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Once upon a time, writers looked for a haven for absolute freedom of expression and nest for creativity. Then one day, a sudden change of weather occurred morphing the pen and papers of the writers to the embodiment of modern technology; computers. Computers got connected and formed a new world called the internet. The writers found their paradise in the forms of online journals or popularly known as blogs. It was a peaceful sanctuary. Until one day, it was commercialized and barbaric mobs invaded the paradise damaging the crops of brilliant ideas.

Mobs start to take place in our peaceful haven. Since the first EDSA Revolution, we have tend to abuse our democratic powers that eventually transform into a nation’s sickness; the People Power syndrome. This illness worsens as time passes by. Before, especially at the first time it was used, it was rewarding because we gained freedom from military dictatorship. Other countries praised us for our diplomatic solution to gain liberty. Then, this power has been abused that was apparent during the next EDSA revolutions.

Now, mobs are not just taking place in streets and major thoroughfares but they are also now here in the world wide web. They are not here to expel another president or rule over our condemned politics, but to ruin a life by avenging with illogical reasons, curses, stupid quotations, violent reactions and boycotting. It’s vendetta at the dumbest level.

Overreacting triggers the People Power syndrome that causes them to team up and bully on the person who have said something against them—or worst, to their idols. Democracy and freedom of speech is never a bad thing but when they react that is already out of context, that is stupidity.

The past few months we are surrounded with a lot of controversies here in the web. We have talked about different issues online and offline. Then, information gets faster with the use of broadband cables. It hastens everything and makes the mob infest the dreamworld of geeks and nerds. How do these mobs react to different issues? You’ll see.

First, let’s cite the major issues.

The first blatant appearance of these mobs is during the Malu Fernandez controversy. Everyone was in anguish with what she had written from the magazine and the broadsheet she was working for. OFW’s condemned her articles and asked for an apology. While some suggested to boycott People Asia and Manila Standard. What’s worst from this issue, mobs turned to insulting her physical appearance, requested to remove her from her office and threatened the life of the writer. The mob was partly successful because she wrote an apology and resigned from the magazine. She tried to resign from the broadsheet but it was not accepted. Now, she has been a good girl and not another ‘acerbic wit’ has been heard from her again. I dunno if the mob will still pursue their plan to burn her house down.

Recently, the dialog of Teri Hatcher’s character in Desperate Housewives made waves and irked our race. Opinions from the Filipino medical communities were divided. Some were offended while some just raised their eyebrows. For non-Desperate Housewives viewers, that single scene would really fume their nerves, as for followers, they would easily understand the wit of the show. Though I am not affected, I agree with the idea of writing or requesting an apology from the TV station. Boycotting was once again raised which was already too much. One even suggested to ask for donation and scholarship to Filipino communities which was way overboard and totally ridiculous. ABC already made an apology and hopes to put off the fires of the enraged mob and community. For me, I found our oversensitivity hypocritical especially for those mobs that overreacted. We all have tendencies to give a racist remark. Calling an Indian “Bumbay” or regard them as people with a foul smell is already offensive which is also seen in our local movies. Portraying an Indian as a 5-6 collector or a pervert Japanese is as much as offensive or greater than what is said in the script of Desperate Housewives. One more thing, the leakage from the Nursing Board exam last year made waves across the shores of the world, so that comment is partly a fact. Ain’t we just barking at our own door?

Now for the minor issues where the mob has gone worse.

Frances made a movie review of “I’ve Fallen For You” which starred Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson. She never said something against the reputation of the stars. All what she had written were only constructive criticisms about the movie. Yet, the Kimerald fans mobbed her blog saying she was a liar or more of a “Kapuso”. The reaction of the mob was extremely bothersome and stupefying. She never said something bad yet the fans were outraged by a simple constructive remark. If these fans only knew how helpful her criticism for the improvement of their idols and for the next movies to come. This mob is the most chilling a writer will encounter. I bet the mob didn’t really read what she had written—or maybe they couldn’t understand it.

