Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Third Player

The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct. Yours for $4.79 at Let the outrage begin.

This little e-book earned the ire of the online community that many had promised to boycott Amazon, the online retail store which sells anything from books, to tea, to electronics.

Let’s see some excerpts: (Warning: Not for the faint of heart)

“When precautions are needed, however, standard condoms go a long way.

Unfortunately, they are much too big to fit boys younger than thirteen. Luckily, there is a product that is identical to the adult condom, in almost every way, which will do the trick.

Latex, finger coits, intended to protect finger cuts from being infected, can provide the same level of protection as adult latex sheath. They come in three sizes, small, medium and large, one of which is sure to fit any child under thirteen”

So you can imagine the indignation of everyone who heard about it or tweeted about it. There’s even a Facebook Hate Page for it.

The online public demanded its removal.

Of course, Amazon cried censorship. “Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable…Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions”. The books is now gone from the online store.

Between the issue of free speech and regulation, this story shows us the rise of a third player: online public opinion – which seems to be trumping a lot lately.

Facebook, Twitter, blogs – all these have given people a medium to voice out their opinions faster than the Millenium Falcon. And the old guard, the corporation, and the government seem to be listening. This is David’s revenge in the time of Goliaths.

In our very own islands, we have the local online community’s support for Carlos Celdran’s stunt in the Manila Cathedral. This put the Reproductive Health Bill, long overdue if I may say, at the center of public discussion, something that was not at all possible during your Lolo’s time.

Then we have that incident with Mai Mislang, President Noynoy’s speechwriter who tweeted about how the “wine sucks” in Vietnam, and how crossing the streets there seems like suicide, and the scarcity of hot guys. I guess she has never heard of Johnny Tri Nguyen (Google him!) and has never been in EDSA. In any case, she now has a Facebook Hate Page with several pictures comparing her to Gollum.

Unfortunately in these islands, the problem is not getting your message across. We seem to have this uncanny ability to show our ire online to anything objectionable. The problem is following through. In these islands where forgiveness is a virtue and where the Pasig river has been contaminating our water, giving us short-term memory, how easily we forget our outrage.

Our problem is that we do not want to see our giants fall. Or we don’t stay long enough to make sure they stay down. Obviously, something needs to be done. And for all the smart people from UP, I don’t know why we haven’t fixed this.

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