Maybe it is true — that Carlos Celdran is a bad influence on the Filipino. After all, hasn’t one of the biggest issues with us Filipinos always been about our lack of ability to think things through properly and act consistently upon said thinking within some sort of rules-based framework — such as the Law? In that context, it is quite clear that this Damaso stunt has set us back a bit as far as our aspirations to becoming a modern thinking society.
Apart from the clear offenses that Celdran had been convicted for, he is guilty of a couple other crimes against Filipino intelligence:
(1) Propagating demagoguery
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Damaso. Celdran puts up a single word — a single name — to encapsulate what is really a nebulous issue. It’s sort of like the way Mein Kampf and Communist Manifesto were encapsulated in the swastika and the hammer-and-sickle respectively. Or like how the whole “people power” thing is expressed by Filipinos with the hand gesture for “loser”. The difference between the demagoguery of Nazism and communism and the vacuous demagoguery of the Filipino secular and freedom movements is that at least Nazism and communism had written treatises and manifestos. Last I recall there is no equivalent Mein Kampf for the Aquinoist Laban movement.
(2) Failure to crystallize a nebulous issue
Ok, perhaps one can argue that Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere is the underpinning manifesto of Celdran’s Damaso stunt.
But why then, did that other blogger stammer out a doozy of a clarification in an attempt to lend substance to Damaso? The guy claimed that Celdran’s stunt “stirred the ambiguity between the secular and the religious” and, get this, provided us “the kind of animus that helps us rethink the relationship between Church and State.” Obviously “Damaso” dumbed down something. What that something is, not even Celdran’s most die-hard fans can quite explain clearly even given a few more words to work with. Maybe they should re-read the Noli. Yikes! I’d market that book as therapy for people with bad sleeping disorders.
I noted the comment of ChinoF there and agree it was spot-on: “Rosa Parks was never trying to get attention. She only wanted a seat.” By contrast, to the question of what it is exactly that Celdran hoped to achieve back in 2010, the best anyone could come up with is a blurb that makes use of head-scratchers like “stirring up ambiguity” and “animus.” You gotta wonder. Maybe the proverbial Emperor is in actual fact naked.
(3) Furthering the Philippine idiocracy
The thing with these catch-word/phrase and one-symbol “movements” in the Philippines is that said words and said symbols distract people from the reality that there is really nothing under the hood. And, in all ironies, it is for this very reason that stupid idiotic politicians get elected to office — because they have mastered the art of harnessing the idiocracy using these age-old mind tricks.
One moment we are urging voters to “vote wisely” — to look underneath the slogans, dig deeper into the issues, and evaluate how consistent the relevant ones are to our politicians’ platforms (if they do have one). Then the next moment we are cheering side-show costumed clowns like Carlos Celdran and the sort of sloganeering they do that, if you think about it, isn’t really much different from the campaign styles of the very politicians we claim to detest.
Houston we have a problem.
It seems the Philippine political debate lacks serious diversity as far as ideas go. The noisiest elite “communicators” dominate the discourse with their lame slogans and shallow appeal-to-emotion roadshows. Aren’t we glad Get Real Philippines is around to single-handedly fill that otherwise yawning intellectual chasm in Philippine society?
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.