The Wheel and Axle

Too Close To Reality

by on Mar.08, 2017, under Film & TV, Society

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Seriously, people.

Hollywood has a long history of portraying evil and/or lecherous fictional heads of state and world leaders. How many evil Russian and Eastern European dictators have we seen on film and on TV? How about corrupt South American warlords? Even US leaders have not been spared, as the villainous VPOTUS was a key element in Iron Man 3, for example. Half the world leaders in Kingsman: The Secret Service sold the world out to mass death and destruction.

Have we also not seen how much non-fictional and very real global leaders have been lampooned, ridiculed, and criticized? Putin and the Kims of North Korea have been favorite subjects of such. Not even real-life US presidents have escaped these portrayals. We’ve seen not just Trump but also Obama, the Bushes, Clinton, Reagan, and Nixon – among many others – being portrayed on media as less than stellar. Watch Dick. Or Saturday Night Live.

Me right now, pretty much. (courtesy of Heneral Luna Memes on Facebook)

How often has local cinema also portrayed politicians – fictional and real – unfavorably? A lot. Has Aguinaldo not been villainized in various Bonifacio biopics (plus at least one Luna film)? How about the Singapore government in the various adaptations of Flor Contemplacion’s story? Orapronobis was a condemnation of suspected vigilante killings under the Cory administration. I won’t even go into the long list of Martial Law movies.

And yet, here we are, with some people crying foul over a yet-to-be-aired episode of an American TV show because it dares to depict a fictional Philippine president for being lecherous and vile. That it’s disrespectful and non-diplomatic.

Why is there a double standard now? Where is this outrage from the fanatics at how other leaders, including our own, have been portrayed by both local and global cinema? Where is this outrage over respect and diplomacy when a very real Filipino president called a very real American president a son of a bitch?

Or is the issue simply that perhaps… the portrayal hits too close to reality?

And that perhaps the truth burns?

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