Now the mob comes after a good friend blogger, Bulitas. He had written last August a post regarding a creative graduation photoshoot for a certain school. He labeled the girls as material girls because of the gadgets and stuffs they had for the photoshoot. Though he labeled them as material girls, he never referred them as sluts. His post was not totally defaming nor degrading any of those girls. If there was a mistake he did, it was the cropped pictures of the gradpics he put there with his post—which he removed later on—and he gave a hint of the name of the school. The mob arrogantly boasted their luxurious lives and immature bashing comments. The comments were overwhelmingly awful because like any comments from those mobs, they were dehumanizing the poor writer. He now removed the cbox, comment pages and that post from his blog. I hope he will be well after all this hullabaloos.

People Power syndrome is now unrestrained. Just like any power in the world, it can be constructive or it can be destructive. It can be called a democracy if opinions are stated fairly, but if this is just ganging up to bring down on someone, it is called bullying.

When will this sickness can be put once again in to good use? For now, I see this power has been regularly abused.

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14 Comments

  1. People who get the freedom are absolutely abusing it. And we can’t please everybody, someplace at sometime someone is bound to disagree with us, but it doesn’t mean that they can attack us because that’s how we think right? Whatever happened to “people have different beliefs”?

    We are lucky to live in a generation where freedom of expression is practiced. But what happens when it gets unreasonable?

    Very well addressed =)

  2. That’s erm, a LONG post

    Seeee, you really shouldnt mess with the Kimerald fans. Youre asking for trouble that way.

    (I’m surprised that they actually know how to get on the internet, even more awesome is that they know how to use the keyboard!) -> ok, I kid, I kid! hahah

  3. I was just going to write about the “I’ve Fallen For You” issue over at Frances’ blog, but it looks like you already beat me to it. ^_^

    It’s true. People nowadays tend to react irrationally without even thinking first. Sigh.

    Just like what I said on my blog, “… I guess Malu Fernandez was right to call us a lynch mob.”

    Seems like you’ve coined the term “People Power Syndrome”.

    Nice post.

  4. That “People Power Syndrome” happens everyday whenever pedestrians get it in their heads to just cross the street en masse regardless of the traffic sign. They’ve stopped tanks before, what’s an FX gonna do?

  5. Juice,
    What we are losing now is R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Everbody deserve to be respected.

    Jeff,
    Be more surprised on how they turned on the computer.

    Karlo,
    We sometimes forget that being brutally honest should not be always the excuse to lose respect on someone.

  6. there’s a new issue again: John Stewart made fun of Cory Aquino and now another segment wants to Boycott The Daily Show.

    This is a great post. It basically outlined the way we take freedom for granted.

  7. For me, this is an expounded version of what one of my professors told me, “Freedom is not absolute and should be taken with responsibility.”.

  8. Agent Grey and Jeff are two big meanies! Naman they also know to type and turned the PC on. Be surprised if they don’t have a shrine for Kimgerald at home LOL! o_O

    Well we should really sometimes sleep on these…Mobs are just Mobs, just wait for tomorrow and wish them dead. Eiiik!

    Poor Irvin, Frances and the rest.

  9. Just like what I said on my blog, “… I guess Malu Fernandez was right to call us a lynch mob.”

    What an irresponsible statement. I am disgusted.

  10. Dan Hellbound,
    It’s also the same with “With great power comes great responsibility.”

    L.A.,
    They know how to make one?! LOL.

    Benj,
    Someone is getting to your nerves again. Hehe. Chill!

  11. Bag logic gets to my nerves a lot. The nerve.

    Irrational reaction? That’s idiocy. Jeez.

  12. Bulitas had it coming. It was unprofessional to do what he did. Poor kid.

  13. Benj,
    It was indeed unprofessional. If he did not post the pictures or give a hint of the school’s name, I bet he still have a job ’til now. I’m sure he’ll learn from this.

    This must serve a lesson to all bloggers, especially to non-anonymous ones, to be extra careful when ranting about work, clients or anything that deal with jobs or something that can damage their reputation.

  14. dude, what ur saying is antiquated prolly even nauseatingly cliche. i would say stupid. in this day and age of teh world wide web, and of informational technology, everyone is brought together into one singular living mass. the stakes are higher, and the consequences even more so. anyway, anything that disturbs this abnormal overgrowth we call the connected humanity, will only get a shitload of pus straight to the face. And people like MALU, TERI and BULITAS deserve the bukake.


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