Welcome to Volume 6 of The Marocharim Experiment. This blog is authored and maintained by Marocharim, the self-professed antichrist of new media.
Marocharim is a 21-year-old college senior from the University of the Philippines Baguio, majoring in Social Anthropology and has a minor in Political Science. He lives with his parents, his brother and his sister in Baguio City - having been born and raised there all his life. He is the author of three book-versions of The Marocharim Experiment.
Most of his time is spent at school, where he can be found in the UP Baguio Library reading or scribbling notes, and sometimes hanging out with his friends or by himself in the kiosks, or the main lobby. During his spare time, he continues writing. When not in school he hangs out with his friends, or takes long walks around Baguio City to, as he puts it, "get lost."
The Marocharim Experiment Volume I: The Trial of Another Mind, Subject to Disclosure is Available Now
The Marocharim Experiment Volume II: The Nevermind Chronicles is Available Now
The Marocharim Experiment Volume III: The Sentence Construction of Reality is Available Now
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December 1, 2007
< oh boy, this will suck >
In Twisted 3: Planet of the Twisted, Jessica Zafra wrote about "The Nativity Cross" which was once sold by Ricardo Montalban. Forget "Spy Kids:" Ricardo Montalban was the iconic planet-destroying Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the previous generation's equivalent to Antonio Banderas. It kind of makes me think how many Trekkies (for you who think that Star Trek is not different from Star Wars or Starstruck, it's "Trekkie," not "Trekker," and I stand by that no matter what Wikipedia says) have actually bought the Nativity Cross: maybe Leonard Nimoy would have made a better endorser.
Back in the days of the Catholic Reformation, this would have had Martin Luther himself add a 96th thesis in the door of the church: you won't find any irrefutable proof in Christianity that Jesus was born in a cave. I don't take my cues from the Bible, but if you make a Nativity scene where the manger Christ was born was in a horse stable. You don't need an agnostic like me arguing over the technicalities of Biblical representation: was Jesus crucified on a cross, or nailed on a stake? Who cares about that, when you have an entire premise for debate on Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code?
Surely the bulk of Biblical interpretation revolves around metaphor, but there are some people out there who will argue otherwise. Did Lot's Wife really turn into salt? When Daniel was thrown into the pit of lions, was he effectively the first Mythbuster in the apparent myth of how to avoid getting eaten by lions? Is "40 days and 40 nights" literal or allegorical?
Take the Walls of Jericho: did the city collapse because of the noise of a thousand trumpets? If it did, why did Rahab's house stay up? Busted, plausible, or confirmed: will slinging a red cord over your house window protect you from an earthquake?
Posted at Saturday, December 01, 2007 by marocharim
November 30, 2007
Antonio Trillanes Does Not Represent Me
< politics >
I think that if Antonio Trillanes is to beseige a hotel in the name of the people, he should qualify who are "the people." As far as I'm concerned, Trillanes does not represent me. I'm going on the record that as far as I'm concerned, I no longer recognize Trillanes as a Senator.
While it is true that he is a Senator by virtue of a mandate, I question that mandate in very much the same way I question the mandate of Gloria Arroyo: mandate is not something you get from an election. Mandate is not the rental of a seat at government. It is something constantly renewed and affirmed.
Noble intentions do not justify an ignoble action: the ends must always justify the means. With someone like former Vice President Teofisto Guingona on his side, Trillanes should have been able to learn and internalize something as elementary as that. As Trillanes literally hostaged the Manila Peninsula and proclaimed a revolt, he held the Filipino people hostage as he claimed to speak for all of them.
Well not me.
Posted at Friday, November 30, 2007 by marocharim
< hmmm... >
Yesterday's siege at the Manila Peninsula left so many mediamen arrested and rounded up to Bicutan. Their hands were tied with plastic straps and sent on over to a police station. Media violence?
Send me hate mail: I don't think so.
Before anything else, the police had no right to cuff media practicioners with twist ties. Heck, they didn't have any right to arrest a media practicioner, never mind that Magdalo members posture as mediamen. But on the other side, just what are media practicioners doing in a sensitive military operation that involves gassing a hotel?
I'm no lawyer, but I've been some degree of a journalist before: a bad one, at that. I don't know what's worse: a "subjective journalist" without a Journalism degree like myself, or media practicioners with Journalism degrees who step over the line of prudence with cameras and tape recorders to get an exclusive.
