Defending Sotto

It is my great pleasure to come to Senator Sotto’s rescue. Enough of this hypocritical browbeating and whipping of an esteemed public servant who is only working diligently for the best interests of the Philippines. So he copied Bobby Kennedy’s words, along with those other documented thefts of original thinking we’ve heard so much about. No big deal.

The blogging and massive media have gone bonkers over the good Senator’s choice of words. Look, I grew up with Bobby Kennedy. Senator Sotto is no Bobby Kennedy. He is not even a Ted. Bobby was the bright young Kennedy brother, sincere, left of center, dedicated to civil rights and down with J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI. He was good.
He died young. Bullets do that.
Sure, Bobby talked funny. Those Massachusetts democrats all have a puckered way of gabbing, rather nasal and pompous, as if the queen schooled them in diction.
But it was not the queen who schooled the Kennedy kids. It was their father, old Joe Kennedy who did that. Old Joe knew politics. He was the Ambassador to Great Britain until he got tactless and got fired. Until then, politics was his life.  Joe was Irish Catholic and had the requisite big-family ideals. He had nine kids, wow, yes sir. It’s right there on wiki.  His family knew tragedy, for sure, as too many of the kids died young.
Three of the boys got to the national political stage. John (“Jack”), was President. Bobby and Ted were senators.
At home, old Joe would chair debates over the dinner table with his kids. They’d have to extemporize their debates. Like, make them up off the tops of their heads. The old man would give them topics and the kids would have to argue either side.
Joe Kennedy, US Ambassador to Gr Britain

They couldn’t steal words. They had to make them up.
That is character.
But that is not the Philippines.
Oh, the Philippines has character, too. But it is a different character. Rather like Spiderman has to deal with the Green Goblin, a character for sure. The Philippines is not Spiderman.
So let me ask, Philippine bloggers and massive media opinion mongers.
How many of you buy pirated CD’s? You know, where you can get a U.S. $13.99 music album for Philippine P100?
Ahhh. Do you know what that is called? It is called a theft of intellectual properties.  Rather much like plagiarism.
How many of you speed down the national highway at 100KPH when the speed limit is 40?
Do you know what that is called?
It’s called breaking the law.
How many of you ride your motorcycle with no helmet?
You know what that is called?
I think you do.
Face it, this is not a nation of angels. The angels here all have soot on their wings and halos that tilt crooked. They have shifty eyes from always looking back to see if anyone saw them cheating God.
To say obedience to laws is loosey goosey in the Philippines would be to insult the goose. Law hereabouts only becomes operative if you happen to get caught. Generally, you don’t have to worry about it because the police are busy looking away. And charging a mere P100 to do so.
So it is balls to the wall chopping illegal trees, dynamiting fish and coral as if they were ducks in a bombing pool, driving without a license, murdering anyone who blinks the wrong way during the election cycle, and all the other vices that are so numerous I could spend ten blogs writing about them.
Come to think about it, I probably have more than ten about them in the archives over there in the right column.
So if the social values of the Philippines are so loose, what in the world is the big deal about Senator Sotto?
Give the guy a break. He is just being Filipino. Rather like President Aquino when he tries to jam loyal good friends like De Lima into the Chief Justice Chair. Or puts his arm around his good pal Puno.
Culture is culture, and I used to be told all the time to take a hike back to America, because I didn’t understand the one here. Now I do and I have not been invited out for some time now.  Well, except for yesterday when on Rappler I was declared an arrogant, ignorant, racist commie and told to sit down and shut up.
But I digress. Back to the point. Even Senators Enrile and Santiago have stated specifically that Senator Sotto’s transgressions aren’t a big deal. And Senator Marcos, the guy with the last name that will live in infamy but out of the memory  and conscience of Filipinos, did a stirring defense of the now famed Sottoman.
So the most revered personalities in the nation are testifying to the paltry, puny transgression that is eating up so much of our internet energy these days.
So I ask, why are you bloggers in such a super snit?
Get off it, otherwise you appear sooooo, soooo hypocritical. As if you thought Philippine values were law abiding or something.
So take a break.
Get off your keyboards and head down to Main Street where the CD’s are cheap and the values cheaper.
Photo source: wikipedia
33 Responses to “Defending Sotto”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Defending Sotto is the lowest of the low but I admire your candor Joe.

