Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Not everyone is a jejemon

I couldn't believe the article We Are All Jejemons by John Teodoro because for a college professor, he wrote quite a lot of... crap. In fairness, he didn't write all of them; credit should also be given to Palanca winner Roberto Añonuevo, one of Teodoro's sources.

For the record, I have no problem with "jejemons" so as long as they don't use the language to communicate with me. I have enough problems editing reports and articles even with the words properly spelled out, thank you very much. I also have no problems with the Department of Education's campaign to eradicate "jejenese." We butcher spoken English well enough, and now, we're allowing our kids to butcher not only written English, but Tagalog as well?

Now, my problems.

Teodoro quotes Añonuevo, defining jejemon as "an anti-establishment movement."
"It was invented in order to subvert the power of authority. It developed into a sub-culture in order for a group of people to fight the dominant class by creating a new language which is really a code."

Teodoro then interjects:
"A subversive movement by whom? According to him (Añonuevo), by spammers and hackers—all IT experts—who want to control the world. Jejetype is nothing but a set of codes understandable only to jejemons, just like Morse Code which can only be understood by radio operators. I cannot help but think of all those 'IT experts' hired by politicians who lost in the last election in order to “probe and prove" that there was indeed election fraud in the first automated election of the country, much to the chagrin of the very handsome, despite being so harassed, Cesar Flores of Smartmatic. Maybe these IT experts are really top-rank jejemons out to play with the Comelec?"

He proceeds:
"In his blog www.alimbukad.com Añonuevo has this analysis of the jejenese: 'Ang mismong paraan ng pagsasakataga ng jejemon ay hindi basta paglalaro lamang ng salita. Ito ay mauugat sa Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) na pangunahing wika ng pagpo-programa sa Internet. Lumilikha ng sariling kodigo ang mga jejemon, at ang mga kodigong ito ay isang anyo ng paglilihim upang ikubli ang mga pakahulugan at paghihiwatigan nang hindi madaling maunawaan ng nakatataas o awtoridad, gaya ng magulang at guro. Sa madali’t salita, ang wikang jejemon ay hindi panlahat. Ito ay para sa isang uri ng subkultura na may angking konsepto at diskurso, at bagaman umiiral sa kasalukuyang realidad ay nakakayang tumawid sa mala-realidad na likha ng Internet at World Wide Web.'"

And later:
"I think another theory... that can explain the jejemon phenomenon is the chaos theory. It is a theory in the exact sciences like mathematics and physics that says there is an arrangement or pattern in chaos. Jejetype will look chaotic to the uninitiated or the grammar Nazis, but the fact that jejetypes can be read by jejemons is proof that there are hidden rules governing jejenese, making it intelligible to the jejemonsters."

Did these people actually interview jejemons? Jejemons are "spammers and hackers" (or who the author lumps as IT experts)? Have they ever met one? I cannot imagine a jejemon justifying his text messages as "anti-establishment" or "subversive." And if jejenese is this prevalent (see Facebook walls, Twitter posts and messaging boards), is it still underground?

The next problem I have is the assumption that jejenese may be rooted in HTML. Jejenese is not a complex language reduced in the simplest of forms as in our Internet source codes (fine, debatable) or Morse Code (as Teodoro suggests). Jejenese, in fact, forgoes minimalism, opting to go Baroque in its opulence of the "Hs" and "Zs"... or in Pinoy slang, barok. (Sorry, couldn't help it :-P) There is also no overt goal of keeping jejenese secret ("... ang mga kodigong ito ay isang anyo ng paglilihim upang ikubli ang mga pakahulugan at paghihiwatigan...")—anyone can read a jeje-word within a few seconds; there's no need for a decoding manual, but mere common sense. Inversely, anyone can write in jejenese: it's a choice. You can't say the same for HTML or Morse code. (So also, there goes the chaos theory.)

Jejemon is not in the same realm as gayspeak. Gayspeak is used for flair and drama: "48 years ka naman kumilos!"; to assert or announce one's identity: "Bakla ka ba?" "Pak!"; and in its infancy, as a secret code: "Ang BY ni kuya, o!" Now, that's an underground (now mainstream) language worth theorizing on, and I'm sure theses have been made on the subject.

So please, stop intellectualizing jejenese. (Twitter buddy raz_ambat said it best: "Parang college thesis ko lang :-)) Bigyan ng meaning ang wala.") These kids simply can't spell and communicate well enough in English, and are thus, attempting to create a language where they can excel at.

Teodoro argues:
"A jejemonster, when answering a written test in the classroom, is aware that the teacher giving the test is a jejebuster and a grammar Nazi. Why risk getting a failing grade? A jejemonster will automatically shift to academic, meaning mainstream, type of language."

Yes, a jejemon may attempt to write in the proper manner but I'll bet my Gap chambray shirt that the most prolific of jejemons will spectacularly fail in a spelling and English exam.

Teodoro concludes:
"C’mon jejebusters ang grammar Nazis! You have more worthwhile things to do like looking for permanent solutions to the perennial problems of classroom and textbook shortage, the absence of clean toilets, not to mention the overall decline in the quality of public education."

Why should jejebusters and grammar Nazis—now, let me do the lumping: editors, we call them—solve government problems, such as shortages in school facilities and clean toilets? Their expertise is somewhere else, and apparently, they are doing well enough to warrant this article from a jejemon sympathizer.

For the record, not everyone is a jejemon. I am most certainly not one. I will leave it to Emily Dickinson fans to speak for their idol. (The writer was unfairly labeled by Teodoro as one of the precursors of jejenese. Um, right.)


4 * :

Iggy said...


"rooted in HTML and IT Experts"?! have they actually tried encoding an article in HTML (using TeamSite, LOL!)?

Nakakaloka naman ito. Wag na natin paechos-echosin pa. Ang palpak sa spelling, palpak. Tapos ang usapan.

daredevilry said...


OMG. Are they serious? Is it April Fools?

OMG, they are? OMG. Wow. How stupid can they get?

Jason said...


Di ko din talaga kinaya ang mga theories. Elitist na kung elitist but I just had to check from which schools they're from.

sky said...


Nagpanting ang tenga ko dun sa attribution kay Emily Dickinson. May intellectual basis ang mga capitalization ni E.D. saka hindi hAl0-HaLl0 mUnGa LeTtERz nya.

Let's just live and let live. No need to romanticize or intellectualize this jejemon phenomena.

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