There's media violence: journalists who get abducted and/or killed for doing their jobs in the line of duty. And then there's a violent media: the kind of media that shoves microphones and cameras to people, breaches security lines, all in the name of an "exclusive report." From the standpoint of a viewer, I think it sucks: is it even "journalism?"
I don't know: I'm not a journalist.
Posted at Friday, November 30, 2007 by marocharim
November 29, 2007
< not "dora the explorer" >
I was reading the local paper this afternoon when I came across another crime story. I don't have a particular taste or liking for journalists who get news bits from blotters in a police station, but that's how the business goes. It's a good thing that the lot of criminals are not people I know, but today is different.
Surely, coming from an expensive sectarian Catholic elementary school (not that I'm mentioning any names here) should teach you a thing or two about codes of conduct. Because I'm Machiavellian to a certain extent, I judiciously lie and judiciously cheat. Stealing is different: I won't swipe a USB thumbdrive attached to a computer I'm renting, nor would I pocket a lost cellphone. I won't... hmmm... take a cousin's digital camera lying around at a side table, fence it on over to some stolen-gadget hawker for a couple of thousand pesos, get arrested, and attest in a sworn statement that I forgot who I sold it to.
And to think I knew the guy in that news report. To think that I went to the same school as that guy.
Posted at Thursday, November 29, 2007 by marocharim
November 28, 2007
A Fat Man and His Undershirt
< hmmm... >
There's something about a fat man and his undershirt. In every man, there's an irresistable impulse - a stimulus, if you will - where on a hot day, he'll raise the hem just under his man-nipples and expose his belly for everyone to see. I'm not against the fat man per se: I have enough flab in my abdomen for me to be "fat." But I'm not fat enough for my undershirt to rest comfortably above my stomach.
Sure, all men dream of having abs like those of Carlos Agassi, but if life deals you with the kind of lipids and adipose tissue that would make Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Calista Flockhart healthy, you might as well be proud of it. There's too much effort in lifting weights, and too much risk in taking steroids. Besides, there's a certain manliness and machismo in being fat and showing one's beer belly: with all the hair, sweat, and bellybutton lint that's in it.
Is there anything wrong with that? Really, why be horrified with beer bellies? I think the enjoyment of life comes with having a big stomach: not necessarily a full one. Women shed their brassieres in order to be freed from the constraints of feminine subjugation, and as far as I'm concerned, it's the same thing with men. Why be ashamed of having a fat stomach when it is the proof of enjoyment, when there is more to life than having to partake of salad and do exercises in the gym? Why should we men participate in the pentathlon of jerkdom where the measure of manhood is that of strength, endurance, and pounds of free-weights and barbells?
But that's overcomplicating it: maybe it just feels comfortable. In hot places, it makes more sense to walk around the neighborhood exposing your man-pregnancy than to hide it under an uncomfortable shirt.
Posted at Wednesday, November 28, 2007 by marocharim
November 26, 2007
< hmmm... >
I've choked the proverbial chicken before: preened the bird's feathers, stroked the cock, made the rooster crow. But as far as every avian metaphor for masturbation goes, I didn't do it in the darkness of a cinema.
OK, so I can't watch "One More Chance:" I'm not saying that I'd like to jack off to the sight of Bea Alonzo or Maja Salvador (cancelling out John Lloyd Cruz and Derek Ramsey because I don't have a shred of gay in me), but I can't watch anything anymore without being misinterpreted by peons.
The last chick flick I watched in a cineplex was "The Lake House," and boy, did I get a lot of heckling from the friends who saw me there. I won't make excuses out of it, even a lyrical one like: "I'm very sure... this never happened to me before." As much as I'd like to watch "One More Chance," I can't: for one, the plot hits hard on me. For two, I stereotype myself.
There's a lot between a man and his chick flick: a lot in the way of a woman in his arms. Yup, I don't have one: today being the third year that I've been officially single means that I don't have to be forced into watching a movie because my significant other wants to. Adding to my eccentricity (OK, weirdness) is that the last movie I watched with my ex was "The Exorcist."
I am free as a... bird.
Why do I concern myself so much about stereotypical peons, you ask? Basically, I'm a stereotypical peon myself, but I can't admit to it. I am a big fan of Sharon Cuneta, but you won't see me queuing up for a concert ticket, nor would I claw my way to the front of the sea of Sharonians to wipe Sharon's sweat away from her brow. My clamoring for a movie that reuintes Shawee-Gabo (Gabby Concepcion) is something I would rather confine in cyberspace. But even my blog is no longer a refuge for my private thoughts: I'm already too well-known for that end.