  2. Actually I think Senator Sotto is a rather scurrilous political rascal who cloaks himself in priestly robes, the better in which to go forth and steal, block the public will, and do other deconstructive deeds. But the point is, why pick on him if the commonly accepted value is cheating?

  3. Jetlag807 says:

    The "big deal" is not (and never has been) the act of plagiarism. The "Big Deal" is Senator Sotto's refusal to stand up like a MAN and admit the mistake. Whether the mistakes were brought from his own actions or that of his staff, the buck stops with him. He (Sotto) should stop crying like a baby, own up to it, take his medicine and move on… Oh! But wait! He is now saying that he didn't copy (plagiarize) Bobby's speech because he (Sotto) said it in Tagalog! C'mon man! The guy's a freaking Muppet! Yeah; everybody copies stuff from hardware, software to articles and speeches. The BIG difference is giving CREDIT to "the original poster"! Stop making excuses for this idiot! He did wrong and, like a child, refuses to own up to it and, like too many in this country, would rather give tired excuses for his own stupidity!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sotto's defiance and public gloating may have unnerved the honorable Senator Miriam Santiago. She's now talking and it's a good thing!

  5. Jetlag807 says:

    "But the point is, why pick on him if the commonly accepted value is cheating?" … Ahhh! Now I see your point Joe!

  6. Anon, and that is the correct answer. You get 50 points and move to the front of the line.You bash the hell out of Sotto because he is a public figure and if you do enough bashing then values of the Philippines start to change.

  7. He is a freaking Muppet, and don't let up just because JoeAm poses some contrary intellectual argument.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Very nice tag team…Jetlag and JoeAm. Gotcha!

  9. Yep. The left hook and the right hook. Sotto can be the jaw.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I assume Joe, that you already knew that the words "Defending Sotto" would rub many people the wrong way. For Filipinos, who haven't graduated past fixation on persons and events rather than ideas, it's easier to wrap their heads around being indignant at Sotto and his plagiarism, instead of wondering how the hell did he get into government in the first place.As I said in Angry Maude's article, Filipinos deserve the politicians that they elect into office. As long as they allow and approve the garbage in, they shouldn't really expect anything more than garbage out.On the other hand, it seems that offenses need to be a certain level/degree before Filipinos get mad. This is not surprising in a society with a stratospherically high tolerance for impunity, and a bottomless collective IQ. Filipinos are getting mad now? They should look at the numerous "smaller" offenses that they allow to go unchecked/unnoticed every single day of their lives.-Amir Al Bahr

  11. Amir, that is precisely the point of the article. The headline was aimed at stirring up the discussion pot. And your conclusion is best said by a Filipino rather than an American. I had to approach it backwards, on the sly, saving the real message for the last two words. It takes discipline to live by community values over self-interest. There does not appear to be a lot of discipline around, in large part because the "peer message" is, "hey, whatever I can get away with is okay. After all, the senators do it, too."I think it is important to start some waves of discipline.

  12. Aah JoeAm, you can be such a pain sometimes! But it's the kind of pain that signals to someone they must have done or must be doing something wrong; like maybe not lifting heavy objects from the knee to avoid back pains, or maybe too much fats or sugar in one's diet, and the like. Sadly there's a whole lot of people walking around who have ether become desensitised or are just oblivious to the pain. Or maybe it's a case of referred pain, i.e. the pain is perceived to be located in another part of the body and not the actual site; such that one only sees what others do wrong and not what one does himself.At any rate, we should probably make a self administering version of the Rizal Robredo Index.

  13. Well, Cha, complacency is the father of irrelevance. So I don't want my readers to get complacent.Your idea of a self-administered RR Index is great, actually. Rather like the Myers Briggs personality profiles (INFJ here), only it rates dedication to country.I sometimes fear the national motto of the Philippines is "Do as I say, not as I do."

