Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for September, 2009

When disaster relief IS the disaster: Perspectives

September 30, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events 8 Comments →

Why are you people so mean to congressman Mikey Arroyo, posting photos of him allegedly buying liquor during the deluge? What sane person would believe that an elected official would be so callous in the midst of a disaster that has taken hundreds of lives and rendered hundreds of thousands homeless? Even assuming that he was buying liquor at that time, you cannot be certain that it was not a mission of mercy: he could’ve been buying it for a typhoon victim who really, really needed a drink.

This must be part of the concerted campaign against the congressman, which saw him being interrogated on television about a house he owned in the United States, the cost of which is beyond his explainable income. The nerve of economist and university professor Winnie Monsod to put him through that kind of anguish. Where does the media get the nerve to embarrass the son of a president?

Photo by John Javellana/Reuters
NYT photo by John Javellana/Reuters

Small wonder that today, with so many Filipinos still waiting to be rescued from the wreckage of their homes, and so many Filipinos packed into evacuation centers that are just epidemics waiting to explode, Rep. Mikey Arroyo chooses to address the larger problem of malicious Facebook attacks. Yes, it is only right that freedom of speech be curtailed to protect the reputations of government officials. The Philippines must be the only country in the world where public figures are so virulently attacked by citizens armed with nothing more than an internet connection.

* * * * *

The local media is always admonished to temper its negative coverage of the Philippine government because it will create an unflattering image of the country abroad and scare away foreign investors.

Photo by Mike Alquinto/Associated Press
NYT photo by Mike Alquinto/AP

Got anything else to say?

Raymond send this: Rescue D.I.Y. (Let me know if the link doesn’t work.)

Yeah, my sister and her family rescued themselves, too. On Saturday they were marooned on the second floor of their flooded house. By Sunday the rain had stopped but the floodwaters had not subsided. Then a rubber boat came along and cruised around the neighborhood. Cruised, like they were on vacation. Finally the ‘rescuers’ said they could take people as far as Rosario, where the flood was ‘only’ chest-deep and they could wade or swim to the bridge. Cookie declined (We do not swim, there are no pools on Arrakis).

On Monday she called and said the water had receded enough so a truck could reach them. So I started calling trucking companies and found three that were willing to make the trip, but even before I could hire a truck my brother-in-law found someone who could pick them up with an SUV. That’s how they rescued themselves.

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Remember just last Friday we were joking about three-quarters of the horsemen of the Apocalypse?Next day: Apocalypse. You can call it the end times if you like, but much of the catastrophe was man-made. Today’s Four Horsemen: Greed, Corruption, Ineptitude, Destruction of the Environment.

Just heard the news: Another super-typhoon is coming.

Darcy 3, Heathcliff 0

September 30, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest 12 Comments →

McShane Heathcliff

Heathcliff: Dark, brooding, handsome, rich, obsessed, and apparently too scary for our contestants, who have expressed a preference for Darcy. (Photo: Before Deadwood and Kings, Ian McShane played Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.)

What, no macho Hemingway guys? Oh right, the equipment was destroyed in the war. Alyosha Karamazov? Too good. Prince Myshkin? Too good, plus you know. What about Mr. Rochester? Those Bronte sisters with their creepy men. Jude the Obscure and other Hardy hunks? Too depressing. Colette’s Cheri? Someone to date, not to keep. Julien Sorel? Too scheming. Nicholas Nickleby or Pip? Tintin? Captain Ahab? With the peg leg, are you nuts.

Male literary characters you would like to date (as of Tuesday):

Fitzwilliam Darcy – Most popular so far. Is it the surliness?
Stanley Kowalski – Contestant already has foul plan.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Technically just one guy.
Gollum – Unussssssual.
Holden Caulfield – He’s 16 ergo jailbait unless you’re 16.
John Marcher from The Beast In The Jungle
Count Dracula – Everybody loves a vampire.
Owen Meany – Don’t remember the book well, but wasn’t he tiny?
Peregrin “Pippin” Took – Speaking of tiny.
Julio Madiaga – Er. (So is Stanley.)

Among the women, no takers yet for Eustacia Vye, Tess Durbeyfield, Holly Golightly, Maria Clara (Oh, please), Isabel Archer, Natasha from War and Peace, the Japanese princess who wrote The Pillow Book, and that conniving little Lolita.

Keep posting your entries to this week’s LitWit challenge, Your Imaginary Date. Deadline Friday night.

Saturday, 0207. The LitWit Challenge: Your Imaginary Date is now closed. The winner will be announced later.

