Monday, 30 March 2009

Silly Representations Of High Society

In a local soap opera, two ladies from a supposedly "affluent" family pick a fight with a handsome idiot (who apparently had picked a less commercially attractive woman over the wealthy lady's daughter).

Overacting 80's teen actress says: "I can't believe you're choosing
yung pangit na 'yan over my anak."

Translation: "I can't believe you're choosing that ugly girl over my daughter!" and "Hindi ako makapaniwala na pinili mo yung pangit na iyan at hindi ang anak ko!" in unadulterated English and Tagalog respectively.

Her daughter (played by half-Japanese, big-breasted actress) adds: "You slat!" (She probably meant 'slut'.)

Is this how they portray "high society" on TV? They sound more like social climbers. With all that money, you would expect some form of higher education.

Yet again, we are given proof of good money put to waste on the production of garbage, the propagation of garbage, and overpayment of garbage.

PS: Who do you think the actresses in question are? Clues: Romnick Sarmienta and Motorolla.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

No More Slasher Films Disguised As Action Films!

I was extremely disappointed with Punisher: War Zone. Nobody told me it would be a slasher film. I expected a lot of killing, yes, but not gore. This movie leaves nothing to one's imagination. In terms of how people are brutally murdered, there is too much reality and too little art. Do we really need to see a murderous psychopath chewing on the flesh of a morbidly obese man to realise how evil and violent we humans have become? As the Yiddish Americans say: "Alright, already!"

And it was supposed to be PG-13. Seeing a senile old lady's head cut in half (or so I was told, I looked away) was no different than watching a little girl's leg getting chewed by two dogs in
Watchmen (which was extremely disturbing, by the way). At least, Watchmen was rated R; this movie was inappropriately rated suitable for teens.

If I have not convinced you enough, below are my favourite review comments from Rotten Tomatoes:
- Unlike more high-powered Marvel heroes like Spider-Man and X-Men, The Punisher has never enjoyed much box office success and this excruciatingly terrible film certainly won’t change that.

- The IQ is as low as the body count is high and the uncharismatic Ray Stevenson might as well have been wearing a mask for all the emotion he shows.

- You couldn't call it shoddy, exactly, and the actors take it painfully seriously; it's just dispiriting to see all this endeavour in the service of something so humourless and disgusting.

- The punishment doesn’t end there, with anyone who hands over good money to watch this dreck also likely to feel the pain.

- Another violently unsuccessful attempt to bring this comic book character to screen.

- ‘Oh God, now I’ve got brains spattered all over me,’ exclaims The Punisher’s slippery inside man, Detective Soap. You may feel the same at the end of this messy, sadistic reboot of the Marvel comic-book series.

- Once in a while someone will come up to me and ask why movies are so violent. Generally, they're talking about a war movie or a horror movie such as 'Saw.' In the future, I will throw out 'The Punisher: War Zone' as a comparison.

- The film boasts some of the more revolting special effects ever conceived. There isn't really any acting to speak of, although Jigsaw and Loony Bin Jim get to chew people and scenery; the dialogue is pretty much what you'd expect.

- At one point, the Punisher is asked who punishes him. The better question for those who made this inane bloodfest is: Why punish us?

- The film actually wants us to ponder its moral and ethical implications -- which is like a stripper telling you she wants to go to law school. Yeah, sure, whatever you say, movie. I'm not paying you to talk.

- Bodily fluids and the sounds they generate are a big part of this gory and wholly unsatisfying slasher film.

Need I say more?

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

You Just Don't Say Zorro With A Zed

Because it is inaccurate to use the English z (zebra) to approximate Spanish words like zapatos, arroz, mestizo, chorizo, or even Zorro or Zamora. The only legitimate ways to pronounce the Spanish z or zeta are English s (sun) or English th (thorn). In Spain, both of these conventions can be used depending on where you come from: the Northerners usually say thapatos, the Southerners sapatos (old Filipinos were right to spell it as 'sapatos'). Elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world, they just pronounce "zune" as "soon". (This is because most of the Spanish colonists came from southern Spain.)

Now for people who are unfamiliar with Spanish, I can forgive. But for Filipinos I see no excuses. Hearing words like Marquez or Quezon pronounced with an English z does not sound right to me. Trying to mimic the Americans? It is sad that the older generations who say Markes and Keson, who are only being accurate, are often laughed at.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Sexual orientation: a late 20th century concept confined to the West?

Yes. And as it turns out, it isn't too much of a scientifically attested concept either. Funny how a lot of people can blindly follow social constructs without even questioning or learning about them, no?

