Archive for the ‘Current Events’
The people have spoken. Democracy has won. Why, then, have you fallen into this deep funk?
It is not simply that your candidates lost. In truth you were not that attached to them, but the options were limited. Over one hundred million Filipinos, and that is the prime selection. But that’s a topic for another time.
You can easily get over your candidates losing. It’s harder to deal with the fact that many of your assumptions about your country, your colleagues, even your friends, are wrong. (By “friends” we mean the family you choose for yourself, and not the millions you interact with in the social media.) You thought you agreed on basic principles—human rights, women’s rights, etc. It turns out that these may be set aside “for the greater good”. Are you so disconnected from your people that you do not understand this clamoring? Do you not understand your country?
To recover from a very intense month I am going to my lovely dermatologist Dr Mary Anne Amon at Derma 360 in Rockwell (which is under renovation so I have to go to her clinic at Makati Med) to get my warts zapped. Afterwards I will look like a chocolate chip cookie so I’m taking myself out of human society and declaring quarantine in my library. My wonderful, cluttered, neglected but deeply comforting library. Where would I be without the consolations of literature? And the second season of Better Call Saul.
Are you glum, dispirited, boggled? Do you need to talk? Post your issues in Comments and let’s see what we can do.
On the morning of May 31, 1977, residents of Antipolo — a mountainous municipality just east of Manila — saw a military helicopter circling low over a deserted area. Minutes later something fell out of the helicopter onto the rocks below. Then the aircraft clattered away.
Curious residents ran to see what had fallen.
They found the bloody, battered corpse of a young man. He had been cruelly treated. His head was bashed in, there were burn marks and dark bruises all over his body. On his torso, an examining doctor would later count 33 shallow wounds apparently gouged with an ice pick. Several meters away from where the body had fallen, somebody found an eyeball.
The police came, took the corpse to a funeral parlor and started the process of identifying the remains. Somebody remembered a news story about a teenager who had been missing for more than two weeks. He was 16-year-old Luis Manuel “Boyet” Mijares, son of Primitivo, a former aide of the dictator, President Ferdinand Marcos.
Later that day, the phone of Manila Judge Priscilla Mijares rang. Journalist and family friend Teddy Owen tried to break the news about her son gently to her, advising her to send somebody to the Filipinas Funeral Parlor to identify the victim.
The person she sent called back with the devastating news: “It’s your boy.” All that remained of her good-looking boy was a mangled, tortured body.
He had been kidnapped, because shortly after he vanished the family had started receiving phone calls demanding a ransom of P200,000.By then, Boyet’s sister Pilita recalled, a Philippine Constabulary official named Panfilo Lacson (who became a Philippine Senator in 2001) had been assigned to the case and managed to trace one of the calls to a building inside the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.
Although the family told the kidnappers they would pay the ransom, the calls suddenly stopped.
Over the objections of the police, Judge Mijares had followed Owen’s advice to leak the news of her son’s kidnapping to the dailies. The news came out on May 30.
The next day, Boyet’s mangled body was found.
You wish you could point to the criminal scum and order them to be shot. Someone cuts ahead of you in traffic? Bang! You wish you could make rape jokes. They’re just words, right? Why don’t these wimps get how funny it is to say you want to violate a woman? Your mother, your wife, your sisters, your friends: why don’t they get it?
Clearly, Duterte has struck a vein in the Pinoy psyche. He is the figurehead of a genuine people’s movement. As a social scientist would put it, his rise is based not on a political machine, but on Keynes’s “animal spirits”. That this unpredictable outsider may soon be president of this republic speaks to how well the candidate and his campaign team understand the deepest, most primal fears and needs of the Pinoy.
Duterte’s words are not calculated to impress the voters. He doesn’t have to calculate. He’s just saying the words that are already in your head. He is your walking, talking, preening, strutting id. The id is the part of your personality that contains your most basic instincts. It is where your needs, wants, desires, impulses, sex drives, aggressive drives come from. It is not affected by reality, logic, right or wrong. It only has one master, and that is the pleasure principle. It wants immediate satisfaction, it does not care how.
EVERY GENERATION has its voice of sanity. In the 1950s when the McCarthy witch hunts threatened the same freedoms it claimed to safeguard, America had the esteemed news anchorman Edward R. Murrow. In the 1970s when the oil crisis, the Watergate scandal and the unwinnable war in Vietnam shook American self-belief, it was the unimpeachable anchorman Walter Cronkite. In the early decades of television, the audience looked to news anchors to help them understand the world. Anchormen were solid, trustworthy, the foundations of a world that made sense.
But the world grew bigger and scarier, and then it was no longer enough to have the news delivered on TV every night. There were too many questions and unsatisfactory answers. Those in charge were hiding things; the people didn’t know whom to trust anymore. So they turned to someone who did not claim to have all the answers. Not only did he not profess to know the truth, he even described his nightly broadcast as a fake news show. He shared the audience’s anxiety, and he dealt with this anxiety by laughing in its face.