The Establishment Blogger defined

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.

* * *

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.


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50 Responses to The Establishment Blogger defined

  1. Bim says:

    Couldn’t understand. 😦

    • Persona Non Grata says:

      So am I. Just say anything it will lead to understanding. My tactic in understanding is chop them up into paragraphs, sentences, phrases, words. Understand the meaning of each and connect the dots.

      Don’t fret, english is not our first language. We are just trying to. The reason of web logging.

  2. ChinoF says:

    Hey, I think blogging also became too commercialized. Blogging can be done for money, like when you’re paid to make product reviews and all that. Well, that’s legitimate business for me, although the use of blogging as an expression vehicle has been somewhat hijacked. But are they doing this to political blogging too? That may be the case with establishment bloggers. And even if establishment bloggers are not paid, they sure are acting like the commercial bloggers… giving overrated “product reviews” and expecting something in return. You sure you’ll get paid.

    Aside from fiscalizing, now there’s establishmentizing, nyahaha.

    • Persona Non Grata says:

      Blogging is personal. Not commercial. First time I heard blogging became commercial. I want to laugh and laugh harder. I am laughing now. But you cannot hear it. 🙂

      Who do they think they are awarding bloggs? Well, we, Antipinoys, award blogs of the people awarding, too, aren’t we? Tit for Tat.

      The difference is they are brick-and-mortar. We are …

  3. ilda says:

    The day AntiPinoy bloggers get nominated for any blogging award is the day the Philippines start recognising real democracy. I don’t think that’s in our lifetime.

    • rafterman says:

      I don’t think we need any award. Our readers are enough of a reward for our “digital tribe” (Funny term. I could just imagine us with “sibats” and “bahags” with benign0 as our chief “digital elder”).

      • Kahlil says:

        hey 🙂

        haha… i like that image: digital “sibats” and digital “bahags.” but seriously, it’s really a bit off-putting to see ‘tribes’ on the internet. i’ve been hanging out at B7 and FV the past couple of weeks even commented on B7 for awhile. seems like some of the ‘regulars’ there are quite hung-up on the existence of AP. i don’t get why there has to be that distinction there. doesn’t it defeat the purpose of the internet as a democratizing tool for ideas to flow and spread by its own merit?

    • BenK says:

      The day any AP bloggers get nominated for any award that doesn’t have a name like “Pulitzer” or “Nobel” in front of it will be the day I toss my computer out the door for good and take up watercolors, or knitting. I have never understood the fixation on the “Blog Awards” — I think benign0 put it in its proper perspective by comparing its relevance to the “Best Terrestrial Life Form” award.

      • ChinoF says:

        Who knows, maybe we’ll get the Online Antagonists Award (this is made up, BTW)? nyahaha.

      • ilda says:

        To be honest Benk, I didn’t even know they gave awards to bloggers until I read this article. I’m quite new in the industry 🙂

      • BenK says:

        I wasn’t either, until I started seeing that little “Philippine Blog Awards” gif showing up on a lot of people’s pages. And now that I do know, I still don’t care. If a particular blog speaks to me in some way and gets me thinking, it makes no difference to me whether it’s got 20 readers or 2 million, or whether anyone but me thinks it’s a good blog.

    • usi says:

      i love you don’t need a PBA.. 😉 and PBA sucks! LOL! 😀

  4. Persona Non Grata says:

    Blogging is an entertainment. The reach and depth is short and shallow. It is also therapeutic. Good literary exercise. It helps the country remains as it was before and forever will be by allowing bloggers letting off steam than going to the streets of EDSA, walk back home and watch themselves on TV’s news coverage pointing to their children “that’s papa right there, handsome, no?”

    There are variant of categories that shows their heads. In the hodge-podge of blogosphere, we are in the politic side of it that caters to meddle-income-people who are in the minority which fancy criticizing works which are better read than others. The readers are also in their post-menopausal ages, mid-lifers, who has very short clitoris and extremely touchy close to being crybabies. Whereas the tweens and 20-something are still hooked on to lamented Friendster.

    A typical bloggers are mostly lonely people who are clumsy in social circles that cannot make a coherent meaningful conversation without getting angry at people who disagrees with them.

    Whereas, the geeky ones are nocturnal. Shops on-line. Never have seen in a long time malls. Do not shower. House a mess. Addicted to fancy gizmos. Don’t care about politics.

  5. Homer says:

    Who needs to be lumped into a “tribe” that wasn’t meant to be in the first place? We all have our reasons for coming in and out of here, so we should expect nothing more than the common ground that we share. I feel this is as good as it gets, at least for now. Whatever happens later…..happens.

