First, there was the dubious news article regarding the attempt of now infamous legislator Winston Castelo to pass a bill seeking to limit the quantity of merchandise based on the Angry Birds franchise. Then, there was the much-lamented and oft-talked about DPWH fiasco depicting three public officers photoshopped to look as if they were standing on rocky ground “apparently looking for a lost cat that strayed from its owner during the devastation of typhoon Pedring.” It seems the internet world is never bereft of pranksters out to “punk” the rest of the netizens Ashton Kutcher-style.
But of course, the netizens certainly weren’t laughing when the news first came out. When word got out that Castelo (well-known for the Anti-Planking Bill) allegedly passed a bill aiming to monitor the quantity, quality and diversity of items bearing the angry birds likeness, people were outraged. In fact, the alleged bill even became a twitter trending sensation! Good thing for us though, that it was all just one big fat joke.
What is more distressing however, is the photoshopped DPWH picture showing three stooges standing right in the middle of the scene pretending to be seriously assessing the situation. Unfortunately, this one was indeed photoshopped as reported. According to the DPWH, an over-eager employee, in his misguided attempt to please his boss, took it upon himself to photoshop 3 DPWH officials on the picture and posted the same without any official clearance. Said over-eager employee is now fired for his “initiative.” While the picture may have originally been intended to fool the public, ultimately the prank fell flat on DPWH’s face. In the end, the joke was on DPWH who became a laughingstock not only of the Philippines, but of the entire world.
All these news articles can be found in the satirical news website “So, What’s News?” Perhaps a fan of “Yes Men,” the people behind the abovementioned fictitious news website must have gleaned inspiration from the producers of the film documentary showcasing the adventures of 2 well-meaning environment crusaders trekking all over the world disguised as spokespersons of big bad corporations.
In the spirit of fun and bursting with idealism, “So, What’s News” is reminiscent of the New York Times future edition published by the Yes Men reporting only the seemingly improbable and too-good-to-be-true news articles. The only difference between the Yes Men’s newspaper and “So, What’s News” however, is that the latter publishes news articles that are so completely stupid, it just had to be true! And to make things worse, people actually believe it!
What does that speak of the Filipino people? More importantly, what does that speak of our public officials and government authorities? There’s an old saying that goes: “there is a kernel of truth behind every joke.” I guess at this point, the question we should be asking ourselves is, “who’s laughing now?”