Our sense of the ridiculous and the absurd keeps us from embarrassing ourselves. These, along with the presence of conscience and the ability to make use of language to facilitate communication, differentiate us from other members of the animal kingdom and other organisms. Something that elevates us a few notches above lichens, sea cucumbers, house cats, penguins, Portuguese man o’ war, and baboons*.
I seemed to have suffered from short-term lock jaw (thank god the show lasted for only an hour) after watching in television the Mindanao leg of the artista search Starstruck of GMA7 held in the big cities of Cagayan de Oro and Davao. My jaw literally dropped. The shame these people have to undergo or to subject themselves to just to get the attention of the judges and the pathetic crowd was perplexing, dumbfounding, and need I say, bewildering.
The show is a potpourri of the hopefuls, the frustrated, the untalented, or simply the lunatics There was this guy in a coiffured metallic colored mane who spoke in the most heavily Visayan accented Tagalog I’ve heard but whose level of confidence is as stiff and as towering as his gelled hair do. I wondered what happened to him.
Most of these young people who auditioned for the show have a common narrative. Poverty. A woman forced by her parents to marry a 40-year old American, a poor transsexual from Misamis, a poor teenager whose both parents have to leave the country to work and send money back home. These stories, although real, have been repeatedly exploited by shows like Starstruck for ratings and profit. The truths in these stories sound hypocritical (I do not say that they are hypocritical). People will eventually cease to believe and start to mock these stories.
These shows patterned after the already dull, neuron deadening, and numbing American originals, are made even more absurd and ridiculous by the local color. This is after the addition of the all Filipino drama of poverty, family discord, personal search to prove one’s worth in this vast universe, and the supernatural enough to inspire Gabriel Garcia Marquez to write something that will rival his novels already written in the tradition of magic realism.
Somebody will cry foul after reading this article, and his argument, I believe, will run in the line of respecting man’s right to determine his fate and his inalienable right to pursue his happiness. But this is exactly the reason why I wrote this, to preserve our humanity, to keep that line that separates us from ticks, pubic crabs, sea gulls, and airborne microscopic organism intact. Please, let’s hold on to our sense of the absurd and the ridiculous.
*My apologies to those creatures mentioned.