The key to true Philippine Independence does not lie in Philippine Media products

philippine_independence_dayAs expected, Philippine Media is breaking out all the colours to mark the day: lots of red white and blue, the yellow sun and three stars, poetry waxed about Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio — the works. Fiesta Independence Day! Check it out: this extravaganza of nationalist sentiment candy is emanating from an institution — no, an industry — that makes obscene amounts of money keeping Filipino minds pathetically dependent on a dripfeed of neuron-killing teleseryes, noon time variety shows, and hearsay “news” reporting. You can’t beat that mother of all ironies today.

No surprise then that just on the thinking independently criteria, Pinoys already fail. Space and time between original Pinoy ideas come far far in between and those rare gems usually see fruition somewhere else, where greater minds appreciate them. You see this degeneracy in real and useful insight in the very industry that claims to lead thought in the Philippines. Indeed Philippine mainstream media, for example, once again proved this year just how ineffectual and even detrimental it is to progressing the much-needed paradigm shift in the way Filipinos regard their election candidates. We also see it in that other lucrative media product — Filipino Films. Those products simply consistently fail at encouraging Filipinos to think

How do these filmmakers sleep at night knowing that they are not really creating a work of art but just copies of some other people’s work? They are not even making people think; they are not even stirring emotions or provoking people into doing something with their lives; they are not even inspiring young people to aspire for greatness. What they are producing is just stuff you can discard after one use. In short, most Philippine films are a total waste of the people’s time and money.

Isagani Cruz for his part wrote on the state of the Philippine entertainment industry in an editorial dated the 16th June 2006:

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Benjamin Franklin said that if the people misuse their suffrages, the remedy is not to withdraw the precious privilege from them but to teach them in its proper use. The entertainment industry, which has the most available access to the [Filipino] people through the movies, television, radio and the tabloids, is instead purposely miseducating them.

The Philippine entertainment industry is not only a vast wasteland, as television has been described in America, but a vicious instrument for the abatement of the nation’s intelligence. The shows it offers for the supposed recreation of the people are generally vulgar and smutty, usually with some little moral lesson inserted to make them look respectable, but offensive nonetheless. On the whole, they are obnoxious and unwholesome and deserve to be trashed.

To those to whom much is given, much is expected.

“Independence” is a peachy word self-described “nationalists” and “thought leaders” like to bandy around specially on occassions like these. Unfortunately the concept, like many others, is simply lost in the media-engineered intellectual bankruptcy of Philippine society. Philippine media would have been in an excellent and unique position of power to influence Filipino thinking by uplifiting it to a level befitting that of a true 21st Century society. One would expect the exceptional power wielded by the Philippine media to be used to strengthen independent thought and eradicate the comfy poverty of originality so deeply-burnt into the fibres that weave the very fabric of Philippine society.

It is only through the establishment of true independent thought as a key cultural pillar in the Philippines that real independence will be achieved. Can we count on the taipans, editors, and “journalists” who control the only truly awesome information dissemination infrastructure that wields content pipelines that go straight into Filipinos’ living rooms, computer monitors, mobile devices, and headphones to step up to the task of putting real substance behind the lip service they pay to the notion of Philippine “Independence”?

As “CEO” Maria Ressa is wont to say when facing a challenge to her precious “thought leadership”, the very notion made me laugh — as loud, perhaps, as ABS-CBN CEO Charo Santos laughs herself silly at Vice Ganda’s tasteless jokes.

8 Replies to “The key to true Philippine Independence does not lie in Philippine Media products”

  1. the anathema brought by the competition between the “kapamilya” and “kapuso” network giants. these two networks have fortified this existing culture of “seeing” society. they lean on the surfaces by investing their money in getting the best technology rather than see through the value of what is being communicated. face value is what matters. indeed, the appearance takes center stage. never mind if anne curtis cannot sing or act well.

    media influence social taste and overwhelm social mind.

  2. Philippine mass media has always overblown whatever it shows. I guess that’s been the purpose of mass media ever since Bolinao Broadcasting was founded (look that up).

    1. What does ABS-CBN 2 and GMA7 share in Common?

      Answer:They were Founded by Americans.

  3. at one point in this essay the question is asked how ‘filipino film-makers sleep at night’. In knowing the garbage they spew out makes them reasonably wealthy and that the wealthier they get the less chance anyone has of mounting a challenge to their monopolistic enterprise, that how.
    Using the girl-boy Ganda as anything but a bad joke reflects the idiocy of the people his comments are aimed at: A doomed nation.

  4. When three of the top six highest grossing Filipino movies of all time (as per wiki) feature vice ganda, you know there’s something wrong with this country.

  5. I can’t stand the shows here and now the movies are all in Tagalog and the voice overs on the English movies sound the same to me, same tone voice on all the action figures, it’s like hearing the same movie every single day and yet it’s different? Only the college students will excel at English and the rest of the population is stuck with skilled jobs and they don’t speak very much English, how can there be dramatic change if the language is only spoken by Philippine citizens and yet they want foreign investment and the foreigner owns only a percentage of his business, wonder if any of the candidates are addressing these issues.

  6. I suppose I’ll go on ahead and say it, since I’m bad with beginnings anyway: the term ‘media-engineered intellectual bankruptcy’ is bullshit, a myth of unfounded proportions, bandied time and again as if it has any foundation in reality other than a frenzied searching for chickens and eggs when in reality it works like a vicious Mobius strip (the interdependence between a poor and educationally handicapped Philippine populace and the vapid media they subscribe to has no beginning and no end).

    It makes no sense to me to use one as a stick to beat the other, when in reality they are the same seething thing. (Then there’s the fact that none of you — of us rather — have even the vaguest idea of how to proceed if given the power to utilize the various media for educational/patriotic/whatever purposes without coming off as a dictator or at least a well-intentioned extremist.)

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