Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The High School Girl Syndrome; or, Haters Gonna Hate

***NOTE: This is going start off sounding like a rant, but there's some actual helpful advice in it. I'm just sharing what I've learned from experience. You might learn something, too, or at least affirm what you already know.***

Two days ago, I came across a commentary on I didn't agree with the views on it, but that's what the site is for – presenting the unpopular opinion. I don't have a problem with that; in fact, I very much appreciate it. I stated more than once on my reaction piece that it's important to open one's mind to opinions that deviate from the norm, and those that directly oppose yours. We can all learn something from those who think differently, even if we don't necessarily agree with them.

My reaction to the post in question was constructed this way:

1. I explained that I don't have an issue with opinions that oppose mine.

2. I illustrated that fact by elaborating the difference between my opinion and the post author's.

3. After each difference, I showed that both opinions, though opposing, are valid given our own perspectives (although I could only assume the other person's stance).

4. I then explained that I had no qualms about the opinions, because, quite frankly, people will feel what they feel.

5. I elaborated on what DID irk me about the post, and that was the amount of logical fallacies and lack of recommendations within.

6. I went back to saying the importance of antipinoy's (and that of similar sites) role, and saying how posts like the one in question mar that task.

7. I ended by giving recommendations on what antipinoy should present in every single one of their posts; namely, logic, a lack of bias, and recommendations for improvement. After all, if the site is meant to improve the quality of Filipino life/culture/politics/intellect, it should do more than say what's wrong with us.

That sounds extremely fair in my mind. I'm not sure if it does to you, so please tell me in the comments if it doesn't. After all, I'm not going to critique anything or anyone if I don't open myself to some criticism.

That said, I have learned one important thing about the Internet: some readers are bound to act like typical high school girls.

I'm still a noob at this blogging thing, so forgive me if what you're about to read seems like common sense to you. To me, it's still a valuable lesson that I will need to refer to every time someone comments a particular way on my blog. That's the main reason I'm writing this down. I will be honest, however, and admit this is also my way of snarking back at a few pet peeves.

Anyhoots, back to the topic – some people on the Internet are going to act like high school girls. More specifically, the type we saw in Regina's gang in Mean Girls. Here's how:

1. They're Going to Remain Anonymous
You know how, when high school girls get caught for something, they try to shrug off responsibility by saying "It wasn't me?" That way, they won't be punished if the act was negative. If it turns out that they're going to be rewarded, however, they'll suddenly dissolve that anonymity and scream at the top of their lungs, "IT WAS ME LOVE MEEEEEEEE!!!"

They could also be hiding in anonymity to, as Kiko put it, create the illusion of strength in numbers. This is like that catty bitch in high school who hates you and tells you everyone hates you, even though everyone thinks you're pretty okay.

Some – not all – anonymous commenters are like that. They hide in anonymity because they don't have the conviction in their opinions to be responsible for them regardless of the outcome. They don't want to be called out for being wrong, but will show off to their friends when they feel they're right. They'll also stay anonymous to make it seem like everyone shares their opinion because, to paraphrase a certain image forum, Anon is Legion.

2. They'll Miss the Point
Try telling the Reginas of the world that dressing up in Juicy Couture sweatpants and pink boleros makes for a trashy aesthetic, and that something more elegant will enhance their good looks. Chances are they'll do one of two things: 1) Call you an "unfashionable loserrrr"; or 2) Completely gloss over the entirety of your statement and bitchslap you for calling them trashy. Never mind that you directed your opinion towards the clothes, or that you actually complimented them and gave a suggestion on how to emphasize what's good about them.

I got both reactions for my post. One reader said I didn't get the point of the articles on antipinoy, like I wouldn't get the point of those Juicy Couture sweatpants. Another missed the point completely and made my post about feeling national pride and how sports won't make the country better. Again, my issue with the post, and I explained this repeatedly to the commenters, was in the construction. I couldn't care less about the difference in opinions because, as I said, people will feel what they feel. That commenter seemed to ignore the fact that I acknowledged the difference – even appreciated it – and went for the throat.

3. They'll Resort to Non-Sequiturs
Never, ever criticize a catty high school girl. No matter how intelligently you'll try to make your point, they'll bring something completely unrelated into the picture. A few examples:

You: You know, the amount of hairspray you put in your bumpit releases a lot of aerosols, which in turn damage the ozone layer. Using gel might be a safer alternative.
Regina: Well, your face is ugly. *twirl gum*

You: You could really improve your grades if you shifted some of the time you spent on shopping to your studies.
Regina: You just jealiz 'coz you ain't got this heat. *smacks own ass*

You: You should seriously consider cutting down on the alcohol. Not only do you make a spectacle of yourself when you're drunk, you're causing serious damage to your liver, too.
Regina: Boy, you should bite a breath mint before you talk. *snap snap*

The commenters on my post about the construction of a single antipinoy entry somehow saw fit to bring Noynoy and the August 23 hostage crisis into the picture. Go figure.

