11/03/2015
We're watching your every move

One of this morning's biggest headlines involved the hacking of the Twitter account of Maine Mendoza, or as you all probably know her as, Yaya Dub. You know. Her. She with the ridiculously expressive face.

Well, apparently, a lot of things of hers were hacked. Her Facebook account's still dead, she says, as I write this, and she's still locked out of her email account. Apparently, hackers waving the banner of Anonymous Philippines - a group that sounds intimidating despite, or because, of its ethereal nature - were behind the move. Don't know what they're trying to prove, but hey, they've got a propensity to make statements, and this is definitely one of them. Take control of the microphone of the country's biggest celebrity, arguably.

Then again, Maine wouldn't have known that she'd be the country's biggest celebrity, arguably. Surely she just planned to just be like one of us, using the same password for everything. I only assume this.

So, of course, Aldub fans were up in arms. After all, this seemed a bigger affront than all the other bad vibe-y things that came their way in the four months or so that Eat Bulaga's accidental split-screen love team has dominated the zeitgeist. It used to be that people spoke ill of Maine and Alden Richards. Now someone actually hacked into her social media profiles, and in this world, it's pretty much like shooting a gun at someone point blank. What do they expect, we'll be sympathetic to their cause? the tweets defending Maine went. Well, they're right. Sure, there was a statement to be made, but it's an unusual target to make - unusual because it's not exactly the sort of target they make. Unless, of course, they're making a statement on the homogenization of culture. I don't know.

Maine being one half of a viral sensation - viral enough to get the attention of Twitter's bosses - the situation was resolved relatively quickly. As the story goes - and I know this because I have not a few Aldub fans on my feeds - the tech giant moved quickly to lock down the account, and worked to bring things back to normal pretty quickly. Now Maine's tweeted again, and my feeds are filled with a collective sigh of relief from her followers.

Accompanying those sighs of relief are the news outfits, looking for cheap clicks by reporting on every minute aspect of the hack. The account was hacked. Twitter is on the case. The family condemns the hack. Netizens condemn the hack. The television show condemns the hack. The hackers apologize. The account is restored. The first post-hack tweets are made. There is a story for everything. Of course. This is a world where your worth is measured by numbers - the number of tweets with a particular hashtag, the number of followers online, the number of people who clicked on a particular link, the number of commercial endorsements, the number of Z-listers hanging on every mention to become famous themselves.

While the hack was still in effect, Aldub fans were all, respect her privacy! Well, most of them, I hope. I've seen some who vocally wished to be able to see her direct messages. I don't know. Maybe there she said something about actually having feelings for Alden. Maybe she said those to Alden himself. I don't know. That's the thing I always found uncomfortable with the Aldub phenomenon. I can get past the proselytizing. I can get past Eat Bulaga stacking everything on it just to give it a more noble raison d'ĂȘtre - it's bringing back Filipino values, it's reviving Filipino music, that sort of thing. It is, no matter what you say, entertaining as hell - a good example of improv running wild, and of a production staff that knew what they had in their hands and played it well.

I'll never be comfortable, however, with the millions of Aldub fans around the world actively hoping that a pairing born out of humor would result in a happily-ever-after love story. I'll never be comfortable with the excessive analysis of body tics, of social media posts, of every little aspect of the pairing, of the people that make up the pair, of the things that make up the person. It's one thing to be entertained; it's another thing to actively want to have a say in how the story ends - and I couldn't stress actively enough. So much for respecting one's privacy.

The basic rule of improv - not that I know it first hand; I just watch a lot of Whose Line Is It Anyway? - is to never say no. Never say no. Sit back and let everything go to its natural destination, however absurd it may be. But that, of course, risks the sketch being unpalatable and unwieldy and all sorts of complicated... but then, there are usually timers for this sort of thing. Yes, things have changed a lot, but maybe it's time to, at least, consider saying no?

And your responses...

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