Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thoughts on Local Media

"You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself."
- Ethel Barrymore

So on my way to work, I always pass by a couple of major TV network compounds. I can't help but notice this poster of one of their shows. If anyone's familiar with it, it's the one with the lady in blackface makeup. This makes me wonder if most Filipinos, as a society, are aware of the double standards they're guilty of.

Earlier this year, there was this chap named Jimmy Sieczka who released a video called 20 Things I Dislike About the Philippines. The video went viral, and he ended up getting a lot of flak from people who felt offended by the things he said in his video, to the point of him being the recipient of death threats and persona non-grata status from the country's less scrupulous citizens. I noted back then on some Twitter discussion for Good Times that most Filipinos don't get satire because the only humor that local media feeds us is slapstick. It's unfortunate that what Jimmy really said went over the head of a lot of people - that he truly meant that he loved the country (which is why he left the US to work here in the first place) and only wanted to point out some things that could be improved, in general. As a side note, I've had some correspondence with the guy via Twitter, and he seemed pretty decent.

Anyway, my point is that a lot of Filipinos tend to make fun of other cultures yet they tend to lose their shit the moment an outsider mentions a comment about us. I think this problem is prevalent in a lot of local mainstream media, whose idea of quality entertainment is something cheap and does not require much thought. There are people who make a living dressing up as foreign stereotypes while mocking their accents to make it appear funny. There are people who, like the show I mentioned above, honestly believe that there is nothing fucked up with applying blackface on a mestiza. There are people who think that it's perfectly fine to ruin foreign movies by censoring violent scenes, but they allow local filmmakers to laud actresses who decide to do daring scenes.

Until people finally decide to mindlessly accept what others feed them and have an open mind, I think the country will remain medieval in its taste of entertainment.

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