4. They'll Make It Personal
As illustrated above, some commenters will find some way to make comments about you, even if you do your damned hardest to direct the discussion into a certain topic. Hairspray use becomes your face, studying becomes how less attractive you are in comparison, and alcohol abuse is relegated to how your breath smells. In the same vein, telling a Mean Girl that you disagree with her about the church's stance on the RH Bill will suddenly turn into a discussion on how you're stupid and a bad Christian.

A couple of commenters made things personal in two ways. One defended not feeling any pride when Pacquaio won, even though I said there was nothing wrong with that, and it wasn't the point of my post. Another called me narrow-minded, regardless of me being so accepting of the opposing view. Again, go figure.

5. All of the Above
Somehow, some people possess the magical power to combine all these things. Tell a particularly bitchy Regina that she could use a certain soap to take care of her tiny pimple, and you'll get a verbal smackdown like:

"Are you telling me I'm ugly, you fucking whore? Why don't you take a look at the mirror first, 'cause everyone thinks you're too fat to star in the talent show. By the way, you'll never get a prom date and your dad totally wants me." *twirl hair*

An anonymous commenter told me that I wasn't reading carefully, because the post I was remarking on was a comment from an antipinoy reader, not the site's writers; that I was accusing antipinoy of being counterproductive; and that the country should focus on scientific progress, rather than athletic achievement. Never mind that I took great lengths to limit as much of my criticism towards the post's construction, that I said posts like this one – not all of antipinoy's entries – were counterproductive, and that I never said anything about sports being important for a country's progress.

Given what I've experienced through the most action I've seen on my silly little blog, here's some helpful advice for other blogging noobs: expect the High School Girl Syndrome, if you ever get people to read your stuff. When you do, take it in stride. Leave them alone. Some people are just going to be like that; to try to change their attitudes is futile. In other words, haters gonna hate. Just don't ignore them completely – sometimes, the haters do say valid things. Be open to discourse, but know when it isn't going anywhere.

For my part, I'm taking my own advice. If Anon still continues with the High School Girl Syndrome, so be it. I've done everything I could to clarify my point with logic and conviction. I've defended my opinion by arguing against my own points, and feel that I still might be right. Of course, I'm not going to shut out Anon completely – he may have a point sometime in the future. And hey, if I can learn something from the post's actual author, you can, too. For now, though, I'm done with the matter. This is the last you'll hear of it from me, promise. I'll be back to spouting regular ramblings soon.

I'm tired.

Read on >

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I'm very rarely affected by blog posts. I always approach them with the perspective that it's someone else's opinion, and the fact that it was published is not an affront to my sensibilities should I find myself disagreeing with it. In fact, I'm often appreciative for the disconnect, as it allows me to see things from a different perspective and gives me a better idea of the big picture.

An entry on, however, has irked me a little.

It's not because the author seems to think the idea of pride through association doesn't exist. In the article, the author claims to not feel personally proud whenever Manny Pacquiao wins a big fight. The author feels proud for Pacquiao enjoying the fruits of his labor, but it doesn't make him/her proud to be a Filipino. It's was Pacquiao's effort, after all, and solely his.

Valid as this perspective may be, I find it hard to believe the author doesn't feel a quark of national pride when Pacquiao's fist is raised in victory. We always feel some semblance of personal pride when someone we associate with succeeds at something. It's why proud fathers go "That's my boy!" and why a school cheers for its varsity team. Pacquiao hits a particular nerve with the common Filipino – this is someone who rose from poverty to achieve international success. Like most Filipinos, he dropped out of school because his family couldn't afford it. He moved to Manila in search of better things, but found himself living on the streets. Had he not endured through adversity and pursued boxing, he never would've made the Philippine National Amateur Boxing Team, and never would've caught the eye of one Freddie Roach. He literally changed his poverty-stricken life, the life of the common Filipino, by working hard, persevering, and getting a little lucky.

When Filipinos feel proud when he wins, it's because he was one of us. He was every child you met on the streets, asking you for money. He was that doe-eyed dreamer who told us, every time he got drunk, that he was going to make it someday. He's the typical Pinoy who eats hotdogs with rice and sings far more than his talent should allow. That's why we associate with him, and that's why we go "That's our boy!!!" when he stands triumphant in the center of the ring.

