Why Noynoying is Annoying

It’s sooooo annoying talaga,  these people! Grabe! (Or words to that effect)

It’s not me talking but Mr. Conrad De Quiros in yesterday’s Inquirer. In his almost apoplectic excoriation of the exponents of Noynoying, he takes everything and everyone to task, from Wikipedia to leftist youth groups to Manny Villar (?). Villar is as trapo as they come, but to connect him to the rising phenomena of Noynoying is stretching it a bit far.

Calling it puerile and a horrendous contratemps, De Quiros equates Noynoying as breaking faith with President Aquino heroic and epic efforts to fight corruption. He fears that that the spread of Noynoying would be playing into the hands of Gloria Arroyo’s propagandists and lead the young to perdition and the country to ruin.

Lighten up, comrade Conrad.

Noynoying is not going to weaken the fight against corruption or render it superficial or unimportant in the minds of the people. If all it takes is the simple act of taking an effortless pose, or activity consisting of sitting or standing around, in an unconcerned manner to derail the so-called fight against corruption, then there was nothing behind it in the first place but empty air.

And it’s not out of sync with events; it’s really more in tune with the prevailing zeitgeist. In the age of social media,  such stunts are valid  and acceptable forms of self-expression.

His tiresome finger-wagging notwithstanding, De Quiros was right in giving the youthful demonstrators who brought forth Noynoying proper credit for creativity. They gave a humorous, politically-meaningful and very Filipino  twist to  the largely mindless fad of planking (” to lay horizontally in a strange and unusual place” according to Urban distionary) It’s all in good fun, albeit with a serious message for the administration of P-Noy.

And therein lies the reason why people like De Quiros find Noynoying about as funny as a heart attack. It hits a raw nerve and is too uncomfortably close to the truth.

Noynoying is political satire and street theater in a neat package. But in its parody of the laid-back governance of President Aquino, it eloquently transmits the rising perception that nobody is at the wheel. According to Ramon Tulfo, The President apparently spends much of his time lately just watching the impeachment trial of his arch-enemy, Chief Justice Renato Corona instead of attending to pressing matters of state. Not to begrudge him his afternoon entertainment, but there are urgent matters clamoring to be addressed, not least of which are rising oil prices and the resulting hardships and civil unrest which gave rise to Noynoying.

Even the Wall Street Journal has taken notice of this phenomenon. According to a report by James Hookway, Basically, Noynoying involves sitting around staring into space, much like Mr. Aquino supposedly does instead of running the country. Mr. Hookway also makes unflattering references to a staple character of Philippine folk tales, Juan Tamad. Pretty accurate, in the view of a number of people who would normally support the programs espoused by P-Noy. We want him to succeed, they say, as he is our President, for good or ill, for the next four years. But he cannot be effective unless he gets serious about the admittedly difficult and dirty job of attending to the needs of 90 million Filipinos.

But this is not a video game anymore. It behooves the President to pay attention to what Noynoying is trying to say and not dismiss it as an irrelevant fad. Behind the humor, the message is deadly serious.



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