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Thursday, May 23, 2019
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Clown world: more fun in the Philippines?

IT’S a sign we’re living in interesting times when a club DJ of all people makes a political statement.

On May 8, DJ Marc Marasigan said on Twitter: “We live in a world where a Gretchen Ho is a destabilizer and a Mocha Uson is a model citizen, where Chel Diokno is struggling to even compete while Bong Revilla is a sure win. God save the Philippines.”

To be sure, it remains unclear whether Gretchen Ho indeed got tagged as such by Malacañan Palace, and as for Mocha, neither she nor her admirers ever pretended that she was a paragon of virtue. As for the two senatorial contenders, it could be for one of many valid reasons that many people don’t agree with Chel Diokno’s positions, whereas you have to give Bong Revilla credit for knowing how to affect charisma for the masses – as an actor he’s good at that, if nothing else.

Despite my personal preference for short and pithy statements, I don’t agree with the one Marc tweeted. However, as a fellow concerned citizen, I agree with his sentiments one hundred percent. To those of us who have been really paying attention to the wider world around us, we would find that things aren’t as reasonable, sensible, and orderly as what our classroom lessons would have us believe. Or as KC Concepcion would put it, “It’s not like the movies at all.”

Thus, to describe this widespread sickness of our age, the Internet gave birth to a new meme: “clown world.”

But what exactly is clown world? It’s hard to say for sure, considering that our times are indeed “interesting” – that is to say, absurd, chaotic, and nebulous. Ironically, that is part of the definition, but only half of it.

From what I gather, the other half lies in man’s desire for the true, the good, and the beautiful. But what’s the point in having such an idealistic (and as some would call it, unrealistic) desire burning in your heart when nowadays all you can see around you are falsehood, injustice, and ugliness? As my friend and fellow SunStar columnist Mai Santillan would put it, all you can do about it is laugh it off.

The meme may have come of age only recently, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that we in the Philippines were already clown world, even before clown world became a worldwide thing. After all, if there’s a race of people that takes the most joy in poking fun at their own sins and shortcomings, it must be the Filipinos – but whenever a foreigner points out those very same sins and shortcomings, they’re sure to get terribly upset.

You can find proof of this very Filipino trait in long-running comedy shows on Philippine television. However, our comedians don’t tell the whole story, what with censorship and the prevailing attitude of political correctness. Therefore, I’d like to take the opportunity to point out just a few of the things they skipped over that have been made more painfully obvious by the current election season.

Marc Marasigan already made mention of Bong Revilla, and to this I must add that all he needed to do to win over the masses once more was to do a silly dance for his campaign ad. But at least he’s being honest about having nothing to offer; other candidates would promise everything and once elected deliver nothing, and yet get reelected time and again until the end of their lives.

Moreover, out of their intense dislike for Rodrigo Duterte, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines insistently, obstinately, and single-mindedly throw their support behind candidates who belong to a party that not only let them down in the past, and as if that in itself wasn’t bad enough, also stabbed them in the back time and again.

The bishops tell us that a citizen is free to vote according to his individual conscience, only to later contradict themselves by dictating who exactly to vote for. If the bishops really wanted to get involved in politics all this time, then why didn’t they go to law school instead of the seminary in the first place? Meanwhile, the faith of Catholics here and elsewhere continue to dwindle by the day out of sheer neglect.

Such is the world we live in.


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