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Bones of contention and other questions

/ 07:12 PM March 11, 2012

At a recent media forum, some of the questions thrown to us revolved around the Congressional resolution to protest the negative depiction of congressmen on some TV dramas—as vicious and all-powerful villains who wreak havoc on the lives of their poor, defenseless victims.

Some legislators feel that viewers could end up implicitly believing in the fictional characterization, and extrapolate from it the general belief that all congressmen are corrupt and vile.

However, the students who spoke to us pointed out that some legislators were notorious for their sins of commission and omission, so there was “some truth” to the characterization. Therefore, congressmen shouldn’t be too onion-skinned in their reactions, because too strong a protest on their part could turn out to be counterproductive as far as viewers’ perception is concerned.

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Colonial mentality

Well, some of the series featuring “evil” legislators are ending, so the worst could be over. And it isn’t likely that new drama series will show politicians in a bad light after the outcry.

Another bone of contention at the forum was our piece on colonial mentality in entertainment and the arts, which some students thought was too harsh on foreign over local talents and shows.

They pointed out that, now that entertainment has gone global, Filipino talents have to be good enough to compete in the free marketplace with their foreign counterparts. And that local show-biz fans have the right to enjoy the best of all worlds in the entertainment they choose to patronize.

Why should we limit their choices by urging them to support local over foreign? In a level playing field, everybody’s welcome to compete!

Well, we retorted, that’s it, the playing field isn’t level, since our colonizers have had many decades of influence and psychological persuasion, during which they made us believe that imported entertainment is inherently superior to its local counterpart.

The belief has become so much a part of our national psyche that we aren’t even aware that it continues to be fully operative, many decades after our last colonizer officially left our shores.

Senior talents

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So, we have to make up for lost time and consciously support our local artists, so that they themselves can make up for all the time they’ve lost.

Another missile fired at us had to do with our partiality for senior talents, and our general (perceived) penchant for looking down on young starlets and stars. Our critics accused us of living in the past and trying to boost old talents who could never regain their lost glory.

As for today’s young stars, we should be more patient with them, because they need more time to learn their craft. Didn’t even the iconic likes of Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos take years and years before they came into their own as A-1, award-winning thespians?

Topnotch

Well, yes and no. Even when they were in their teens, Nora and Vilma already evinced their promise as topnotch thespians. Yes, they cut their teeth on fan-friendly, kilig flicks—but when their movies’ scenes called for it, they could summon up the deep emotions required. These days, many young stars can’t do that, despite their earnest efforts to “do justice” to their roles.

The difference

What’s the difference? Today’s young talents are too focused on making it like an established star, and not enough on digging deep into themselves to discover what they have to offer that’s theirs alone.

Vilma and Nora may have their flaws, but they didn’t copy anybody. The young Vilma wasn’t trying to be “the next Susan Roces” and the teen Nora wasn’t aiming to be “the next Lolita Rodriguez.”

They were Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos, period. And that was good enough for them—and us!

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