smoke

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

If you can’t beat it, work with it

I think it’s time the Comelec faced the facts.

Candidates will not be dissuaded from putting up their posters wherever they damn well please, there will never be enough outraged people to outweigh the voting power of those who don’t care, and the common poster area rule is perhaps one of the most ridiculously unenforceable rules in the entire history of unenforceable rules.

And orbiting this nucleus of hard facts, are a number of satellite postulates that can’t be ignored either: no matter how fairly the Comelec treats candidates and party-list organizations, those candidates and party-list organizations with the ability to mobilize media coverage will always be able to portray the Comelec as biased; the leveling effect of the common poster area is illusory at best; and – apart from the common poster area rule itself being intrinsically unenforceable – the Comelec’s own field personnel are either incapable or unwilling or too poorly motivated to even mount the good ole college try at tilting at windmills.

This isn’t to say that the idea behind the common poster area rule is trash. On the contrary, the concept that candidates should be restricted in this way is a good one because, if nothing else, the opposite means that candidates will most likely plaster anything and everything with campaign propaganda that they are not responsible enough to clean up afterwards; and because the practice of proliferate postering only reinforces the notion that it takes money, not character, to win in elections.

These laudable considerations aside, however, the fact remains that the mechanism for achieving those ends are pitifully laughable, exposing the Comelec to ridicule and accomplishing little beyond chipping away at what little credibility the poll body still has.

Hopefully, the Comelec’s bright boys and girls will soon realize that, perhaps, the Fair Elections Act is approaching the problem wrongly.

Obviously conceived as a means of making the elections more sober, for lack of a better word, using the boring American campaigns as a model, the Fair Elections Act ignores the fact that we Filipinos do elections differently. For us, this isn’t a process imbued with quiet dignity and somber gravity. It’s a fiesta – a festive occasion ultimately not far removed from basketball. And there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with that if you were to accept that as it is and not compare with your idea of what elections should be, i.e., the way the Americans do it.

Take phone banking for instance. The Americans use rows and rows of telephones to actually call people on election day urging them to vote. Both the Republicans and the Democrats do it. They also send out vehicles to pick people up from their homes and take them to the polling places. Here at home, we call that hakot.

So, if some aspects of the way Americans run elections are undesirable to us, why should a boring campaign be more acceptable? It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Sure, you can smash it into place but it’ll be a terrible fit.

Better by far to simply embrace the cultural realities in which the election campaigns are embedded and then institute process controls. Kinda like how they stopped men pissing on the floors of Schipol airport toilets. It’s a case of since you can’t beat it, work with it.

Okay. At this point, you’re prolly waiting for some idea I can propose. Well, I don’t have anything at the moment. But, hey! That isn’t my job, is it? LOL

Seriously tho, I do have something, although I can’t guarantee lawfulness at this point. I was thinking that maybe, the Comelec can work something out with the DILG so that no winner can assume office without first organizing and carrying out a clean up operation, post-elections. While there is scant legal bases for this kind of move, there is a chance that it will appeal to the Filipino’s sense bayanihan *cringe* which, at the moment of victory, will be tripping high on euphoria.

I know it’s lame, alright? But you get the idea, right? Hopefully, the Comelec’s bright boys and girls do too.

If you have an idea on how illegal postering can be controlled in the absence of a common poster area rule, why not share it in the comments below?

Or don’t. LOL

Filed under: 2013 Elections, politics, polls, pop-culture, , ,

Audio/Video

AUDIO

A tip o’ the beret to LaTtEX for this ‘un. garygGary Granada takes on GMA Kapuso Foundation for using his revisions to their lyrics (for a jingle he was commissioned to compose) without attribution – and here’s the kicker – using an audio-cast! Pure public relations genius, that! On one level, you’d think that the choice of medium – new media – was prolly a no-brainer. Granada was talking about music and lyrical composition after all, and it packs a helluva lot more punch to have the audience actually hear the claimed IP klepto-ing than to just say “I wuz robbed!” But on a PR level, Granada got his side out first, and did it in a way that puts GMA on the defensive in a really bad way. For one thing, Granada’s tone was calm and even throughout – not hysterical in the slightest. That alone clues you in that this is serious. But not so serious that he doesn’t joke a little. The touch of humor tells you that he isn’t desperate for sympathy – and by extension, that he’s not desperate for allies and is not out to raise a jihad. Like a general closely following Sun-Tzu’s play, Granada has chosen his battleground, and has clearly chosen it well. GMA is now on a slippery slope that it will, perforce, have to try to defend using legalese. In a country positively exhausted with the concept of “legally-right even if morally-questionable,” good luck with that

!

