Many years ago, I decided that I really shouldn’t engage in online/social media discussions regarding politics, religion, and other very subjective matters. I recognized that people have the right to post whatever it is that they wanted to on their online accounts, and that others should just be tolerant of it because at the same time, I or anyone else can also post whatever it is that I wanted to on Twitter or Facebook. That is how social media works.
Every now and then though, with the May elections being the most recent, I do fail to contain myself and I reply to others posting about some really subjective topics. I guess sometimes, what others are posting are so off-base, so out of touch, or so inconsiderate that there wasn’t enough tolerance in me to see it as just others posting their views. Two cases in point is Leah Navarro stating that the only selfless vote was voting for Mar Roxas:
@leahnavarro yes, because the only way to be selfless is to vote for Mar Roxas. Do you even know what “right to vote” means?
— Gerard Martin Cueto (@gerardcue) May 7, 2016
Or Ricky Carandang saying the Philippines was a zombie apocalypse after Duterte was elected (like it wasn’t a zombie apocalypse for far too long anyway, especially for long suffering commuters):
Try waiting for/getting on a bus at EDSA-Ayala in a rainy work night & you’ll see what a zombie apocalypse is like. https://t.co/uviimauERw
— Gerard Martin Cueto (@gerardcue) May 10, 2016
I always make an effort to be non-partisan when it comes to news, politics, legislation, etc. People have the right to vote for who they want to vote for, for reasons they believe are just. Because the problem with toeing the party line is that some are too obsessed with it that they can no longer see that what they’re posting online is inconsiderate and/or out of touch with reality.
The recent bombing of Davao’s night market which killed 14 people and injured over 60 is another sad chapter in our country’s history. Online posts of condolences and criticisms, both of which are necessary, followed soon after. I was reading up on the news on Twitter when I happened to read a post from @myrizalph saying that Duterte has brought Davao’s “backwardness” to Manila.
I then asked why he thought Davao was backwards, and he (or she) responded that Davao fared low on the human development index (even comparing it w/ Zimbabwe) and that it doesn’t have enough infrastructure/manufacturing.
Now, I’m not from Davao and I’ve only been there once but I did enjoy my time there. The places we went to were relatively clean, the traffic wasn’t terrible like it was in Manila, and cab drivers gave the right amount of change (have to note that during this trip, both the taxi drivers we encountered to and from NAIA demanded that we not use the cab meter and were asking for a higher, fixed amount). I wouldn’t really call the city “backwards” (with or without the recent bombing being considered). They even have ordinances for a fireworks, smoking, and Karaoke ban which is more forward-thinking and considerate compared to the rest of the country. As for the low on human development/human development index part, I’m sure there’s some truth to it, but the same can be said for the rest of the country (a lot of other cities are easily less progressive/developed). And I’m no infrastructure expert but I’m pretty sure Manila’s infrastructure isn’t all that great either (or at least, there are cities with worse infra than Davao). Singling out Davao as being “backwards” based on how it fares on the human development index, to me at least is, is a hasty generalization that is both out of touch and inconsiderate.
I replied to the “low human development akin to Zimbabwe” tweet with the same hasty logic/generalization which @myrizalph applied to Davao and got a personal attack as a response:
Self-proclaimed “disente” but he can’t go through a reasonable argument without resorting to personal attacks. Better yet, I liked how he accused me of jumping to conclusions while being the one to actually jump to a conclusion:
I’m very happy with and proud of my UP education by the way (even if I found being able to graduate on time really hard it almost killed me lol). Unfortunately for me, it seems my being “uneducated” was very obvious to @myrizalph:
So at this point, my newfound best friend on Twitter said that he did provide data (in a different twitter conversation):
It’s pretty laughable that he was spouting off statistics and data but when pressed for it, he just name dropped an Ateneo dean. Even more laughable is that fact that he was asking others like me to verify his claim for him by calling ADMU.
Things get more laughable near the end of our conversation:
Statements like “Just because I don’t have it, doesn’t alter the facts. See for yourself if you want to see the truth” really make me wish this guy isn’t a lawyer or is asked to testify in court one day. And in closing, since @Myrizalph can’t really substantiate his Davao is backwards claim, he just resorts to some “why are you so affected” and “defensive” BS:
He then says I haven’t proven anything (missing the fact that I really didn’t have to prove anything because he was the one who made a claim which needed proof). And that our twitter chat was a waste of his time (this is after he took the time to reply several times).
Finally, he just resorts to blocking me on Twitter (and here I thought our Twitter friendship would last a little longer).
So now I’m not really sure what to think of our little online discussion. I don’t feel smarter nor victorious. I guess the joke is on me for even expecting reasonable discussion (with verifiable claims) from someone who made a clearly hasty, unfair, and out of touch generalization. It may be good practice to just ignore such statements moving forward, to not give them the time of day, to not dignify the sometimes ridiculous claims with a response, and just allow others to wield the power of social media like we all do. And sure, from time to time there will be posts which are so infuriating and so hard to read. But ignoring such posts do not make them more true, it just makes you more tolerant.