The ivory tower that is the Ateneo de Manila University

It’s nothing short of a memetic explosion. Get Real Post articles that dissected and, in the process, eviscerated the ill-conceived conceptual foundation of a statement released by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) faculty, denouncing Martial Law “historical revisionism” and baldly accusing Philippine senator and vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos of “brutality” have strongly-resonated amongst the Philippines’ young voters.

ateneo_elitism

Many observers have noted that this strong challenging of the edicts of this hallowed elite Catholic institution of learning is long-overdue. The ADMU has long stood tall as a bastion of progressive thought — or so its officers and student body would like to believe. Though the Ateneo community boasts a long track record of activism, most notedly their participation in the uprisings that led to the 1986 “people power revolution”, the possibility that this stance and the thinking that underpin its interpretation of history may now be obsolete. At the heart of this obsolescence is the idea that “the Martial Law years” — a catch-all phrase that is used to describe the period over which former President Ferdinand Marcos ruled — is a singular cause of the failure of the Philippines to progress.

Part of the frustration and, now, defensiveness of the once glorious champions of Yellow-branded “freedom” can be traced back to the core of the euphoria that permeated Philippine society in the 1980s — the misguided thinking that the Philippines, after the collapse of “the Marcos regime”, held infinite promise of progress and a triumph of justice presumably fuelled by the “freedom” it had “won” and the “democracy” its champion, then President Cory Aquino had “restored”.

Unfortunately, history, as it unfolded, did not necessarily empathise with this “hope” Filipinos harboured in the midst of that euphoria. The 30 years that followed the 1986 “revolution” had proven that the so-called “lack of freedom and justice” that these activists insisted characterised the Marcos years was not the real cause of the Philippines’ inability to join the ranks of its prosperous neighbours in the region. Whilst Filipinos soaked up the freedom that was available in excess since 1986 to churn out brain-killing entertainment, elect morons into public office, and seal the Yellow brand of the Aquinos as the de facto franchise holder of this “freedom” and “democracy” that marked those three decades, the nation sunk deeper into degeneracy.

The problem, however, is that this nationwide groupthink persisted in Philippine society like a deadly cancer. It prevented even the finest Filipino minds from stepping out of the din of chatter emanating from the clique once known as the Philippine “intelligentsia” to regard the situation from an outsider’s perspective. The Ateneo de Manila University counts itself as one of the stalwarts of this groupthink, but it had long ago become sloppy in its approach thanks to a lack of a will to challenge its own belief systems and allowing itself to become cocooned in a paradigm well past its use-by date.

This is an ironic condition for an institution that routinely encourages its students to reflect and go into periodic “retreats” where one could induldge in luxurious meditation and exercises in self-actualisation. Perhaps the key ingredient missing in these efforts to enhance mindfulness of one’s surroundings is to remain open to inquiry and challenge. Do Ateneans really learn from all those immersion activities where members of both student and faculty come “down from the hill” to expose themselves to the challenges of the poor in programs like Tulong Dunong (“help with knowledge”)?

Evidence of a yawning gap between theory and intent and actual practice is in the attitude Ateneans have taken towards the brilliant and groundbreaking articles Get Real Post had, in recent days, put out there to challenge the Ateneo faculty statement against Senator Marcos’s alleged “historical revisionism” efforts. Some faculty members engaging the authors of these articles in social media have downright refused to read the articles themselves claiming that doing so will “contribute undeserved traffic” to Get Real Post. Some have retreated into that zone of comfort where Atenistas have long been legendary — grammar Nazism. Indeed, many Ateneo scholars have long tales of woe to tell surrounding the ostracism they receive from paying Ateneo students who make a sport of nitpicking on and making fun of their grammar gaffes and inability to deliver a natural Arrrneeoouww accent that, we are told, is a mark of a “true Atenean”.

Therein that refusal to engage intelligently with people who beg to differ lies the downfall of the Ateneo. Singing about coming “down from the hill” will certainly not ameliorate a strong tradition of institutionalised elitism that closes the impressionable minds of the kids of the country’s top taipans and politicians that pay mega bucks to have their kids educated by the Jesuits in the hills of Loyola Heights.