Oh for goodness sake.
Posted at Monday, November 26, 2007 by marocharim
November 25, 2007
Blogging, Subjectivity and Struggle
< a reply to teo marasigan's entry >
I would like to begin this essay in saying that "progressive" means many
things to me: I do not believe in binary oppositions when it comes to politics.
As a passing "political scientist," one cannot contain ideologies and political
practice to dichotomies, like "left/right" and "progressive/reactionary." To be
political is to struggle, and the complexity of struggle must be acknowledged to
be beyond these dichotomies. For all intents and purposes, politics is an
amoeba. As such, I do not consider myself "progressive" in the context of the
complex, amorphous, complicated political system I acknowledge. I take things
in the spirit of synthesis: as my friends and instructors see it, I do not
qualify in the dichotomous view of political ideology and political
* * *
Which brings me to a question asked by Teo Marasigan: why would a
"progressive" like myself invoke the ideas of Marshall McLuhan? I would not
rebuke or renounce my inclination to McLuhan because he's understood by many as
a "conservative media imperialist." My reading of the dialectic is not like the
boxing match where the stronger ideology is the last man standing. In the end,
the thesis and the antithesis will have to synthesize: the changes that they
encounter in a changing arena of struggle will change them. As such, the
struggle is different now compared to what it was. The context is
So what does blogging have to do with struggle and context? A lot, but it
begins with this statement: blogging is a struggle, and blogging
is a context. It is a struggle for identification in the context of
information. I don't want to dwell on the technicalities and the theory of
"identity politics" (which I know so little of), but put simply, increasing
differentiation has led to the individual - the subject - being the
element of social struggle. The whole is stronger than the sum of its parts,
but without a part to complete the sum, the whole isn't what it is.
I do acknowledge how blogging could be used as a means of struggle, if not
because it already is. Like I said before, there is no such thing as neutral
information: anything from teenage ranting to political commentary is already
situated politically. "To not take sides" is already to take sides. I don't
like to write this statement down for all the probable allegations of hypocrisy
that can be derived from it by people I know, but the motto of the College
Editors Guild of the Philippines is right: "To write is already to choose."
* * *
As a means of struggle, there is no fence to sit on when it comes to
blogging: writing and reading is to take a side. When I choose to write about
something, I take so many sides already: I take a side on what to write on, I
take a side on what language I write in, and I take a side in my treatment of my
topic. The reason why I call myself an "antichrist of media" is because I
basically corrupt the minds of people by taking a side, not concerned at all if
this side is "right" or "wrong," or to where you can locate this side in a
political dichotomy. As an antichrist, I am subject to interpretation.
This sounds too "postmodernist" for the taste of a radical progressive,
but writing and reading is subjective. To me, the objective reality of
reading and writing is that it is done by subjects. All subjects have
points-of-view, biases, experiences and so on that influence the act of reading
Elementary examples will suffice: this is not a technical treatise.
* * *
Let's begin with reading. There is the objective reality of a book, and
there's the subjective reality of a book. There can be no biases or whatnot in
saying that the objective reality of this book is that it's made of paper. But
there's a certain subjectivity in putting my biases into my perception of the
book: I imagine the number of trees it took to make this paper out of 100%
virgin pulp. Yet as I read the contents of the book, subjectivity reveals
itself: as I read, I also interpret. My biases come into play: for example, I
am biased towards reading classical English literature when it comes to
leisurely reading. Given a choice between Neil Gaiman, Bob Ong, and Miguel de
Cervantes, I will choose Cervantes. But it does not stop there: the fact that
I'm reading Don Quixote will come the interpretation that I do not
value local authors, or that I am very colonial-minded.
So let's get on over with writing. There's the objective reality of this
keyboard, and there's the subjective reality of this keyboard. The objective
reality of this keyboard is that it is an object made out of plastic used to
feed informantion into a computer. Yet as I put my biases into this keyboard, I
acknowledge it to be part of a hegemonic structure of neocolonialism through
technology. As I write, I also interpret. My biases come into play: for
example, I am biased towards English, and I prefer writing about inane things
than serious things. But it does not stop there: the fact that I'm blogging
will come the interpretation that I'm either an Angst-filled
twentysomething, or that I add to the hegemony of technology perpetuating unfair
and inequitable class lines.