SIDEBAR: My quick and dirty analysis of the situation: Granada isn’t claiming that GMA used his music. What he claims is that GMA used his revisions of the lyrics – original copy was given to him and he tweaked it to fit the music he wrote – and set it to someone else’s music. According to Granada, the industry practice is that if the client isn’t happy with the work and decides to give it to someone else, then the client ought to give the new artist the original copy and let that new guy tweak it himself. GMA, according to Granada didn’t do that. Instead, GMA gave the new artist the lyrics as tweaked by Granada. Granada in effect says that the tweaking he did constitutes intellectual property, and that the use of his tweaked lyrics sans attribution is, at the very least, objectionable. I haven’t read GMA’s reply, but from what Granada himself quoted, it seems that GMA’s tack has been to claim that the tweaking of the lyrics was a ‘group effort.’ Granada admits that at least some of the changes were made during a pow-wow with GMA’s creatives – where presumably he suggested a few changes that the creatives agreed with. But he takes exception that that made it a group effort. At this point in the audiocast, Granada attempts to distinguish a song-writer from a copy-writer. Listen to the ‘cast and come to your own conclusions of course, but Granada’s distinctions seemed logical if a bit fuzzy. He basically says that adapting written copy – essentially a kind of poetic prose – to fit a song is something that only a song-writer can do; and that even if a song-writer does the tweaking in the company of a group of copy-writers who eventually agree, that still cannot qualify as group-writing. Group-writing to me implies that there was cooperative give and take; that it wasn’t Granada alone who made the changes but that some of the changes were proposed by the copyists. GMA may be implying that this is exactly how it went down, and Granda himself does not clearly refute this. He only sez that it’s ridiculous to call it a group effort. Like I said, fuzzy. Also: It is important to note that GMA has already telegraphed it’s potential defense that Granda’s tweaking was too minor to transform the original lyrics – copyright owned by GMA obviously – into a new work whose copyright belongs to Granada. But then again, even if the tweaks were major enough to create a new work out of the old, looking at the situation from an IP p-o-v, it is fairly safe to say that even tho’ the person who commissions the work does not necessarily own the copyright, he will usually have the right to use the work for the purpose for which the work was commissioned. And if GMA actually paid Granada for his work, you can imagine that it’ll be even easier to assume that GMA did have the right to use the work for their ad. On the other hand, the creator – Granada (assuming that the tweaked lyrics can be considered a new original) – also has the moral right to attribution. Now he can take action if the work is attributed to someone else, but does he have an actionable right if there was no attribution at all? Again, with only Granada’s ‘cast to go by, still pretty fuzzy. You can bet everything you own that this will be GMA’s playground if this tiff with Granada gets any bigger.

Over-all, even if GMA does prove that it owes Granada nothing, it will still come off as the bad-guy in this story. And for that, Granada has to be thankful to the power of new media. Me, I’m inclined to go with the moral aspect – the moral obligation of GMA to attribute at least some of the work to Granada. Besides, having Granada’s name attached to the project can only bring greater goodwill. Ironic that GMA apparently ignored that truth. VIDEO Hat tip to TSD for this one: Apparently, some people are starting to grumble about this ad, complaining about how it portrays Filipinos as ‘hungry’ and prone to violence. The prone to violence aspect is obvious. As for the ‘hungry,’ that can only make sense in the original tagalog idiom: patay-gutom. A better translation for that would be ‘greedy’ I guess. Or ‘greedy-guts.’ Whatevs. You get the point. Course, I would be happier if the guy who broke the mirror weren’t Filipino. But since he is, I have to wonder: so the fuck what? On another note, doesn’t the Skittles guy look familiar?

separated

Filed under: blogging, Filipino, international, pop-culture, , , ,

A brave new world

It does seem like a brave new world out there, doesn’t it? One that is no longer bound by old conventions or even old sensibilities. It seems like the world has found a new normal, and many of us are floundering.