Perhaps this episode (and there will be many more to come) should be regarded by the Ateneo community as a call to action. Rather than shrink away from the matter of the perceptions (fair or unfair) of elitism they cop from the broader Philippine public, Ateneans should be that “man for others” they fancy themselves to be and confront with courage these perceptions with an open mind and a measure of that self-reflection they supposedly learned in their classrooms.

[Photo courtesy PhilStar.]

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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105 Comments on "The ivory tower that is the Ateneo de Manila University"

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Juan
Guest

Not surprising really, the Catholic Church’s agenda is to keep people in the dark.

Franku
Guest

Ah yes, cancer at its finest

Arvin Boller
Guest
Medyo na-irita ako sa post, so here goes At dahil baka matawag akong “elitista” ng nagsulat nito, isinulat ko ang aking mga pananaw sa tagalog Pasensya na, pero mas sanay ako sa tagalog na pananalita at hindi sa sulat, baka may mali ako sa grammar Pero ito, sinbukan kong sagutin ang bawat talata ng post. “It’s nothing short of a memetic explosion. Get Real Post articles that dissected and, in the process, eviscerated the ill-conceived conceptual foundation of a statement released by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) faculty, denouncing Martial Law “historical revisionism” and baldly accusing Philippine senator and… Read more »
Josef Villanueva
Guest

On point lahat pare. Puro ad hominem lang at malalim na salita dito. Walang datos, walang pagpapaliwanag ng mga binabatikos na punto pero ang lakas ng loob na manghusga.

Tapos sumagot ako sa tweet nung OP ng isang article, tagged din yata si benign0 na nagsasabing hindi por que anti-Marcos e pro-Aquino na. NR. So sino ang hindi sumasagot sa diskurso?

Ren
Guest

Huwag na nating patulan mga yan. Bitter lang ata yan na hindi sya nakapasok ng Ateneo dahil sa mabababaw niyang pag-iisip. Walang laman argument niya eh. Mukhang sinulat lang talaga para makatira. It’s exactly with this way of thinking the Philippine democracy will never prosper.

joey escalera
Guest

andaming sinabi, pulos wala naman sa punto lahat? mangyaring pakiabanggit saang parte ng binasa ninyo ang nagsabing “maganda ang batas militar”?

ad hominem daw e ganun din naman ang banat nyo. nagtagalog pa. inglisin mo na lang, nagpakahirap ka pa. =)

domo
Guest

Sheesh are you ateneans really THAT asshurt? Didn’t your alma mater taught you how to swallow the bitter pill? O sadyang mayaman ka pero utak squatter ka naman? No wonder why our country’s universities have low quality education compared to other countries and what you’re bitching is already proof of it.

Juan
Guest

Madali lang yan para sabihin mo ‘yan. Malamang di ikaw yung apektado. Kaya wag ka nang sumatsat pa

Elisa
Guest

Tanong ko rin po… di po ba kayo tinuruan ng alma mater niyo ng tamang balarila? Di po sa pagiging bitter, hindi lang totoo ung mga pinupuntuhan ninyo kaya di katanggap-tanggap. No wonder why po ganito ang Pinas, ang daming nakukulong sa mga paniniwalang walang basehan.

Justine
Guest

teach*

I can see proof of our country’s poor educational system right here.

Lianne
Guest
1. it’s “didn’t your alma mater TEACH you how to swallow the bitter pill?” 2. it’s also “No wonder our country’s universities have A LOWER QUALITY OF EDUCATION compared to THAT OF other countries…” 3. again, it’s “…and what you’re BITCHING ABOUT is already proof of it.” 4. Please make sure you are able to write in proper grammar before commenting on a topic under fire because people who are against your statements will roast you on every aspect of your comment, even grammar. 5. Let’s take a look at what you’re bitching about, shall we? You’re commenting on a… Read more »
Joemin Nuevo
Guest

“Bitter lang ata yan na hindi sya nakapasok ng Ateneo dahil sa mabababaw niyang pag-iisip.”