I hope my examples are clear: what I'm trying to say is that there is
objective reality out there. But these objective realities are interpreted by
subjects: as such, reality is both objective and subjective. But on
the whole - and I'm sticking my neck out for the proverbial guillotine here -
human experience is subjective.
* * *
But let me get back on the more important point of blogging being a means
of struggle. There is nothing wrong with "blogging politically," if by that we
write about the issues of the day. But what is an "issue" and what is a
"non-issue?" To add to my idiosyncrasies, allow me to invoke a bit of Charles
Taylor: issues written about are issues important to the subject. The blog is
subject-referring, from the reading aspect to the writing aspect. We are all in
different struggles that to combine them under the general term of "The
Struggle" is futile. Blogging as a means for propaganda is only part of the
many struggles that there are in the Internet: the many struggles of people
trying to identify themselves and to be identified by others.
This is why I disagreed with Teo's discouragement of blogging among
progressives: struggling does not - and should not - make distinctions. Primary
and secondary means of changing human society are just as they are: changing
human society. Disagreement is fundamental in struggle because it is
struggle. The expansion of the proverbial envelope of means and ends means that
in a way, we should also expand our horizons in talking about what is there to
change about the world, and how we should go about changing it.
Everything is risky: surveillance being one of them. I'm sure the
government has already put me in a dossier of sorts because I'm quite vocal
about my political opinions. In fact, I look forward to the day when some
police officer slaps on handcuffs on me for being a piddly critic of the
President. Being a blogger means being open to surveillance, that someone out
there reads you. There is no big difference between something written on paper
and written on cyberspace, if you asked me. "Critical blogging" is something
that is hard to come by: I do not claim to be a critical blogger.
Perhaps I'll go on in the future. To be honest, it's been a while since I
wrote an entry this long.
Posted at Sunday, November 25, 2007 by marocharim
November 23, 2007
< entertainment >
It poses a philosophical question: if a tree falls down a forest and no one hears it, did it fall? Where is the limit of Cartesian doubt? If you hit a billard ball with the cue ball, is it only incidental that the ball moves in a certain way? Can you interact with someone you can't see?
I think that McCoy Fundales of "Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition 2" is just another victim of Panopticism, of cabin-fever. Such behavior is manifested in the extreme situation of the 1971 Zimbardo Experiment, and also in the 2001 movie Das Experiment. Is it McCoy's overbearing pride that led to his voluntary exit? I don't know, but the general neurosis - fine, psychosis - of the public is that we're all starting to believe that "Kuya" is real.
In the interest of public service, I'd be happy to share my antipsychotic medication with anyone - and I mean anyone - who believes that Big Brother is real. They call me "mad" for hallucinating: I mean, isn't Kuya a mere hallucination? Isn't he an imperceptible, irrational voice that permeates our consciousness and makes us do all sorts of things we wouldn't otherwise do in lucidity? They say that schizophrenia affects 1 out of every 100 people: welcome to the freaking club, guys.
"Collective madness" is very much the specter of Michel Foucault. We're all driven mad by this simulacrum called the television set: a fetishism with Annie's panties in Zaido, that we're all more moronic than Grade Five kids, and now Big Brother is real. He's a freaking voice, goddammit, a hallucination brought about by our collective impulse to get freaking noticed.
Yup, we are all truly insane: we have all reached the deep end of the pool head-first in believing that this interaction between a voice and the Housemates is real. And so they mock us for having a problem with our en-soi and our pro-soi, whatever that means. Well, I take consolation in the fact that there is no hope for a cure in idiocy, especially for a nation that makes a national issue out of a reality show.
Aristophanes sums it up best: "Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever."
Posted at Friday, November 23, 2007 by marocharim
< hmmm... >
It has been said that Socrates taught from a hammock, and both Plato and Aristotle taught by walking their students through olive groves. These interesting factoids are stuff I got from learning political theory in a classroom. I'm not saying that high school students who study their lessons under the shade of a mango tree because they don't have a classroom have it better than us, though.
If there's a tree in the forest, piss on it, I say.
* * *
The Times Higher Education Supplement - Quacquarelli Symonds (THES-QS) World University Rankings have just been released, and it's a good thing I'm not wearing my University of the Philippines jacket. As a UP student, I should feel shame in UP being ranked as 398th in the world, but pride in UP being ranked as still the number one university in the country. And then there's that paranoiac feeling that one day, Ateneo de Manila University will one day be the number one ranked university in the Philippines.
