Diverse issues engage viewers’ attention and concernBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It’s gratifying to see that readers are participating more these days in discussions of topics related to entertainment and the arts. This indicates that more people are acknowledging that these issues aren’t trivial, but have a significant impact on why we are the way we are, not just as an audience, but also as a people.
A caller recently encouraged us to continue “reminding” everyone of the negative but still pervasive effects of colonial mentality on our national psyche. Another reactor urged us to keep writing about children’s issues related to television.
A third shared our concern over moves to look for the next batch of National Artists, despite the controversy that continues to percolate over the last batch of “winners,” because the Supreme Court has been taking its sweet time in resolving the issue.
A colleague helpfully recalled that, when the case of Lino Brocka’s “Kapit sa Patalim” was brought to the Supreme Court decades ago, it was discussed and decided on with relative dispatch. Why is it on “slow motion” mode this time around?
In any case, the reader agreed that the search for the next batch of National Artists should be put on hold until the Supreme Court finally comes up with its verdict.
Why add to the confusion and consternation by peremptorily restarting the potentially contentious process, before the dust has settled on the previous controversy and scandal?
Another caller urged us to look into the use of celebrities as judges of talent tilts. He pointed out that some of the celebrity judges are known more for their gift of gab than for their ability to objectively evaluate talent and separate the mediocre from truly deserving winners.
At a recent media forum, our criticism of the inclusion of many reports on crimes, accidents and minor altercations in TV newscasts was in turn rapped by some discussants who said newscasts would be “boring” without them.
However, others agreed that those insignificant items took too much time away from more relevant news items, and made objective analysis of the news difficult to achieve.
Another discussant wanted show biz stars to be better “role models” for the youth.
On the issue of “foreign versus local,” a reactor conceded that our homegrown artists and productions should be given preferential treatment, but admitted that he himself had a bias against Filipino shows.
We admired his honesty, and urged others to similarly admit that the problem continues to fester, because it must be addressed on a personal and individual basis before it can be licked.
These and other reactions from the public give us hope, even when they disagree with our own views. Only when the members of the audience stop being passive and all-accepting can we get the professional, committed entertainment we deserve.
If we become more proactive, TV people will have to do better and less knee-jerk work, because the viewership figures we generate are what the all-important TV ratings are all about. We hold all the aces, so let’s use our collective viewer power to our advantage!
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