Iwas po tayo sa ganiyang comebacks. Hindi nakakatulong sa discussion.

Aeta
Guest
I supposed you’re right, Joemin Nuevo. The rest of us Failipinos are bitter because we didn’t have rich parents (God only knows how they’ve acquired those wealth); or, our parents didn’t sacrificed–nor compromised– everything they had to get us into Ateneo, so that we could number among the elites and increase our chances of becoming just like them someday. We all know elitists have contributed a lot to our society, by continuing to raise the bar on how we would want the world to see us (a modern and affluent country), without realizing that these aristocratic mindset are making life… Read more »
Joemin Nuevo
Guest
Wait. Not trying to echo that us Filipinos “are bitter because they don’t have rich parents; or, our parents didn’t sacrifice nor compromise everything they had to get us into ateneo.” What I’m saying is we should avoid saying things that go against meaningful discussions such as ad hominems (like unnecessarily suggesting that some are bashing Ateneans because they are bitter of not getting admitted into the university). I think you should be careful of your assumptions too. Would partly agree with your sarcastic remarks dahil marami rin namang mga elitista na sarili lang ang iniintindi based on my very… Read more »
Justine Sanchez
Guest
Response to Aeta: Sure you can get into the Ateneo with the HELP of money. But believe me when I say that it’s not going to really help you SURVIVE once you’re in there. Sure there are a lot of kids with relatively affluent parents, who have made it a lot easier for them to study in the Ateneo, but you are insulting the scholars of the school. Intellectual aptitude and a whole lot of hard work can get anyone into the Ateneo. And “God only knows how they’ve acquired those wealth”? Seriously? Well God knows that most of our… Read more »
Aeta
Guest
Joemin Nuevo, I am not talking about those Failipinos who are bitter because they were not accepted into Ateneo. Although I have met a few who were, not for lack of “mental juices,” but for financial reasons instead. Many of these rejected applicants did not only excel academically, but they were also athletically and musically inclined, and could have made a hell of a difference in changing the overall reputation of that school of being an elitist institution. Unfortunately, Ateneo is not in the business of giving away free education to keep up their high standards, so they could only… Read more »
Aeta
Guest
Joemin Nuevo, I am not talking about those Failipinos who are bitter because they were not accepted into Ateneo. Although I have met a few who were, not for lack of “mental juices,” but for financial reasons instead. Many of these rejected applicants did not only excel academically, but they were also athletically and musically inclined, and could have made a hell of a difference in changing the overall reputation of that school of being an elitist institution. Unfortunately, Ateneo is not in the business of giving away free education to keep up their high standards, so they could only… Read more »
Joemin Nuevo
Guest
No university has the perfect system for determining who among its applicants are most worthy of getting accepted. I’m curious about the reasons behind why your academically, musically, and athletically inclined friends were rejected. Personally, I think the university is fair (and highly forgiving) in its admission policy. Let me tell you of my experience. I studied from preschool to high school in a small school somewhere in Caloocan where the education provided is far from those given by science high schools. I wish I were atheltically, musically, or academically inclined, but I’m not. Sure, I dabble a bit with… Read more »
Joemin Nuevo
Guest

P.S. I feel somewhat sad about reading divisive and generalizing comments such as yours. If you really want to talk about this further, feel free to message me on Facebook. Conversing through comments in public isn’t my thing.