Nothing against Ateneo, but I think that there is a mutual feeling of paranoia between them and us. Considering that because of immature minorities who uphold the color of their jackets and will defend their mascots to death, both the Oblation and the Blue Eagle are engaged in an imaginary piss contest right now. Add to that La Salle's Green Archer and (pardon the metaphor) and you have got a scatological ménage à trois.
Which brings to mind some rhetorical questions: if the Oblation has a fig leaf cast in stone, will he? Do birds even urinate? Is the Green Archer the cousin of the Green Lantern?
Much as I'd like to blame the UP student for its cutthroat competitive attitude bordering on arrogance, it's simply not the case. For example, Saint Louis University prides itself on being the number one ranked university in Northern Luzon, but will hear nothing of UP Baguio being part of the UP system and as such, rankings are mutually exclusive. Add to that the University of Baguio and the University of the Cordilleras, and you basically have a four-way deathmatch where everything is settled on the basketball court (for us UP Baguio students, we pride ourselves on our cheering/heckling). At the last Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League (BBEAL), bruised egos where everywhere, since the Cordillera Career Development College won the tournament.
Heck, even in the arena of diploma courses, there is cutthroat competition between Systems Technology Institute (STI) and AMA Computer University. It's all a matter of who makes a better commercial: my sister studies at STI, and there's this video CD where (save for free music videos from Sitti Navarro and Join the Club) courses are advertised. AMA is no slacker when it comes to advertising, especially when you have Jolina Magdangal singing your theme song that you're "AMA: The School of Today."
* * *
If there's anything two takes of Statistics taught me, it's that statistics don't prove anything to a person who is not interested in statistical data. So piss on that.
Posted at Friday, November 23, 2007 by marocharim
November 22, 2007
< hmmm... >
Basically, what I'm going to do here is to sum up my entire 366-page thesis (although it looks like a full ream of bond paper) into one entry.
"The Articulation of Self in Virtual Environments: The Case of Friendster.com Home Profiles" will be referred to here as "Articulation:" somehow, abbreviating it into acronym form - like "TAoSiVE: TCoF.CHP" - is so not cool-sounding.
Basically, the central problem of my thesis is articulation in a different context. In both contexts of "real space" and "cyberspace," we articulate ourselves through language (Charles Taylor for the masses). The difference in articulation is while "real space" articulations are presentations, "cyberspace" articulations are representations. In "real space," like in a classroom or in a mall, self-presentation functions through the use of all possible elements: language, material facts, clothes, hairstyles, and so on and so forth. But in "cyberspace," there is nothing to use but language.
In my Conclusions (Chapter XI), I called it "emptiness," although it has nothing to do with that general emo-Angst feeling: "emptiness," to me, is the relationship that is the sign when there is no relationship between the signifier and the signified.
Sounds complicated? Not really.
Consider your average Friendster profile: while by convention we assume that Friendster account "X" belongs to Friendster user "Y," we need to go beyond that convention, and turn différance over its head in saying that this convention - this one-to-one correspondence - must exist because a virtual representation must always have an actual presentation (i.e. my initial hypothesis). Based on my research, there is no correspondence between representations and identities: in fact, identity is not even the question. What we call "identity" in virtual environments is, in fact, appropriation: it is the instance of using elements found in the structure in order to form this concept of selfhood, in order to concretize an abstract thing like the self.
This, of course was accomplished by Claude Lévi-Strauss in a single concept called bricolage, and Jacques Derrida in a single concept called grammatology. Well, I suppose I can't be blamed for forsaking them. The semiotic, for me, is of necessity in my inquiry: that each particular element of a profile must have meaning. Now because every signification is bound to subjective interpretation no matter what it is, there is meaning and at the same time there is no meaning. There is a self, at the same time, there is no self. Yup, after forsaking Derrida, I had to concede to différance, although I'm not very explicit about it in my thesis.
But then what? More importantly, so what? Ah, if functional correspondence does not at all exist, "Articulation" is very strong in saying that the assymetry between actualities and virtualities (here goes Deleuze) means that self is not a unity: it is a fragmentation. There are multiplicities of selves. Friendster is one of those ways where we articulate potentials, not actualities.
Which basically means that Friendster profiles are bodies without organs. OK, here you can start reading Deleuze.
Posted at Thursday, November 22, 2007 by marocharim