  14. andrew lim says:

    Joe, This morning I tried to put myself in Sotto's shoes:I got voted into the Senate with say, 10M votes. Are these bashers among them? I dont think so, perhaps only some. I got most of my votes from the average Pinoy- low income groups, low quality education, most likely incomplete, and they have their hands full on only three issues: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Who has time to read up on national issues and events? Heck, they probably dont even know what plagiarism means. That's far from their stomachs. As long as I tickle them with jokes, write a few songs, and give them prize money in my noontime show, I'm safe. I'm made. If the RH bill succeeds and the country prospers, do you think my kind will be voted again into the office? No way! They'd find out what plagiarism is and acquire a high sense of honor. You hoity toity crowd!So no to RH bill!

  15. Anonymous says:

    "But the point is, why pick on him if the commonly accepted value is cheating?"Joe, you've also provided the answer;"Law hereabouts only becomes operative if you happen to get caught." If I may add, Sotto was caught not only once or twice and still he will not admit it.Now, can you blame the people who wants to hoist him in a crane?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Sotto doesn't need JoeAm to come to his defense but I got your introspective and ironic point. Like changing gears driving a car.DocB

  17. That's a good approach, andrew. Yes, the silence by the senators, Ms. Defensor-Santiago excepted, I understand, probably comes from the same cold calculation. "It's just a few loudmouths ranting; let 'em blow off steam for a week or two and it will end. Then I can go back to my posturing and plotting for re-election."

  18. Edgar Lores says:

    A study has been made of commentaries appearing in a Rappler article. This study is called a “Statistical Analysis of Epithet Usage of Two Contending Entities in an Online Essay on the Ambiguous Use of Plagiarism”.The findings of the study are as follows:• The sample population consisted of nineteen (19) choice epithets that were sourced from Entity A and used to describe Entity B.• The ratio of letters used as ‘starters’ was equally distributed among the 26 letters of the alphabet. That is to say that one of 13 letters was used as the starting letter of each epithet, and 13 were not used.• Significantly the first 5 letters (ABCDE) of the alphabet served as starters whereas the last letters (VWXYZ) were not. This proves the hypothesis that the upper 20th percentile is a rich source for defamatory word and phrases, whereas the exact opposite can be said of the lower 20th percentile.• A detailed examination of all the epithets demonstrated that 6 letters (FKQWXZ) were absent in the sample population. In the standard normal distribution of letter frequency, this conforms to a study conducted on the Concise Oxford dictionary whereby the letters KQXZ appear to have the lowest frequencies. The Cornell University Math Explorer’s Project further confirms that KQXZ belong to the lowest 20th percentile.• An in-depth look at the ‘starters’ also shows a remarkable balanced ratio: nine (9) starters (ABEHJORSU) appeared as single occurrences while four (4) starters (CDIP) appeared as multiple occurrences. The multiple occurrences comprised 10 of the 19 starter population. Most of the multiple occurrences (CDP) were pairs; the I-starter formed a quartet of epithets and denominated the median.• An analysis of the horizontal measurements of the epithets showed that a 5-letter word was the shortest and that a 13-letter word was the longest. In other words, the longest was almost three times the size of the shortest. This may highlight the consensus on another hypothesis that – in terms of efficacy – size does not matter.• The study is unable to determine whether the use of the epithets reflected the reality of the character of the object entity, Entity B. Or whether they were more descriptive of the source entity, Entity A. It is suggested that a correct conclusion may be derived by taking into consideration the tone of the above essay.• The sample population is hereby listed for reference: arrogant, bigot, communist, condescending, delusional, dishonest, elitist, hypocritical, idiot, ignorant, illogical, insensitive, judgmental, one-sided, pretentious, play dumb, racist, snobbish and undiplomatic.

  19. Yes, but going from 5th to reverse.

  20. Given the Santiago quote, in which she said plagiarism is a crime, I'd guess he feels he's been lifted by that crane a few feet, at least.

  21. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha! So you linked over to that rappler dialogue, eh? Subject B is confirmed positive, on occasion, as arrogant, condescending, elitist, hypocritical, ignorant, illogical, insensitive, judgmental, and undiplomatic. He is not a bigot, communist, delusional, dishonest, idiot, one-sided, pretentious, playing dumb, racist, or snobbish. In addition, his wife will confirm that he is actually a rather nice guy. Generous, considerate, thoughtful, intelligent, and some other descriptors that did not make it into Entity A's conceptual reality.Ignorant here is used in two of the ways it was defined in aforesaid commentary, innocent and purposeful, but not negligent.Thanks Edgar. Classic.

