Friday, August 26, 2011

The Arrival Of James Soriano

Earlier today someone sent me a link to the now-infamous Manila Bulletin article entitled "Language, learning, identity, privilege" by James Soriano, a student from my college alma mater who writes a column called "iThink" in Bulletin's Students & Campuses section.

Manila Bulletin first published the controversial article two days ago. When I read it today, I immediately thought its author was merely being sarcastic. After all, how can anyone write, "[Filipino] was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed 'sundo na'" and not be kidding? It only goes to show how little I knowit turns out Soriano had expressed similar sentiments as early as December 2008 and February 2009.

As can be expected, the local Interwebs has blown up. I'm surprised no one has started a Facebook page yet. And because of the widespread interest in what Soriano wrote, by mid-afternoon today the article can no longer be accessed on (although Google's cache of the page is still good).

I can already see where this is going: Soriano will either claim that his statements are being taken out of context, or say "Bazinga!" In fact, the spin has already begun. But a lot of good that will do. When he submitted that particular piece Soriano must have foreseen the level of hysteria it could cause. After all, in a 19 May 2011 blog entry he wrote:
Because to write it down is to acknowledge its existence, to make it real. To write it down is to record it as part of your history. It is to create the monster, let it take shape, and bring it to life.
Very prescient.

Somewhere out there, Malu Fernandez (remember her?) and Christopher Lao are scooching over to make room for the latest Flavor of the Week.

[Hat tip to TnB, L. Castro on FB, and O. Reyes on Twitter.]

[5:48 PM, 27 August 2011 Edit]

A comment to this post reminded me of the subtitle of this blog: "One thing about bullshit, it's fertilizer, too." I must therefore concede that there may yet be something useful in what Soriano wrote. Maybe, just maybe, there's a method to his apparent madness.

For instance, a former boardmate who's now an instructor in our high school alma mater thinks that the article is a good take-off point for discussion in the classroom. Atty. Theodore Te, meanwhile, says that Soriano did a good thing by getting people to think and reflect.

[Hat tip to V. Dancel on Twitter.]

[11:28 PM Edit]

Ron Capinding, one of Soriano's Filipino teachers in high school, has weighed in and asked that everyone give the young man the benefit of the doubt. He makes a convincing case.

[Hat tip to J. Salvosa on FB.]

[12:03 AM, 28 August 2011 Edit]

Okay, what Soriano perhaps attempted to do, the daughter of a sitting Supreme Court justice did earlier (and more elegantly).

[Hat tip to TnB.]

[10:26 PM, 1 September 2011 Edit]

Soriano has written a follow-up article entitled, "Wika bilang gunita".


  1. One thing about bullshit, it's fertilizer, too. - at least I got something cool to think about while analyzing James Soriano's stupid article.

  2. James Soriano, mediocrity at its finest.

  3. Erick24 & Anon: Thanks for the visit. I've added links to materials that'll make for good reading.


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