I came across a recent piece written by Boy Abunda in The Philippine Star. Abunda contends that “Showbiz” is real as real can get and that he resents the idea of someone being a fake, a hypocrite or being deceptive when accused of “being Showbiz”. I must confess that while I do belong to the type of folks Abunda detests (folks who equate “being Showbiz” to being fake), I was hoping to see a lucid and rational defense of what being “Showbiz” is all about. Instead, all we can read from Abunda’s column was a rant against the tag and how he rejects the stereotype. He did not offer any concrete arguments other than motherhood statement ideas that generalization is bad. On top of his attempt to sound intelligent by using big words he also quoted a social philosopher to give some sort of credibility to his point. Sadly, I feel that his effort to defend “Showbiz” may have even inadvertently reinforced how most people view what “being Showbiz” is about – the view that “being Showbiz” is really just about the appearance of form but lacking in substance.
Looking at Abunda’s missive, it seems that his biggest argument in defending “Showbiz” is the old adage of not judging a book by its cover; the notion that people should not generalize. Of course generalization already in itself gets a bad reputation. If you generalize, you are almost always guaranteed to be accused of being narrow-minded. Take Zsa-Zsa Padilla’s character (Ena) in the TV series Dyesebel, for instance. Ena distrusts Dyesebel and she doesn’t want her to be her son’s wife. The mysterious Dyesebel has not revealed much for Ena to know whether she will be good for her son! Ena doesn’t know where Dyesebel comes from. She doesn’t know who her real parents are. From her vantage point, Dyesebel is merely someone who came into their lives out of the blue and seduced her son as evidenced by her presence in her son’s room stark naked. So by going with what Ena knows from her life experience and observations, viewers despise Ena for being narrow-minded. For the viewers, everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, mermaids included! That is the essence of being open-minded, which is a virtue Boy Abunda seems to be promoting.
Now here’s the problem. Let’s say that you were in Ena’s shoes, would you really support your son’s plan to marry someone as mysterious as Dyesebel or at least at a time when you still do not know anything about the girl your son is crazy about? Or how about this… let’s say you know everything about Dyesebel, that she is a kind and beautiful girl who is half human and half mermaid. Someone who grew up under the sea and someone who maintains having her human legs at the mercy of a magical shell. Would you be comfortable with the risk your son is getting into? What about social stigma? What about the possibility of your son having mermaid kids? What will happen if the magical shell gets destroyed or lost? How can your son and his family live a normal life in the world of humans? Considering all of these, would you still remain open-minded to the idea of your son marrying Dyesebel for the sake of love? I didn’t think so. If you would still remain open-minded about it then I bet you are one of the few who bought the justification of the Cola pornstars of the 80’s who professed that the reason why they did porn was for “the sake of art”. Yeah, get real!
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Being open-minded allows the consideration of all cases. As Abunda was suggesting, people should not stereotype showbiz personalities as hypocrites and dummies because there are also a number of “bad-ass” smarties in showbiz and that hypocrites and dummies are also everywhere, even outside of show business. But this is where Abunda misses the point when people stereotype “being showbiz”. It is not really a question whether a claim is true or false but a question whether a claim is strong or weak. Generalization is helpful because with it, there is no need to test every single point in a population of subject before you make a conclusion. It relies on samples taken of a subject population. The question, then, is about whether a claim is more likely to be correct or not. Now can we really blame people for stereotyping “being showbiz” when a lot of the showbiz personalities we see on TV say dumb and hypocritical things? This is where Abunda could have substantiated his rant by convincing people that the stereotype is weak and it should only be taken with a grain of salt. That it is merely based on a small sample of showbiz personalities and he could have presented more representative samples of the opposite of the stereotype.
Abunda’s message may be filled with sophisticated, flashy and fancy words, but unfortunately his argument lacks substance. Too “showbiz”, perhaps?
Calling a spade, a spade…