Filipino Facebook users react to satire post: THE KILLERS MANILA CONCERT PROTESTED BY RELIGIOUS GROUPS
A couple of friends shared this Facebook post that caught my attention today, about religious groups in Manila supposedly protesting an upcoming The Killers concert because of the band’s name. I read it, and it didn’t take much to realize it was satire. The tone clued me in, but it was really the use of the names “The Virgin Maries” and “Yema Kutsinta” (popular Filipino desserts) that gave it away, along with citing the author’s own Twitter account and a nonexistent Instagram post (Edit: Also, look closely at the photo).
When I first checked, there were over 500 shares. Now, only a few hours later, there are over 1,200 shares. An alarming majority of them, I’d estimate about 90% at least, didn’t seem to get the joke.
Rough translation: “Why are people in the Philippines so stupid? They haven’t even listened to the songs and they’re already saying this just because of the band’s name. There are just too many religious groups these days crying for attention.”
Upon realizing that people were missing the satire, my knee-jerk reaction was to post about my disbelief. It blew my mind how quickly this article with made-up quotes, comical names and make-believe events had swayed the opinion of hundreds of people overnight, without even really trying to hide its true intentions.
But had it really swayed anyone’s opinion?
My boyfriend told me that most people probably didn’t even read the post itself — they read the title, saw the photo, and shared. I thought about it and decided he was right, but that only made me see this in a different, possibly worse light: Maybe people didn’t catch the satire precisely because their negative opinion was set long before the post was up. Maybe Mr. Arboleda (the poster) simply give them a reason to express said opinion.
Scrolling through several dozen comments of those who shared the post, I saw a lot of intelligent people with well-thought-out reactions. I refuse to believe that they just didn’t get the satire, and argue instead that they probably just didn’t get that far.
Maybe a lot of Filipinos these days immediately tend to think the worst of their country, of its people, of religion, of people in general. That bothered me, not just the prejudice itself, but that there’s probably a number of reasons why that prejudice came about.
I haven’t decided which one I think is worse.
I tweeted Mr. Arboleda and he seems to be having a good laugh about it. Gotta hand it to him, he wrote that article in such a way that it really could seem passable for published online news. Wouldn’t be surprised if this makes it on the local news tonight!