0159B: Filipinos Have A Lousy Sense of Humor

My brain feels pretty beat up right now, so I'm not sure how well this entry will turn out. But my personal commitment to get a post out pretty much daily is what is keeping me at my computer. It's not because I had a bad work day. While it wasn't particularly good either, it was certainly a busy one. And when your job involves a LOT of writing, you can end up feeling pretty drained at the end of a long day.

There current hullabaloo over the internet involves the suspension of the Pugad Baboy comic by the Philippine Daily Inquirer over a somewhat controversial strip. Ironically the strip first appeared in March and only appeared as a re-run in the paper this week. Now it's a big issue, and as is the nature of of the internet, people are taking sides.

It's a joke that may be in questionable taste, yes. Then again, so what else is new for Pol Medina, Jr., who has shown no fear in going after public figures and politicians. While his comic is generally funny, it is also a sociopolitical commentary comic that tackles local trends, issues and topics of interest. As a comic artist, he presents the mirror of satire and makes us face ourselves.

If anything, no comic creator should lose his job over a strip that didn't go well with some audiences. Pull it from the online archives, issue an apology from the section editor and move on. And should the PDI deterine that his suspension should become a termination, well, it'll just be par for the course in the direction we're headed in our efforts to be perceived as being politically-correct in public. However in our regular in person dealings with one another, we make many of the same jokes to our friends and family without fear of reprisal of any sort.

Pirata (Pugad Baboy graphic novel)
And it's not too far off from the Vice Ganda issue. Again, it was a joke in poor taste - yet one that an audience counting in the thousands was willing to laugh at as evidenced by the same video that damned him. But after Vice's big public apology, all he had to do was listen to a lecture at the MTRCB. After a few reminders about what and what not to do, he essentially walks away with a slap on the wrist.

One man may lose his job because he was tackling a greater issue about the hypocrisy of how Catholic schools handle LGBT students. The other is back on national television after severely insulting an esteemed journalist. And at the end of the day, the very same people leading the online lynch mob will make similarly inappropriate, tasteless jokes together with their friends using alcohol and other such indulgences as an excuse for their bad behavior.

So who's laughing now?

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