By Raïssa Robles
When political tensions rise, the ever resilient Filipino instinctively cracks jokes.
The impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is one more instance in our nation’s history where jokes – expressed as political satire – have become a measurement of public dissatisfaction or outrage.
Jokes on Corona have turned viral on the Web
One example is this depiction of Corona’s “living room” – a reaction to Coorna’s consistent refusal to disclose his dollar holdings by invoking the bank secrecy law.
This picture has gone viral on the Web – eliciting hundreds of comments.
I’d like to thank my hubby Alan for calling my attention to it; @Jim Sarthou for posting it on Facebook; and of course to whoever made it – do take a bow.
Alan who is a born satirist has this theory that jokes or mockery are a form of protest that Filipinos have resorted to since the Spanish colonial period.
A speech silencer for Senator Miriam?
The item below was sent to me by @Jay Fernandez with the following message:
I found this in Yahoo Singapore news.
If only this is available, Atty. (Vitaliano) Aguirre won’t need to cover his ears…..hahahaha.
The “weapon” has the following description:
This delayed auditory feedback device makes it all but impossible for a human to speak
Ever since humans first invented guns, they’ve been inventing new uses for them. Some shoot bullets; others shoot lasers. But a strange and unsettling new gun being developed by Japanese researchers shoots sound waves in an effort to disrupt and silence anyone who dares speak out of turn.
The gun operates based on the concept of delayed auditory feedback. An attached microphone picks up the sound being made by the target and plays it back 0.2 seconds later. The effect is incredibly confusing to the human brain, making it all but impossible to talk or hold a conversation. The device doesn’t cause the person it’s being used on any physical harm — it simply messes with their head.
When the human brain hears its own speech perfectly in sync during normal speech, it easily processes the input and allows you to largely ignore the sound of your own voice. However, by offsetting the response just a bit, the brain hears your mouth speaking as well as the strange echo effect produced by the gun. This unusual combination is confusing enough to effectively shut down the part of your brain responsible for managing speech, and you fall immediately silent.
The first versions of the weapon — if we can even call it that — were dependent on a separate PC to process the input and relay it back to the speaker. However, the second prototype (pictured above) does away with the need for additional hardware and includes all the necessary processing bits within its casing, making it easily portable.
The developers say the gun could be used for seemingly innocuous purposes, such as enforcing rules requiring library patrons to keep quiet. It could also see action during large meetings when it is important that onlookers not disrupt the speaker; anyone who fancies a noisy outburst would immediately be silenced by the high-tech handheld.
The free speech implications of the speech jammer are somewhat disconcerting: A protestor or speaker at a political rally could be easily silenced just for having unpopular views. Political rallies and other protest gatherings could easily be quieted by the strange gun, should law enforcement or other agencies decide to equip themselves with the technology.
[Image credit: Cornell]
Jokes prompted by Senator Miriam’s outrage
Speaking of Senator-judge Miriam Santiago, this reaction of private prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre –
has inspired copycat jokes on the Web:
But the funniest of all Aguirre jokes, I believe, came from none other than the Impeachment Court presiding officer, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile during his recent press conference:
By the way, the Laserna, Cueva-Mercader Law Offices adopted Aguirre’s photo as its gravatar as a sign of protest. Would it live to regret these jokes? Let’s see.
Jokes on me
Weeks earlier, someone played jokes on me by claiming via cellphone text, Twitter, Facebook and newspaper that I was “the small lady” who had handed the prosecution Corona’s precious bank documents.
Sometimes, jokes aren’t intended
Take the case of this senior banker who told me why he had stopped watching the impeachment trial altogether. It wasn’t because he had lost interest, far from it, he said. It was because his blood pressure kept going up whenever he watched the trial.
The banker wistfully said that he wished someone would invent a device – a blood pressure monitor that can be attached to a TV set which would automatically turn off the TV the moment his BP reached dangerous levels.
Hey, this is not a joke. This is a true story.
To read more examples of political satire go to Alan’s website www.hotmanila.ph
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