Take Rustom Padilla, f’rinstance. He’s gone from matinee idol, to husband of one of the most attractive girls in show business, to estranged hubby, to showbiz exile, to a wannabee come-backer, and finally to re-emerge again as – he says – a brand new person who wants to be called Bebe Gandanghari.

I have to admit, I was one of those at a loss at what to say when I saw Padilla – Gandanghari – sashaying onstage with all the trappings of a woman, but still being quite unmistakably a man.

Was it noble self-actualization – as one netizen put it?

ang galing niya, siya na ata ang pinakamatapang na taong nakilala ko ngayon. hindi takot na magpakatotoo. mas mabuti ng magpakatotoo kesa ang maging hipokrita.

Or was it a last ditch attempt at reviving a career which – while not exactly moribund – was certainly on the skids? So hard to tell, and so easy to heap accolades on someone for doing something different simply because he did something different. Just as it is incredibly easy to brand as bigots those who refuse to embrace Gandanghari as unquestioningly as Oprah might.

Here’s what I think: I think Rustom Padilla might’ve been heavily influenced by drag queens in the States. Seeing the lack of serious drag queenery in Philippine show business (the nightclub circuit of course not being considered showbiz in this discussion), seeing the lack of any serious chance of him standing out in the biz as yet another pigeonholed gay actor, and finding in himself both the predisposition and the courage to be Priscilla Queen of the Desert for this country, he took the plunge. 

But could it really have been as mercenary as that?

Why not?

He is, after all, an entertainer and all entertainers need something to set them apart from the crowd. Without the comedy chops of the other gay entertainers, without any stellar acting skillz to speak of, what else did he have going for him except his willingness to dive into the outrageous?

Of course, he’s not likely to admit to such a base motivation. Knowing our penchant for drama, the emergence of Bebe Gandanghari will evolve into some self-affirming act, complete with complex psychological underpinnings, butterfly imagery, and a Danton Remoto-esque social agenda. But in the end, I think it will all be revealed to be more a fabulous fight for continued relevance in a business that seemed on the verge of forgetting him, than anything else.

The bravery of this new world, we will find, is nothing more than an act of desperation.

Filed under: pop-culture, sex, society, , , , , , , ,

Wrong on so many levels

Like everyone else, I was really stoked to find out that Charice Pempengco, that little girl with the big growling voice, was going to sing at one of the pre-inaugural balls for the new American President.

At least I was until I found out what she was going to sing.

The kid is singing God Bless America. Now that is just so wrong on so many levels.

God Bless America, 
Land that I love. 
Stand beside her, and guide her 
Thru the night with a light from above. 
From the mountains, to the prairies, 
To the oceans, white with foam 
God bless America, My home sweet home.

While we must of course avoid being too literal minded about songs and such, the fact remains that this is not an ordinary song. As far as anthems go, God Bless America is right up there with the Star-Spangled Banner and Hail to the Chief. 

It’s a song that is so steeped in American tradition and sentiment that, one would think, it is a song that only an American should sing. Or a foreigner wanting to become an American.

After all, what is she supposed to sing? God Bless America, land that you love,  your home sweet home?

charicesmoke

Filed under: fandom, Filipino, pop-culture, society, vacuity, , , ,

The 2.5 million peso gloat

PLONING MADE IT!

So exclaimed the intrepid ‘lee‘ who also responded to my panning of Ploning thusly:

You’re pseudo-intellectualism could almost pass up as a genuine intelligent criticism. However, I doubt your credibility as you have not done your research. Get you facts straight.

Now, me, I don’t always gloat, especially when it comes to issues concerning the humanities. De gustibus and all that. But considering the vehemence of the reaction to my critique of Ploning – and most especially the gloating that attended Ploning’s submission for Academy consideration – I just couldn’t let this slide without comment. From Mindanao Times, I learned that 

 

THE P2.5 million government fund just went to drain as the aspiration of Judy Ann Santos was cut short even before it could step in Hollywood.

