VP Binay is a rotten onion
Of course we know that the Vice President is not actually an onion, and whether or not he is rotten is in the eye of the beholder. Someone who gets a cake or wad of cash from him, or even a bag of it, does not think he is rotten. Someone who gets a letter or visit from his legal storm troopers on the hunt for vendors of “black propaganda” might consider him rotten. That is, his values are rotten. In their opinion.
I’m referring to a recent article in that beacon of journalistic integrity, The Daily Inquirer, that said VP Binay has a team of 500 lawyers across the nation going to work in social media and elsewhere to ferret out those who are propagating “black propaganda”: “Binay camp vows to sue foes behind black prop”.
It appears that the definition of “black propaganda” is “malicious allegations against the VP and his family.”
Well, it raises the question, are those who think Binay is rotten allowed that opinion? That is, in the Philippines, today, in 2016, am I allowed the opinion that Vice President Binay is rotten? Or will the holding of that opinion occasion me with a visit from one of the VP’s legal minions?
Can I call an attorney in his employ a minion, I wonder? Am I allowed to offer up that mild insult to those who are stuffed of shirt, devoid of human goodness and have sold their souls to a man who, by all accounts, plunders taxpayer money?
Am I allowed to think to myself, “you know, that Binay guy is really a crook and liar”? Without also thinking an “alleged” in front of it?
And having thought it, am I allowed to type it? Right here. For y’all to read?
Or is that “black propaganda”?
What the hell are “malicious allegations”, anyway? Is it lies, opinions, ridicule, memes, or what? There is a team of 500 of the nation’s brightest people on the hunt for it, but no one has told us what it is in precise terms. Do they even know?
If they don’t like it, is that black propaganda?
Myself, I like satire. It’s the art of using words like a scalpel to slice, dice and reveal the innards of the subject of the satire. The most outrageous use of the technique came from the author of that little tale “Gulliver’s Travels” – Jonathan Swift – when he proposed that Ireland eat the babies of the poor as a way to end poverty. Really, he did! “A Modest Proposal” was the name of the piece and it so upset the nation that its leaders got to work on writing new laws to take better care of the poor.
The title of Swift’s work is satire, by the way. The proposal is not modest. But by calling such an outrageous idea ‘modest’, we can know that Swift is not exactly serious in making the proposal. And yet, it is a serious subject. Very. That’s the way satire works. Satire creates the meaning by denying it or turning it around. But we don’t know the whole truth unless we think really hard about it.
Rather like when I call the Inquirer a beacon of journalistic integrity . . .
Satire impels rich thinking. It can jolt us out of our ordinary thoughts. A lot of the time, it can make us laugh.
Are we allowed to be satirical in the Philippines?
Can I propose that we eat the Binays? As a way to cure corruption?
Or does his “black propaganda” initiative seek to outlaw satire in the Philippines? That is, does his political platform argue for a Philippines without any literary or intellectual reach whatsoever? Rather like that yahoo Duterte thinks trigonometry and calculus should be taken out of the schools?
By the way, a “yahoo” is a “a rude, noisy, or violent person”. Am I being factual here? Or satirical? And do YOU have the right to think Duterte is a yahoo? Under the Binay rules?
I suppose that is what we are facing, isn’t it? They are kind of like the “China Rules” where China defines them. No one else rises to the level of high imperial wisdom to be allowed to have any say in the matter. What China says is the law. What Binay says is the law. No one else counts.
When I say “VP Binay is a rotten onion”, I am not being malicious to Binay. I am praising the idea, the principle, the democratic value, that free speech is what keeps totalitarians from squashing the rest of us.
And I suppose that is the point here.
Under Binay Rules, we don’t count.
Only Binay counts. Only his interests.
Pardon me for having the opinion that this is a very WRONG and dangerous idea. There is something bigger than Binay, and that is the nation. There is something bigger than the nation, and that is the principle that each one of us counts. We are entitled to our thoughts. And we can express them.
It is not up to Binay to define what we can or cannot say. Or to intimidate us into silence by deploying 500 puppet attorneys to hunt down the outspoken and drive them to silence.
Puppet attorneys are those who understand what “chilling effect” means, but exercise the will of the entitled to impose it on people of good intention.
“Good” is not automatically – by definition – what Binay says it is. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if he even grasps the concept, as Jesus Christ would know it.