  22. ps, be sure to catch tomorrow's blog . . .

  23. Anonymous says:

    From: Island jim-e (aka: The Cricket)RE: "Sottoskisam"1. With all due respect…it is apparent thatthe "clown" needs to be sent back to whatevercircus he came from and needs to be replacedby anyone that has adequate education, intellegence, honesty and integrity–I nominateany girl scout to fill his position!2. It is also painfully apparent that hisfilibuster is doing more harm than good! Asthe dear clown does not meet his sworn obligationsto protect, serve, provide for public safety andhealth–his showboating and self serving grand-standing (a showcsase for incompetance) has costthe tax payers money, time and resources we can not afford! His actions to date typlify theignorance of congress in dealing withthemselves, the public good and addressing their own bad behavior!3. The congress and their choosen leadership needto WAKE UP and start paying attention to the higherneeds of our nation instead of blowing smoke and BS.4. The lack of positive actions by congress exemplify all that is wrong with the island government. The congress are and have beensetting bad examples, they ignore the basicneeds of the people they were sworn to respect,to treat them with basic honesty,….ifthey had any character or integrity they wouldcut their wrists and save the tax payers the costof a bullet!Observation: Actors, singers, boxers and clownsneed to be on the stage along with a disfunctionalcongress and court system…the first stage out…a requirement that anyone running for a governmentelected seat should have a minimum university leveleducation, have some business and civic courses, etc.,would be a good start to "clean up Dodge city"!chirp!

  24. It seems so simple, doesn't it, and yet the esteemed Senators sit silent, accepting of the transgressions as if it were no big deal. The lack of discipline and high ideals is bizarre, and the "forgiveness" of past sins by voters is outright crazy. To have a congress made up of corrupt people and coup plotters and plagiarizers and boxers. It astounds . . .The inability to discern right from wrong, for the nation Philippines . . . my my my . . .

  25. Pirated CDs/DVDs? Hell, the law of supply and demand.Overspeeding? E=MCsquared. Every motorist knows that.Motorcycle helmets? Yeah and let's also replace trouser zippers with velcro.Plagiarism? "Property is theft." – Pierre-Joseph ProudhonAny other bug up your ass? 🙂

  26. Just clicked on the Rappler link. Reminds me of those insane arguments I used to get drawn into by that troll in Propinoy. A near impossible anatomical act is what you should have told your opponent to do. But then again you're not Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair.

  27. Yes, the contractor who, in learning we were about to donate funds for the local church roof, marked up the amount of material "needed" by 40%. Trouser zippers, velcro. Quite funny. Are you by any chance suggesting my argument is weak?

  28. Yes, those are real brain-grunters. It's much like reasoning with a turnip, but at least you can throw the turnip into the soup.

  29. I'm just giving other excuses for the behavior. But seriously, pirated CDs and DVDs can be eliminated by lowering the price of original CDs and DVDs. And motorcycle helmets, throw in seatbelts too. I think they should only be mandatory for minors. An adult should be allowed to decide for himself. Just like smoking and drinking. I think making mandatory what is "for your own good" crosses the line protecting my individual liberty.

  30. I argued this argument to my wife the other day. "Motorcycle riders, in accepting the responsibility for riding without a helmet, should accept the consequences of their risky decision. The law is aimed at keeping them out of hospitals where the community often ends up paying for their care. So if they get into an accident and smash their heads, leave them on the pavement. Or, better yet, shoot them and throw them into the ditch. No more of this living free and imposing the burden on the rest of us."My wife stopped riding without her helmet.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I feel you, Joe.One of the issues that has unsurprisingly gone unnoticed is how people have gotten their drawers in twists of Gordian proportions over Sotto's oratorical adventures without calling out news media for essentially being facsimiles of Fox News.Uncanny, I tell you.

  32. Yes, the media is rather like the Senate in that they are "self regulated", with no boss but themselves. So sometimes their own ethics get a little askew. People can complain, but if their commercial interests are more important, to hell with ethics . . .Excellent point.

  33. Helmets are aspirins. Ban motorcycles if you really want to see less blood on the streets.

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