Yesterday – or yesternight … whatevs – Noemi Dado plurked about Manuel Viloria’s post: Obliterated with the invitation to everyone to be the judge. Since that plurk appeared on my timeline, it meant that either Dado was a Friend or I was a Fan of hers. Or at least that’s what I understand about the way Plurk works. Certainly, I’d requested to be Dado’s plurk Friend out of a degree of admiration for her.
In short order, responses started piling up on Dado’s plurk, all of which revolved around practically the same theme: don’t mind him, he’s just jealous of you/your success/whatev.
Now me, I have someone very close to me who has this terribly chronic case of persecution complex. Her mother, for want of a better way to deal with her daughter’s neuroses, has taken to replying “inggit lang yan sa’yo” every time her daughter starts rampaging about some slight or insult.
As a result, this young woman has ended up with the belief that criticism especially from people she dislikes or don’t know are rooted in envy, hence invalid. In fact, sometimes she considers criticism from friends and family just as rooted in envy as criticism from others.
The problem with that is, with that sort of attitude, she has lost a very important feedback mechanism that would have helped her spot her faults and improve herself. It’s like looking at the mirror and calling it a liar. What the hell is the mirror for?
Ever since I met this woman and her mother, I’ve been exceptionally wary of the “naiinggit lang yan sa’yo” dismissal of criticism. So, when I saw Dado’s plurk getting replies almost completely along those lines, I decided to take a second look at Viloria’s post.
Viloria speaks of
“a high profile blogger earlier referred to Mayor Pangandaman and his father, Sec. Pangandaman as dysfunctional,”
but who, when the Pangandaman’s side of the story started coming out, changed her characterization of the Secretary to a parenthesized (“Peacemaker appointee.”)
Viloria suggested that this change – which he noted was not accompanied by any sort of explanation – might be because Dado was afraid of getting sued for libel. And this is what Dado eventually ended up discussing in her own blog.
But read Vilario’s post all the way to the end and you come across this:
I’m not here to defend or side with either the Pangandamans or the Dela Pazes. I just hope that bloggers and non-bloggers inspired to start blogging (given that even columnists such as Amando Doronila write about the “power” of blogs and bloggers) will think not once, but twice before hitting the “publish” button. But anyway…
What’s the lesson here for bloggers? It’s so easy to jump on a story and take the one side of a blogger, against someone else who is not a blogger, or who is not a friend of a blogger friend. You can always blog that you want to hear the other side, while in the very same blog post categorically label the silent side as “dysfunctional.”
You can later remove such words, and your blog post will appear as if your Dec 27 post were never published any differently from how it looks today.
These passages spelled it out clearly for me: Viloria’s post was trying to make the point that bloggers should not pre-judge situations and then blog about it; especially considering the ‘power’ of blogs. More or less a variation on nearly every pa-cool pundit’s favorite quote from Spiderman. The dig about a possible libel suit was just gratuitous teasing, hardly deserving of a full-blown response.
Viloria’s words also carried an accusatory undercurrent that was never really completely articulated. Nevertheless, since the undercurrent was pretty clear, let me summarize:
- Dado, in calling the Pangandamans dysfunctional reflected her prejudgment of the situation – precisely the act Viloria was warning against.
- By changing that label to the infinitely milder - she sez was going for irony- “(a Peacemaker appointee)” Dado implicitly, but no less effectively, accepted that she needed to show a bit more objectivity – itself an admission that she did pre-jude the situation.
- And that by making the change without disclosure to her readers as to her whys, Dado sought to conceal her slide back to objectivity.
Seeing this aspect of Viloria’s post that was being ignored by commenters on her plurk, I wanted to shared the insight with Dado via a comment on her plurk.
SIDEBAR: Later on, when I checked my timeline, Dado’s plurk – and my response with it – vanished. I checked out her profile page (from where I’d originally posted my response to her plurk) had been set to private.
Like I said at the top of this post, I don’t know for 100% certain if we were Friends or if I was just a Fan of hers, but I do remember that we WERE Friends, and that all of a sudden we weren’t; and that at 12 noon of January 9, my karma was at 79.24, and that now, at 12:41 a.m. of January 12, my karma is still at 79.24. Was I un-friended and so took a Karma hit?
Just to clarify, I don’t mind being un-friended or losing Karma – despite the fact that I’ve been obsessing on hitting 81 karma points since before Christmas 2008 LOL! – and I’m certainly not begrudging anyone their right to un-friend me.
Oh, and of course no one is obligated to Friend you or remain your Friend. Just to clarify that I understand and accept that too.
Oh well, excuse me, Mr. Link Baiter, this is my blog and I have every right to edit and change adjectives as I deem fit without changing the essence of the sentence. (Mr. Link Baiter does not deserve a link love but I am sure an anonymous commenter will soon post the link in your blog.) I have also every right to edit, delete and filter comments as I please.
I agree that it is her blog and she does have every right to edit anything about it (I disagree though that the edit Viloria pointed out didn’t change the essence. It didn’t change the sentence’s meaning, sure, but it certainly changed the subtext if not necessarily the context. See SIDEBAR2).
SIDEBAR2: Part of her response to Viloria, Dado writes that “Whether I changed a word or not, my stand remains. It never changed. I condemn the action taken on the 14 year old boy trying to defend a father. I condemn the abuse of authority.” Fair enough. But her use of the word “dysfunctional” clearly indicated that censure of the Pangandamans, at least, was one of the pillars of her original stand. Her deletion of that word, on the other hand, just as clearly indicates that her ‘stand’ is now missing it’s third pillar.
But … but … she’s momblogger!
Momblogger is a brand – whether you think of it that way or not – and momblogger opinions are pretty persuasive for a lot of bloggers, myself included.
It’s kinda like Cory Aquino leading the charge at Edsa Dos and suddenly apologizing to Erap.
I doubt that I was the only one who was motivated to learn more about the Pangandamans when I read how the momblogger characterized him as dysfunctional; and I admit that that characterization was instrumental in defining my opinion of father and son.
To discover later on that momblogger had apparently softened her stand did leave me feeling stranded high and dry. Now, of course, I’m responsible for my own opinion, and I’m standing by it – not blaming her at all or saying that she mislead me or anything of that sort. But what Viloria said is relevant:
Yes, you can blog and delete, but people will save copies and never forget. And when you materially edit in this manner (without apparent disclosure), you do more than merely erase a dysfunctional word or two.
You obliterate your credibility.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Dado has lost her credibility, but the brand certainly doesn’t appear as shiny to me as it used to. Not that one person’s opinion is awfully significant; my drama, I know, prolly matters little to her, and much less in the grand scheme of things. But, see this is MY blog, and I can write whatever I please.
And what i want to write is this:
Writers – bloggers included – most especially those who count as shapers of opinion, should be held to higher standards.
Such writers – bloggers included – who find themselves in a situation where they need to modify their previous positions may reasonably be expected to offer at least an explanation of why their positions have been altered. Obviously this isn’t a right demandable by anyone, but I believe that a moral and ethical obligation exists.
Writers – bloggers included – should not dismiss criticism off-hand. When we immediately accept “naiinggit lang yan” as a valid reason, there is the implicit assertion that we are successful enough to be envied and that we are incapable of error: the former is not necessarily true, while the latter is a rank impossibility.