“When will you ever stop attacking the media?”
“What did the local media ever do to you?”
“Don’t be such a killjoy!”
“You’re just jealous and bitter!”
“Why can’t you just let people be happy?”
I’m pretty sure that a lot of you will be saying these exact same words after you finish reading this article. Of course, I’m well aware that I have a good number of detractors out there and I can already feel them fuming at me as I write this. Look ladies and gentlemen, if you think I’m going to stop just because you keep crying and screaming like a bunch of spoiled brats who didn’t get what they want for Christmas, you are seriously deluded.
Now, before I go on, let me make it clear that this isn’t really about ruining anybody’s fun. Indeed, I also believe that everyone has a right to their own happiness, granted that they aren’t infringing on anybody else’s happiness. You see, while there’s nothing wrong with having fun, having fun while hurting someone or allowing someone to be hurt is never a good thing. I will go out of my way to say that cruelty and apathy are never fun and that they are the two true ingredients of evil just as harmony and discipline are the two core components of good.
Also, I know some of you will call me out again on my preference for anime and videogames. To be honest, yes, I know some of them aren’t really a good influence on children either. But you have to remember that anime and videogames have evolved over the years and, as a matter of fact, continue to evolve to this day, producing different genres and niches for their consumers while providing new insights to those who choose to enjoy them. Unfortunately, for the last two decades, Pinoy shows have changed very little and, if they actually have, most of it is definitely not for the better.
So, ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to be butthurt again?
They Distract Us From REAL Issues
This is the biggest offender so I’m putting it forth first.
See, the problem occurs when a lot of us care more about local celebrities and their private lives rather than more important issues. For instance, any of you remember Daisy? Okay, I remember when people wept and threw all kinds of tantrums when word got out that Vhong Navarro got beat up because of an old flame. Granted, I’ve been beaten up before and I also believe that Mr. Navarro deserves both justice and compensation for what happened to him. However, where was everyone when a poor little girl was tortured to death in a snuff video that was sold to a global audience. In the end, was it because poor Daisy was just some street child? So was poor Daisy not worth the attention of the Filipino people because she was just a “nobody”?
Of course, again, I have to remind myself who I’m addressing here. Screw the islands of the West Philippine Sea and give them to the Chinese as long as you have AlDub, eh? Screw the Lumads and the rest of Mindanao and let the rebels maim, kill and burn it all as long as you can hear Vice Ganda’s cruel jokes, right? Screw poor little girls like Daisy and let them be brutally raped, tortured and their limbs get hacked off as long as you can watch Manny Pacquiao’s next fight, am I correct?
They Paint Everything In Black And White
The whole argument about Aquino vs. Marcos can be traced back to the typical Pinoy’s “black and white insanity”. This is when one assumes that one side is either all good or all bad without considering both the merits and demerits of a given person or faction.
Granted, this is good for programs made for children like children’s cartoons and educational shows. However, I can’t help but notice that nearly all local shows are almost always heavily polarized. They depict the protagonist as almost always good and incorruptible while at the same time showing that the antagonist is always cruel and evil. They never make the characters question their own motives and actions nor do they encourage audiences to think for themselves.
This results in a society that is largely blind to the idea of “grayness”. Of course, no one is really perfect and that there are always people who are more evil than others but sometimes, it would be a good idea to question one’s own decisions from time to time. Being flawed and often broken human beings, much of what we do may sometimes have unforeseen consequences. I think that there are times we need to think if we are seriously hurting others with what we do and, even if we’re doing it deliberately, do they really deserve what we’re doing to them.
They Make Us Dumb
One thing I will say is that big names in anime are often well-researched unlike a lot of our local shows which are all too often shallow and loaded with “unfortunate implications” which I will elaborate on later. Take the kind of depth found in the comic and anime Silver Spoon which was created by Hiromu Arakawa who has earned a name for herself by being the creator of the internationally acclaimed Fullmetal Alchemist. Being born to a family of farmers, Ms. Arakawa goes to great length to realistically detail the lives, joys and challenges of farming in Japan while squeezing quite a bit of humor and adventure to go with it.
Now, let’s take a look at our local shows which offer very little aside from the “kilig” of romance and “gigil” of revenge. As a personal detail, I can tell you all that I have a background in nursing and, when I saw a show that claimed to be a “medical-themed” program, I was so disappointed I wanted to vomit at the time. When I first saw the trailers, I thought that Pinoy TV was finally getting somewhere but, when I finally got to see the thing, it was clearly a ripoff of foreign medical soap operas and it was apparent that few in the cast and crew understood medical terms and procedures. In the end, it was just about another love triangle with the only deviation was that it took place in a hospital setting.
They Make You Think Being A Victim Makes You A Saint
Look, I know we’ve all been victims somewhere in our lives. However, I need to stress that we can never be winners until we stand on our own two feet and overcome the challenges that stand in our way. No, there’s nothing wrong with being a victim unless you plan on being a victim forever.
Indeed, the common teleserye in the Philippines encourages one to be weak and passive instead of going after one’s own passions and dreams. They seem to insinuate that all you really need to do in life is sit back and look pretty and everything will be done for you. There are relatively few shows where I see that the hero is a self-made man or woman. They rely all too much on what’s called a deus ex-machina which is a plot point that can either be a thing, person or even an idea that solves everything for the protagonist.
Instead of encouraging viewers to take a stand against bullying or the unfairness of our society, our media instead seems to insist that a hero will always come out of nowhere to save the day and all we really have to do is sit back and watch everything burn instead of taking action for the greater good.
They Are Loaded With Unfortunate Implications
When people with mental illnesses are shown on local TV, they are always made out to look like dangerous people who are evil or are possessed by the devil. In real life, people with mental illnesses are all too often people who just need help. Also, few mental illnesses are permanent and can usually be cured through therapy both psychological and chemical. Unfortunately, from what I often see on local TV, mentally ill folks are evil people and should be avoided as they are either beyond help or their conditions are a punishment of God upon them.
Another thing I notice is how we just love stereotypes and how local TV seems to encourage this flawed mindset. Note for instance how gay people are often depicted as flamboyant and obnoxious people who want to wear the clothing of the opposite sex even though there are some who are comfortable with their identity and just differ from the norm with their sexual preference. Worst of all though is how we often equate dark skin with ugliness and, in many of our shows, the heroine starts out as an “ugly” child with dark skin but becomes beautiful through miraculous or questionably scientific methods which is signified by the lightening of their skin.
[Photo courtesy PhilStar.]
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