In speaking of sexual desires and practices between males, I use the term male-male sexuality" rather than the more familiar "homosexuality" for deliberate reasons. To begin with, as I explain in Chapter I, inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago before the last century did not usually draw a conceptual link between male-male and female-female forms of erotic behaviour. Thus to adopt the term "homosexuality," which implies an inherent connection between the two, is to accept uncritically the effects of a discursive process whose very emergence demands historical accounting...

To impose such categories as "homosexuality" and "bisexuality" upon a society or conceptual universe, whether non-European or pre-nineteenth century, in which they would not have been understood in the same sense that they are currently understood, if indeed at all, and in which behaviour often followed patterns quite different from those we associate with them in our own societies, is unwittingly to hide from view the experience of those very historical subjects whom we seek to comprehend.

Even the word "sexuality" invites misinterpretation, so clarification is in order. By "sexuality," I do not mean fixed sexual orientation, as late twentieth century speakers of English tend to do, for instance, when they refer to a particular individual's "sexuality" -- meaning that person's place within the currently canonical trinity of "homosexuality," "heterosexuality," and "bisexuality." For much of the period examined in this study, the notion that each individual possesses a deeply rooted personal identity based on the biological sex of the preferred sexual object or objects (and specifically whether it is the same as or different from her or his own), and the tripartite taxonomy of sexual types that has resulted from this construction, held no currency in Japan, nor had they emerged even in the West.

Credit: Pages 5 and 6
, "Cartographies of Desire: Male-male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950", by Gregory M. Pflugfelder [Published by University of California Press, 1999 ISBN 0520209095, 9780520209091 399 page]

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Barrack Obama not the first African American president?

I just do not get it when people call Barrack Obama the first "black" or African American president. He is not just "black"
, he also happens to be "white". Whilst his father is a native-born Luo from Kenya, his mother happens to be of English descent. That makes him "mulatto" and not "negro" to use Hispanic terms.

Apparently, for many Americans, having at least one black ancestor makes you just black. Makes you wonder if they have really gone past the old racist beliefs. Even the concept of separate, unmovable races is in fact outdated. In Africa alone there are all sorts of physiological features: Capoid, Caucasoid, Negroid, Pygmoid, Nilotic, etc. Identities based on physical features do not seem to make sense anymore.

‘Nicole’ Recants, Clears Smith

She’s now in US with P100K in payment.

By Julie M. Aurelio, Norman Bordadora
(emphasis mine) - Philippine Daily Inquirer at 00:25:00 18/03/2009

MANILA, Philippines—The Filipino woman who accused an American Marine of raping her in November 2005 has not only recanted more than two years after winning a conviction but has also accepted money from him and flown to the United States for good.

This happened amid resurgent controversy over the Philippine-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which allows temporary US military presence in the Philippines.

At a press conference Tuesday, lawyer Evalyn Ursua said she was informed on Monday by the mother of her client, “Nicole,” that she had been dropped as legal counsel.

But Ursua promised to continue fighting the VFA and to assist other Filipino women in similar straits.

She said Nicole’s mother had handed her a letter terminating her legal services.

“Since it was Nicole and not her family who was my client, I asked Nicole’s mother why Nicole didn’t personally see me to hand the letter, or even give me a call. She replied that Nicole left for the US last week, for good,” the lawyer said.

Nicole also issued a sworn statement on March 12 saying she expected her motives to be questioned.

She raised doubts that US Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith had raped her, and suggested that she might have welcomed his sexual advances at the Neptune Club in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

She added: “My conscience continues to bother me realizing that I may have in fact been so friendly and intimate with Daniel Smith at the Neptune Club that he was led to believe that I was amenable to having sex or that we simply just got carried away.”

Read the rest here.

Well, what else can I say? I rest this case, and this one, and this one too. And I am not happy about it. I am very, very ashamed, if not for my country, for her.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Death of Common Sense

I got this in the mail today from a kinsman; I liked it. It was claimed to have been from an obituary in The London Times but I found out that the original version was published in the Indianapolis Star in 1998, written by Lori Bergman. Still, I like the British one better.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Paalam, Kuya Kiko (4 Oct 1964 - 6 Mar 2009)

I was planning to write a long elegy. But I am at a loss for words, really.