Aeta
Guest
Justine Sanchez, I don’t have to believe anything you say. I’m not the one that is under scrutiny here: you and your fellow Ateneans are. It really doesn’t matter whether or not I’m insulting you or the “scholars” of Ateneo. If these “scholars” are that head-strong academically, they should also be as head-strong emotionally to expect that they will be criticized by the masses for having decided to go to that elitist school, while the rest of the country are still suffering at the hands of the oligarchs, whose children have attended, or still attending, that school. You’re damn right… Read more »
Aeta
Guest
[Correction] Justine Sanchez, I don’t have to believe anything you say. I’m not the one that is under scrutiny here: you and your fellow Ateneans are. It really doesn’t matter whether or not I’m insulting you or the “scholars” of Ateneo. If these “scholars” are that head-strong academically, they should also be as head-strong emotionally to expect that they will be criticized by the masses for having decided to go to that elitist school, while the rest of the country are still suffering at the hands of the oligarchs, whose children have attended, or still attending, that school. You’re damn… Read more »
Aeta
Guest
Joemin Nuevo, Who said anything about a perfect system for screening applicants on who will, or will not, get into a university? There is no perfect system no matter where you go. But that is not the point of my discussion. Of course, you will say the Ateneo is fair and highly forgiving. You got in but not sure on what basis. Therefore, we’re not going to speculate on the “who,” the “how, “nor the “why” on how some applicants were allowed in and some were not. Let’s just lump everything into one number, say, 15 percent as you had… Read more »
martin
Guest

ok let’s go back to how it all started. ‘why the aquinos’ hungry for power’?

Binhi
Guest
I don’t know… I have a lot of Ateneans on my social media new feeds and majority of the posts are critiques (rather than rude angry bashing) of the other article. When I say critiques, I mean direct questioning and engagement with the other article. Quite unlike this article, wherein your main argument is that Ateneans are elitist so therefore most of them don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ll have you know that some Ateneans are FOR Bongbong Marcos and even against the statement of some of their professors. Emphasis some. Do not generalize, it will get you nowhere.… Read more »
dan lakan
Guest

May mga taong hindi naman Marcos loyalist at lalong hindi Maka Cory o kalaban ng Demokrasya ang sukang suka sa mga sinasabi ng mga taong akala mo lagi na lang sila ang tama at monopolya na nila ang tamang katwiran na parang bang mga prayleng sila lamang ang nakakausap sa Diyos na ang katwiran ng iba ay balintuna. Wag na tayong bumalik sa nakaraan mahalin natin ang sarili natin tama na sa dikta ng oligarkiya, simbahan at mga kolonista.

WamBigPayt
Guest

Yes, fine, you can use big words. All of them pointed to nothing more than “Ateneo is a bad institution” with no substantial argument. This post can, to some, pass as a form of dialog, but upon closer inspection, it’s just a big mass of empty prose. Arvin Boller is right. If you ever plan to conquer a so-called ivory tower, then at least make your offensive logically-driven and solidly reasonable. This is pitiful.

joey escalera
Guest

All of them pointed to nothing more than “Ateneo is a bad institution” with no substantial argument.

I wouldn’t go as far as the article saying “Ateneo is a bad institution”. A dunderheaded move by its current administration is more apt. Just because someone calls people out on certain courses of action they took recently does not mean what your biases say it means. =)

Zach Yonzon
Guest

Wait, wait, wait … even after several paragraphs, all I read was, “I’m a Marcos era revisionist”.

Or maybe you’re just a contrarian who likes to disagree even though the point is actually, “the Marcos era was very bad,” without saying “the following years were good”

Those two stances aren’t actually mutually exclusive.

Zach Yonzon
Guest

*mutually inclusive.

joey escalera
Guest

Wait, wait, wait … even after several paragraphs, all I read was, “I’m a Marcos era revisionist”.

If that’s how your reading comprehension works, then knock yourself out. Hope you’re not an Atenista. 😉

Juan Bonifacio
Guest

Eto, gagamit din ako ng ad hominem… “Nag-Google Translate lang ata yang si benignO eh kaya akala mo diksyunaryo.” Wala namang laman mga argumento nya.

joey escalera
Guest

Wala namang laman mga argumento nya.

Parang yang koment mo?

