Trending Topic: Who Is Pobla Posting Laughing At? It’s you, me, and everyone we know - Lifestyle Asia

Everyone has an impulse to perform, and in the age of the Internet, it’s open season for everyone to be laughed at.

Last December, just as we were all letting our guard down and pretending that the pandemic was over, an Instagram account made its debut. Pobla Posting (@poblaposting), which labels itself under “Satire/Social Commentary/Memes” started with this post.

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Today, it has 48, with 8,467 followers. The content is a high-brow/low-brow mix of funny, verging on the side of tasteless but still funny (except for the occasional sexism).

From @poblaposting on IG

The followers and commenters on the page on each post range from a couple of people we know, and some we don’t, some of them sharing in the exclusivity, or some of them merely sharing their own experience (i.e. a mix of sentiments that say: “I would never post a picture of me eating at Blackbird!” vs. “Ha-ha, remember when we posted a picture of us eating at Blackbird?” and the middle, which is “It is kind of funny when people do this.”)

I don’t remember when I clicked follow; it must have been the last week of December, but I did see the Blackbird meme and I remember finding it funny (as a candle snob, I must say the meme on Yankee Candle vs. Diptyque is my favorite).

What got me sitting up and thinking this was a worthy topic to write about was this post.

The jokes about arroz caldo at the PAL Mabuhay Lounge as a signifier of wealth are nothing new: people do this to flex their wealth in a subtle way. In other words, it’s a humble brag.

Rather than posting your first-class ticket and your Goyard passport holder, you’re showing off your relatable bowl of arroz caldo. Except it isn’t very relatable because you’re having it in a lounge that is an exclusive perk of the expensive flight you’re about to take. Wink wink, nod nod, I’m rich but I’m just like you because we like the same food but we are obviously not having it at the same place.

To have the joke blasted out in public like that made me laugh. It had been something I heard talked about, but I don’t think I had ever seen it so publicly spelled out that way. It was an irreverent, hilarious way of poking fun at our social anxieties, and our need to perform.

From @poblaposting on IG

A Curated Life

Socially satirical accounts on Instagram have always been around. I remember You Did Not Eat That (@youdidnoteatthat), which poked fun at models and Influencers (mostly the latter) posting with food in interesting, albeit highly unrealistic ways; we’re supposed to believe Influencer of the Month is a very Cool and Relatable Girl because she eats pizza/donuts/ice cream with her expertly contoured face, posting in anatomically impossible positions while sitting in her Millennial Pink bedroom. Bonus if there’s a Louis Vuitton handbag in the frame.

It spawned multiple discussions, with one side calling out the influencers for promoting impractical standards of living when we all know they’re not finishing that burger. Food is already weaponized for women, especially young girls, who are the target market of these influencers. The message seemed to be: you can have food, but only Instagram-friendly food (macaroons from Ladurée, etc) and enjoy it, only if you fit one extremely narrow standard of beauty (i.e. thin).

The owner of the account said a much, on an interview with The Cut: “It’s just presenting this curated life that’s beautiful and perfect and totally unrealistic. More power to you for rocking that! You look awesome! Don’t lie about how you got there! It’s fine.”

Still, the other side countered back, asking why people were so consumed with what people ate, and why we had to wonder if they finished the food. Is this not also a way of weaponizing food and policing bodies?

I could see both sides of the argument. The effects of social media, particularly young girls have been damaging, and watching the weird way food and luxury intersected on those posts was very concerning. But among the many things I have hated in the last few years (climate insecurity, the death of culture, COVID-19, etc) it’s how people commented on the food I eat, how I eat, how chubby I looked, and when I got thin, how thin I got (because it reminded me of how I used to look).

Extremely online

Other meme pages have popped up on my consciousness since then like @satire_only, or the extremely niche ones like @sparknotes_, because your go-to source for Shakespeare if the assignment is due tomorrow, is an expert in memes now. But Pobla Posting is probably the first local account that pokes fun at both the rich and those striving to join in.

I say both because a quick look at Twitter shows people calling out the page for its unchecked elitism. I’ve seen sentiments among the variation of “It’s not funny, because the crowd it’s for is extremely narrow,” or “its sense of humor skews matapobre.” “It’s very sexist,” one said.

I would say that while I get the sexism, I don’t see the elitist, matapobre POV. Take a look at this. Rich or not, if you display any sort of vaccine hesitancy then I think you deserve to be mocked. Both your Tita that no one likes and Novak Djokovic deserves your ire.

Say someone decides to take a picture of traffic while showing off their Rolex and the page makes a meme about it (which it did): That’s not Pobla Posting showing off how cool this person is with their Rolex, that’s Pobla Posting making fun of them.

From @poblaposting on IG

Perhaps some sort of inward reflection is needed if a meme about arroz caldo at the Mabuhay Lounge angers people. Maybe they too, wanted to post about their arroz caldo on IG stories, and now they can’t.

Who Are They? They’ll Never Tell

Over the break, someone asked me who I thought was behind the account. I am not interested in finding out who it is, because I’d like this account to continue.

For the record, I don’t think it’s important what class they belong to. I bet it’s someone with a sense of humor, someone who is uniquely positioned to see how people act in a variety of situations. It’s someone with keen observational skills, a person who knows what it means when someone goes to a place reeking of exclusivity and takes a picture.

It’s someone who can read between the lines: the picture isn’t merely a photo; it’s of the person saying “I was there.”

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