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25 May 2013

In the "Culture of Consumerism," Paris Hilton is a Sage, and Twitter is the Holiest of All Texts

by Rob San Miguel

In college, some professors told me just to write from my heart and soul, be meticulous with my writing and respect the power of words. Readers would discover you and they would follow.  

Since my university days, I have sent essays and verses to many magazines and all of them rejected my work.  I assumed that I just wrote despicable substandard literary work so I continued my training and improved on my work. 

Then I noticed other peers got accolades for writing about “pubic hair” so I thought perhaps I was writing about the wrong things. 
In 2007, I started a blog so that I would not be at the mercy of literary journals and magazines.  That first literary blog died from obscurity.  I started another blog again and made it more commercial but it lingered in the abyss.  In a period of three years, I created one blog after another and one by one, I saw them died because they could not compete against blogs about showbiz gossips, pictures of half-naked people, shopping, fashion, and rants about anything under the sun.  I also wrote in Filipino because I foolishly assumed I could reach a wider readership but advertisers rejected my application because they do not support blogs with posts in Filipino.  “Walang pera sa Tagalog” (No money in Tagalog).

Image is part of public domain
unless a multinational company just 
recently bought Madam Curie's likeness.
If so, please inform me ASAP.
I just realized that some of my professors lied to me or they were clueless as well.  Perhaps in Hemingway’s time, just sticking to good writing was enough but we are in a different age.  We operate in a new culture.  We are all unconsciously operating under the “Culture of Consumerism.” Everyone is a buyer, even the poorest among us.  Everyone is a product.  The key to success is not substance. It is “media attention.” Life is like a television commercial. Sell yourself.  Value is now dependent on media attention in a larger or smaller scale.

Take Facebook for instance.  Post something. If it gets many “likes” and comments, your post attain value. Your post become more valuable the more “likes” and comments you get.  In the case of comments, negative or positive comments may not be too important. The crucial part is you get comments.  Period. 

Applying my own theory
This post has received 
five hits as of 
May 27, 2013 (3:30 PM) 
so this piece does not 
have much value yet.  
On a larger context, you can stage a rally to protect a mountain area from being commercialized but if media does not cover your protest, your cause does not have value.  Anyway, if the mountain is finally destroyed and its destruction will cause a man-made calamity in the future, media will be there to cover it, and so the destruction will have value.  Imagine you are a botanist and then a hired gunman of an unscrupulous factory owner shoots you because you discovered that his factory is polluting the forest. If no one sees the shooting and you are not that famous “enough” to land the evening news, your death has no value.

In the “Culture of Consumerism,” the key to success is to manipulate the media, micro-media and the macro-media. Micro-media consists of your small circle of friends, your Facebook friends, and all your co-workers. Macro-media is the traditional mass media: print and broadcast.

One of my friends (which I will name later if he approves) said, “the traditional critic is dying. Media is the new critic.  If media pays attention to you, you attain value.”

Forget substance. The goal is media coverage.  In the past, people become famous for their hard work and expertise. Now, you can become famous by just being in a reality television show or YouTube or by just being attractive.  The icons of our age are Kris Aquino and Kim Kardashian not the future Marie Curie or Heidi Yorac. 

Learn the new dynamics of the game and perhaps you too will have value.  Follow the old rules; you may become as disposable as an old cell phone.

Many weeks ago, some hosts of GMA’s “Unang Hirit” read tweets from Paris Hilton. The host read Hilton’s tweets as if her words had finally unlock the secrets of life.  But then again, she is Paris Hilton so her tweets are “hot!”

NOTE: The other contributing writers and members of this blog do not necessarily share the opinions of the writer of this article. (Hindi nangangahulugan na sang-ayon ang mga ibang manunulat at miyembro ng blog na ito sa mga opiniyon ng may akda ng sanaysay na ito.)

Click image to enlarge. Paris Hilton's tweets are posted publicly.  
I just re-posted them here as part of my critical essay.  
This is not a personal attack on Miss Hilton. 
Rationale for the Use of Non-Free Media. Click Here.

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