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Man O’the Year

Well, here we are. On the cusp of the new year and it is time to crown the Man o’the Year. I’ve not done this before but you have to know that I’m not going by who the biggest newsmaker is, or the most popular, or whatever. Rather, Man 0’the Year goes to the person whose influence was felt the most in the blogosphere. Yep. The blogosphere. Not politics necessarily, and not even the whole blogosphere; rather that part of the blogosphere that I know about. 

Oh and, I don’t hold with the p.c. epidemic either, so there isn’t going to be a Person o’ the Year. 

Let’s start with the runners up.

If we’re going by the amount of influence exerted, the quick choice would be GMA. But that’s a cop-out. Obviously, in this politics obsessed country – and blogosphere – the head of state would be the most influential person, for good or bad. And besides, it’s so cliched to pick the villain. TIME did that with Hitler, so let’s leave it at that. So, GMA comes in a distant third.

Coming in second was benign-zero: everyone’s favorite heckler – and his own favorite intellectual. Benign-zero, through his monomanic self-promotion, has been moderately successful in forcing people to re-think their initial – some would say knee-jerk – positions. Too bad his reputation and relentless self-promotion gets in the way of his being taken seriously. And that’s why he’s an also ran rather than the Man. 

Because he’s so abrasive in his narcissim, he is not as influential as he could be. He hovers somewhere between acceptance and the fringe, never quite belonging to either. However, I have a feeling that once he drops the I’m-better-than-your-entire-nation attitude, a lot more people will be influenced by what he writes.

First runner-up goes to Plurkbuddy. That delightfully insouciant goldfish has not only taken screen-suck to a new level, he has also created a platform where many blogposts are born, dissected, and shot-down. For a blogger, Plurk is a particularly valuable resource because it is the the blogosphere’s pulse – alive and throbbing with vitality. 

Unfortunately for Plurkbuddy, he doesn’t actually shape the discussion. Like a catalyst, he provides the spark but over where the conflagration goes he has no contribution. Close, little goldfish, but no cigar.

So we fnally come to the man of the year. And it’s a toofer.

These two Men o’the Year – working separately – have done more for the Pinoy blogosphere than most. By enshrining blogs in a document of tremendous national import, my first honoree successfully elevated the general public’s awareness of the blogosphere and midwifed the birth of blogging as a significant presence in the intellectual landscape of the country.

With quiet diligence and dedication, my second honoree channeled the scattered explosions of outrage and delight into a booming voice that added a delicious new layer of complexity to the national conversation.

Together, these two gentlemen have transformed the face of Filipino blogging. While it’s hard to tell whether this metamorphoses is for the best, the fact remains that they made 2008 a heady time to have a computer and an opinion. 

Manolo Quezon and Nick of Filipino Voices – my Men o’ the Year.

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Filed under: blogging,

12 Responses

  1. benj says:

    yay for LA LOPEZ!

  2. cvj says:

    Good choices, Happy New Year Rom!

  3. rom says:

    cvj:glad you approve, uncle! and a smashing new year to you too, la!

  4. rom says:

    benj: LOL! does he look like LA Lopez? Or is there a joke I’m not getting? Anyway, happy new year to you too!!!

  5. BrianB says:

    benigs could contribute more and become a real intellectual if only he sheds his troll identity and become a real person. He’s certainly got the analytical skills and he actually does a bit of research before he posts.

  6. Jenny says:

    Excellent choices! Yay! Happy New Year Rom! *hugs*

  7. benign0 says:

    For once, I agree with cvj. Great choices indeed, Rom. 😉 There is significant honour in coming up just above the President of the Philippines in your book of movers and shakers.

    I’m sure you’ll continue to love me just the same if I stay in that zone between acceptance and the fringe the way most true rock stars do and not succumb to Establishmentisation. 🙂

    Happy New Year! It’s a great year ahead of us!

  8. Nick says:

    thanks for the vote of confidence Rom, all this aside, if it were not for the passionate writers and readers, we would go nowhere in this endeavor, but because we are allowed to challenge one another, and still garner each others’ respect, I think will go a long way towards moving ahead..

    as to Benign-0, I share your view on this Rom.. honestly Benign-0, consider it, you can go against the grain but let go of the attitude that, in my opinion is hindering you to fully maximize what you got in that noggin of yours..

  9. Jeg says:

    Hear, hear. MLQ3 and Nick!

    And the choice of benign0 for second runner-up was truly inspired. If I may, I’d like benny to be exactly who he is and not change a thing about his ‘style’.

  10. American Intellectual says:

    It is truly saddening that most of you Filipinos remain far too emotional to be truly intellectual.

    I’m talking about how you are unable to look squarely at what Benign0 has to say without being hurt by how he says it. Let me give you a hint: Benign0’s style of writing is common and considered normal in the West.

    We in the West don’t take that style personally because we have learned (or perhaps our colder climate has forced us) to be more objective and more able to distance ourselves from our emotions and it is truly a sad thing that you Filipinos still cannot read Benign0’s views without getting angry. He is merely the messenger, and it is a disservice to yourselves that you hate the messenger for merely bearing the Truth.

    I lived in the Philippines for a long time and have observed everything that Benign0 says to be true. All fellow Western expats I know share the same views. Benign0, however, has an inside view to the causes of the phenomena we Westerners observe in the Philippines and of Filipinos particularly because Benign0 himself is a Filipino, albeit has successfully imbibed the analytical method of logic and objectivity used by Western intellectuals.

    Personally, Benign0 is too tame and holds back too much, in fact. His style is not offensive nor is it abrasive. It is merely truthful.

    Anyone who asks Benign0 to “soften” his stance is asking him to lie. If you ask him to sugarcoat the painful and ugly realities about why the Philippines remains a poor and third world country and why Filipinos are looked down upon and disrespected everywhere there are large numbers Filipinos working in brainless jobs such as care-giving, domestic help, and prostitution, you are asking him to lie.

    If you cannot see the real Truth about yourselves as merely presented by an objective observer without hating the observer, then you are a hopeless people who will continue to wallow in mediocrity and your country will continue to slide further into despair and misery.

    This current global crisis makes it worse: countries that used to hire your people will soon be sending your excess labor home.

    Unless you objectively pay heed to Benign0’s messages and decide to act on them, your country will soon become one of the cesspits of the World.

    Consider yourselves warned.

  11. rom says:

    Hello, American Intellectual.

    Interesting points you tried to raise, but like a typical man-o’-the-west, you are so caught up in your hubris that you fail to realize that your way isn’t the only way.

    The goal of someone like benign0 is to get his point across, yes? Or as you say, to warn us of our own impending doom. It is ironic, therefore, that you try to praise the man by doing exactly what he has accused Filipinos of doing: trying to solve the problem by perpetuating the kind of thinking that caused the problem in the first place.

    benign0 is ineffective because he does not talk to Filipinos in a way that will make them see his point. He hammers away at the Filipino ear and thus makes it deaf to his words. This is the problem. And you, American Intellectual, are doing the same thing. If Filipinos don’t heed benign0, what in the hell makes you think that you’ll be listened to?

    Filipinos, you see, can be like clay. Pounding on it with a hammer will only pack it in tighter, making it tougher. Apparently, you men-o’the-west are like brittle stone. A little pounding and you shatter into a thousand little pieces of self doubt and enter into an orgy of ‘self-examination’ and whatnot. That might work for you, it does not work for Filipinos.

    Filipinos can be molded when spoken to in the right way.But speak harshly, and you will find that Filipinos have a gift for turning a deaf ear.

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