Sunday, May 17, 2009
Candy Pangilinan's tasteless joke
I've been asked to comment on the latest tempest in the blogosphere - the Candy Pangilinan issue. The quick summary: Entertainer Candy Pangilinan was in Baguio City recently to emcee or perform at a public affair and while at it, she uttered the rather tasteless joke that got her in trouble. She was supposed to have said something like "Hindi po ako Igorot, tao po ako."
It's the kind of thoughtless and tasteless remark that is standard fare in sing along bars where ridiculing people and making very politically incorrect statements are passed off as comedy. Some people think it's funny. I don't. That's why I have not set foot inside sing along bars that offer this kind of entertainment in the last 15 years.
This is the problem with some entertainers. They are not able to make the distinction between what is allowed inside a sing along bar - where people willingly part with their money to get skewered - and what should be said in public functions - where people go expecting more wholesome entertainment.
I remember a town fiesta ball where someone - an entertainer who is now regular fixture in ABS-CBN and who started his career in the sing along bar circuit - started his spiel by greeting everyone with, excuse the French, "Good evening c*nts and c*cks!" with all the crispy flavor of the local language. I was flabbergasted.
But to go back to the Candy Pangilinan issue, quite a number of people took offense - and naturally so! They made their displeasure known in the blogosphere. Mainstream media picked up the story and a weeping Pangilinan then did the rounds of the television talk shows apologizing and offering all kinds of excuses for her tasteless joke- she was tired, she didn't have any sleep prior to the affair, etc. She stopped short of blaming the weather.
This did not mollify a number of people. Some local governments officially declared her persona non grata, etc. We all know how matters of pride eventually become a major issue in this country.
I think that we should not take it against people when they express outrage. Being angry is a natural reaction. Having said that, I think that we should also continue to caution people against making irrational and irresponsible hate statements. Being a free medium, lots of people seem to think of the blogosphere simply as a mechanism to vent whatever it is that need to be expelled from their systems. The challenge is to teach, educate, inform, influence, persuade, convince (thesaurus, anyone?) these people to be more responsible rather than automatically condemn them.
On the other hand, she has apologized. What else is she supposed to do after? Perhaps we can find it in our hearts to also make allowances for certain human frailties. Let's hope she has learned from the whole experience.
And perhaps our television executives, directors, scriptwriters, etc., can take the opportunity to reconsider this rather disturbing way entertainers from the sing along bar circuit bring along their acts into mainstream television without making distinctions about the inherent differences in the two settings. Sharon Cuneta's show, for example, has been showcasing these entertainers almost every Sunday evening - their antics are often not fit for general patronage.