BACOLOD

Abellanosa: PRRD the storyteller

Fringes and frontiers

SLOVENIAN philosopher Slavoj Zizek calls Hitler “the greatest storyteller of the 20tth century.”

Politics is a story. Without stories there would be no basis for control. Political thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau had to speculate what the human condition was before the creation of the State in order to convince us and justify the necessity of political obligation. St. Augustine had to use the Genesis story of “The Fall of Man” in order to justify politics as an earthly good.

Not all storytellers however are good. A problem would arise if and when the storyteller would characterize people so badly, and paint a picture of a society that’s doomed. Such was Hitler’s style. In order to justify his anti-Semitic project, he had to create a narrative that would convince people that the Jews deserved to be persecuted. Sadly, we still have millions if not billions of people who praised Hitler for his political blueprint and the worldview behind it.

Not far from us is another storyteller. Though not yet the greatest in the 21st century but he is good enough to convince 17 million people that his story is real. He focuses on drugs as the greatest menace of society. He hit the chord of so many who had bitter experiences with drug addicts. His most avid listeners and believers are those who were victims of ordinary street crimes: drivers, passengers, vendors, and the common laborers.

But he also convinced the upper middle class that has been tired with previous rulers who executed their plans in mediocrity. He even convinced some priests who have been disenchanted with their allegedly corrupt bishops. Not enough . . . the storyteller, exposed the “hypocrisy” of systems. He said that the communists are hypocrites because they fight against capitalism but enjoyed its fruits.

The story is “almost” believable even by those who weren’t admirers of the storyteller. Almost . . . until . . . listeners realize that the story is incomplete. Some chapters are missing, and the plot looks illogical. It seems that some characters are not mentioned, and certain individuals who are also responsible for the drug menace are nowhere to be found in the narrative. Some listeners asked the storyteller if it is true that his son is actually involved in illegal drugs. The storyteller tells them to just “shut up” and mind their own business.

There is also a vague character in the story. There is this neighbor who looks friendly but is expert in taking advantage. The storyteller however prefers not to elaborate his role. When listeners ask about this vague character, the storyteller would start saying that “there is no hell”, “there is no God”, and “don’t listen to your priests because some of them are even worthy of beheading.” What used to be an exciting story is now confusing.

The number of those who want to know more of the real story is increasing. But the storyteller has made a “twist” in the plot. The additional chapter now tells us that there is a “grand plan” to distort or destroy his story. The storyteller is telling us that some lawyers, the media, businessmen, Church people, the Left, and the lovers of the color yellow are all in cahoots against his narrative. To redeem his story, he presents a matrix that shows the complete network of his enemies. Sadly, his visual aid looks like a bad drawing. A Senior High School student’s project is even much better.

Sadly, 17 million people more or less still believe in the storyteller. And these 17 million insist that the greater majority is just paranoid and envious of the achievement of their “beloved.”

By the way . . . part of the story was a promise . . . that within 6 months from the start of the storytelling, the menace caused by drugs would be over. This did not happen. But the storyteller explained that the promise “was just a joke” and it is really part of the plot. Still, the supporters have remained hopeful, and they closed their eyes to a promise, which not only failed but “unrealistic” to begin with.

Wait . . . who is the storyteller? You don’t know? It’s PRRD.


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