Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Time to get Nekkid...err...Naked.

Listen.

The voices you hear now – when you turn a dial, open a newspaper, or even look out your window – belong to mass media. A media who’s very good at telling us what your problems are. But lousy at telling us what their problems are.

You have news outlets blindly follow talking points set out by the political interest who’s paying for the evening cocktails. A few reporters – more than we’re comfortable with – are too lazy to research or follow up their stories. And many news outlets willingly downplay stories because they hurt major advertisers.

On the lighter side, TV writers are out of ideas. Movie producers are out of money. And viewers are out of luck, as we’re force-fed the crass, noisy, and ultimately nutrient-free pap that passes for the Pinoy entertainment industry.

That’s just a short run-down of some of Philippine mass media’s problems. But where can you find a media practitioner willing to commit professional suicide and start writing about it? Someone should. And – in a fit of combined righteous anger, patriotism, self-delusion and hubris – we decided that it should be us. Hahaha.

Mind you, we’re not here to lecture anyone. We’re not here to threaten. We’re just here to provide a counterpoint to the mass media noise that (more often than not) is often just an extension of vested interests. We’re just here to have fun at the expense of a media empire that’s gotten too loud, too arrogant, too used to power. If anybody learns anything, consider it a bonus.

It’s like a fairy tale, with a twist: we’ll put the moral at the beginning of the story – “The Media Emperor has no clothes!” And only then, do we begin our story.

Once upon a time…

Barenaked Media

Monday, June 05, 2006

Tales of a so-so basketball fan.

*image taken from here

I'm an occasional basketball fan. My hometown team is technically the Texas Rangers (baseball), but I also cheer for the Dallas Mavericks, the team you either love or hate.

When we were still living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (1985-1991), the mere mention of the Mavericks had the locals laughing. Native-born Spud Webb was different; he was not a Maverick, but he was the only basketball player that everyone was looking to because of his spectacular leaping and dunking skills. My father used to tell of friends who would offer him season passes to the Mavericks because seriously, they were just that bad.

Still, when all was said and done, they were still our hometeam, and even after going back here, we continued to sporadically cheer them on. Eventually I lost interest in the NBA and turned my focus on the PBA - I was a rabid fan of Ginebra (Gordon's Gin). Everyone in church knew which team I was cheering on, and so did my high school friends. I received a poster of Ginebra for Christmas from a classmate with an unquenchable love for Vince Hizon. Here is what she wrote on the back (the poster is too big to scan, sorry.):

Dearest Sarah,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May God Bless You and Your Family.


Love,


Mrs. Myra and Mr. Vince H.


P.S.
I got this one for you, "the last copy (you know how in demand this is!") for your crush is smiling here and I want you to have this from me so you won't cut your newspapers with them on it!

I've forgotten his name already, but his jersey number was 6.

***

I collected newspaper clippings of their journey to the championship (Commissioner's Cup) in 1997 against San Miguel Beer - feature articles, articles published after winning a game, and photos. When they finally won, I got my hands on every newspaper I could buy and readied my scissors. I placed the clippings in a spare photo album my mother had lying around and kept it in my room.

The extent of my obssesion showed twofold: when I had a high fever and insisted on eating my noodles while watching a championship game in the living room, and when I took my dad's Bible and randomly pointed my fingers to a verse that assuaged some of the disappointment I felt following a Ginebra loss.

I went to a championship game at the-then Cuneta Astrodome along Roxas Boulevard with a couple of church friends. It was my first time to watch, and they were all apprehensive about the crowds, but I determinedly entered, stood in the stands, and cheered my heart out for my team. I think we won that night, but I'm not sure.

My father jokingly asked me after the championship, "Why are you collecting clippings? They already won." I looked him in the eye and said, "Because it might take them another six years to win another championship." And though I was hoping in my heart of hearts it wouldn't come true, more than six years would pass without their winning another championship*. I still have the clippings somewhere, but I misplaced them because I had to use the photo album for a college project.

I was never as invested in another PBA team again after that.

***

When my brother told me some time later that Dallas was still his favorite team, I pitied him. I told him that they sucked, and he agreed to some extent - but they had some new players on the team, some punk named Steve Nash and a German player by the name of Dirk Nowitzki. They were getting pretty good, and my brother was a fan of their team-up. "Dallas just isn't a good defensive team, but I like teams that are good offensively," he explained. "They're more fun to watch."

It helped that my brother passed along a Jason Kidd quote back when he joined the Mavericks - "We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees."(scroll down to "Basketball") Hilarity ensued; still makes me giggle, actually.

That was the era of the Chicago Bulls, where His Airness reigned over the game and took away six NBA championships in the process. The buzz was all about the Bulls, the Lakers, and the Jazz - nobody gave a second look to Dallas; they couldn't even reach the playoffs.

Sometimes I would join my brother watching the Mavericks play, and even I, a sporadic fan, could spot the weaknesses in their defensive plays. Fortunately Michael Finley took hold of my heart and gave me reason to hope that maybe, just maybe, these guys had a chance of going farther in the league.

***

Cut to this century. My brother continued to apprise me of the Mavericks' developments and how they were improving year by year. I noted the difference in some of the games I watched and was really very surprised that they actually had fans cheering for them. My Michael Finley was as solid as ever, and that Nash-Nowitzki team-up! Look at how well they knew each other! The Triumvirate was very popular, and it showed. Though Nash and Finley eventually left the Mavericks within years of each other (Nash because Cuban was stingy, Finley because Cuban was stingy), Nowitzki remained and became the team's supersuperstar.

And now they're in the NBA Finals for the first time. Call them any names you want, but you can't deny them their achievement.


*Since I don't keep up with the PBA anymore, I'm not sure if they had won another championship.