This is what I think of the latest issue hounding the local blogosphere of late. Let me direct you to Abe’s post about it, which seemed to have jumpstarted the discussions. A certain Kenneth Ocampo has been on an email campaign and online petition against Filipino blogger bryanboy.
I am writing to you with hopes that you spread our outrage. Weâ€™re appalled that one of the countryâ€™s top bloggers is an anti-christ. How dare he make a joke out of Jesus by posting disturbing photos on his blog.
Please spread the word about this sinner and help us with our petition.
Filipino blogger Bryanboy has angered Filipino Catholic Christians this week after posting a controversial photo in his blog on October 30, 2006.
The photos featured a British man doing a pose in Bryanboy fashion beside a statue of Jesus Christ on a cross.
His post generated mixed reactions on the Internet, including an online petition that labeled the gay Filipino blogger an “antichrist.” The petition was addressed to the Catholic Church, and it urged Bryanboy to remove offending pictures on his website.
I will run the risk of being branded as self-righteous and a hypocrite if I took a stab at things from a religious perspective. Yes, I am a practicing Catholic, and I try to live my life according to morally-acceptable standards (at least to a good majority of the world’s population).
But let’s try to be objective here. Those on the morality side of the debate say that bryanboy is evil and should be sent to the deepest pits of hell. Those on the freedom of expression side say that the moralists are nothing but self-righteous hypocrites who aren’t without sin themselves.
Isn’t this an immature way to go about with a discussion? Last time I checked, _ad hominem_ is still a logical fallacy, and IMHO one of the most pathetic ways to go about with an argument.
I can say that bryanboy’s posting was done in bad taste, and is against common decency. I wouldn’t go as far as comment on the photos themselves, bryanboy’s sexual orientation, and whatnot (I’m not one to judge). But the title itself and bryanboy’s short note are something to be unhappy about–one does not use God’s name alongside an expletive and expect the people concerned to just stand there.
Notice the title.
And this is not only limited to Christians. I do agree with one commenter on Yugatech that if it were Muslims that bryanboy insulted, the reaction could have been far greater. Remember the Apple NYC Cube fiasco I wrote about on Apple Gazette a while back? Propagandists were successful at inciting religious hatred by pitting religion against religion (well, almost, since love for Apple is considered a religion by some). We were able to dig deeper into the matter, and discovered that the “news” sites involved were of questionable intent.
Think Before You Publish!
Here’s my take on the matter. Bloggers are, indeed, free to post whatever they please on their blogs. That’s the beauty of the blogosphere. However, this can also get ugly. The blogosphere can also be full of crap. And people can be haphazard with what they post. True, the blogosphere tends to be self-correcting–it’s _publish then filter_ as opposed to editing before publication in traditional media. But by the time the issue has been cleared up, the damage would’ve already been done.
Since bloggers do not have editors and publishers to review and filter our material, like with mainstream media, it’s up to us to be responsible with what we post. If you intend to incite strong reactions among your readership, then so be it. But it’s always good to consider the concepts of decency and respect in whatever you write. You may not necessarily rot in hell or get excommunicated by the Church, but people who do insulting stuff like the above out of fun are plain ol’ arses in my book.
Alex goes as far as saying that responsibility goes both ways: for both the consumers and producers of content.
What I could suggest is for readers to be open-minded yet critical to what the Internet has to offer. We could all choose not to view bryanboy .com if we want to. We all know that the Web is a war zone of good and bad information. And for Filipino adults wary about children reading such material as what is found in bryanboy .com, download and use any one of these [parental filters]. This issue all boils down to one’s responsibility to oneself and to others.
I think those who have greater power should have the heavier burden of responsibility (has anyone watched _Spiderman_ lately?). The people who started the petition against bryanboy may not have been too familiar with the realm of blogging, hence their means of responding may not be as strong or effective (emails? free online petition sites?). So I think those of us who have a better grasp of the medium should take it upon ourselves to do something. And I don’t mean by taking sides. You may stand on either side of the argument (or neither), but what’s important is to always keep in mind our responsibility as publishers.