Ploning, the country’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film in the Oscars, failed to make the cut.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences excluded Ploning in the nine films eligible for the semi-final race. A total of 65 films from different countries were in the list.

Santos, also the co-producer of Ploning, had lobbied arduously for her film’s Oscar bid. The actress and her friends held fundraising events—like Damit Para Kay Ploning, Plato Para Kay Ploning, and Laro Para Kay Ploning—to help the film’s cause. 

Ploning also got P2.5 million from Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). Its filmmakers also hired a highly-recommended public relations company, Murray Weissman and Associates, to increase the film’s chances.

Included in the nine top choices are Waltz With Bashir (Israel), Revanche (Austria), The Necessities of Life (Canada), The Class (France), The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany), Departures (Japan), Tear This Heart Out (Mexico), Everlasting Moments (Sweden), and 3 Monkeys (Turkey).

This short list will be narrowed down to five nominees by specially selected committees, both in Los Angeles and New York, who will spend this weekend screening three films per day.

The nominations for the 81st annual Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 22.

So I guess that makes this the 2.5 million peso gloat.

Didja hear that, lee? Toldja to hold off on the champagne, dint I? 

“Course, now I can’t wait to hear from lee and the rest of the Ploning faithful, first, how I am such a nasty nasty hater for rejoicing at the failure of a Filipino movie; and second, the reasons why Ploning didn’t make the grade.

In the first category, I plead innocent. I am not rejoicing at Ploning falling on its face. I am embarrassed by it. 

If Ploning were really a good movie, failing to get nominated would not mean anything other than that there were other, better, movies. No shame in that. But Ploning wasn’t a good movie. It was a beautiful love letter to Cuyon, certainly, but just like a love letter, it gushed too much and ended up saying too little.

What made Ploning’s failure shameful was that it’s bid reflected our entire movie industry’s inability to spot a non-winner. What makes it worse is that it wasn’t just the movie industry that made this terrible call – the government had to get in on the act too!

The Film Development Council of the Philippines – which presumably made the recommendation to the Prez to give 2.5 million pesos to the movie’s Oscar bid – is a government entity, created by Republic Act 9167 which is supposed to, among other things: 

To develop and implement an incentive and reward system for the producers based on merit to encourage the production of quality films.

Based on merit! What merit did they see in Ploning? Granted that the movie was visually arresting, but aren’t bodies like the FDCP supposed to be able to go beyond such superficial criteria and determine whether a movie is truly meritorious? Failing as it did, in the most basic task of a movie – that of telling a story – what basis did the FDCP have for saying that Ploning was worth it?

(Oh and, do remind me to write more about the FDCP. I’m not quite ready to let them off the hook yet)

As to the second – yes. I cannot wait for the faithful‘s justification for Ploning’s failure. 

Going by some of the reactions to my old Ploning post, I’d say that one of the reasons that we can expect is that America is godless; or that maybe because the Academy is mostly Jewish, they had no appreciation for the Jesus in Ploning.

the reason why i defended it so adamantly is the fact that it is significant to Christianity in general. i guess you didn’t understand it for the same reason that the Jews’ hearts were hardened for Jesus.

Mel Gibson would prolly be agree. But considering that he’s a drunken anti-semitic sot, I wouldn’t be too proud of that.

Oh and, yes, I simply cannot wait for the rejoinder from dear old Arch who claims to be a film Major from the University of the Philippines. Now what would be the right-lensed way to appreciate this situation, I wonder. 

*sigh* Making fun of sycophants is like shooting fish in a barrel. It starts out tremendously enjoyable but gets old pretty quickly. ANd in the end, what are you left with? Fish you can’t eat, and barrel you can’t use anymore.

Just like Ploning, really. All that drum-beating and back-patting, all that expense – for what? A stark reminder that what Filipino “experts” consider wonderful just isn’t good enough to compete with the rest of the world.