Disraeli
Guest
I mean, the whole point of the statement against Martial Law was that its negative contribution to Philippine society is NOT a matter of opinion, namely that due to evidence, there is beyond reasonable doubt that Martial Law was detrimental to the country in many ways (GDP, inflation, sheer human rights violations, starvation, etc.) That this dude over here takes that as a sign that Ateneo isn’t willing to challenge its own viewpoints misses the point that this whole debacle in history is a terrible thing from pretty much every reasonable empirical/objective based viewpoint. And saying having the “Aquino oligarchy”… Read more »
Goodluck with your life sir!
Guest
Goodluck with your life sir!

There’s no use sir… Sadly these people already made up their minds…

Goodluck with your life sir!
Guest
Goodluck with your life sir!
Sir with all due respect how you view years of studying, sacrifice, and effort is very insulting and if i may shallow. We’re not patronizing ANY political agenda or interest. Doing so won’t really do us any good. We would rather just spend our time doing our thesis or studying for finals. Yet most of us feel that it is our duty to be able to respond to such blatant gestures of apathy and detachment from Mr. Marcos. Not once in the paper did the faculty attack the person of Mr. Marcos or even his family. Doing so would be… Read more »
domo
Guest

And you call yourself an atenean if you let your emo mindset get the best of you and can’t even tell the difference between hate and criticism. Looks like you only studied there to pretend that you’re an intellect because it’s “one of the best universities in our country”.

77yToro007Hyden789987.99
Guest
77yToro007Hyden789987.99
“For the greater glory of God”…is the motto of the Jesuits, who founded and is managing the educational institution;ADMU. Nazi Germany Minister of Propaganda Joseff Goebbels, was a student of the Jesuits. Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, was a Roman Catholic. I am not surprised why the ADMU faculties, prostituted themselves for: Aquino, Mar Roxas, and the Liberal Party. To promote the Aquino political agenda against Marcos Martial Law. An institution committed to intellectual research, and unbiased search for the Truth, must not promote political propaganda, of any party or any politician. There are more pressing issues other than resurrecting the… Read more »
Bana B
Guest
Paumanhin, pero sigurado po ba kayo na ni-isa sa inyong mga binanggit ay hindi, kailanman, ikinabahala ng mga gurong nakibahagi sa nakaraang pagpapahayag ng kanilang matinding pagtatanggi sa “historical revision of the Martial Law”. Hindi man ito naging maingay, subalit may iba’t ibang opinyon din naman ang mga gurong ito ukol sa mga ibang isyu ng bansa, hindi lang alam ng lahat. Isang institusyon ang Ateneo at hindi ito, basta basta, maaaring magpahayag ng mga palagay sa mga politikal na bagay. At saka, hindi tungkol sa mga Marcos ang kanilang argumento noon. Ito’y sa mga katotohanang (FACTS) noong Martial Law… Read more »
Bana B
Guest
Magandang araw, mula sa isang mag-aaaral sa unibersidad inyong itinutukoy sa artikulo. Ako’y nagsusulat sa wika ng aking bansang kinagisnan dahil mas bihasa ako dito… Napakalalim naman ng mga salitang iyong binitiwan. Subalit ni-isa sa mga ito ay hindi matatakpan ang kawalan ng saysay nitong artikulong ito, ni-matatapatan ang katotohanang ang mga Atenista ay nakikibahagi sa isang matalinong diskusyon ukol sa mga artikulong nagdaan. Tila isang panunuya sa pangalan ng website na ito ang mga artikulong inyong inilathala ukol sa mga Atenista at ang mga edukadong gurong nagtuturo sa unibersidad. Kung nais niyong gisingin ang bansa sa katotohanan (ayon nga… Read more »
43Hyden007Toro999.999
Guest
43Hyden007Toro999.999

Ang sinulat ko, ay pinaninindigan ko…Kailangan ang mga professor ninyo sa ADMU, ay sagutin, ang sinulat ko na Blog sa English.

May pinag-aralan sila…mayroon din akong pinag-aralan. Hindi lang ako nag-aral sa ADMU. Hindi ako Atenista…

Wow
Guest

Troll alert.

