Respected theater actress Monique Wilson sounds off with regards to the ongoing scandal involving Willie Revillame. In her Facebook post dated March 30, 2011, Ms. Wilson has labeled Willie as “a callous, insensitive individual who preys on the needs of poor, uneducated Filipinos” and criticized local television content for “news reports that are horrifyingly biased and sensationalist…noon-time variety shows that exploit women and insult our intelligence…(and) talk shows that are intrusive, subjective and tasteless” She suggests that TV, as an instrument of mass media, be able to EDUCATE, EMPOWER, INSPIRE (and) AWAKEN (emphasis hers) the masses it caters to.
I still remember hearing Monique’s name as one of the first to speak out her mind against the child-abuse incident just a day or two after the controversial episode aired; not a few of Willie’s diehard supporters in another bulletin board tried downplaying her statements as being merely the rants of a “past-her-prime lesbian”. However, it appears that her advocacy was instrumental in one way or another for the outpouring of celebrity tweets that precipitated Willie’s public apology-cum-rant last Friday, April 8. The host of “Willing-Willie” hit on the likes of Jim Paredes, Lea Salonga and Aiza Seguerra, among others (He even told Aiza “magpapalalake ka (man up)”); while opening up about the millions that he has given to charities, he singled out his Twitter critics for their inaction “…Kayo nga ho ang lumabas ng gate. Mamigay nga kayo ng pera diyan sa mga matatanda. Bumaba nga kayo diyan sa labas ng kanto. Bigyan nyo yung mga naghihirap diyan. Yun dapat ang ginagawa niyo…Nagbigay ba kayo ng tulong? Nagbigay ba kayo sa Bantay Bata ng P1Milyon?”
Malakas ang respeto ko talaga kay Monique bilang propesyonal at tao naman, I was under one of her summer acting workshops years ago; given her education and frames of reference, one can forgive her for her broadly idealistic aims. What rankles me though is how Willie and a number of his defenders would stoop that low as to attack his opponents that personally (so effing what if Aiza and Monique are lesbians? Is Agot Isidro any less qualified to speak for child welfare just because she’s childless??) Given local show business’ bad reputation for professional ass-covering (if not ass-kissing), you cannot blame Mr. Revillame for his feelings of betrayal beneath these lines, “Kapwa tayo artista… Wag kayong manghusga ng kapwa nyo artista. Dapat magsama sama tayo. Tulungan niyo kami. Wag kayong manghuhusga. Tandaan niyo, ang masang Pilipino ang sumusuporta sa inyo” Di ganyan ka-estupido ang mga masa ngayon…at least Islam has enabled Robin Padilla to kick out the vices that had given him the “Bad Boy” on- and off-screen image.
Watching the brewing word war over the whole child-abuse incident truly enabled me to reach new heights in sobriety. Ayoko basta masasabihan na sawsaw na lang ng sawsaw, e kung medyong mainit ang diskusyon nito sa blogosphere, o ayun, makisali nga naman kahit minsan-minsan lang.
Right now I am reading a blog which states that the plague of bad taste isn’t just confined to Philippine TV (good thing MTV no longer airs here, lest we have to endure the likes of The Situation, J-Woww and Snooki 7 days a week). That very same blog also states that the rich (at least some of them) can be just as artistically challenged as the masses they try to avoid getting associated with (that’s why we have terms like “nouveau riche” and “guilty pleasures”). That is the point that I intend to drive about with regards to attempts at changing media attitudes over here; it is all based upon the individual’s ability to comprehend, the socio-economic status of said individual should be rendered irrelevant. Earlier this morning, I found out from Facebook that a tricycle driver won Best in Long Gown at the 2011 Bb. Pilipinas Coronation Night. We can condition the masses that there are many ways to be able to express one’s self, but the only thing is that the same masses do not know of such avenues. Could it be because the very gatekeepers – some of whom would raise the flag of elitism – are the ones actively denying access?
Idealists like Monique Wilson, Lea Salonga and yours truly – to name a few – often are perceived to be lonely in the ivory towers of their own making-not!!! The reason why there are those who dare buck the system by aiming higher is because they want to see the Philippines being regarded in a more dignified light. As the Internet practically makes the world smaller through the magic of YouTube and social networking, every act of jack-assery being perpetrated by our mass media bodies is therefore intensified. In her mission statement, Monique also calls for action within the industry as an antidote to the current inertia that has bred large-scale cultural stagnation.
We do not ask for an all out revolution, Monique. The change is already happening. Dahan dahan lang…balang araw, malalaman nila na di madaling maiuto ang Pinoy.