    I am also against the process of “crowning” individuals as digital elders (borrowing the term described above), because it can lead to another bandwagon wave that Filipinos are usually prone to. Thus, the individuals who are “crowned” unknowingly become labelled down-the-road as a genius, a flake, an idol, a sell-out, or whatever…depending on whose point-of-view you follow. We should avoid getting into this trap, for it is the Pinoy who can become it’s own worst enemy in these situations.

    Let us also vote with our mouse and keys, and not just with our remotes. Sometimes, it takes a little effort to avoid falling into a “wasteland” that eats up our precious time. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? If we observe those who’ve become slaves to their blogging addictions (we know who they are), it’s not that simple for everyone if you give it some thought. 😉

    • Persona Non Grata says:

      Do not fret, Homer, “establishmentization” of blogging society is made up by the discounted lamentable media.

      It is not worth debating the “establishmentization”. It is a waste of bandwith’s brain-power.

  6. John Amend-All says:

    Most popular terrestrial lifeform – Giant Panda
    Most popular marine lifeform – Whale, specifically any species eaten by the Japanese.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist

  7. benign0 says:

    The existence of “tribes” and hierarchies in the blogosphere is not a problem if such structures are a direct results of the dynamics inherent to the nature of the blogosphere. What I find bemusing is the contrived structures and labels made by that class of bloggers anointed and those who presume to come up with “awarding” bodies.

    The system already has inherent to it a natural mechanism for “rewarding” quality.

    • jethernandez says:

      Nice piece Benigs… Tinatanong ko minsan sa sarili ko… bakit ka ba nag ba blog? To get an award or just to let these snippets of ideas just flow in your head. Kung ang motivation mo to blog ay makakuha ng award o maging famous you defeat the purpose of the “real” purpose of the communication channel…. that is to COMMUNICATE… not to be rewarded for communicating but to either contest the existing system or enhance it…

      a nice piece of blog work minus the expectation of reward from these so-called “authorities of the blog sphere” is a reward in itself.

  8. J.B. says:

    I find no problem in awarding Blogs as long as its sole criterion depends on tangible effectiveness to social improvement to where its projecting.

    Raising ideas in blogs that has yet to be proven regarding its positive effect overall is like awarding Joe Ma Sison for thinking in himself he has the best solution to Philippines woe.

  9. manila paper says:

    Hi benigno. I’m new here and thoroughly addicted 🙂 Can you expound on “jolog central”? Why is it linked to that blog? I think I share your sentiments, so please elaborate 🙂

    • benign0 says:

      Thanks. No need to expound here. Just google the term (enclose them in quotes for a better search result) and you will get a wealth of material on the topic and how it relates to the scheme of things. 🙂

  10. PinoyApache says:

    I’m quite animated by the article and the discussions. Digital tribe? I prefer a blogging nation.

    • Persona Non Grata says:

      Maau unta pirmi ka anhi bai .. inbitaha si Bong Wenceslao para daghan siya makat-unan 🙂 PEACE

    • Persona Non Grata says:

      Pinoyapache, blogging is columnizing, different medium. Blogging has the most freedom of content, rights-to-reply aplenty.

  11. Wander-ruh says:

    Another thing that bothers me about the local blogging community is how advertorial materials and paid reviews have become enmeshed in real content. There are so many bloggers out there who write about gadgets, restaurant reviews, fashion, etc. without disclosing to their readers about their affiliation with the estalishments that they write about.

    I understand that bloggers also need to make money, but not disclosing that something is a paid review is very dishonest.

    • ChinoF says:

      Persona! This is what Is was talking about! “Commercial” blogging 😛

      • Persona Non Grata says:

        If there is “commercial” blogging, there must also be bloggers who are politically paid hacks. I remember in the lamented FV that Nick was so incensed on a blog … I do not know his reason why … I hammered Nick … he must have been embarassed with my attack that he banned me eternally.

      • rafterman says:

        I am wary of people who get paid to blog. Once someone accepts payments in exchange for being influenced about what contents need to be on their blog, their writing becomes biased in favor of what their paymasters dictate. These “paid hacks” reduce the credibility of bloggers and make them no different from advertisers or PR specialists. They are no longer the voices in the wilderness or the bastions of truth that people seek out. Blogs are supposed to be alternatives to what the mainstream media puts out there and not a venue for bottom feeders who cannot make it in the PR, Advertising and Marketing world to peddle their garbage in.

  12. Hi Benigno. Interesting thoughts here. My understanding is that Globe did not pick who gets on the list. It was the PBA. Aileen got Digital Chief recognition.

    Look forward reading Anti-Pinoy more. Cheers!

    • BenK says:

      Okay, then. But who comprises the PBA?

