Monday, June 06, 2005

Smite them, please.

I happened to pick up a copy of Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" at Powerbooks Glorietta 3 last Friday. In the first pages of the book, Diamond asks several engaging questions: Why isn't it that Africa conquered Europe, instead of the other way around? Why is it that Eurasia commanded most of the guns, germs, and steel instead of the other continents (Africa, Australia)? If you want to know his answers, well, do grab a copy of his work...when you have the extra cash to spare. *cough, splutter*

I took the liberty of tweaking the question a little. It now reads as: Why are we attracted to gossipy TV shows replete with innuendos and more gossip, instead of intelligent shows? What is it within the Filipino psyche that is indubitably attracted to it? And how come the spirituality factor is so strong?

The Sister-brat and I caught some footage of "The S-Files" while on our way to church yesterday. It described, in delicious detail, that Dino Guevarra and Kim de los Santos had now broken up and were in the process of annulling their marriage. It then showed shots of the two, with Dino looking sullen and Kim looking droopy. During the ride the clips we watched were intermittent, due to the snowy nature of the TV reception, but I was able to hear parts of Dino's justification, and Kim's as well.

*"Kung magiging happy ako, ba't niya ako pipigilan? At kung happy naman siya, ba't ko siya pipigilan?" (If I'm happy, why would she stop me? And if she's happy, why would I stop her?) asked Dino, in that blend of whine, self-justification, and retort that seemingly entrances millions.

Kim apparently sent a text message to S-Files, which they showed on screen. I think parts were read out loud as well.

**"Alam ko naman, si Lord, aalagaan niya ako..." (I know the Lord will take care of me.) read some of the text. At that moment I couldn't concentrate, so great was my fury (okay, I was miffed. A little bit.). I don't pretend not to judge people because of what they say and do (I tend to do that a lot, even if I like to think I'm the opposite), but what is it with people who say that their lives are in God's hands, when before, in their heights of splendor and fame and wealth, they wouldn't give a damn to what He thought? Or that, just because they're in squalor and in the pits of their hell, that God is suddenly on their side? What gives them the right to do so?

What, you think that you could walk outside His presence and then waltz right back in? What are you, a brat? Not everyone is a Prodigal Son or Daughter.

Before you admonish me and say that I'm being way too harsh, I'm specifically training the gun at those Janus-faced celebrities and politicians you see on television the whole day. Kim acts as a trigger.

You've seen them all and read them all: ex-presidents, current presidents, ex-generals, current generals, ex-celebrity couples, current celebrity couples, all those who smile bravely at the camera and say "Si Lord, siya ang mag-aalaga samin" (The Lord will take care of us) plus a thousand variations upon that phrase, when their run of good fortune deserts them, forcing them to sell their cars and their houses just to survive.

There must be some exact mix that television producers know that will hold the attention of almost any viewer: gossip + spirituality. It's an irony that sells millions.

Going to church doesn't equal to belief. Hearing Mass doesn't equal to faith. So what is it within our psyche that just clutches to the Lord even when we probably know that He ain't gonna clutch back?

I know people will attack this because of course I don't know celebrities' inner lives; I don't know what they think and what they believe in. It's unfair and very judgmental, to say the least. But when you're tired of reading and hearing people use the Lord's name to save face, when they use the Lord's name as a last result, it gets insulting.

When Jesus was crucified on the Cross, He cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?" Celebrities, politicians, celebrity-politican hybrids, robber barons, consider that another good question to ask.

*I don't remember Dino's exact response, and this is as close as I can remember.
**Ditto on that with Kim's.