I think different bloggers have different ideas of what a blog is supposed to be about. Here are some of the conceptual approaches I see in the blogging world:
- A blogger who says: "I'm the technical professional here and will honor myself by giving you the latest technical expertise."
- Another one who says: "I have nothing better to do so I'm going to fill the internet up with my wisdom and life's meaning."
- A chat room filled with comments that are one-liner one-upsmanships.
- A rerun of some other guy's thinking.
- Pushing an agenda; "we don't care what YOU think unless you think like us."
- News and views with precious little comment.
- Raissa's blog. Fact-based article, edgy, provoking a lot of discussion and new information.
- JoeAm's blog. Opinion-based article, edgy and literate, provoking a lot of original thought.
More and more often these days, The Society of Honor hosts a blog discussion that rises to the ideal JoeAm had when he started blogging, that the comments would form as important a part of the blog - or a MORE important part - than the original article. So it was intensely rewarding to see last week's blog unfold:
Take a look at the discussion thread there. What do you notice about the comments?
- No insults.
- Intellectual curiosity.
- Original thought.
- Information in valuable context.
- Good humor and good will.
Other blog formats are certainly important: technical, amusement, social engagement, information sharing, or advocating one's passion. Those are all valuable content for a blog.
Even the anti sites perform a service for readers, giving malcontents a place to call home. Ahahahaha! No body else wants the surly, complaining tear-down artists. They have to collect somewhere.
But as for interesting and informative PERSPECTIVES on Philippine social, political and economic development . . . no Filipino blog beats . . .
- The Society of Honor by Joe America with Comments.
President Aquino took President Arroyo to task during a speech to New Zealand's Filipino community the other day. He did this with a joke, the English translation of which is:
- You know let me just share this joke, I kept laughing when I got it. It said, "Our fellow Filipinos who are corrupt use luxurious cars, so expensive and fast. But when they want to escape, they use a wheelchair."
Rappler headlined their article "Aquino cracks Arroyo wheelchair joke in NZ". The commentary neither approved nor criticized the joke. The reporter Ayee Macaraig wrote:
- Instead of a serious tirade, the President used humor to convey his message that Arroyo must be held accountable for wrongdoings during her administration.
What are we to make of this joke?
- Many would say "for shame, making fun of the infirm that way."
- Some might say, "oh, Mr. President, keep your yap shut when legal action is underway, lest you be seen as shaping the judicial finding."
- And many would simply laugh, along with the President. It's a funny joke.
I did number 3, actually, followed by number 2, then a quick return to number 3.
There are two ways to look at people in wheelchairs. (a) They somehow deserve our pity because they are not whole. (b) Or they are with people with different quirks than our own; theirs tend to be noticeable.
It is against the law to discriminate against handicapped people in the United States, and I abide by the law. Therefore, I hold that they are as competent as me to be the butt of jokes.
Once I got on an elevator in our bank building for my ride down the 50 stories from my office to the ground floor for lunch. About floor 43, a young man sitting in his battery-powered wheelchair wheeled in and spun it around to face the door. It was just him and me, side by side.
"What kind of gas mileage you get in that thing?" I asked.
He busted out laughing. "It depends on how fast I'm going!"
My turn to laugh. "How fast can you go?"
"About 10 miles per hour on a downhill slope."
"Christ, I should get me one of those!"
He laughed again, and we had a brief chat. At the bottom he nodded and rolled away. I walked. Both of us were a little lighter that day, I think.
Pity is a ridiculous emotion in many circumstances. People want to be seen as whole. Pity robs them of the privilege.
By way of footnote, during his New Zealand speech, President Aquino admitted there was reason to boast about progress being made in the Philippines. Economic growth up, rice production up, infrastructure improvements up, corruption down. And in closing his remarks, he asked New Zealand Filipinos to be sure to vote in the 2013 elections. He said:
- If we choose, I hope we do not choose those who are just good singers or good dancers or those who became extras in televenolas but those with platforms. And not just those with platforms but those who have shown that they have really fulfilled promises.
Right on, Mr. President!
Nice speech, all around.