The insult

Over ten years ago, I was on the same event as Vice Ganda in Cagayan de Oro.  Vice was the entertainment number in that meeting. As a rule, after my talk, I never stay around for the entertainment portion (if there is any).  Not that I don’t like to mingle with the crowd.  I just frown upon having to have entertainers in a scientific meeting. From what I gathered the day after my talk, the doctors liked (actually loved) my talk.  They were, however, not pleased with the humour of Vice.  They said that it was “insulting” because his jokes were at the expense of the other doctors in the audience.

I did not recognise Vice even when we were one seat apart on the plane from CDO back to Manila.  The person seated beside me told me that Vice (who had an aide in tow) was a rising comedian and was the entertainment portion of the conference last night.  I nodded, looked at Vice who was asleep on his seat.  Then looked away.

Who knew that his kind of humour would catapult him into fame and fortune?  And don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing against his becoming rich and famous.  I actually laud his success.  And this is the point where I say – EVEN IF.  Even if his humour is crass and personal. There are those that are entertained with this kind of humour.

I’m not a fan.

He’s had recent tiffs with the press and people over his remarks.  And he wouldn’t care less.  After all, he’s at the top of the world. Right up there together with all the other comedians of his stature.  Or the likes of Tito, Vic, and Joey.  Self-Deprecating humour peddled to entertain at other peoples expense.

His recent catty remarks and political overtones on his shows have been done in bad taste. While there is a thin line between entertainment and sensibility, that line is crossed when humour becomes insulting.  Even if it was meant as a joke.

The recent reactions of  various entertainment people like Aga Muhlach, Lea Salonga, Bea Alonzo to name a few, on political matters garnered mixed reactions online.  For obvious reasons, personalities are influential to a certain degree.  Which makes it important that they choose when, what, and how to say it at an appropriate time. And yes, while we live in a democratic country (last I heard we are still a free nation) and there is freedom to express one’s views, the views of someone popular, will matter.

Entertainers enjoy better opportunities than the ordinary Juan. I am sure that they are aware that what they say can affect opinions – whether right or wrong.  You can see their influence in the various commercials they star in.  As endorsers – they have a following. Particularly with the gullible ones who are unable to discern what is true, from what is a marketing gimmick. Advertising is the best medium for brainwashing peoples minds.

Because entertainers have an advantage at media mileage, they should be able to manage their conflicts appropriately.  They need a higher level of discernment when they speak because the political arena is not a studio or a rehearsal for some segment or series on television.  They need to check facts before making statements or comments with an unfounded basis. They are not exempted from this.

While they (or anyone for that matter) can always say that they have the right to freedom of expression just like anyone, the degree of impact on what is said (whether it is right or wrong) is different. After all, what may be meant as an opinion or a joke can end up as an insult. Mean. Trashy.

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

– Mark Twain

If you feel alluded to, remember, think before you open your mouth. It’s a fair reminder that we need to see with our eyes and hear with our ears. Just because you’re on a pedestal does not make you a god.

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