Joe America got special mention by President Aquino in yesterday’s SONA. Like many people, I follow Joe’s blog and admire that he is able to gather such a large following. Like many people, I do not agree with him on certain points, but Joe’s blog “The Society of Honor” seems to be where the thick of the discussion is, at least among the “centrist” segment of the political sphere. Joe America and Raissa Robles–these bloggers/writers seem to be the 2 tv shows (as it were) that people are watching widely, and even reposting and quoting lines from nowadays. So I tune in like everybody else to feel the pulse of discussion. They have become “gathering places”, and if you look at the comments sections, it is like a marketplace, many people just letting loose, sometimes on topics that may only be tangentially related to the subject of the post. That is well and good.
But Joe America got special mention by President Aquino in yesterday’s SONA. Which was very odd. In particular, the wording of the SONA speech, the part that gives special mention to Joe America, directly ties in with the wording of Joe America’s facebook status made just a few hours before the SONA was delivered (see graphic). It resurrects the question in my mind….who produces this “tv show” that everybody is watching anyway? Why is Joe America so enamored of the Liberal Party that he actually heaps praises on Mar Roxas? Most people would agree that you don’t usually find the terms “heaping praises” and “Mar Roxas” in the same sentence. Grace Poe refuses to sign up with Mar as his VP? No problem, let’s start the negative campaign on her and basically join the Binay forces in minimizing the Poe factor.
The reference in the SONA feeds the suspicions of crazy conspiracy theorists (like myself and Mark Lopez, who supplies the graphic above) that Joe America may well be, for all we know, an undercover Malacanang spokesperson, a brilliant social media campaign born in a conference room. So is Joe in fact Sonny Coloma, Abi Valte, Edwin Lacierda or Manolo Quezon III? Perhaps “Joe” even wrote the SONA and could not resist making a reference to his blog. Hey, we are in gratitude mode here, but who is going to thank the ghost writer if he doesn’t slip it in himself? Imagine the loneliness of the accomplished writer, the writer with the following, who cannot even reveal his own name. Some egos cannot bear that.
Does it matter who Joe American really is? In a way, no because that is part of the fun. The people who like what he says get their dose of propaganda. We are free to speculate who he or she is, whether he/she is even in fact American or Filipino. Is he actually a CIA agent? You can never tell, heck, I can be a CIA agent, or perhaps British Intelligence, because of my surname. Maybe this is all a plot by the USA and the UK to influence the politics in the Philippines and bring about their desired political outcome, eh? More Fun in the Philippines!
Does it matter who Joe America really is? Yes. Precisely because a lot of people follow and read him, and not all of them have the power of discernment or critical thinking to properly evaluate his writings. Sometimes the tv shows we watch just have a way of inserting that idea into our heads subliminally. It matters that we keep in mind who Joe America possibly is, in the same way that we should read the label of ingredients in that packet of snacks we like so much. It matters that we know where something was made. For example, if your baby formula was made in China, it may actually kill your infant.
So more power to Joe America! Let us watch, and observe, and speculate, agree and criticize. Joe has even inspired me to start my own blog recently, precisely to try and prevent myself from becoming the boring troll on those items where we don’t agree. What fun! He has also inspired and reminded me to be on my guard and exercise whatever faculties of critical thought I possess. I am also now looking more closely at the label of listed ingredients of my favorite vegetarian chicharon.