    • benign0 says:

      Thanks for the clarification Janette. I wonder though… if a blogger writes something critical about Globe Telecom, does that exclude him/her from consideration for those categories that make use of the Globe Telecom name and trademark?

      • BenK says:

        Given the atrocity that is my broadband service (and the pathetic level of customer care that goes along with it), that’s a notion I might be willing to personally test.

      • Hi Benigno. Not sure whether Globe can give a thumbs up or down based on the special awards recipients list provided by PBA. When I received the notice for the recognition, I asked on who made the selection and was told that it was the PBA and not Globe.

        Thank you too.

      • Persona Non Grata says:

        I do not know what PBA means. They sure must have defective genes and brains made of brown fecal matter in short “asterisked”.

        PBA’s criteria:

        1. Perfectly crafted American English
        2. Perfectly impeccable Spellings
        3. Literary prowess

        Not necessarily its content. Not measured how it moves Filipinos for change. But pure creative writing that deserves William Faulkner’s William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.

        It is sad that Filipinos adore english more than content. Main reason Filipinos pick the wrong candidates because they are enamored in adoration of english.

        I hope no one gets mad. They can rip people apart but never ever criticize their english. English to them is be all that cures all. It is hard fought. It is in their heart.

        Filipinos write well but very seldom speak well.

        There is a separation of speak-good-english and not-speak english. This state-sponsored english is ridiculous

      • Persona Non Grata says:

        … and misguided love of Filipinos … 🙂

        Of course, they do not want to admit it, english discrimination is, in my heart, inflammatory.

    • Persona Non Grata says:

      PBA? Philippine Basketball Ass.? Now, I see. I asked around and got this answer. Each basketball players has the blogsite on their jersey. The highest pointer carrying the blogsite’s jersey is the winner and given the award.

      It islike in our workplace. They have this dartboard in the manager’s office (I have one) with the names of prospective employee for promotion who have equal qualifications. Each manager toss a dart on a spinning dart board. The employee who gets the most hit gets the promotion. Ain’t that neat.

      Hey, if COMELEC tossed coins who the mayor would be in part of Bohol it should work here, too.

  13. ChinoF says:

    For me, the worst thing that could happen here is when awards get to the head, then these head size-challenged people set themselves up as a “blogger elite,” muzzle themselves on other bloggers and say “do things our way” or or “we’re the blogger police.” Blogger imperialism’s gonna be a real pain. And defeat the purpose of blogging at all.

    • Persona Non Grata says:

      There are thousands and thousands of bloggers out there. Millions of Filipinos do not even know exists. The blogrolls are the usual suspects. There is no Filipino categorized blogging yellow page directories. The awards on the blogsites didn’t even ring a bell. Why worry? Worrying over awards is alluded over Filipino inherent jealousy and envy.

      Anyone here remember Nicks’ ballistic over a blogsite that topped the chart? Nick went ballistic because Nick think of himself highly.

      What was the site? I forgot. The site was afire then petered out. Never heard of again.

    • Persona Non Grata says:

      Do not fret Chino, if blogs are commercialized, it is establishmentized. News began etchings on cave walls then evolved into what we call now today as newspapers. They give pulitzer awards. Dick Schaap journalism awards. Globetelecom awards is no different. Newspapers offers grants and fellowships.

      Globetelecom offers awards to what they think deserves awards.

      Blogging went viral 7 years ago. It has not brought down a government yet. Jose Rizal’s El Felibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere were unsheathed more effectively than blogs of today of his writings in the latter part of 19th century. I do not know what technology Jose Rizal used, in fact, its efficacy nearly brought down Spanish Conquistadores within 5 years of Jose Rizal’s books were released than viral blogs.

      To date, I still scratched my kukote how it was done that made it more effective than the latest technology of blogs, social network. The first proviincial newspaper was in Vigan in 1884 called El Eco de Vigan. Eco is short of Eco-environment. They were already taking on environmental issues back in 1884 because of heavy industrialization. 1884 was 3 years after El Felibusterismo was first published.

      Go figure.

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  15. Mathdelane says:

    I don’t understand why people would have to argue over small things carved on metal plates or chiseled on wood when they could just be happy for others successes despite of their notion of a true winner.

    Bloggers have to accept the fact that they cannot please everyone and while there are so called “award-giving bodies” that chooses what they believe is the best, let us not allow ourselves to be consumed with jealousy instead make it as a challenge to improve our craft or simply enjoy what we’re doing without minding what others will say.

    Whatever motivates you to blog holds true of what you can achieve in the long run. After all, only yourself will gauge what you have accomplished at the end of the day. I’m sure when this time comes, you wouldn’t be thinking of any sort of recognition or praise because you know that you’ve earned self-recognition.

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