I laughed so hard when I read this on my mobile phone yesterday; too bad I couldn’t update my blog immediately.
Prominent Filipino newspaper columnist Carmen Navarro Pedrosa became a prime example of what she ranted about. Warning Filipino readers not to be gullible, she then proceeded to unwittingly cite fake statistics from a satirical blog.In her From A Distance column in the March 26 issue of The Philippine Star, Pedrosa expressed concern over the purported findings of a Harvard University study, which claimed that Filipinos are “the most gullible people in the world.”‘A serious allegation’“This is a serious allegation we should not ignore… we better take it seriously,” she said.The problem is that the supposed Harvard study — including its “content analyses of over 500,000 historical documents from 300 different societies” by the “Harvard Institute of Socio-Political Progression (HIS-PP)”— is entirely fictitious, the work of recently founded satirical blog MosquitoPress.net.Apparently, the satirical nature of the post was lost on Pedrosa, who concluded her piece by saying, “We are gullible because we are not able or do not question information. We prefer to believe what other persons tell us.”
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“… from birth to death, we aren’t taught to question the prevailing wisdom.”
I blew my top on Twitter yesterday:
However, I’d like to think that this was the result of a series of unfortunate incidents.
Since February, a new Tumblr account, Mosquito Press, has been getting some attention. Its particular entry, “29% of Filipinos think ‘People Power’ is title of talent show that launched Kris Aquino into stardom—survey” made the rounds of Facebook and Twitter, posted with comments from Pinoys who know nothing but to criticize, whine and hate. Comments that just have to say something negative about Kris Aquino. Comments that spat on the memory of EDSA.
Since they are losers, I doubt if they realized that the joke was on them. If only they used their brains, or sige, kahit wala ng brains, if only they scrolled down to the bottom of the website, they would have read the disclaimer that Mosquito Press is a satirical blog. (I checked the site as I was writing this and the disclaimer is now gone; I actually like it better that way. My reason later.)
In any case, I opted to bite my lip. Even if I’d still occasionally see people post Mosquito Press news, believe them to be true and include some smart-ass comment, I still bite my lip.
So when a well-meaning friend forwarded me that now infamous radiation-slash-Betadine text message for verification (if there had been indeed, a nuclear meltdown), I just had to… let off some steam. I was angry, not at the original source or at my friend, but at the persons who were gullible enough to even believe them and pass them forward.
That was yesterday noon. Imagine my incredulity when I learned this morning that some schools actually canceled their classes because of the text message. Juice ko, nakaka-high blood!!! Good luck na lang talaga sa bansa natin. Bago tayo mamatay sa radiation, baka mauna pa tayong mamatay sa kabobohan ng ibang tao dyan. I can’t even say, “ng ilang tao dyan,” because it reached to a point that again, classes had to be suspended! (On a related note, can the Department of Education close down these schools?! Seriously.)
So I learned about that and a few minutes later, I saw this ‘news’ item from Mosquito Press: “Harvard study finds that Filipinos are the world’s most gullible people.” It was funny until I read the many comments from readers. Comments such as this:
This article is JUNK!
#1 – What is the Gump Index? Google it… if this is indeed a Harvard study as you said… then why is it that nothing comes up on the search results? Is there even such an index?
#2 – You wrote, “Filipinos scored 1,344,399 points, placing it first, ahead of the Trojans of 12th Century BC, who scored 1,086. “The gross Trojan Gump Index was higher than Filipinos’, but it was offset by the fact that the Trojans are a dead civilization,” said Dawson.”
WHAT? Does this paragraph even make sense to you? How is it possible that “The gross Trojan Gump Index was higher than Filipinos” when as you wrote Filipinos scored 1,344,399 points while the Trojans scored only 1,086. (so inconsistent…)
It was so long, it won’t fit into a screenshot.
Nir Rosen said, “Twitter is not a place for nuance.” I say the Philippines is not a place for subtlety. When the person behind you at the cinema begins to kick your seat and you turn around to glare at him, he won’t get it. You’d need a machine gun to get your message across.
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Which is why I liked that Mosquito Press removed its disclaimer: I think we should repeatedly bombard people with information—both true AND false—in the hope that eventually, we will all be forced to stop, think, assess and verify.
Yes to more satire.