I’ll leave it to everyone else to salve the bruised egos of Judy Ann Santos and the rest of Panoramanila. 

ploning-fail

Filed under: movies, pop-culture, , , ,

Pepsi

Pepsi is apparently re-designing its old logo. The idea is that the white ribbon that used to separate the upper red and lower blue fields is now gonna have some character. For regular Pepsi, it’ll be smiling! For diet, it’ll be grinning – that is, it’ll open up wider on the right side. And for Max, it’ll be laughing. Cute concept. But in application, I don’t know. The Max label looks like someone’s ass is about to sit down.

pepsi

In fact, line’ em up and it’ll look like pages of a flicker book.

pepsiredesignbh2

If I had the chops, I’d make a .gif out of that and have a fine laugh.

For the sake of comparison, here are the Pepsi facelifts throughout the years:

6-pepsi-102708

Oh and the art-deco font doesn’t work. And to think it took ’em five months to redesign this logo. Five months and more than a million dollars. Whew.

Filed under: logos, pop-culture, , , , , ,

Marian devotion

Someone please tell me why this girl attracts so much flak. Why do so many people seem to … dislike her?

marian

Filed under: pop-culture, vacuity,

Womanizer

And in the continuing saga of my vacuity …

Alright. If you’ve been here before, then you know that I’m a Lily Allen fallen. But please know that that has no bearing whatsoever on what I’m about to say next: Lily Allen just pWnd Britney Spears! HAH!

My fav’rit drunken mess – worse than Brit and not quite as bad as Win-o-house – just recorded a cover of Womanizer. I’ve no idea what possessed her to do that – prolly some self-promotional whorage – but since she did, I’ve got to say that she totally nailed it. Good-bye annoying nasal twang; good-bye shrill and whining voices; goodbye skank images dancing around in my head. HOw I felt when I first heard Lily’s version was approximately how I felt when I first heard Prince sing Nothing Compares 2 U at the Glam Slam. 

*sigh*

Oh and did I mention that Lily’s WOmanizer is much better than Brit’s?

 

 

Filed under: pop-culture, vacuity, , ,

Dogs are friends, not food

GODDAMNIT! Stop eating dogs!

The majority of dogeaters aren’t even hungry when they tie up a dog by the neck with wire, club it over the head repeatedly till the dog dies, or cook the poor animal. They just want something to go with their stupid alcohol. I remember once, on the way from home school, I passed by this house where they were twisting a piece of wire around the dog’s neck. The pooch – a mongrel – had no fight left in it and just lay there whimpering. 

I ran to the house, got out my dad’s pistol and ran back to where they were about to club the dog over the head. Tears streaming down my face, I march right in there ten different kinds of hysterical, waving the pistol around. In hindsight, I was lucky that I knew the people who lived there and so they laughingly untied the dog and let me take it. I was, I don’t know, around sixteen or something.

The dog lived another year before it just up and disappeared. I imagine that it got unlucky again and ended up barchow. 

So, GODDAMNIT! Stop eating dogs!

Someone ought to give these cops a medal for rescuing over 70 dogs that were prolly being hauled off to Baguio to be eaten.

God! I swear. I have not met a Baguio person who hasn’t eaten dog at one point or another. Izzat a cultural thing? Prolly. Seems they like it with their liquor up there. Now I’ve got no quarrel with Baguio-types, but come on, folks. Some cultural artefacts we can live without, right? Please???

I mean, even the Chinese were able to give it up. Can’t we?  Hell, it’s even against the law. Eating dogs has been illegal since 1998 when RA 8485 (the Philippine Animal Welfare Act) was enacted.  According to dogmeattrade.com:

 Although the vast majority of Filipinos don’t consume dogs, the lucrative trade in dog meat is becoming more prevalent, especially in the Philippine region surrounding Baguio City. Here dogs are treated as nothing more than objects. Crammed so tightly into wire cages they cannot move, struggling for every breath in the stifling heat with their mouths tied shut, dogs have their throats cut while still conscious.

GODDAMNIT! STOP EATING DOGS!!!

And, although I seriously don’t believe that these on-line petitions are actually capable of achieving anything, sign up anyway. Dogs are friends. Not food.

Filed under: pop-culture, society, , , ,