Archive | Language

Ending Fake News From Within

Ending Fake News From Within

If journalists and publishers want to end fake news, they must start with themselves. For far too long certain conventions have been perpetuated that, under scrutiny, have no place in any legitimate journalistic publication.

Stop publishing horoscopes, feng shui tips, and other beliefs definitively disproven by science such as traditional Chinese medicine, crystal healing, cleansing diets, homeopathy, etc. If you must feature pseudoscience, then be critical and get the findings of legitimate science authorities.
Stop making stupid people famous. Banish high society columns where people are featured simply because they were born rich or pretty. Being born rich or pretty is not an accomplishment. If you want to feature someone well bred then feature a pure breed pig, horse, or dog instead. If they are philanthropists then feature their advocacy. If they are tycoons then feature their business success. If they are well dressed then feature the designers. If they travel then feature the destinations. If they are artists then feature their art. Obsessive hoarding, be it any material possession or wealth, beyond any practical need, is a symptom of a sick mind. High society columns are most often amoral, highlighting plunderers and tax evaders, oppressors of laborers and peasants, as if they were worthy to look up to.
Stop showbiz gossip. Judge actors and musicians for their artistry. If they are not true artists then don’t feature them at all. Stop exploiting the private lives of stars and stop being exploited by celebrities who want media attention.
Stop featuring blind item columns and anonymous writers. Everyone must practice accountability and transparency. Journalism is only for the brave and those that can’t name names better shut up.

Stop prostituting the lifestyle section. No upstanding publisher would demand the front page news section or the business section to compromise their journalistic integrity and sell out to make money for the publication. So why demand that of the lifestyle section? The newsmen who most often run publications often look down on the lifestyle section as insubstantial and yet they are the ones who often expect the lifestyle section to sell out and make money for the publication. Cultural reportage is extremely relevant and important. Corruption, poverty, rape, bigotry, and vanity are all perpetuated by flawed culture. Environmentalism, gender equality, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, accountability, honesty, ambition, and creativity are all values that can and should be promoted by arts and culture.

Stop judging by popularity. You don’t publish something because people want to read it and watch it; you publish something because people need to read it and watch it. Stop judging articles by the number of likes, shares, or reads. These are the wrong metrics. If popularity was the basis then all publications would be sensationalist tabloids with sexy pictures, clickbait headlines, and hoax news.

Stop giving equal legitimacy to opposing points of view when this misrepresents reality. For example, It’s not right giving equal voice to a lone dissenter denying man-made climate change when the vast majority of the scientific establishment confirms the existence of man-made climate change.

Be plainspoken. Don’t say he “misspoke” if it was a deliberate and often-repeated lie. Call a spade a spade.

Get real writers and journalists. Don’t get an editor-in-chief because he or she represents the aspirational ideal of your readership or audience—glamorous, accomplished, etc. Don’t get columnists just because they are famous. If they can’t write well or have nothing worthy to say then they have no business in your publication.

Posted in Language, Politics0 Comments

Imperialism of the Tagalog-Filipino

Filipino, which is largely Tagalog-based, can be just as imperialistic as English is, and probably more in its own way. Speaking Filipino does not automatically you maka-Pilipino or nationalistic.

Hear me out: Filipino (being mainly Tagalog) is a language that was imposed on the rest of the country. Just because almost everyone in the country speaks it now, does not mean it was not forced on them through education, necessity or practicality over the decades. The Tagalog territories being the dominant center of economic activity for so long did much to make learning Filipino advantageous at best, or necessary at worst.

font-705667_640

Can you truly claim you are maka-Pilipino if you use Filipino as a tool of elitism over other Filipinos, or tout its primacy over the rest of the Filipino languages? Before you go “English is the language of the colonizers and foreigners!”, remember that you probably take for granted the fact that anyone in this country can speak Filipino, even if it may not be their own beloved or native tongue.

True, most Filipinos may be familiar with Filipino, even intimately, but that does not necessarily make the language their own. In some cases, they even appropriate it for use in their own way. But, how different is that for Filipinos who appropriate English, because that is what they grew up with or it was practical for them? I was born and raised Tagalog and it took staying in Bikol for years to realize this. The look in people’s eyes when you have to tell them that they must speak to you in Tagalog (because you do not know their language) is not hostile, but it is certainly strange and possibly uncomfortable even if they do not say so.

Most of the time they just carry it in stride or not recognize their discomfort themselves. But sometimes, you get a nervous laughter of sorts or an embarrassing moment where you’re left with a lingering feeling that they think you’re just trying to one-up them.

Some people, like myself, would try to learn the local language, and you can see people appreciate it. It is difficult to learn another Philippine language, but it helps you get a measure of what you’re asking non-Tagalog speakers to set aside for you (probably without a single thought).

It’s when you realize that you simply cannot learn all the Filipino languages though, that you end up with a dilemma; we do need to efficiently and effectively understand each other, after all. You realize that Tagalog/Filipino is fine, English is fine, Bikol is fine, any other language is fine, so long as you can understand each other. However, it’s the change of mentality that comes with the realization that’s important.

I understand that some people use language as a tool of elitism (whether that be Tagalog or English), but that’s part of the problem I’m trying to speak against: if you somehow accept the primacy of Tagalog among Filipinos (or worse, actively using imposing it), then you are as elitist as someone who uses English to step on other people.

We need to treasure our Filipino languages and make them grow, that is true, but perhaps there is a better measure of what makes a Filipino a Filipino. Maybe it’s better if we can look past the language used, see the use of the language, and stop using it to superficially judge our fellow citizens.

Posted in Language, Society0 Comments

FF Podcast 73: Sexism and Tony Meloto’s GK

FF Podcast 73: Sexism and Tony Meloto’s GK

This week, we talk about Tony Meloto’s controversial speech in Hawaii where he suggested that Filipinas should have babies with white men for the benefit of the country. We also talk about the apparent cult of personality built around Tony Meloto and Gawad Kalinga.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Language, Media, Podcast, Religion, Secularism, Society, Video1 Comment

FF Podcast 66 (Audio): Hens and Gender-Neutral Pronouns

FF Podcast 66 (Audio): Hens and Gender-Neutral Pronouns

FF Podcast 66: Hens and Gender-Neutral Pronouns

What is a “hen”? Sweden has added a gender-neutral pronoun to their language. We talk about this and whether measures like this impacts gender equality in culture and society.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in audio podcast, Language, Society0 Comments


Facebook.com/Freethinkers