The Wheel and Axle

This Week in The Annals of Idiocy

by on Jul.09, 2011, under Queer, Snark, Society

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So this will probably go down in Philippine history as one of the most idiotic weeks the public has had the misfortune of being subjected to.

Let’s begin with the bishops. It was bound to happen. One moron opens his mouth, and the hordes follow. After a scandal erupts (this time not involving the molestation of young boys), they close ranks to prove the adage, in the mighty words of Azenith Briones, “Burds of de same fedder… flak togeyder!”

The sheer volume of crap that pours out to defend corruption astounds me, and I can only refer you to this excellent Inquirer editorial that categorizes the reactions of various bishops. I think my favorites at this point are the clueless response, “I don’t know why they take it against us and make it appear scandalous,” and the non sequitur, “Is it because of the bishops’ position on the RH bill?” Most irksome, though, is the Pilate way out – that the individual bishops are directly answerable to the Pope and the CBCP cannot sanction them. Because of course this is a religious matter and not at all a matter of law or, heck, basic ethics.

What is even more bothersome is the statement of one bishop that the controversy has sullied the partnership between Church and State. He must have just come back from time traveling to the 1800’s.

I am, however, glad that at least one of their own leaders, Oscar Cruz, has denounced this, even if he espouses a user mentality with the statement that the bishops should return the SUV’s because, “Tutal nagamit na naman na, napakinabangan na…” Another bishop has also denounced the scandal, albeit tinged with stupidity. “Since lumabas na yan, kailangan maimbestigahan,” he says, unwittingly implying that if this had not been uncovered, it would have been morally all right.

I’m waiting for Bishop Bacani to call this entire episode kadiri, and that the scandal-rocked “holy men” are just gaya-gaya puto-maya with each other, but alas.

With several senators cracking down on the PCSO/bishop issue like lions upon a gazelle, I thought for once that politicians were doing something not at all stupid like weighing chickens but were finally being productive public servants.

Of course, this impression did not last for, lo and behold, not many days passed by when two mayors with nothing better to do focused their taxpayer-paid time on the Philippine Volcanoes’ Bench billboards by Guadalupe Bridge. Apparently, the national rugby team’s ads were a bigger social concern than the kids snorting rugby in the general vicinity.

Bless ABS-CBN for quoting Mayor Abalos’ priceless statement, “Hindi ko pinapaalis, I am just requesting advertisers to have it removed.” (“I’m not asking it be removed, I am just requesting advertisers to have it removed.”) More tellingly, he found out about the gigantic billboards in his own jurisdiction from another mayor, Gatchalian. The billboards have been there for a couple of weeks; either Mandaluyong is the size of California or Abalos is not in the habit of regularly visiting his constituents.

Mayor Gatchalian, on the other hand, shares that he has to cover his nephews’ eyes when they pass the billboards. I would understand this if he were talking about nieces, but why would the pictures of huge muscular men in their underwear be a cause of fear for the boys? Little boys tend to laugh uproariously at the site of men in their undies and/or showing off their pee-pees. Unless Gatchalian is afraid his nephews will grow up to be… in show business (with apologies to Friends for that one).

And if Abalos has his priceless “pinapaalis” quote, Gatchalian shares this priceless post-removal tweet. “The ‘men in briefs’ billboards along Edsa are GONE. Thank you very much Mayor Abalos. Our kids can pass Edsa safely now.” Because as we all know, Guadalupe Bridge and the immediate environs are the safest places in all of Metro Manila. No muggers there or robbers or rapists or anything.

What is particularly disgusting about this display of bromance between Abalos and Gatchalian is the fact that not too far away, this billboard of Barbara Bareto still exists:

As it turns out, this is not quite as lecherous as men in undies.

I will respect opinions about the “morality” of half-naked models on giant ads if it covers the entire spectrum. As it is, they have talked about another billboard down the road – that of Philippine Azkals’ Team Captain Aly Borromeo, never mind that this is already the jurisdiction of Makati – without so much as a hint about possibly removing the ad of Barbara Bareto. Double standard, anyone? Either the mayors are chauvinistic pigs who leer at nubile young women but get insecure at the sight of strapping young men, or else they realized they were enjoying looking at the Volcanoes and got frightened at what that meant. Maybe both.

The truth is that Bench has had equally risque, if not more so, ad campaigns in the past. What makes the Volcanoes one different is the amount of buzz this campaign generated. Methinks some people are just trying to ride on the publicity.

At the end of the day, it’s an ad for men’s undies, in much the same way that Barbara Bareto’s is an ad for women’s undies. What are they supposed to do, wear fur coats? Reality check: men have bulges, women have cleavage. It’s not like they were giving out the farm.

In other dimensions of idiocy this week, a couple gets eaten alive by the internet public for their pre-nuptial hijinks at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. And no wonder. They chose to frolic around doing wacky shots upon the graves of our presidents, heroes, and soldiers.

I am about as irreverent as one can possibly get, and even I found this just tasteless, crass, and disrespectful indeed. This is the final resting place of brave people who have defended our country, and it seems Ruskin and Priscilla (whose names sound like they can star in their own sitcom) feel their wedding trumps all that collective valor. Their chosen theme, it so happens, is “’til death do us part,” which may seem romantic until you realize they’re probably doing jump shots on top of rotting corpses; that’s certainly a thought to keep the marriage healthy for a long time.

To their credit and the studio’s, the pics were taken down from the site, and an apology was issued. “Sorry for our lack of sense of propriety,” would still have been best.

At least one comment I’ve seen has compared the removal of the pre-nup pics to the removal of the Volcanoes’ billboards and is trying to raise an outcry about “artistic freedom” and “freedom of expression.” Gahd. Much as I adore the Volcanoes ad campaign, I wouldn’t exactly call it high art. More importantly, these are two different things; one set of pics has sweaty men in their undies being athletes, while the other has a couple getting drunk in a cemetery full of dead soldiers, and it isn’t even All Saints Day yet.

Besides, art should still be tasteful; otherwise, every little piece of garbage can be art.

Freedom of expression also has its limits; otherwise, let’s all just desecrate the national anthem and make a heavy metal remix.

That would certainly cap a perfect week of utter idiocy.


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