Media “watchdog” Blogwatch recently posted the article Fake News: 7 Types Of Mis- And Disinformation (Part 1) in which it listed satire and parody among categories of online content it deemed part of the “misinformation ecosystem”. It was suggested that the two genres could be dangerous in the Philippine setting because though its authors may harbour “no intention to cause harm” they have “potential to fool”.
So, should works of satire and parody on the Internet come with warning labels? Perhaps, although such implies that Filipinos are too dumb to discern the subtle humour in these works.
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Noemi Dado who authored the article cited an example of a satire article published on NewsPH claiming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed a “no homework” executive order for all Philippine schools. Dado writes that the article “fooled a lot of [her] mommy friends on facebook.”
The question is, do Filipino netizens require a kind of a digital nanny to watch over what they browse on the Net to ensure they are not “fooled” by cleverly-written works of satire?
In his article Why Filipinos Fail to Detect Satire, Get Real Post author Chino proposes that Filipinos are inherently incapable of processing satirical content, perhaps because Filipinos are “too proud to think.”
Chino further writes…
It is even possible for people with high intellectual levels to miss satire as well. There is another reason, one I push to be the greater reason.
This is the tendency to take oneself too seriously and the inability to laugh at oneself. This is explained by Filipinos having such a high level of pride that they are unable to accept being the butt of jokes. Yes, this is true for people of other ethnic and national backgrounds, not just Filipinos. But I believe this attitude is particularly strong within Filipino culture. I consider it bad because it’s connected to another flaw: the unwillingness to accept criticism.
It seems that the Filipino is so pickled in a cocktail of lazy thinking, intellectual dishonesty, and verbose pomposity that, in much the same way he has grown accustomed to life in a household full of servants, he expects to be spoon-fed meaning rather than let his mind do a bit of the heavy lifting involved in harvesting it from the sea of media being piped into his devices daily.
Unfortunately, satire, like most types of dry, sophisticated humour is best served unlabelled. In a society such as the Philippines’ this, indeed, poses potential for trouble given that Filipino consumers of media generally lack the intellectual faculties to process non-literal and non-slapstick entertainment as evident in the way Dado’s “mommy friends” lapped up the “news” about Duterte’s executive order.
As Chino further observes…
As F. Sionil Jose wrote, we are mayabang. As Cito Beltran wrote, ours is not a beautiful mind. And as fellow blogger Gogs consistently writes, pride continues to be a burden that helps us keep our problems unsolved.
It takes a bit of humility to admit to a shortcoming instead of searching for a scapegoat for a failure caused by that shortcoming. Perhaps Filipinos’ fixation on “fake news” is really more about a collective intellectual shortcoming they are, as yet, unable to come to terms with.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.