Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Motherfucking Custodes

I know this post is a week late but I still can't get over reading Manuel Quezon's argument against the recent court ruling on the Manila Pen arrests of journalists and the bewildering comments that followed after. Particularly, I couldn't get over the hate that anti-traditional media bloggers had and wondered why weren't they getting the point.

Personally, I only speak from experience, coming from both worlds of traditional and online news media, as well as being a blogger. And it seems to me that those commenters don't seem to see the strike against free speech of traditional media is actually a strike against free speech per se. It reminds me of that poem written by the German Pastor Martin Niemöller about the dangers of standing by while the Nazi government carts away the people who are different from you, "First they came..."

The original goes:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Whether a traditional journalist or blogger, one could replace the words above with the tag 'journalist' or 'blogger who I disagree with' and it would still be apt. And on the issue that the law has precedence over free speech, one of the few things I remember from my political science background is the fact that laws are supposed to serve people, not the other way around. The judge should have dressed down the journalists for reckless endangerment AND the police for brutality. But then again, this is the Philippines so what do you expect?

On the idea of bloggers being better than journalists (and vice-versa), all I can say is: call out stupidity, false reporting and illogical arguments where ever it may be. Stupidity is universal: it's not limited to any particular group, whether bloggers or traditional journalists. As they say, don't bullshit a bullshitter.

Blathering idiots.


Sean said...

Ah, one of the rare pieces of poetry that I love. It's funny that I would find it used in this context.

Have we considered the possibility that maybe the local culture turns us into "jealous" people? In that sense, we don't usually empathize with other groups that we feel are "competing" for public attention (the "kulang sa pansin" perception) -- or in the journalists' case, a group that has previously attacked bloggers for being unreliable sources of information. In short, most of us would probably drop dead before we linked arms with the politicians, the lawyers, the journalists, the communists, the unionists, the feminists, the gay and lesbian movements, the farmers, the transportation groups, or any number of organizations out there that we don't join. The very idea seems revolting to us, for some reason. Maybe it's the culture.

That said, I'm not trying to make excuses here -- I'm merely batting around a question that might deserve further observation from us.

banzai cat said...

for that, i keel yu wit a plaztic zpoon.

Seriously, why funny? I thought it was appropriate on the basis on principle. Unless you don't think that our government can do it?

With regard to being a 'jealous' people, I don't think it's a local thing but rather a universal 'us-against-the-world' mentality. You can see it everywhere, not just here. Hell, even in literature and reading material it's there. You could say that the human being is generally antagonistic against his fellow human being and leave it at that.

Sean said...

If you're going to kill me with that plastic spoon, at least wait till I've finished dinner first.

It's appropriate, all right. I was just wondering why I've only seen it being used now. For a good poem, it should be getting around more... especially considering the antagonistic context that you pointed out.

banzai cat said...

Shall I also wait for dessert? ;-)

As for the poem, yeah. Councidentally, I had that poem pop up in my head while I was reading Quezon's post. So yeah, it SHOULD get around more often.