PGTW: Launch Damage Control – Oops, Too Late

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 1 August 2013, Thursday

Launch Damage Control – Oops, Too Late

Jeane is young, looks like a model, and dresses like one. However, unlike a model who doesn’t own the expensive clothing she poses in, Jeane owns every single piece of luxury she flaunts.

Mainstream media finally picked up on Internet posts about the excessive lifestyle of Jeane Napoles, daughter of Janet Lim-Napoles, who has been linked to the P10 billion “pork barrel” scandal.

Jeane, who studies fashion in Los Angeles, posted photos of herself and her possessions attending prominent events on social media sites. Her mini-blog at bears the tagline “Amazingly enough I don’t give a shit <3” – the heart icon an incongruous and jarring note.

Her last post, dated August 22, 2011, shows Jeane wearing a short red outfit to attend the movie premiere of “The Green Lantern” at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. The caption says “what i wore. Louis Vuitton Dress, YSL Pumps, Chanel Clutch, Hublot Watch :) ” Other photographs show her in Herve Leger, Chanel, and Louboutin while posing in Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles.

Jeane’s mother Janet has said on television that the money spent to buy Jeane a Porsche for her graduation and all those designer goods was earned from their businesses and that it didn’t come from government funds. It would be interesting to know what those businesses are.

Villar daughter Camille leads a similar privileged lifestyle, but the difference is that her parents are successful real estate moguls who made their pile before entering politics. It is therefore only to be expected that the public will ask, in the case of Jeane, “Where did the money for all that come from?”

Public outrage has erupted and online comments range from “kapal ng mukha!” to “mayabang” to “walang class,” but then, feedback, both positive and negative, is to be expected with society now using the immediacy and convenience of the Web to employ the social mechanism of shaming.

I’ve quoted Jeffrey Rosen’s excellent New York Times article “The Web Means the End of Forgetting” in a previous column, “The ‘Net never forgets,” and it continually fascinates me that despite all the cautionary tales of the consequences of online narcissism, there are still people who post intimate details of their private lives without thinking first, “Hey, is a good idea or not?”


There was Mai Mislang, the President’ speechwriter, who on an official visit in October 2010 to Vietnam Tweeted about unattractive men and poor quality wine. There was Mo Twister, who also used Twitter in 2011 to go public about the meltdown of his relationship with Rhian Ramos.

You don’t even have to post anything yourself for it to spread and stay. Remember the Daily Beast article about former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller Carlos Garcia’s fashionista son Tim? That story, posted in 2009, bared Tim’s stash of designer shoes, clothes, and bags even as his father was being investigated for “racking up more than P303 million of ill-gotten gains.”

On the other hand, I know people who value their privacy. One friend minimizes his online footprint by limiting the number of his social media accounts. He has a Facebook account under a nickname (you will search for his real name in vain), set strictly to “friends only.” He has no Twitter, Instagram, nor any of the other popular accounts.

Another friend has no social media accounts at all, not even Facebook. He says, “What for? All that putting stuff about yourself on the Internet is for young people.” This from a guy who’s only in his mid-40s. These men will never embarrass themselves online, simply because they barely have a virtual presence. Now that makes sense.

Rosen said, way back in 2010, that “the permanent memory bank of the Web increasingly means there are no second chances…Now the worst thing you’ve done is often the first thing everyone knows about you.”

Jeane, or someone in her behalf, deleted the Vimeo vid of her 21st birthday party and her Instagram account. Too late. The video was copied and posted on Youtube, while the Instagram photos have been screen-grabbed and posted on blogs and news websites.

Thank the universe for narcissistic people who “amazingly don’t give a shit.”  Keep all those self-centered, possession-flaunting, lifestyle-baring posts coming. That’s all the more fodder for the rest of us to indulge in schadenfreude.


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