I’ve used the two-word term “Establishment Bloggers” quite a number of times already across many blog posts, and perhaps it is about time I get around to taking a stab at defining this term a bit more clearly. The concept has its roots in a an article I wrote way back in June of 2008 to which I gave the title Estabishmentisation. In that article I observed how…
[it] is quite relevant today as I note that there has been significant debate about the establishmentisation of blogging. Interestingly, I happen to be in the middle of the book *Down and Dirty Pictures – Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film* by Peter Biskind. I draw some parallels to the blogging debate from the difference I now see between Independent (“Indy”) Films — motion pictures created and produced by real artists with real visions, and Studio (“Establishment”) Movies — motion pictures produced with the singular aim of drawing an audience.
That pretty much accounts for the first word in my two-word concept. Now on to “Bloggers”, the second word. This one is quite interesting because I recall how there was something about an award or rather recognition category in the Philippine Blog Awards (PBA) that I came across last year. The category is called “Digital Elders” and it was a distinction given by PBA sponsor Globe Telecoms to Noemi Dado, Janette Toral, Anton Diaz, Aileen Apolo, and Manolo Quezon. Before I go on, I will note first that among these, it is only Noemi and Manolo that I’ve come to know (digitally) quite well and as far as I could tell, these two bloggers can take it on the chin like Manny Pacquiao. Both have open-door policies and apply minimal (if any) moderation on their respective blogs (and the ones they manage).
My point is less around the who’s-who and more around the disturbing nature of their lumping into such an unfortunate category — Digital Elders. Apart from me having in the last several years taken some issue around the revered role “elders” feel they are entitled to in Filipino society; I find that the overarching irony of the distinction of “Digital Elder” — or, for that matter, the whole existence of a Blog Awards to begin with — seems to have flown over the heads of our venerable opinion-shapers.
Consider first of all that;
The blogosphere is held up by modern-day philosophers to be a classless flat Earth of freely-competing ideas.
Globe Telecom, back in 2009, not only presumed to be an authority on who earns the distinction of “Digital Elder”, it also led the Philippine Blogosphere in its first step on a journey down the road to its transformation into the very caste system that characterises Pinoy society today by creating such classes of bloggers as “Digital Elder” and “Digital Tribe”.
In a society renowned for having credentials trump sensible thinking anytime, creating such pomp is no small deal. Once you create a crown, vacuous minds defer to it no matter whose head you place it upon. And the last thing the Filipino Mind needs is another crown to distract them from truly world-class thinking. Ask Noynoy Aquino. He knows the game.
“Awarding” bloggers is a redundant oxymoron.
Blogging is rewarding because of the prospect of one’s emergent prevalence and endurance in what is essentially a massive free-for-all for memetic dominance. It’s essentially not the sort of environment crybabies survive in. Sound familiar? That’s pretty much the same mechanism that created that wonderous diversity called our planetary biosphere. Are there awards bodies that hang medals for Best Terrestrial Life Form or Best Marine Lifeform? Perhaps organised religion would like to see itself as taking that role as judge of which DNA pattern truly rules our planet, but I believe most intelligent folk would consider the notion silly at best.
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So there you go — The Establishment Blogger. It is a term that encapsulates the whole trouble with creating artificial and contrived hierarchies upon what are essentially cutthroat nothing-personal playing fields — where dominance is more a matter of personal perspective and extinction patterns defy even the most rigorously deterministic models and notions of how things ought to be.
I go on to say in Establishmentisation that…
[Establishmentisation] is not a trivial matter as it brings to light the interesting question of where a groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting idea or framework of ideas is most likely to emerge from — (a) work that merely coasts along the mainstream pandering to popular sentiment, OR (b) work at the cutting edge that continuously challenges established sensibilities.
For a basketcase like the Philippines, the implications of the answer to that question spells the difference between a national destiny of merely keeping up or one of actually seeing ourselves competing head-to-head with the rest of the world. It will take giant leaps of progress to bring our country back into the game. Yet we continue to muddle along debating trivialities and exploring options within an already flawed approach.
I came across this insightful connecting-the-dots exercise done by Rom Sedona which i think so succinctly illustrates the whole problem with “popular” opinion-shapers:
If the connections implied above are right, then it would seems like the Queen of Jolog Central isn’t really above some lucrative partaking in the little goldmine that is Pinoy “politics”.
Conflict-of-interest there — a “popular” opinion-shaper possibly in bed with bozos who we presumably trade in opinions about. All roads (even the high ones that the self-righteous presume to take) lead to a reflection of the banal perversion that is Pinoy society. The solution is obvious: vote with your remote, folks.