It's a story we couldn't ignore. The names involved are fixtures in society pages, the instrument of choice is “that artifact of our times: a blog,” and the astounding numbers point to a phenomenon. It's the elephant in the room that the country's major papers and TV networks have ignored for about a week now.
But, yes, today's issue of Inquirer Lifestyle has finally taken up The Blog. The major story, a contributed piece, gives a brief recap of the controversy, but more importantly, explains why, in terms of numbers alone, this merits attention:
“The web statistics, on Friday afternoon, stood at: 270,000 visits since the blog started, of which 260,000 took place in the last five days. This amounts to about 36,600 visits a day, or 2,000 visits an hour during the waking hours. Each visit lasts an average of 52 minutes... In effect, the blog’s cumulative audience 'outrates' practically every TV show on the lesser networks and cable, and some on the leading networks’ daytime programming.”
In short, it's about to become a pop-culture flash point, a zeitgeist moment--the defining scandale of 2008.
No names or gory details for now, though--since the charges remain essentially unproven. Besides, everyone knows the cast of characters by now. (The Entertainment section does name some names and provide piquant patter.)
What the lead story focuses on are issues: the legal complications of a shame campaign conducted online, our seemingly bottomless capacity for gossip of the tawdriest kind, whether the brouhaha would actually amount to anything.
“It is in the nature of an existential question: How low does one have to sink in order to be fundamentally and permanently rejected by Philippine society?”
My “Schadenfreude” entry, incidentally, has been used as a companion piece to the main story--sort of an outsider's point of view. The commentary, with slight editing to fit the general-circulation tone of the paper, is now titled “And now, a word from a 'jologs.'”
May I just say I'm glad to play Tennessee Williams again--you know, the guy on the outside looking in, scratching on the glass, viewing the whole drama askance from a distance.
There's a sidebar on the latest updates, offering word from the Pinoy protagonist himself and a couple more juicy bits. Since the blog has reopened and is threatening more bombshells, this real-life telenovela is sure to keep the country a-twitter for a few more weeks. Should be interesting to see how this pans out.
In the meantime, buy na!