THE killing of a dog in an otherwise artistic and political masterpiece like “Oro” seems to have triggered pathological contradictions.
There are those who cry out for the rights of the animal who was butchered, yet lose sight of the lives of the four small-scale miners whose deaths were the material for the film. More blatant are those who protest the killing of the dog, but approve of the killing of suspected drug addicts.
We really live in interesting times.
But there is another contradiction that simply blows my mind.
And it has something to do with Mocha Uson, specifically her appointment to the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board, or MTRCB.
The reaction from the anti-Duterte crowd, many of whom are also anti-Mocha Uson by nature, took on the character of derision. The exclusionary elitism, blatant in some, trying so hard to be hidden in others, but in moments like this find ways to be expressed as bald-faced hypocrisies, projected the appointment as an undeserved, unwarranted, and offensive assault by the President on the sacred world of art, as he gives out favors to one of his most loyal defenders.
What heightened the beast mode reaction of those who were scandalized by the appointment was the fact that it came on the heels of a very successful Metro Manila Film Festival which they touted as a rare opportunity where the viewing public was given the chance to empower themselves through art. What was celebrated was the capacity of every Filipino, from saint to slut, from the perfumed to the ordinary, from the ones living in gated communities to those who serve them to be able to appreciate and make sense of quality films.
Thus, it is utterly confounding that the very same people who celebrate the capacity of the ordinary to appreciate and pass judgment on the quality of movies, and would be able to distinguish art from trash, or art from pornography, or art from an offensive form of entertainment masked by the name of its stars and producers, would contradict themselves by prejudging someone’s capacity to do these things, just because she is Mocha Uson.
How can one celebrate a discourse of inclusiveness, and the capacity of anyone to be an intelligent judge of aesthetically and socially relevant art forms, while at the same time become hysterically offended that Mocha Uson is given the chance to become part of a body of reviewers and classifiers of films and television programs?
People raise the issue that she is a former sex-blogger, and appeared almost half-naked and in lewd poses in public. How can she be a judge of morals? Fair, except when it comes from people who abhor censorship.
It also behooves one to point out that Ms Uson was only acting out a role, as a career. Being sexy was part of her packaging as a commodity in an industry that capitalizes on simulations. One who demands that the dog need not have been killed to make a film knows that the world of film and television is a world of simulated images. Mocha Uson has created a character in this world as a loose woman, but that does not make her one in real life.
As they say, you do not have to be considered as beautiful by the world for you to be able to know real beauty.
I suspect that the root of the disdain towards Mocha is not that she is a sex-blogger.
It is her politics, and her association with the President that becomes the basis for the hatred and the protest.
Critics see her appointment as a form of reward for her being an avid supporter of President Duterte. They see her as a controversial blogger whose fame is founded on her ability to allegedly whip up blind loyalty through an indiscriminate use of unverified information. She is seen as a propagandist justifying the rule of a President they hate.
And this is the bottom line of the hypocrisy.
In the process, critics fail to see their own blindness, their own pitiful contradictions. They pass judgment on Mocha for her politics to a point that they compromise theirs. For how can one argue for empowering the ordinary Filipino through the art of film, and celebrate the inner capacity of everyone to know quality from trash, acceptable from taboo, art from distasteful porn, and yet judge Mocha Uson as unqualified just because she is a sex-blogger and a Duterte loyalist?
How can one cry for the life of a dog, while literally kill the potential of a person? They think Mocha Uson will be unable to perform her task of looking into the substance of art in films, while they themselves fail to go beyond her facade just because they disagree with her politics.