To Jim Paredes: Good luck and have a nice life

Presumably the “scandal” is over now that Jim Paredes has owned up to and apologised for the grief a private video had caused after it somehow found its way onto the Net and went “viral”. Certainly the bigger lesson here — that nothing transmitted over the Net stays private forever — is not lost. It’s just that sex is such a primal motivation that we share with every specie on the planet that intellectualisation takes a back seat when our need to get off engulfs our better judgement.

So the question following this and many such “scandals” past and future is an even more important one.

Who are we to judge?

That’s another point supposedly deeply-ingrained in the Christian psyche drawing from scripture that categorically reserves authority to judge to the Almighty. But, nonetheless, we judge. We scroll through our social media timelines, for one, judging every selfie, shout-out, and borrowed quote that crosses our lines of sight, so that we may gleefully classify them as drivel, humblebrags, likes, dislikes, hearts, lols, and any other category that can be encapsulated in the latest emoji. We also like to withdraw into our little echo chambers of beshies, mumshies, and ka-[insert name of clique here]s to revel in our shared sense of righteousness and the license-to-judge it creates within these circles of intellectual inbreeding.

As such, one too cannot judge those who judge Paredes harshly — because he has, fairly or unfairly, created a public persona that invites close scrutiny. In much the same way that scandals that hit televangelists in the 1980s made headline news and cover features on TIME Magazine, the Paredes circus is newsworthy despite the evident media and social media blackout on the topic the Yellowtards are attempting to effect. Jim is a venerated celebrity, a self-styled public philosopher, and a rabid partisan. It is, indeed, bad luck for Jim that this scandal broke in the midst of the campaign homestretch to this year’s mid-term elections. Elections in the Philippines are, in ordinary times, a high-stakes game. Election 2019 is a go-for-broke one even by those standards as this is the Opposition’s only chance to secure a power base that can legally challenge the popular government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte with some semblance of effectiveness. Paredes, in effect, handed over to the enemies of his camp the equivalent of the blueprint for a superweapon.

The fact is, wanking in private is human. Wanking between consenting adults over an unsecured Internet link is human too. The difference between Paredes and his ilk and anti-fragile wankers that his Yellowtard camp demonise is that the earlier robe themselves in white prayerful veneers while the latter wear their propensity to wank on their sleeves. When you have nothing to hide, you don’t need to remember what you did.

Jim Paredes with Ninoy-lookalike Bam Aquino in happier days.

Before this circus, Jim Parades personified everything that today’s Yellowtard-led Opposition aspires to pitch itself as to the Filipino voting public — straight, uppity, and “decent”. Indeed, the Yellowtards had taken ownership of the notion of “decency” and built an entire narrative that asserts monopoly rights over the virtue. Then again, in the aftermath of the circus, it can still be argued that Paredes continues to personify today’s Yellowtard-led Opposition — a community whose members are consistent in their inconsistency when measured using the very noble principles they espouse in their political rhetoric.

To be anti-fragile is to thrive rather than merely survive in the midst of adversity. Paredes may survive this circus. But it is unlikely that he will remain the revered “thought leader” of Yellowtardom he once was. He will certainly no longer thrive as a public personality. Contrast this with other political camps whose political rhetoric pretends to be neither good nor bad, just ones that focus on the issues and what needs to be done without making any moral judgements about the means to achieve the latter. It is easy to be consistent when you are not swimming in the murky waters of “morality”. This fixation on what is moral is what hobbles the Yellowtard cause today and why Filipinos, tired of aspiring to reach the artificial standards “moral” people blackmail them with, continue to embrace what is real today.

To Jim Paredes: good luck and have a nice life.