I’ve been a fan of satire for as long as I can remember.
As a kid, I subscribed to Mad Magazine for a glorious two whole years, perhaps permanently warping my sense of humor. I dug humor as defined by the cohorts of Bill Gaines: Don Martin, Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones, Larry Siegel, Mort Drucker, Dick de Bartolo, and even the mysterious Cuban emigre, Prohias, who did Spy vs. Spy.
I also grew up with satirical TV news shows: Not Necessarily the News, SNL’s Weekend Update (from Dennis Miller to Seth Myers), and of course today’s The Daily Show, which gave us Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (and unfortunately, Steve Carrell).
Locally, I dig Lourd De Veyra’s “Word of the Lourd” segments for their biting take on contemporary Filipino life, with commentary delivered by De Veyra in an utterly straight face. I don’t watch much TV anymore, but I catch the segments on YouTube, always guaranteed to give you major ROTFLS and LOLS.
I love satire and its absurdity. It makes the complexity of modern life bearable by exposing the ridiculousness that lies beneath the surface. Unfortunately, I also realize it is something of an acquired taste.
Two current Internet rumors are the direct result of blogs that satirize the news, in some attempt to match The Onion. Coincidentally, both of them are hosted on WordPress.com.
The most obvious satirical news site carries the monicker of SoWhatNews (i.e. SWN) on sowhatsnews.wordpress.com. SWN recently published a post satirizing the proposed anti-planking law by claiming that an Anti-Angry Birds law was in the works.
The story, “After Anti-Planking, Lawmaker Proposes Anti-Angry Birds Bill”, has been endlessly retweeted. And in a twist of the old saying, if you retweet anything often enough, people tend to believe it as the gospel truth.
MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo did not rest on his laurels. After proposing House Bill 5316 or the anti-planking bill, the lawmaker is proposing House Bill 5379 or the anti-angry birds bill.
The distinguished gentleman from Quezon City explained that he got the idea for the bill when he went shopping for Christmas gifts the other day at a mall. “Everywhere I looked, Angry Birds this, Angry Birds that! Where is the product diversity? Shouldn’t the DTI be monitoring this?” said Castelo. He added “…this is why this bill is even more important than my own anti-planking bill. I hope that my colleagues here at Batasan will support this bill.”
Rep. Castelo denied allegations that his proposal is similar to House Bill 4509 or anti-dildo bill, filed last May by Buhay partylist. “It’s a different kind of bird, very different from mine!”
Frankly I think it’s really funny. But for some reason the average online Juan can’t fathom satire. Because the story plays it straight, without smileys or LOLs that would have identified the punchlines, it is being accepted as real news.
A search for “Anti Angry Birds Law” on Twitter will bring up all sorts of protests and epithets hurled at Philippine law makers for even thinking of such a thing.
@rex_ezra: lawmakers are stupid..!!why make a law against angry birds..!!help the country instead.!!it’s useless damn..!!!
@IvaanEvangelsta: So an anti-angry birds law is being passed.. Uhm, hello?!! Not everyone in the country owns an apple or android product for you to ban it.
@me_ellesse: Anti-Angry Birds Bill? Rep. Winnie Castelo #youneedtoshutup #lol ~bebs! after ng anti-planking law, Inembento nmn yan?? gosh
And then there’s the story about the supposed lawsuit that the DPWH is filing against Adobe Software in retaliation for the highly embarrassing DPWH Photoshop Meme that has shown no sign of abating.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has filed a case against Adobe Incorporated, claiming that its defective software product was the reason the digitally-altered image of three DPWH officials obviously looked fake.
DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said in an interview that after an investigation consisting of top DPWH officials, they have successfully pinpointed out that the software used by the photographer was the culprit in why the photo, now dubbed as the “DPWHere” looked fake.
“We cannot let (Adobe Inc) get away with selling defective products” Rogelio said in an interview. “We gave them good money, and we expect their products to deliver what they advertise”.
The DPWH secretary also said that filing a case was the only way to restore the lost pride of the agency.
“Make no mistake, this is not a public relations stint. This is about restoring the honor of the DPWH” he said. “Before (Typhoon)Pedring, we were one of the most trusted agencies in government. Now we have been reduced to an internet meme”.
Ok, “public relations stint” (sic) huh? This is the only source you are ever going to find about a landbreaking case of a Philippine government body suing an American software company! Adobe Systems Incorporated has been reduced to a mere “Adobe Inc.” All this on a WordPress blog with exactly one entry.
The resulting tweets have just piled it on further on the already beleaguered department. It’s obviously a joke, eh?
@chokoreitodisco: WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THE PHILIPPINES? OUR GOVERNMENT’S GONE INSANE. :))))
@whypat: Photoshopping yourselves shouldn’t even have been done in the first place. Law suit against Adobe? Just BRILLIANT, DPWH.
@littlemissval: DPWH sues Adobe for “photoshop” disaster. #WTF. Why are our public officials so fucking retarded?!?
Someday I will wake up in a society that understands how people like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert earn their living, and knows that Dr. Strangelove was not a medical thriller by Stanley Kubrick from the 60s. But that day is not yet here.
Or maybe if we turn off Twitter for a few days, sanity will eventually prevail.
Update: Ryan Parenno over at Google+ just reminded me that columnist Carmen Pedrosa once famously fell for a satirical piece in the Mosquito Press about a fake Harvard study ironically called “Why Filipinos Are So Gullible“: Here is Spot.PH’s report on that outing.