Plenty of people now claim that sarcasm is a language which they fluently speak. On social networking sites and perhaps on any informal online bio-data where “language” is part of the queries, it is no longer surprising to find people who set “Sarcasm” as their mother tongue.
Anyone who says they are fluent with sarcasm not only uses it, but knows how to distinguish it and even appreciate it at times.
The recent entry Sir Stewart wrote for So What’s News? on WordPress managed to deface so many hypocrites who thought they can handle the tongue of the trade.
After the controversial Anti-Planking Act of 2011, proposed by Winnie Castello, got such a huge online buzz, even trending on Twitter in the Philippines and Worldwide (ah, such great shame was bestowed upon the country that day), So What’s News, a blog of societal satire, published an article to mock the waste of time the congress was troubling about. In a piece of fake news, he stated that Castello, the same congressman, passed another bill that was more stupid than the first. It was called the “Anti-Angry Birds Bill.”
Shortly after it was published on his blog, the “news” spread like wildfire on social networking sites, bringing about a huge surge of aggravated readers, angrily commenting about how stupid the government is, and basically CAPSLOCKING the congress to death. And although it could sometimes be funny to see a person or two not get the joke, be fooled by a piece of satire, it easily grew annoying as so many had apparently believed the hoax, even to the point of once again having it trend on Twitter.
And although I believe that Stewart was delightfully amused at the publicity he’s gotten for his humble blog—and undoubtedly, I am happy for him too—I am utterly disgusted by how gullible Filipinos are nowadays.
First of all, it really does say there that all posts on the blog were satirical pieces. Next to that, there was this fake picture of protesters with placards displaying images of Angry Birds, and another of the congress with the character illustration of the game flashed on their screen. Besides, an Anti-Angry Birds Bill? Who would even believe that?
Next to that, a lot of the people who are so angry and so concerned about how the congress was not focusing on the more important issues were obviously the ones who didn’t even bother to read the blog. They just saw someone else’s tweet or status update, and automatically chimed in with the choir of angry townsmen, complete with virtual pitchforks and torches.
I guess you can say this comes from a culture of blatant overuse of copy-pasting sources from Wikipedia, and the preference of online source materials over actual books and periodicals. Now people are gullible enough to believe in blogs. That, or they’ve just grown too lazy or stupid to analyze if the source material is even authentic. I’m hoping none of them are vying to become future journalists, historians, researchers, scientists and textbook writers.
It is truly depressing to know that an entire generation depends on social networking to be socially aware.
Nobody reads the real news anymore. Everyone just plainly doesn’t care. We’ve all grown too apathetic to the real happenings in society, and too absorbed in how Josh dated Stacy after she broke up with Mark for cheating on her with Tina. Or something like that.
They don’t care about society anymore. But once they’ve seen something like “Anti-Angry Birds Bill” trending on Twitter, they’d all be fired up about how there are so many more problems in society that have to be fixed. They speak like they know plenty.
Other than the apparent fact that societal apathy has numbed out and dumbed down the general population, the other thing that got me miffed was how, after finding out that the post was a joke, they often got angry or said that “political satire isn’t nice.” Or that news shouldn’t be faked. Or that it was misleading.
The only people who don’t appreciate political satire and societal jokes in general are the ones who were fooled by it, or those who don’t understand it. In fact, some of the best pieces in literature that contributed and ultimately inspired movements towards societal change were political satire. Jonathan Swift’s classic novel Gullver’s Travels compared politics and the process for bequeathing of authority in governments with a game where people had to jump over a stick to become the next leader. My personal favorite, George Orwell’s Animal Farm compared politics in totalitarian governments with animals, putting play on the famous saying “man is a political animal.”
Also, dear Philippines, let’s not forget. During the time of Marcos’ Martial Law, when freedom of speech was suspended, the people had to turn to political satire to express their wishes to return to democracy. Without political satire, we might all be polishing Imelda’s shoes and beading her terno’s.
Tons of websites dedicated to fake news are up online. And we all love to laugh about their improbable reports. The Onion, for one, is a general favorite.
So What’s News?’s posts were tasteful and hilarious. “Anti-Planking? Castello’s such a joke, haha, what’s he going to ban next? Oh, I know! Angry birds!” It wasn’t offensive–well, it was meant to slightly offend, but only up to an extent–it was clean, to the point, and came across as news we’d so love to hate.
It was a joke. And a pretty good one at that. Anyone who didn’t get that just didn’t know how to read.