Martin412
Guest

Ano to? Nag expect ako ng mga kapani-paniwalang argumento. Karamihan lang naman pala nito mga walang laman na panirang puri sa mga Atenista. Hindi man lang patago. Halatang halata siya agad. Hindi man lang nagbigay ng mga sapat na datos. Mga opinyon lang din ang karamihan. Tila gusto lang nito manginis ng mga sa nabanggit na unibersidad. Wag nalang patulan ‘to, wala rin mararating.

88Toro007Hyden99.999
Guest

Hindi mga paninira ito, kailangan sagutin ang mga tanong namin , ang mga ADMU professors ninyo. Ang mga tanong naming, ay katotohan sa nakikita namin, sa pamamahala ni Aquino at Mar Roxas…

domo
Guest

What makes the article “paninira”? Specifics or you’re a drama queen.

martin
Guest

i didn’t know till lately that the Tribune is a yellow propagandist. how could Grace acquired a dead man’s SSN? once you’re dead the government deletes a dead man’s SSN. so, will the SC disqualify Grace for the admin to declare martial law? no they won’t do that. martial law will be base on what’s happening in mindanao they will create chaos ‘cuz they can’t afford to let go Hacienda Luisita, it’s worth dying for.

ChinoF
Member
One thing I just thought about. Let’s say the Ateneo Faculty succeed in raising anti-Marcos sentiment on a wider scale. Some people might go on to bully or harass pro-Marcos people, to the point that banning pro-Marcos sentiments will happen. Or people will try to block pro-Marcos people they know from voting on the day. That is what you call violation of freedom of speech (and other freedoms). Too bad people these days (especially Yellows) don’t believe in Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s (not Voltaire’s) words: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

It’s the same old “either you’re with us or against us, and if you’re against us, we’ll hurt you.”

martin
Guest

if there is a revision of what happened during martial law, it’s the yellows who wanted it and not Bongbong. the mess started at hacienda luisita why the aquinos’ are hungry for power. Marcos just did the right thinking to defend his motherland from communist takeover.

Serena
Guest

Well, if these are the arguments, then I’m clearly happy of being a princess in an “ivory tower.”

Artenista
Guest

Nakakaumay magbasa ng reply ng mga Atenista. Panay butthurt replies. Is this what they call the Ateneo way?

domo
Guest

Yep it’s the ateneo way alright…..to be drama queens. Pa-elitista pa sila pero halata namang status quo ang hinahabol nila dahil lang nag-aaral sila sa “isa sa pinakamagandang unibersidad sa buong Pilipinas”. Mga mayayaman kamo sila pero mga utak squatter naman.

Joemin Nuevo
Guest

Hi domo. Mukhang marami kang gustong sabihin at baguhin sa mga Atenista. Kung gusto mo, simulan mo sa’kin kung gusto mo talagang may mabago. Kwentuhan mo naman ako tungkol sa mga dapat namin baguhin. Message mo ko sa FB kung may oras ka para sa matinong usapan.

Justine
Guest
If “utak squatter” can win international competitions, invent socially responsible technology, churn out award winning pieces and/or produce national heroes, then so be it. I’m proud to be “utak squatter”. I have absolutely no idea how your brain defines discourse. But statements like these (ex. “drama queens”, “Mga mayayaman kamo sila pero mga utak squatter naman.”) just shows that you are somehow incapable of partaking in one. Though, there is also this possibility that you are blatantly covering your intellect with insulting generalizations, I hope that that’s the case. And seriously, don’t generalize people in the squatter areas, I’ve encountered… Read more »
domo
Guest

I got two words for you why I call most of you ateneans “utak squatter”: “malicious” and “vindictive”
http://www.getrealphilippines.com/blog/2011/11/the-noynoy-aquino-government-is-turning-the-philippines-into-a-vindictive-society/

Sige mag-drama pa kayo mga “intellectual”. Your already filling my glass with your delicious tears.

Joemin Nuevo
Guest

Hi domo. Were you ignoring my call for a discussion on FB? 🙂

joey escalera
Guest

Yes.Because, well, no one questions the motives the venerable ATENEO. =)

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