I Hate Filipino Culture: http://internetjaywalking.blogspot.com/2007/07/i-hate-filipino-culture.html
Almost exactly 5 years ago today, I looked at my blog counter and was quite surprised when I saw that one of my articles gained around 50k views in less than 24 hours and was still gaining views at a pretty fast rate. Then I checked facebook and friends were saying that one of my articles was being shared everywhere on social media and getting pretty strong reactions. It was my first taste of what virality was like. The attention was very flattering but also quite frightening. Along with the overwhelming positive reactions, I was also getting a few negative ones. And we all know how mean the internet can be. I wrote under my pen name “Jay Walker” but I wasn’t entirely anonymous. I had a photo of my mug on the blog which, according to some of the commenters, was quite douchey and could serve as a “before” photo for a derma ad (I’m paraphrasing). I also saw someone write “liquid sosa” at least once in the comments, one my many nicknames back in gradeschool, so I’m pretty sure someone from that part of my life recognized me.
I’m not the type who enjoys having the spotlight directly on me. I like having it on my creative work but not on me as a person. I didn’t delete the profile photo which everybody had already seen anyway but I tried to maintain anonymity as much as i could. I deleted the links to some of my blogs which contained more information and photos of me. And I changed my name on fb to my real name for a while so no one could find me. I did it because I dreaded the influx of haters on my social media accounts but after reading a couple of negative comments, I quickly got desensitized to it and I didn’t really get affected anymore. I changed it back to Jay walker after a couple of days.
Back in 2007 when I originally wrote the entry, facebook was not as big as it is today. Social media was plurk and Friendster. When you went viral back then, you went viral within the blogging community, maybe you’d get mentioned in a few forums, have a few memes. It’s nothing like what it is today where something could spread like wildfire through facebook or twitter. When I first posted it on my tabulas blog back in 2007, it got a few comments and reactions but it wasn’t until 2013 when people shared it on facebook and twitter that it went viral.
The fact that it spread the way it did was surprising because although the title was a bit clickbait-y, the body of the article was not written, as some of the commenters said, in a way that could be easily understood by the masses. In the age of memes and road rage videos, articles that are several paragraphs long rarely get viral anymore, especially ones that contain words and phrases like “purveyor of ignorance” and “permeates”. There are so many ways that one could go viral on the internet. One could easily end up like Cristopher Lao or the Amalayer girl, barbequed to a crisp by internet trolls. I’m glad that I didn’t go viral that way. Perhaps it was also because of the nature of the article that it avoided the worst of internet trolls. Although there were a few immature comments and some that were bordering on violent, they were rare. A lot of the reactions to it were articles in themselves. And even some of the replies that were critical of it were also thoughtfully written.
If I had written it today, it definitely wouldn’t sound as angry. Aging has taken some of the fire and idealism out of me. I would change or add a few things. But I think it still remains timely. Those who were critical of the article have accused it of being homophobic because they thought I said something negative about people who dressed in drag. I explicitly used the word “entertainers” I was talking about entertainers, who aren’t even gay in the first place, dressing in drag and acting like fools sake of a few laughs. There are plenty of those characters in Philippine television. That, I think is promoting homophobia and could even be interpreted as an outright mockery of the their community.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the attention back then but looking back at it now, I’m filled with a sense of pride. For a brief period of time, I was able to move people’s thoughts and emotions en masse with my words, which is the aspiration of any writer or those aspiring to be.
“I Hate Filipino Culture” first went viral on april 2013 and then went viral again on january 2014. Thanks to everyone who shared it and posted reactions to it.
Some of the posts that I could find on twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=internetjaywalking.blogspot.com&src=typd
Some of the lengthier blog reactions that I found through google:
Matteo gudicelli posted it twice on twitter
Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to search old posts on facebook but thank you to everyone who shared it.