. So the idea that you fear might be ‘legitimated’ (via linking) actually stems from an idea that your camp (i.e. the Left) has introduced sometime back. In effect, Benj was saying ‘Paano naman ang democratic space ko, kung saka-sakali?’

  6. i get it, tonyo, not linking or identifying was part of your message ;) yeah i’ve done that too.

    re that post raising the specter of a crackdown, and fears of collateral damage – my initial reaction was, sobra namang praning, kasisimula pa lang ni jun lozada mag-blog, we don’t even know that he’s really up to it, or that he has anything new to say on a daily/regular basis that would merit such fears. but the fact that the blog is getting quite a lot of traffic is the thing, i suppose, that really freaks out those who don’t like him in the first place and who may begrudge him the instant “success.”

  7. a matter of who you are trying to encourage to join your side. aside from lenin, mao spoke truths too, as did hitler and possibly pol pot. but if j’lo’s precise purpose was to reassure certain sectors that they wouldn’t end up boat people like vietnam’s middle class, then it just seems to me bringing up lenin is counter-productive.

  8. but that’s such a knee-jerk establishment-kind of reaction, something i’d expect from ed ermita or the gonzalez duo. lozada did not even have to mention lenin as the source of the concept but he did, he was being honest, just as you are when when you quote the mad anarchist nietzsche whom the nazis so loved they built him a monument. i think the blogosphere could set an example and show some openness to good ideas from the left. the solution to any conflict, the scientist mystic carl jung said, lies not exclusively in either extreme, the right or the left, but in the creative coming together of the two.

  9. of course and there’s the danger of being content with “tolerating” the left as if they’re pandas to be penned in and protected but only if they stay within their “protected area.”

    but i do think it’s valid to point out that if you’re articulating a platform, certain things will get in the way of its success if you’re not careful. the success of ermita and company is they can instinctively latch on to the establishment’s thinking, which is more widespread than some would like to accept. we deserve to know lozada’s views have been influenced by lenin and rizal, what makes him interesting is he can combine the two.

  10. Angela, I find nothing useful in Lozada’s blog. He says nothing he couldn’t have said in one of those situations wherein a mic is in front of him. With that said, and even though both sides find this man unworthy of his hero status (only the middle, i believe, thinks he’s a hero), I find his first post so typical of blogs. It’s so typical, it makes me think he is writing just to belong. Compare his rather artificial “blogging” to Gorrell’s uber-sincere style….

  11. BrianB, i agree, nothing useful so far, but maybe let’s give him some time. gorrell of course had the advantage of surprise as we had never heard of him or his story before he started blogging. jun lozada, in contrast, was over-exposed na in mainstream media, so talaga he has to dig deeper and find something new to say…

  12. PSImeon

    I don’t understand an ‘elitist blogosphere.’ I think this is an oxymoron considering that the internet (and its derivative services)is supposed to empower everyone with access to a network.

    Jun Lozada, like any Jane or Joe, has all the right and freedom to blog.

  13. PSImeon, umm…someone correct me if i’m wrong, but i gather it has to do nga with the palpable attitude among some bloggers who, having been noticed by the noted blogger, over-estimate the worth of their opinions and presume to know better about this and that, when really they don’t.

  14. Hindi ko maintindihan bakit sinabi ni MLQ3 ang sinabi niya sa itaas. Katulad ito ng sinabi niya noon, na nakaka-antagonisa ang mga National Democrats sa buong united front na kontra-Gloria.

    Tapos itinabi pa sina Lenin at Mao kina Hitler at Pol Pot! How anti-communist can you get! Eh si Manuel L. Quezon, sino’ng kahanay? Sana mabasa niya ang libro ni Slavoj Zizek, iyung Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? At sana maunawaan niya ang pag-iiba ng mga ito.

    Masyado siyang sensitibo at takot sa Kaliwa — tapos parang pinapalabas niyang sinasabi lang niya ang sentimyento ng middle class. Pero kapag Kaliwa ang nagsabing sentimyento ng masa ang sinasabi nito, todo-kuwestiyon siya.

    Hindi kaya patunay ang ganyang pag-iisip ni MLQ3 — at ang napaka-publikong pagsasabi niya ng ganyan — ng tagumpay ng mga maka-Kanan sa rehimeng Arroyo?

    Sa dami ng nasabi ni Lozada, mahuhulaan mo na kung ano ang lugar ni Lenin sa pag-iisip niya. At hindi iyon tampok. So OA naman ito si MLQ3 para palakihin pa.

  15. […] yet, in just a little over two years FV folded up. in august 2010, jcc posted Filipino Voices About To Write #30 Filipino Voices, is in disarray if not dead. What used to be a collective voice of well-minded Filipinos embracing the new media and the digital space is now hobbled on a sickbed about to fold. Nick Cugtas owns the blog and for a couple of years or three, it has attracted a power-pack writers that have promising potentials and literary erudition. I have found hard-nosed, incisive and well-meaning writers; Dean Jorge Bocobo, Dean De La Paz, Jeg, Blackshama, Caffeine_Sparks, Benign0, BongV, Lila Shahani, Rom, and lawyers, BenCard and Abe Margallo. I also found The_Cat and Leytenian at times entertaining, and a lot of other visitors and commentators who do not fail to put in their five cents worth and snippets of their own genius about the country, her people and the politicians that bled them dry. As they come with different backgrounds, the debate was often more intense, passionate, eloquent and civil, though sometimes hostile. […]