The Bad Values We Learn from Telenovelas: Revenge

I once wrote on Facebook, kapag may kaaway ang isang contrabida sa telenovela, ang unang naiisip niya ay ipapatay ang kanyang kaaway. Hindi puwede mag-usap? Hindi puwede mag-move on? Kailangan talagang ipapatay?

I thought those telenovela scenarios were too far fetched to happen in real life up until I watched a news report. It talked about how this girl who got angry at her friend, so she asked her boyfriend to “teach her friend a lesson”. The whole situation went awry because the friend’s blindfold fell off, and she saw who was abducting her. In panic, the guy kills her. The angry girl is apprehended. She is crying now, her face behind a handkerchief. She said she didn’t want her friend dead. She said that wasn’t her intention. Where did that girl get the idea of abducting her friend? How could she even think that it was ok to do that? Assuming that she is an average Filipino who watches telenovelas, is it possible that those shows gave her permission to be that vengeful?

Continue reading “The Bad Values We Learn from Telenovelas: Revenge”

The American Messianic Complex in The Interview

Like others, I was quick to support the Hollywood film The Interview when reports came out that Sony was pulling it out because of fears of North Korean retaliation. Now that I’ve watched it, I have several take aways: it was right that I supported the principle of free expression, the movie was funny even though it wasn’t completely brilliant, and I think that we should talk about the movie’s portrayal of America as “saviors” of the world.

I understand the the movie is just a comedy, but it does support a world view–the American messianic complex that the use of force can “save” foreign countries from their turbulent political systems. Do I agree with Kim Jong-un that the movie should be banned? No. Do I think that the movie is an act of war? No. Do I think that this movie, this act of free speech, should be criticized by free speech as well? Yes.  Continue reading “The American Messianic Complex in The Interview”

What Criminal Minds Tells Us About Criminals

What kind of person becomes a criminal according to the tv show Criminal Minds? If there is one profile for all the criminals on the show, it would be this. Some of these though can be dangerous stereotypes that can legitimize discrimination against certain groups:

1.) Blamers

Individuals who ruin their own lives, but blame another person for the wreck that they are in, are the ones who set out to kill surrogates (people who have similar attributes with the individual they hate: a parent who neglected them, a lover who rejected them, and the like), before they go to finish off their main target. It is inconceivable for them to move on or become advocates against the violence that they experienced. It is true that another person contributed to their misery, but it is through their own choice that they decided to murder other people, and those murders have created more misery.

2.) Victims

They were victims of a crime, and instead of going to the police, filing a case in court, or appealing the case to a higher court, they commit crimes to feel a sense of vengeance. There is room for sympathy for the criminals, and the show’s FBI profilers feel for them, at times even expressing how unjust it was that these criminals have been driven by the experience of abuse to become abusers themselves. Yet, their past experiences do not give them the right to harm other people.

Not all victims of crimes become criminals, and this was emphasized when one of the investigators on the show revealed that he was once a victim of a crime, and this pushed him to work for justice.

3.) Vigilantes

They work in the criminal justice system and are frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the system, so they take the law into their own hands. Being an activist myself, I understand these feelings, but again these emotions do not justify breaking the law.

4.) Sexual Dysfunction

Most have experienced sexual assault and this screws them up. Of course not all victims of sexual assault become like this, and the show should emphasize this in case it demonizes victims of abuse. I noticed though that if the suspect is a woman, they always ask if there was sexual assault, but if it’s a man, they don’t ask if he was sexually assaulted.

People who are impotent have a tendency to become criminals according to Criminal Minds, which is again kinda an unfair thing if we generalize all impotent people as such.

Continue reading “What Criminal Minds Tells Us About Criminals”

Lady Gaga and the Philippines: Art and the Influential Bruhaha

When I first heard that some religious group was protesting Lady Gaga’s concert, I was confused. I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Lady Gaga already had several concerts here in the Philippines, and no one seemed to mind. Now it has blown up into some big issue where politicians and other celebrities are accusing the singer for being influential (err…okaaayyy), for leading the youth astray, and for being evil incarnate. Have they ever really listened to Lady Gaga’s songs? People, it’s just pop songs. No big deal. There’s no need for any riot.

What’s the big deal, baby?

I loved Gaga’s Fame and Fame Monster albums, but I didn’t like her Born This Way album that much. I liked the tracks “Born This Way,” “Judas,” and “You and I,” but I felt that the rest of the songs were overproduced.

I don’t understand why people are getting so worked up about “Judas.” “Judas” is an “I’m-in-love-with-a-bad-boy” +insert name “Judas” +insert some religious imagery=pop dance song. There’s no religious commentary at all. It’s just a pop song. If you don’t believe me, listen to it.

Now if you really want to look for “blasphemous” songs, you’re better off trying “Dear God” by XTC:

Assuming but not conceding that blasphemy is bad, “Judas” doesn’t even touch the amount of blasphemy that other artists have done.

Continue reading “Lady Gaga and the Philippines: Art and the Influential Bruhaha”