Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Warning: shallow, do not dive!

Warning: shallow, do not dive!
(Beauty and boxing bouts, and intellectual poverty; December 22, 2015)

                Somebody texted me from out of the blue, “Miss Philippines is Miss Universe!” The text came from a colleague whom I would consider very much brighter the average Juan de la Cruz. He writes, and has a book to his name. No average Joe can do that. So I found it ironic that he would enthuse over something I consider shallow – beauty pageants.

                Ms.Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach won the Miss Universe title at the pageant held the entertainment capital of the U.S.A. Las Vegas, Nevada. I was at my business office when I received the text and to test the reaction of some of the staff I walked over as asked the accounting department, “What would you prefer to our country to be, rich but never getting such Miss Universe awards or poor with awards for beauty.”

                Out of seven ladies only one said she preferred we be a rich Japan than a poor but beauties laden Philippines. One explained, “The Miss Universe title puts us on the map again! At least we are recognized for something.” One said, “Our country gains from the recognition!”

I wondered what we would gain, and what we already had lost, like in boxing bouts in Las Vegas where Pacquiao wins tens of millions of dollars but Filipinos paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the Las Vegas entertainment and gambling lords, and to foreign satellite broadcast companies to watch the matches.

                What is clear profit in the case of the Miss Universe pageant from the broadcast and advertising rights goes to the capitalist organizers (still Mr. Donald Trump behind dummies?) and owners of the Miss Universe pageant franchise, and the state of Nevada where taxes for the staging of the event is paid. Will Ms.Wurtzbach’s win promote tourism to the Philippines? Maybe yes, but maybe tourism would be aided by better governance in the Philippines that don’t project news such as the “laglag-bala” and the Hong Kong Tourist massacre to the World.

                Don’t get me wrong. I love to watch the beautiful in everyday setting. Natural, not contrived. Genuine, not plastic. They are focal points of aesthetic relief in whatever setting one is, but especially in this urban jungle where the majority of us live today. I find them especially uplifting when their beauty also exudes the fragrance of high intelligence and character.

                I am not at all trying to demean Ms.Wurtzbach and her ilk, they have to do what they do to achieve high social goals they set for themselves. It’s the capitalist entertainment and marketing Establishment that make them become these cheap ala vaudeville and burlesque shows with glittering, garish, outlandish, opulent (reminds one of Liberace) and then skimpy costumes to enrapture TV audiences all over the world to take their fees paid to broadcast companies.

                Ms.Wurtzbach is, no doubt, a beautiful and intelligent lady. The latter quality is confirmed by her very intelligent, conformist and safe answer to the question about U.S. military bases in the Philippines which, of course, she does not explain would be like all the military bases the U.S. has set up around the world – intentional magnets for insurgency, terrorism and regional war the U.S. covertly nurture to launch campaigns of tension and terror from.

                The Wurtzbach answer to the U.S. bases question has brought in a national debate, but with a character like that comedienne and porn actress (as I learned from researching on the Internet) Ethel Booba commenting and supporting the Wurtzbach view against the advice of Teddy CasiƱo to balance the view with some caveats about the problems the U.S. military presence creates – it should be obvious whom Wurtzbach should take advice from if the really s concerned about the Filipino nation’s welfare.


(Ethel Booba with her fellow intellectuals)

                Senator and  presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago had a tweet or text to Ms.Wurtzbach apparently in connection with the view on U.S. military presence, “Congratulations, @piawurtzbach! You are regal. But from what I’ve heard, we need to talk. See you! #MissUniverse2015,” which may give credence to a colleagues impression that Miriam Santiago may be the truly anti-U.S. imperialist presidential candidate now (because of the U.S. obstruction of Santiago’s ICC nomination, they say).


                In the end, Ms.Wurtzbach’s answer to the pageant question reflects a very dangerous proposition that is being fed into the minds of the mass Filipino audience enthused by the Ms. Universe win of their “beauty champion”. It was a shallow answer that may have deeper motives behind the question being brought up and abysmal consequences for the future of this nation. Shallow waters can be very dangerous realms.  ###

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