Category: marian pastor roces

Dismissal won’t make us go away

By Marian Pastor Roces

We are told off: with freedom comes responsibility.

As though we didn’t know. As though we — the cyber-throng quick-witted enough to recognize bs thrown at us — don’t know, uhhhm, shit.

The reminder itself insults. It reminds us instead that the Philippines’ leaders think so very little of her citizens. Reminds us that this contempt for the populace is precisely the prevailing culture of its leadership—a culture that consumes cynical and idealist political, ecclessiastical, tradjorno leaders alike.

These authorities dismiss our outrage as hysteria. They know no better than to denigrate a remarkable show of smarts, wit, grace, inventiveness, and in fact wisdom, in the face of the grave threat to democratic space.

So they — and their mouth-pieces — talk down to us. Comporting themselves as though Medieval bishops speaking from on high, they deign teach us about democracy. About responsibility. Us! The citizenry that in the last quarter century has been consistently quicker than its leaders and its mainstream narrators in defining the possibilities and responsibilities of democracy.

Oh, and our own living-dead Medieval frailocracy have naturally joined the pious pantheon, none of whom have read Orwell’s “1984,” and perhaps for this reason have neither sense of irony nor foreboding. It took the netizens to point out the awful choice of date That Law came to pass.

But were it only illiteracy, perhaps our leaders deserve our patience. Trouble is, sheer illogic hobbles their attempts at Reason. They consign sundry critics on fb to the same criminal status as child porn traffickers and identity thieves, but this does not strike them as monstrous. They bandy Constitutional guarantees of the very freedom of expression they constrict. This does not seem to them oxymoronic. Or moronic.

Preposterously, they actually think netizens desire impunity—to libel freely, to shirk penalty—where the call from the netscape is for a deeply informed understanding of the radically interactive nature of digital media, with its built-in self-policing nature.

Self-policing systems are necessarily upheld by democracies (and feared and controlled by autocratic states, needless to say) because in allowing the individual citizen the same power as the big actors, at least for a minute or two, it does move societies in the direction of equality.

So it is now the citizenry, again, taking the high moral ground in this fracas. We first of all enjoin our leaders to get off their hoary paternalistic platforms, to breathe the envigorating air of that democratic space where Filipinos thrive on sharpened skills to spot and contest lies and manipulations.

Listen, then, oh grand leaders and inquisitors.

We have no use for the freedom to libel.

What’s at stake is the freedom to challenge the impunity of the powerful, as we go about our daily convivial, sometimes testy, and sure, often foolish chatter.

We have no desire to shirk responsibility, and because of this we trounce trolls quickly, quarrel with the reckless and fiendish on line, and think before we click.

What’s at stake is right of netizens to keep for ourselves the responsibility for maintaining healthy exchange in the ethereal and physical communities we live in. Not to surrender this responsibility to Big Brother.

We have no big urge to drag the unwilling into our newfangled netizenship that demands a savvy grasp of the technological enabling of democracy, and its dangers.

What’s at stake is an idea whose time is now: the separation of net and State apparatus. It is a separation built on the distinction between traditional media which historically has merged too often with State power; and the net, which proliferates imagined communities beyond the myriad imprisonments and impunities of the past.

What’s at stake is the fast-track education of our leaders, so they know how absurd and perilous it is to try to retrofit ancient repressive methods on people power revved up by 21st c tech. They have to step up and recognize the Filipino body politic as uniquely adept at discerning pivotal difference.

That body politic knows that the net diffuses centralized power. That traditional media consolidated power despite the best efforts of great journalists. That the net subverts gate keepers and power brokers. That traditional media yielded to these creatures. That the net has thus far disabled—where traditional media were often the precisely the media for—elite capture of resources, discussion, and the shaping of society.

What’s at stake is the progressively sophisticated use of a locally-formed computer literacy to advance a century old Philippine freedom agenda. Freedom from repressive overlords.

“70% of us are for the RH Bill”

My Rant
Marian Pastor Roces

Tito S affects gravitas. He will simply not be goaded by riffraff. He will not be persuaded to engage mere pests. We are all beneath him. If we’re so smart we should have been voted into the Senate. But we’re not in the august halls because our smarts have been bought by drug lords.

His contempt is so extreme, we have to invent new words to detox. Such poison!

He thinks he will have the last laugh. I can just hear him think this in his complete silence as we enjoy ourselves.

Yep this is one helluva male chauvinist pig (pardon the period vocab).

So this ugly business can’t end here.

So I won’t let it rest—if only for one more day. Even if it costs. Time and poise. In fact, even if it costs me the patience of some of you out there.

Because we can’t yield to Tito S an inch of what we’ve earned in political maturity. Because we can’t cede to this cretin our common sense.

All of us who earn our keep by creating. Paragraphs, projects, objects, strawberry jam, alternatives, rice harvests, buildings, toys, blogs, systems, dikes, events, boats, policies. Satire. Cheating, we know, drains the product of sizzle. Makes our work like soda without the fizz. Di na lang bale outcomes.

Plagiarism, we know, is a particular kind of stealing. It is a crime that comes with a slap and a kick at our earnest effort.

Plagiarism is Robert Blair Carabuena slapping and cursing at Saturnino Fabros trying to do a job with dignity.

Copying without attribution invites the derision of innovators. And reduces makers into cheap labor—not a fate our leaders should wish upon us.

Copying, we know, is different from emulating, evoking, distilling, paraphrasing, mimickry. Different, in fact, from making facsimiles and repros, as lawmakers everywhere ought to know.

Copying, in fact, is kleptomania. Sotto helping himself to other people’s stuff when he thinks no one’s looking—a pathology.

And translating, we know, needs to name the original voice. Otherwise, its just impudence. But impudence, we know, is the capital Sotto used to gain notoriety.

We KNOW all these fine points.

Tito S knows all these fine points. Its not as though he was born in jail or something.

But the dif between him and us, is: we don’t imagine we’ll get away with this level of bad. With this assault on the concept of an honest day’s work.

Seriously, this is the same impunity Zaldy A thinks he’s entitled to. Seriously, this is not hyperbole.

And here we get to the reason for my rant.

Both Zaldy A and Tito S (and a lot of you politicians out there) imagine they have the masses in their corner. Think their enormous power derives from the approval or silence of unthinking multitudes.

Hell, no. Their enormous power comes from old-boy-old-girl cabals. Comes from huge, nearly unimaginable monies staving off any possibility of trapo meltdown.

And given the chance, WE KNOW, the poorest, the most prostituted, the most demoralized Filipinos, know what indignity is. Know what trapo arrogance is.

But know, too, that impunity is self-delusion.

Those who indulge this delusion, think that fine lines— like the lines plagiarism draws between conceit and diligence —are merely middle class issues. That the poor don’t care.

This is my image: we are all Saturnino Fabros, traffic enforcer. We all have 6 children. We all know the 6 children can’t have 6 children too. Yes even the cyber bullies are Fabros.

70% of us are for the RH Bill.

We speak different languages but we are not as divided as Tito S and his ilk assume. For those on the net, the languages of satire and informed banter. For those like Fabros, the language of quiet dignity.

And this majority that can come together in a 70% consensus, we know, is not a delusion.