marck, edel, benignO

over @ the collective filipino voices, young blogger marck ronald rimorin laments:

When are people going to write for the poor, the downtrodden, the laid-off, the fired, the underpaid, the hungry, the sick, the ill… those people who are as sickened about everything as we are, yet don’t have the benefit of blogs or computers to do what they can of it, no matter how small?

radical u.p. intellectual edel garcellano, “sir” edel to many generations of comparative lit students, has this comment on bloggers post-bambi that might explain why it aint gonna happen, marck.

The ANC journalists find blogging the most competitive for mainstream media. Now anyone can infiltrate the public sphere when once in the pre-cyber years only the favored & the ideologically acceptable icons could smugly perorate.

Bloggers of varied IQ & credentials can deliver their daily spiel in cyberspace. Let a hundred flowers bloom? There are, of course, the attendant risks of libel & other judicial threats in a feudal environment, but the current scenario simply exemplifies that the huge energy of counter-discourse is being tapped to mount an offensive against the canonical satraps of state apparati.

This is what the valley golf brawl has uncovered: the rise of cyber critics, who responsible or not, middling or talented, tilt the balance in favor of the unarticulated response, the publicly repressed, the individually marginalized. The personal-& the quotidian, the everyday-has assumed the political: & militarist mentors are hard put to clamp the irreverent folks in jail, much less stem the textual avalanche. In the techno-terrain, words transform, mutilate.

Of course, bloggers must necessarily be middle-class, professional. No informal settlers would figure in the equation, even if OFWs infest their fold. The discourse therefore is basically extension/amplification of capitalist production, some internal resistance that however falls within the ambit of reformist negotiation. The very idea therefore of a radical dialogue isfar-fetched.

It might even cultivate the impression that freedomflourishes in a fascist state. For which a Maoist revolution is old hat, impractical, naïve, discredited.

yes, the discourse is reformist rather than radical.  most if not all bloggers are middle-class and the middle-class is, at best, reformist — we want changes, an end to corruption (which we think will solve poverty) but nothing too drastic, nothing that would rock the boat or upset the status quo.  in contrast, “radical” is associated (and outlawed) with the communist left and means drastic deep-seated changes in the way wealth and resources are distributed and how we do business with each other as a people.  the kind of discourse that threatens and shakes the status quo, indeed the kind of discourse (in filipino) that can be found elsewhere in the blogosphere, but not in sosyal fv.

HOWEVER, fv is not entirely without substance.  i hate to disagree with practically everyone who has ever dissed and continues to diss marck’s co-blogger benignO.  i’ve just been to his blog getrealphilippines — i visited once long ago to check out his ebook but was turned off, i don’t remember why now, senior moment ;) — the book’s gone, in its place a brief analysis of and solutions to the poverty and backwardness of the filipino that is the best stuff i’ve read so far on the subject from a filipino (okay, filipino-australian), who is obviously influenced by third wave thinkers and informed by the filipino experience, and whose context of solutions is actually another way of redistributing the wealth and doing business with each other as a people.  his current post substance matters in an economic crisis is also worth cross-posting @fv.

Decades of dependence on foreign employment (and a lack of appreciation of its social costs), sustained prostitution of the economy at the altar of the gods of “foreign direct investment”, and a consumer market opened to a flood of non-durable imports has rendered Philippine society one that utterly lacks substance — one that could now be providing a safety net for workers once hailed as “heroes” of the Republic now returning to become its burden.

it’s a pity that rather than flesh out, test, develop further his ideas @  fv — the perfect venue, i’d say — mostly benigno heckles and baits and asks hard questions, the latest of which is:  what does “the filipino” stand for?

Even as we struggle with the low bar of defining an identity, the aim for a stand – the higher bar – I realise seems a virtual impossibility for a people such as ours based on what I’ve seen so far.

What does the “Filipino” stand for?

The question remains unanswered; not that it ever will be convincingly.

Then again isn’t conquest of perceived impossibility the very essence of achievement? Maybe not so if you are a Filipino. And that kind of regard for achievement is probably what defines us.

what does “the filipino” stand for?  right now “the filipino” (collective, as opposed to the individual) does not stand for anything, much like fv, which does not stand for any one thing that the group as a whole can agree on — if there is, it has yet to be articulated.  in the case of the nation, the possibility of standing for something, the capacity to stand for something, has yet to be grasped, thanks to mainstream media that continue to fail the people.


  1. Hey Angela,
    may I ask a possibly naive question? I turned to the blogosphere as a tool to communicate with my students and perhaps the outside world. I’ve rediscovered some old friends, etc.

    I noticed that humans, being humans, there are tribes and cliques, etc. Especially among economists. The diatribe can be nasty. But there is some reality to it.

    My question is this: If a blogger wants to make a meaningful contribution, should he not at least give the reader some idea of his identity? We economists pretty much know each other, as there are schools and there are schools. And as a rule, google will show up people’s cv’s and affiliations. But I notice that Filipino bloggers seem to play a web game of “hide and seek,” a bit like anonymous texting. They have all that time in their hands? I wouldn’t react to you if I had no sense of your ethics and character. And blogging just to sound off may be good therapy but is just hot air. Am I missing something?

  2. Angela: thanks. I just hope that some things do change, and that I hope you’re wrong, that something is going to happen from all of this. I know I belong in the minority of young anarchist radicals, but that’s just me. :)

    Anyway… Sir Orlando? No we don’t. Some of us (myself included) broadcast who we are in our blogs. Personally, I hate hide and seek. :D

  3. good question, orlando ;) if anything is worth doing,it’s worth putting my name to it, has always been my attitude. but since the blogosphere allows anonymity i suppose it’s as valid a way to blog as any. some of the blogs i’ve linked to and which i visit regularly are written by anonymous bloggers but of course it takes a while longer — many visits, many posts — to convince me that they’re not spouting just a lot of hot air. the same goes for anonymous commenters over @ fv ;)

  4. hey,

    actually my problem with “what does the filipino stand for” question as posed by benign0 is that its vacuous and confusing.

    at first blush, he seems to be asking, what have filipinos acomplished? is this a function of prosperity? i.e. wealthier countries accomplished more?

    then, it seems the question is, what is the filipino known for? anything ‘substantial’? again, as a developing country, since the philippines is a middle income country, what kind of answer should we get?

    next, he wants to talk about values (i.e. ‘stand’) as a people. But then, ALL people strive for virtue. Again by definition; no one will ever say they are not against virtue. no? No one can ever say we are not striving for virtue. Thats true for everyone, including the filipino.

    Last, he says, countries are famous for upholding certain values. Why? Who gets to determine that, for example, the USA stands for truth and justice?

    Doesn’t EVERYONE stand for truth and justice?

  5. gabbyd ;) you ask, doesn’t EVERYONE stand for truth and justice? well, everyone WOULD LIKE to stand for truth and justice, including the philippines. but some countries actually try harder than others to live up to it, but not pinas — our version of truth and justice is feudal pa rin, the mindset being, what are we in power for…

    as individuals many pinoys are as good/great as other individuals of other races, but as a collective we are sabog, can’t quite agree on any one defining issue, most important of which, i dare say, is our relationship with, our attitude towards, our former colonial master america. the devil is in the politics.