Maximum exposure

As of writing this  post the video posted by ANC has already been clicked more than 2 million times. Alma Moreno has eclipsed the APEC meeting in Manila (a meeting that has only succeeded in alienating further the rest of the already excluded Filipinos in the discussion of things that should matter to their lives). The interview by Karen Davila on her morning show Headstart with Alma Moreno, however, seems to have captured the imagination of the exasperated mass. It has put in concrete terms what they have always known but refused to believe, that most of the politicians wanting to get their votes during elections are sham and extremely stupid, their (the politicians’) sense of the ridiculous has all but abandoned them. Alma Moreno thought being interviewed by Davila would not cost her much, her daftness laid out to the open would not matter as nobody watches Davila’s show for, one, it is on cable TV, two, it’s mostly in English, and three Davila sounds way too elitist. She was wrong. The video went viral and Moreno now can only pray the people will forget too easily.

Lunch discussions are occupied by how bludgeoned Moreno was, her vacuousness mercilessly exposed by the very incisive Davila.

Interviews like this are of utmost import. Journalists in this country should take a more aggressive and combative stance and dissect these politicians down to their tiniest parts to expose both their malignant diseases and healthy tissues so the public can make educated decisions come election time.

Looking at it from another perspective, though, we see Moreno as the unsophisticated. Her use of language (both English and Tagalog) as inarticulate like most showbiz personalities moving to politics because they’ve stopped receiving movie projects, their names, however, still with sufficient recall. She was groping for words, unclear, at times unable to comprehend questions in English. Her thought process was simplistic, her responses tired. Whereas Joseph Estrada is so adept at using this kind of language, his indecisiveness taken as wisdom (perhaps a result of his many years in office), Moreno does not have the experience and the acumen to utilize this kind of language to her advantage. She came across as juvenile, even idiotic. Or perhaps she really got nothing to say because she doesn’t know a thing about these issues someone running for the Senate should adequately debate about and argue for or against. Alma Moreno sounded like all of us. What makes her case different is that her stupidity was recorded and is now becoming viral. What makes her case different is that she is running for senate. What makes her case different is that she isn’t we.


Earbleeding Bach

I was seated in my cubicle an hour before my classes started this afternoon when I heard an irritating classical melody that encroached the whole English Department. I just finished my morning classes in Assumption that time and was sweating heavily after rushing to reach Ateneo before 12:30pm and from the long walk that started from the third gate to De la Costa. The incessant streams of perspiration that ran down from my forehead to the tip of my nose to my cotton tee made me all the more uncomfortable. I was not in the mood to tolerate anything that forces itself upon me. Not even the divine music of Bach.

I started checking my students’ papers, trying my best to be rational and less hubristic. The melody, reeking with unsaid pretense, akin to a rapacious philanderer forcing himself upon a provincial lass, caused me to bleed from the inside. If only the very considerate person who thought he’s doing all the people in the department good by drowning us in his ‘beautiful’ music by Bach could have better kept his taste of music to himself by using a pair of earphones. This could have then be a much better world.

Okay, I admit that I was in the English Department and it’s supposed to be a place that ought to maintain intellectual highbrow-ness. Classical music, aside from signaling the presence of what we refer to as ‘class’ in an individual, also marks an intellectual. The ability to enjoy classical music, unfortunately, is a learned skill. And it is lamentable that I am yet to imbibe the propensity.

The association between classical music and intellectualism is something I deem irrational and elitist. My taste in almost anything, and that includes both sex and music, is crude, base, and crass. I do not have any particular predilection to any type of music. My approach to the exercise of music appreciation is utilitarian. Whatever catches my fancy at a specific moment is good music. But I see to it that only I can hear whatever is coming from my phone or any devise that plays songs. I do not not want other people coming up with premature opinions  about me that are shallowly based on the music I listen to. I do not want to cause any distraction to other people because of the songs I listen to that will cause them to bleed in the inside like what occurred to me this afternoon.

People should not hold against music, as in any other things. It is not something we should endure just for the sake. It works on the take-it-or-live-it scheme. And this is regardless of the type of music.

I went to my classes suffering from internal hemorrhage. Thank god it’s just figurative.

A night with High Culture

Do I have to wear something fancy?

No, just make sure you are wearing something?

The first line above was the first thing I asked when a student asked me to attend her recital at the Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon Ha Noi). The second line was her response. I laughed. Although I failed to attend her recital because I had to do something during that night, still I congratulated her for her performance. She played the flute.


A week ago, a friend invited me again to watch his cousin’s presentation in the opera house. He would play the violin. The inside of famous Hanoi Opera House is nothing different from other ornate opera houses in the world. I was told by an Australian visiting professor to the University of the Philippines in Diliman that Manila also has its own opera house but was left to crumble in utter disuse. What a waste, I thought.

Going back to the presentation, there were several music, dance, and theater schools in Vietnam who participated. Violin, brass wind, ballet, opera, and juggling (which I believed was out of place until I realized that this was part of the entertainment in the emperor’s court before in China. The art of juggling then is given a high regard and therefore part of high culture).

What is high culture then?

The term, which is more often associated with elitism and the highly educated bourgeoisie, has much to do with the the appreciation for the high art. This then leads to the next logical question–what, in the world, is high art? For most experts on the arts, they consider something as high art if it has been part of the blossoming of major events in mankind’s history. Examples are the arts of the classical Greeks, Roman, Ancient China, India, Eypt, and more recently the Renaissance. So operatic singing of Italian aria, fiddling, ballet, concerto are all high art so are Greek and Roman mythologies.

I might have lacked enough appreciation for these things because I did not grow up in a household that places so much value to out of this word (at least as far as my world is concerned) sensibilities. My taste is that of a working class; even my academic exposure with these arts failed to make me a fanatic of concerto and the likes.

But in the end, I must say they’re beautiful, regardless of their extrinsic value. They elevate human consciousness, an elevation that goes beyond social climbing.

Someday day I might watch an opera again with somebody, hold that somebody’s hand and just feel the emotion of being suspended in the atmosphere of high culture.