I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

On tantrums

I once had the opportunity to see a diva throw a tantrum.

Story telling time …

The taping was set for a certain hour. 30 minutes before the appointed time, everyone involved is present and ready … ‘cept the star of the show. The Diva everyone calls Madame.

The hours comes and goes, and still no Madame.

Half past the hour, she comes. She strides in through the door with a frown on her face, berating everyone for standing around. “We’re behind schedule, come on, come on!” Everyone is bewildered. Wasn’t she the one who came in late?

She takes her seat and brushes a stray hair from her face. “Where’s my camera?” she asks in an irritating nasal whine. Then she turns her attention to the floor director. “Why didn’t you fix the lighting?” she demands. You could see the director start to answer – how can we fix the way the light hits you when you’re not there to be hit by the light? But apparently being a veteran, he wisely decides to just shut up and fix her light.

She gestures wildly at the teleprompter. “That’s wrong! I’ve edited that!” She is near hysterics. The director mumbles into his mouthpiece and waits for a reply. “Madame, they don’t have an edited version.” For a split second, Madame looks flabbergasted. Then she realizes she has the edited copy in her hands. “Here, here! Why didn’t anyone take this from me earlier?” She rounds on her gofer. “You, Ruel! You really have to be on your toes.” Poor Ruel looks stricken. He obviously does not know what he’s done. “You know, this isn’t working. Maybe I should replace you. Direk! If this happens again, I’m walking out and never coming back.”

Ruel is rooted in place, unable to do do much more than crack a weak smile. “Well,” Madame asks. “What are you still doing here? We’re late! Roll tape now!!!”

Of course, you’d never see this episode on the news. Jove Francisco would certainly never report on it, even if the Diva – a presumptive first wife – is a much bigger public figure than the President. The difference, I suppose, is that the Diva aint the President, and the Diva isn’t as much the subject of public criticism as the President is. We all have have the tendency to kick people when they’re down, don’t you notice? And a President already unpopular is such an easy target for petty criticism.

Jove defends:

And I must say, our decision to use the footage of the angry president is justifiable, because it is news. Debatable? No. As a story it has in fact lots of layers in it. An unpopular and less than trustworthy president, waging a battle for her political survival, who by the way got sick before the weekend, was incognito during most of last week, was hit by criticisms regarding charter change and was shaken by the twin “pambabara” or non support from the leadership of the El Shaddai group and the Catholic church on her aim to amend the constitution. Plus the fact that she’s not feeling well until now, because as PDI reported, she visited 32 hospitals before being active again.

It is news that a head of state experienced a moment – however prolonged – of pique at finding things to be not ready for her scheduled taping? Or is it a story simply because she’s a woman? I imagine that if the President were a man, her “angry quest” (as Jove puts it) for a teleprompter would have been just another display of assertiveness and the determination to get things done right and on time. But let a woman do it, and suddenly, she’s whining.

Whining, contrary to popular opinion, has less to do with the tone of voice one uses as it has to do with the reasonableness of the anger being exhibited and the demands being made. Was it unreasonable for the President to expect everything to be ready for her the minute she got there? Were her demands for rectification unreasonable under the circumstances?

And Jove says the story had layers. What layers? The layers Jove mentions are an obvious attempt to frame the story as “President breaks down under strain of unpopularity and constant battle for political survival!” Puh-leeze. How about “Pissed-off President?”

Jove goes on to say:

Lastly, we are not being arrogant and we are not saying we have all the right to cover everything and anything under the sun, but what happened inside the halls of the NEB, happened right before our eyes and we can’t just close our eyes and pretend it didn’t happen.

Well, there’s really no debating that. Of course it happened, and it’s stupid to even consider pretending it didn’t happen. But that isn’t the point, is it? The point is that broadcasting this information and pretending it’s news is nuts. It wasn’t news – it was gossip. It was a juicy tidbit of what the pressure of the presidency does to a person, salaciously played out to an audience hungry for every least reason to heap criticism on an already reviled figure, meant first and foremost not to deliver news (I mean, what news? that the president is a bitch? everyone knows that already) but to rake in the viewership.

Bottom line: So, her iron mask of determination and steely control obviously slipped; so the fuck what? Happens to the best of us. We should all be thankful that we, at least, don’t have to see our private anger plastered all over the news and the ‘net for everyone to use for ridicule and criticism.

Still, if a public figure losing control behind the scenes is as newsworthy as he says, I challenge Jove Francisco – or any other journalist – to do a story on the DIva and her legendary tantrums.


Filed under: media, television, , ,

9 Responses

  1. Jen says:

    amen Rom. amen. my sentiments exactly.
    i may not be a huge fan of the President (and i’m sure you aren’t either hehe) but what the media did to her last night was certainly uncalled for.