For the Ever Young, the Master Rapper, The Man From Manila, Francis "Kiko" Magalona. Hail and well-part to you! Hanggang sa muling pagkikita, Dakilang Makabayan. Buhay ka pa rin sa aming mga puso at sa aming mga mithiin. Kung sino pa nga naman ang mestizo, siya pa ang mas nagmamahal sa bansang ito.
May our kind increase!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Disentangling Heterosexuality from Masculinity

Does heterosexual sex make a man more masculine? Does homosexual sex feminise a man? No and no. This article tries to disentangle the "traditional" North American point of view that heterosexuality and masculinity automatically imply each other.

Abstract: In traditional North American society, being "masculine" is often defined as (1) the opposite of being "feminine" and (2) avoiding sexual contact with other men. Recent trends in attitudes toward homophobia and masculinity, however, suggest that these traditional orientations may have begun to change in North American society. Drawing from a multiyear ethnographic study of heterosexual male college cheerleaders, I argue that associated with these changing attitudes and practices, many men are beginning to disentangle heterosexuality from masculinity. In this context, I demonstrate how avowedly "straight" men, in some instances, engage in gay sex and openly view such encounters as non-threatening to their own personal identities and public status as heterosexuals. The study carries theoretical implications for the conditions under which heterosexuality and masculinity do not imply each other and, most speculatively, when and how gay men are considered masculine.

Credit: "Disentangling Heterosexuality from Masculinity" by Eric Anderson, American Sociological Association

Read the entire paper here:

Monday, 9 March 2009

PLU (People Like Us)

Name: PLU [acronym], People Like Us [noun]

We have one word for this: vague. Or relative.

First, one needs to answer who is "us"? What is "us" made up of? Can we really have people who are like us in all ways? Or if we mean just one aspect of our being, then we have many PLU groups. A single mother working as an artist who is Protestant Christian can have three PLU circles: single mothers like her, artists like her, and Protestant Christians like her. And we all know that humans can be more complicated than that. That single mother/artist/Protestant is also Danish American, a breast cancer survivor, a democrat and an animal rights activist.

Who is "us" again?

Friday, 6 March 2009

Nosebleeds And Little Orcs

Yaman din lamang na nasa uso ngayon ang pariralang ito (kahit simpleng Ingles lang, dinudugo na), babahaginan ko kayo ng isa kwentong epistaxis (o "nosebleed").

Isang araw, may mga batang walang pakundangan kung magingay sa harapan ng bahay namin (oo, mahilig silang maglibang sa bahay ng may bahay). Dahil ako ay mabait at nagpapanggap na hindi mainitin ang ulo, sinabihan ko sila ng “Shhh, huwag kayong maingay. May natutulog.”


Ang mga kutong lupa, sinigawan pa ako at lalong nilakasan ang mga boses.

Napuno na ako.

Sabi ko sa pinuno nila: “Goblin, lead me to your mother! For I must parley with your pitiful kin. For why hast thy mother, a daughter of Man she claims, taught you not the ways of our race? And instead reared you like a petty gremlin, nay, a worm of insignificant if not troublesome purpose in this world? Go now and fetch your progenitor! For if she is found guilty of this error, I will slay her before you for bringing into this world a living, festering sore in seemingly human raiment – though trust that this raiment is failing thee, for to me thou art more swine than any other lesser creature of this world.”

Nagdugo ang ilong ng batang ipis at namatay.

If you think that was mean, you should see for yourself. Those "children" are evil. And thus can no longer be considered children.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Phallus Day

The Annual Phallus Festival in Greece

Each year on the first Monday of Lent, the people of the tiny Greek town of Tyrnavos go crazy about penises, singing lewd songs and urging passersby to kiss their model phallusses. The pagan fertility festival is one of the most famous parties in Greece.

If you want to eat phallus-shaped bread, drink through phallus-shaped straws from phallus-shaped cups, kiss ceramic phalluses, sit on a phallus-shaped throne and sing dirty Greek songs about the phallus, then you should visit the little Greek town of Tyrnavos each year on "Clean Monday."

The one-day fertility festival of pre-Christian origin in this town of 15,000 people near the central Greek city of Larissa marks the beginning of Lent, the fasting period before Easter, and is one of the most famous carnivals in Greece.

The festival is in honor of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, madness and ecstasy. If you want to come prepared, find some ceramic phalluses and dangle them from your waist. But make sure you come on the right day because the raunchy, lewd songs that echo round its streets on "Clean Monday" aren't sung at any other time either.

For more, with pictures, click here.

Thanks to Sannion (a Dionysus devotee himself) and eydimork for this. Hail the God that stirs our loins and plants the seed of life!