I won't make any sweeping generalizations, though. Not every Filipino associates with Pacquiao, and I assume the author of the antipinoy post doesn't, either. I can see why he doesn't feel that personal pride during a big win. No qualms there.

My problem isn't even with the ridiculous assertion that associating ourselves with Pacquiao is a foolish thing to do, especially if we want to better ourselves as a nation. From the post:

And to associate ourselves with him is foolish thing to do. Discipline- Manny has it; our nation knows no law. Hard work- Manny has it;our nation is in a deep sea of mediocrity. Focus- Manny has it; our nation doesn’t know where to go, thanks to our president. Coaching- Manny has it; our nation didn’t listen when we educate them to vote intelligently and here’s our by-product:national shame. Training- Manny has it; our nation has it but it was only a loose cannon to them. Winning attitude- Manny has it; our nation has this attitude of being a loser and they are contented with it.

The number of logical fallacies is appalling. From exaggeration ("our nation knows no law"); to dramatic aggrandizing ("our nation is in a deep sea of mediocrity"); to biased assumption ("our nation doesn’t know where to go, thanks to our president"); to non-sequitur ("Coaching- Manny has it; our nation didn’t listen when we educate them to vote intelligently and here’s our by-product:national shame"); and further violations of those previously mentioned.

The most glaring fallacy, however, is the assumption that majority of the Filipino population is composed of hypocrites. The only way associating ourselves with discipline, hard work, focus, coaching, training, and a winning attitude could be foolish is if we were the opposite. You may call me naïve, but I'd like to think that CNN Heroes of the Year, mothers who get their families by on less than 100 pesos a day, and individuals who willingly spend lonely years working hundreds of miles away from their families to be breadwinners are lazy buffoons content with mediocrity. Even if we lacked these characteristics, seeing Pacquiao as a role model as described in the antipinoy article isn't foolish. It's actually quite commendable, as we recognize what we need to be better Filipinos.

I won't fall into the trap of sweeping generalizations myself, though. For all I know, I could be naïve, and majority of the Filipino population could be as rotten as the article implies. We could all be foolish for associating ourselves with such a hard worker. I'd prefer to keep my assumption that we're most likely a mix of the two, and that it isn't generally foolish to identify ourselves with Pacquiao. Again, no qualms – I don't really know if I'm necessarily more correct than the antipinoy author, or if I'm just kidding myself.

My real issue with the post is that is bears many characteristics of what we would call, in the vernacular, a "whiny bitch". I won't assume anything about the author, so the "whiny bitch" statement isn't directed towards him/her; it's directed towards the article itself. For all its complaints and criticisms of feeling proud for Pacquiao, its implied hypocrisy, and the sorry state of Philippine sports, it doesn't provide a solution; not even a ridiculous one. It's all just words put together to say "This all sucks".

There are no recommendations for any of the issues. In regard to the "illusion of pride", all the post offers is a rather condescending (in tone) reality check that illustrates the obvious fact that Pacquiao isn't going to be fighting forever. When he retires, the article asks, who are we going to use to hide our national dysfunction? I understand that this should be the impetus for readers to stand up and say "We will have no need to hide!", but saying it is much more effective than implying it. The article says the Philippines' national sports program sucks, but doesn't say what could make it better. Again, it's all implied, and the meaning is hidden within negative remarks.

The post, without a concrete message of empowerment, is akin to a bully who makes fun of you for being stupid. He's not helping you; he's crushing your self-esteem and instilling long-lasting psychological issues before you're actually spurred to action. This is assuming, of course, that you're actually spurred to action and don't end up just resigning to the fact that you're stupid because he says so. Bullying works both ways, and so do posts like this one. Not everyone is going to be defiant; some readers are going to accept that Filipinos are mediocre and they might as well live with it.

It's one thing to point out a nation's faults, but stopping there is disgustingly irresponsible. It bears a tone of hatefulness, of disdain for one's self. "Anti-Pinoy", indeed.

It's a shame, too, as unpopular opinions like the post's have an important place in the grand scheme of things. We all need to see things from as many perspectives as possible, as a nation or personally, if we are ever to improve ourselves and the situations at hand. I assume this is the reason for's existence; if it isn't, it should be.

Because of this, needs to do a few things better. It's got to make sure the logic is sound in each of its arguments, preferably backed up by solid facts. It also has to make it a point to offer concrete solutions in every post; as I explained, implying one simply isn't enough. Most importantly (and ironically) antipinoy needs a little more perspective in its posts. I understand the site is founded on personal opinions, but there's a line between conviction and bias – conviction is informed and cannot argue against itself. Complaining with conviction, even if it turns out to be in error, opens minds. Biased complaints close them.

I don't want another whiny bitch on the Internet.

Read on >