John Denver Trending: Reflections

John Denver Trending is a story that mirrors our society’s social media attitude. It depicts ordinary people participating in widespread bullying and character assassination based on a one-sided video. Remember “bugbog and dignidad?” The movie is just like that.

Here’s the blurb of the movie from iWant:
John Denver Cabungcal, a Grade 8 student at Sta. Ines Catholic High School, figures in a fight with a classmate who falsely accused him of stealing an iPad. Unknown to him, another student records the incident and uploads the video on social media, along with an angry, inciting message. As the video goes viral, John Denver instantly gains notoriety, making him a trending topic around the campus and in their village. Die to his misdemeanors in the past, John Denver gets easily condemned as a thief and a bully. He and his other attempt to prove his innocence before this sad episode inflicts moral damages to the young boy that cannot be undone.
The movie casts Jansen Magpusao as John Denver, a 14-year old farm boy who is just like most of the boys his age. Most of the time during the movie he acts through his silence and expressive eyes. His mother, Marites Cabungcal, played by Meryll Soriano, stood out, probably because she is the only well-known actress in the cast. I just find it odd that no matter how hard-working she is portrayed to be, she still looks fresh and pretty all throughout. Haha sorry na.

The story was set in the town of Pandan in the province of Antique. The dialogue was all in the local dialect of Antique, Kinaray-a.

Here are some of my reflections on the movie. Major spoilers ahead in case you haven’t watched the movie.

Perhaps we are turning into a generation of bullies.

We are all aware of how a single Facebook post can turn the ire of a whole nation towards a defenseless victim – in this case even as young as 14-year old. Netizens want to exact revenge on John Denver on the account of a single video of him assaulting a classmate. Yet that video is just a slice of the pie and not the whole story. People jump onto the bandwagon armed with their wicked sense of justice – to prove a point, or to display self-righteousness?

It’s easy for us to demand “an eye for an eye” without verifying facts and evidence. Whatever happened to “first check the plank on your own eye”?

We are wielding the limitless power of like, share, and hate speech.

Our society today is grooming a generation of keyboard warriors and fake news peddlers. Through our social media post, we can easily draw the rage of unsuspecting netizens with the power of words and “magic”. In the movie, a video interview regarding John Denver was maliciously adulterated, well for likes and ratings. I would like to say that it’s all part of the script but no one can argue with me that we are also surrounded by fake news and unverified, malicious information, like filth in our rivers.

I just hope we will soon learn how to use the power of social media for good. Let us think first before we click, like, share, and comment. As the movie suggests, #TrendKindness

Words can hurt. Please remember that.

Realize that we are no longer in the days where name-calling is a “fun” part of our childhood that taught us emotional resilience. Bullying today grew into a vicious monster that devours its victims whole. At the end of the film, no matter how John Denver and his mom stood up to what is right, still, the effects of bullying overtook them and caused them unimaginable pain. Bullying inflicts moral damages, self-harm, or worse, suicide.

Never think that what you post online against a person as “mere words”. Those words are like daggers that inflict wounds. Imagine a population throwing “mere words” such as “dapat sa’yo mamatay!” or “demonyo ka, wala kang puwang sa mundo”. Do yourself a favor. Don’t be a murderer with your words.

Don’t be quick to judge.

I know I have already implied this one but still, it needs to be reiterated. Get your facts straight! It’s cool to be on the loop with what’s trending and stay woke with the current issues we face, but can we be more factual more than emotional? It’s one thing to have a critical mind; it’s a whole different thing to have a critical heart. We can air our sentiments without assaulting a person’s physical features, family members, or even his very own life. Refrain from using ad hominems. Sometimes, in our desire to win arguments, we tend to lose our sense of humanity.

Remember, the words that come out of our mouth reveal much more of ourselves than the person we talk about. Judge not or you too will be judged.

These are just some of my ruminations on the movie. Personally, it gripped fear in me because I saw not just the actors but myself as well. Somehow I am part of those who judge the John Denvers of my generation. I judge people based on the limited information I have. Imagine how many John Denvers around us are suffering because of social media bullying of which most of us are active participants.

In no way, I am suggesting that we turn a blind eye on every perpetrator for the sake of kindness. What I am saying is, we can be woke and kind at the same time. Trend kindness.
John Denver Trending: Reflections John Denver Trending: Reflections Reviewed by Marts Valenzuela on April 29, 2020 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.