The Jollibee phenomenon


Written on 12:59 PM by isko b. doo

Disclaimer: Data and information in the following content are not intended to disparage anybody down, most especially the famous wide-eyed bug. The author shall not be liable for any errors and inaccuracies in the content. If the author should violate any copyright laws in the process, this disclaimer is meant to be a calculated way out. So, fuck that!

I saw on Backtracks, an episode of the local music channel MYX TV, a clip of Paula Cole’s “Where have all the Cowboys Gone?” released in 1996 and I was floored. Backtracks was supposed to be a celebration of the classics. The music video was lumped there together with the cult clip “Whip it” by Divo, the purveyors of disco pop; Selena’s “Dreaming of You;” Nirvana’s “Lithium;” and I forgot the others.

I could understand Nirvana, Divo and even Selena’s cheesy song “Dreaming of you” (being that she’s dead), but Paula Cole?

In this country, still reeling from post-colonialism, classic music has mutated into a loose form which is equilateral to the term “old.” Other factors could also categorize a music video as a classic:

  1. When the singer’s life is cut short, preferably in a violent way;
  2. When the song crosses borders between races and influences;
  3. When two or three artists, famous individually, collaborate;
  4. When the song develops a cult following or starts a new genre;

Paula Cole’s song did not even rule the charts up until the TV series Dawson’s Creek plucked it up from oblivion (insert your objections here) and made it its theme song. Could it be that the Generation-Y, the MTV generation to which I belong is now considered old?

Consider how the youth of today (the Gen-Z, I guess), scoffed at the major influences that shaped our young minds.

All 2-D games now are considered as classics: Pacman, Bomberman, Gattaca, Super Mario Brothers, Battle City, Commando. I doubt even 3-year olds would have fun playing them (what, no blood? Pffftt! Too lame!).

Our music: Metallica, Nirvana, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, R.E.M, Eraserheads, Yano, alanis Morisette, even the *gasp* boy bands. I think Eraserheads lead singer Ely Buendia summed it best after their songs were revived by various artists under the album Electromagneticpop: He feigned surprise and roughly said “Buhay pa kami.”

And shwarma! Who needs shwarma? They have kebab.

Good thing the gaudy clothes of the 80’s were not revived. Those were just kitschy man! The era of punk, wild hair with highlights, tattered shirts, white rubber high-cuts, high-waist and stretchable pants. The leotards? Way cool! Especially if you pull thick cotton socks over them. Hehehe.

The New Wave music and disco pop were a product of the 80’s but they never really took off until the 90’s.

I think it’s amazing to live in an era when history seems to be anachronistic. We are living in history itself where man is on the verge of takeoff, skipping to another evolution. Modern thinking proposes that there are no longer novel ideas, only old concepts rehashed and corrupted. But I think this is hogwash. New technologies are being introduced by the minute. Even mass media are tickled with the revolution. Scientists in Britain, for example, have cracked the code for curing baldness. So in the next few years (months!), the problem of baldness, falling teeth, cracked nails would have been solved. US scientists, on the other hand, reported to have attacked cancer with gene therapy for white blood cells. Could we see a cure for cancer in our lifetime? That would have been unthinkable yesterday, but now?

Imagine, the grandfather and grandmothers of the future would be listening to rap music to remember the days past! It’s their era, after all. Imagine a grandfather waxing nostalgic to his 4-year old grandson:

Ah, when I was your age, we listened to Eminem, Snoop, and Nelly. Those were the days when the slurs and curses were bleeped not unlike your music today when all the words not containing fuck are bleeped. And I don’t take shit from you, beyatch!”

I remember seeing one girl at the MTS. She looked about 13 or so and she’s already wearing spaghetti blouse, strapless bra, micro-mini skirt and with red lipstick on. She was with her friends who are all dressed the same: little girls rushing to become adults. That would have earned you a slap on the face from the mothers of my generation right there.

While we still have yet to duplicate the tolerant liberalism of United States and the downright laissez-faire attitude of European countries on public nudity, I think we are getting there much faster than we realize.

Paradoxically, the technologies invented to realize the global village scenario, to bring people closer together might have been the same technologies driving the apart. Where are the games of our youth, the luksong tinik, tumba lata, syatong, chinese garter, sipa?

We are living in an era of fast foods; the short-order epoch. The missing link in human evolution would have been explained if there was a complex communication system in place then but I think we are in it: the jump from tree-dwelling monkeys to human beings. We are jumping from human beings to another step in the evolution process. But what? I know what we are now; we’re a breed of impatient people and I guess that’s a good thing to prepare for the breakneck speed of today and the future.

This short-order epoch is what I call the Jollibee phenomenon. The massive rise of Jollibee is no accident. People now prefer fast food, the turo-turo, so they could get back to their fast-paced lifestyle. At last count, there are nearly 500 Jollibee franchise nationwide with branches in United States, Hong Kong, Brunei and Vietnam.

This phenomenon even led the philosopher Slavoj Zizek to surmise that the true revolutionaries of today are the conservatives who desperately clung to old rules rather than those who ascribe to the changes. The conservatives, in essence, are the real change-makers.

I, on the other hand, still subscribe to Friedrich Nietzsche’s passive nihilism in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the antithesis of the Over Man -- the man who is never satisfied with himself, one who constantly tests his limits and demands more of himself once he breaches those limits.

I would become the Last Man.

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  1. Anonymous |

    Nietzsche's overman cannot enter into relationships meditated by appeal to shared standards or virtues or goods; he is his own only moral authority and his relationships to others have to be exercises of that authority... it will be to condemn oneself to that moral solipsism which constitutes Nietzschean greatness.

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