  2. reds says:

    i beg to disagree, the president is a public official and thus, unlike that diva of yours, is paid for her work by taxpayers.

    gma’s employers have the right to know how she runs this country, especially since her administration is known for its expertise in “news management,” a fact that even admin officials and their allies flaunt publicly.

    also, remember that this outburst happened after her absence for sometime from the public view, and then there was her supposed sickness. all the while, secessionists in the south are raising hell.

    so the public has the right to see how its chief public employee is doing, beyond the press releases and carefully managed public appearances.

    and besides, the palace has also used her “taray” before as a propaganda tool to present her as a no-nonsense executive. so, what’s wrong seeing it in its full unedited fury?

  3. rom says:

    reds: welcome to the smoking room! You smoke marlboro reds? LOL! Anyway, how can being angry at staff have any possible bearing on how she performs her job?

    And do we need to see a tantrum to prove she’s well?

    Oh, and I’ve got nothing against reporting it. What I’m objecting to is how the report was framed. Like I said, if it were a MALE president, I believe the report would have been slanted differently.

    As for that thing about being paid with taxpayer’s money – government officials pay taxes too. Does that make them self-employed? LOL! 😉

  4. rom says:

    Jen: hi jen!!! always nice to know we agree. 😀

  5. cvj says:

    I don’t think the reason that ‘we know that already’ makes this episode a non-story. Nothing beats actual evidence as you yourself have argued on other occasions in the past.

    Come to think of it, what surprises me is that she had to be the one to go in front of the camera to discover that the telemprompter was not ready. Shouldn’t she have had Dureza or Ermita or whoever to check on that? Maybe that’s part of her micromanagement style, (the same style which got her into trouble in Hello Garci) which to me is newsworthy, in a ‘day in a life’ sort of way as well.

  6. Bencard says:

    just another example of the pettiness and desperation of the “hate-gloria” crowd. to these peope, gma cannot get sick, cannot pray, cannot cry, cannot express anger and frustration in public, cannot laugh, cannot “micromanage” things to her own satisfaction, cannot scold erring subordinates, cannot say anything positive about the country and people, cannot display personal affection of her family like a good mother, cannot articulate her vision as the country’s highest leader, without being reviled and pushed to the muck.

    despite his feigned caveat, i see francisco’s malicious attempt at serving a sumptuos dish of ridicule of the president – a welcome fare for the gullible and intellectually-challenged in pinoy society. clever but shallow.

  7. angela says:

    oo naman, clearly merong gender bias, but that’s par for the course around here.

  8. Prudence says:

    I don’t see why the outburst of the president should be a big deal. I agree with the points you made. We, people, have other important things to be preoccupied with. And certainly, be more watchful of behaviors other than the president’s angry outburst.

  9. entrepgirl says:

    If you had been in her shoes, with over a hundred thousand problems to deal with each day, with over a million tasks to do each day, wouldn’t you react similarly? An ordinary man’s time is, as they say, gold, how much more for a president of a country? If the presidents and CEOs of multi-million corporations would find themselves raising their voices and walking out of meetings that go berserk, with their people having nothing to present, no preparations made, what more the president of a country? They’re paid to deal with problems and find solutions to national issues and not wait for some staff to set up a teleprompter. If local celebrities, who have no right to act bratty with the staff and crew can be blessed with forgive and forget by people, why can’t a president’s reasonable reaction to a very irritating situation be forgiven and forgotten as well?

    Our president is by no means perfect, you may prefer to call it very far from perfect even. But who the heck is? Ordinary people that don’t have the same weight on their shoulders can even act brattier, so why can’t we take a moment to understand and empathize with, the very tired and stressed out mind of a president? People are already criticizing her ways of running the country, isn’t it a bit much to be too critical of even her human reactions?

    Maybe we could try to give her a break once in a while. I wonder how her ears are not yet broken from all the harsh screams of criticisms. Granted, people are not satisfied with her work. Who can satisfy a whole country? Isn’t it that whoever you put in a powerful position will always be criticized by one sector of the community, if not another. Whining, as far as I know has more to do with how unreasonable our reactions are to certain situations than with the facial expressions or tone of voice. Her actions may be wrong, but understandable under the circumstances. Can’t we not make it forgivable as well? Do we need to broadcast to the whole world every negative thing she does? Must we add insult to injury?

    How can someone, especially from the media, mistake pure gossip for news? One cannot deny the malicious angle taken on this, in a foul attempt to further have the president viewed in a worse light. As with all the criticisms and bad news related to the president, only the misinformed and gullible members of the Filipino nation can be swayed by what the one-sided media can offer.

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