CEBU

Carvajal: Half a good thing

Break Point

PEOPLE ask why ABS-CBN always gets the heat from “dictators.” It could arguably be greed, revenge or any dark motive. But whatever it is, I nevertheless have my own personal sociological reason for welcoming as half of a good thing Congress’s denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

I like it when a faction gets its comeuppance even if from another faction of the oligarchy that is screwing the country. I feel sorry for ABS-CBN employees who lost their jobs but things do happen anytime to anybody.

ABS-CBN is at bottom an entertainment company. Its (biased?) newscasts, acrid criticisms of Congress’s decision and of the President’s hand in it have not chilled but continue to heat up in its other non-entertainment channels. In case you haven’t noticed, what has been shuttered is only its entertainment business and nothing else.

As number one TV network (44 percent audience share to GMA’s 33 percent and TV5’s two percent), it has the most cultural influence on Filipinos, drowning away every other cultural input (including the moral variety of the Catholic hierarchy that ironically bats for ABS-CBN) in the flood of its entertainment fare’s subliminal secular message.

“Global cultural homogenization is sweeping the world... Dominated by US and Western values and lifestyles, driven by a consumer-based, free-market ideology and carried through the massive US entertainment-industrial complex, the global monoculture has infiltrated every corner of the earth.” (Maude Barlow in GPF (Global Policy Forum), Autumn 2001).

This worldwide promotion of Western, mostly American, culture is rather obvious. English is spoken in 80 percent of the nations of the world. Everybody wants to wear Nike shoes, watch Hollywood movies and NBA basketball etc. Everybody is being sold to the American Dream.

In the Philippines its principal endorser is ABS-CBN. Most of its “that’s entertainment” fare is local adaptations of the US original, or franchises of the international, version. Only a few exhibit original plots, and fewer still exhibit culturally developmental content.

In its mission statement ABS-CBN claims to exist “to inform, educate and entertain.” But in reality it entertains first, informs second and educates last. It is primarily in the entertainment business, there being no money in information and education. Even its newscasts entertain with anchors either patronizing or talking down to politically naïve simple “ciano” folk.

It’s only half of a good thing because we don’t know if the other good half will happen. We don’t know if a new ABS-CBN or some “woke” network will raise Filipinos up to political maturity instead of sedating and bewitching them with tear-jerker soaps, get-rich-quick talent searches or racy dance shows.


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