A royal couple not in tabloids

September 30, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: History, Movies No Comments →

The Young Victoria
Emily Blunt as The Young Victoria

Queen Victoria has gone down in history as a fusty prude, and ‘Victorian’ usually means ‘repressed’. As played by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) in The Young Queen Victoria, she is not that fusty, prudish, or repressed. One doesn’t assume the throne at such an early age and then hang on to power longer than anyone before or since by clinging to outdated ideas. Her ‘arranged’ marriage to her cousin Albert (Rupert Friend, Wickham in Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice) turned out to be a real love match, confounding the plans of her scheming relatives.

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), The Young Victoria is the story of two people raised to be obedient pawns in the power games of the monarchy who learn to think for themselves. And while it is a love match, the movie hints at the contests of will that took place between the royal couple. The movie also stars the reliable Jim Broadbent as Victoria’s dotty uncle the King of England, Miranda Richardson as her scheming mother the Duchess of Kent, Mark Strong as the man who controls her mother, Thomas Kretschmann as her calculating uncle the King of Belgium, and Paul Bettany as the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, who tries to control the young queen. Sandy Powell did the costumes.

Q. Aren’t Emily and Rupert too good-looking to play Victoria and Albert?
A. It’s a movie.

The Young Victoria opens today at Glorietta and Greenbelt 3.

When disaster relief IS the disaster (continued)

September 29, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events 9 Comments →

Delubyo 3
I don’t even want to think of all the animals killed in the flood. First we worry about the people.

2. Unclog the sewers and fix the drains. In the past this could not be accomplished because there were communities living on top of esteros and waterways and no one had the political will to relocate such large populations of voters. Well the great flood took care of that: those settlements have been washed away.

Do not allow the settlements to be rebuilt. Relocate squatters to a safe place where they have access to basic services and transportation and won’t drown in the next deluge. Sure this is a difficult undertaking and the costs will be huge, but you politicians owe them bigtime. They elected you into office! You kiss their asses during election time, now do your job and serve your constituents.

3. Which reminds me: Hit the candidates of the major political parties who will run in the 2010 elections with a Catastrophe Tax. You want to serve the Philippines? Start now, by giving a chunk of your campaign funds to the relief efforts. And no, your name cannot appear on any of your donations.

4. While we’re discussing funds for relief and rehabilitation efforts: Malacanang has a golden opportunity to show that the official funds alloted for disaster relief and emergencies were not spent on the President’s foreign trips as her opponents have alleged. Show us the money. The people need it NOW.

5. To prevent profiteering, freeze the prices of all basic goods and services, including vehicle repair. Car repair shops have all the business they can handle now and in the coming weeks, they don’t have to overcharge.

6. This is an emergency. People in authority who steal donations meant for typhoon victims should be shot.

William Safire, 79.

September 29, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Language 1 Comment →

William Safire, who raked over words in his NYT column On Language, has died.

From 1979 until earlier this month, he wrote “On Language,” a New York Times Magazine column that explored written and oral trends, plumbed the origins and meanings of words and phrases, and drew a devoted following, including a stable of correspondents he called his Lexicographic Irregulars.

The columns, many collected in books, made him an unofficial arbiter of usage and one of the most widely read writers on language. It also tapped into the lighter side of the dour-looking Mr. Safire: a Pickwickian quibbler who gleefully pounced on gaffes, inexactitudes, neologisms, misnomers, solecisms and perversely peccant puns, like “the president’s populism” and “the first lady’s momulism,” written during the Carter presidency.

An archive of Safire’s column, On Language.

When disaster relief coordination IS the Disaster

September 28, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Amok, Current Events 7 Comments →

Delubyo 1

Delubyo 2

Photos from What are we doing to our planet? in Ohlala.

What have we learned from the cataclysm of this weekend, besides the speed at which our lives can turn into a schlocky Roland Emmerich movie?

We have learned that when it comes to matters of life and death, we cannot count on the national government. (Local government units did the best they could, but they needed help from the national government.) If we cannot count on the government to deliver basic services or rescue our citizens in times of calamity, and we stopped expecting official honesty and integrity years ago, what exactly is government for? (First official to say, “But we weren’t expecting something that bad” needs a little Marikina-Cainta flood waterboarding.)

We have learned that disaster strikes all demographics and that famous people can also sit on the roof awaiting rescue, but as always it is the poor who suffer the most. We have learned that everyone who’s anyone blathers on about saving the environment, fighting climate change, and not using plastic bags, but all that amounts to is a pool of drool that only makes the floodwaters rise.

We have seen where our taxes went. . .no, where the hell did they go? We have learned that mobile phones are a convenience in ‘normal’ times but we cannot count on them working When We Really Need Them. The fucking signal just goes pffft.

The main lesson is: We’re going to have to save ourselves.

The Good Ideas Forum was canceled due to cataclysm but we can still use our heads. 1. Now that we know how fast and how bad the situation can get, every barangay needs to have a disaster preparedness program. For starters, every barangay needs to have those rubber boats.