Wednesday, January 30, 2008
In covering the controversy where a football referee took videos of female varsity volleyball players in the Blue Eagle Gym of the Ateneo de Manila, the news team of "Umagang Kay Ganda" actually showed the video this morning. In the video, there were females, apparently two of them minors, in various stages of undress. I'm told that it was shown on their prime time news show last night.
While the referee invovled, Dennis Balero, should be, and has been, charged with child abuse and unjust vexation, isn't ABS-CBN equally liable, considering that, with their showing the video, they've exposed the players to their entire viewing audience?
Considering all the huffing and puffing the network has been doing regarding their rights, what with the amparo writ request from the Supreme Court, and its support of the class suit against the police, their release of the video violates the rights of those who were unjustly vexed and abused. If I were the players or their parents, I should file a class suit against ABS-CBN as well.
Before the network starts pointing a fingers at those whom it feels is trampling on its rights, it should take a good, long hard look at itself, and the rights of those ABS-CBN violates.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I didn’t realize that I’d not written a single entry in more than a week now. Things have just been too hectic to stop and write, and it’s only now that I have a bit of time to collect my thoughts and put something together.
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I managed to catch Will Smith in “I Am Legend”, the newest adaptation on Richard Matheson’s groundbreaking 1954 novel. While the book itself isn’t really anything special in terms of literary quality, it did advance the idea of seeing the traditional vampire in a totally different light, in this case, the possibility that there may be a scientific reason for the vampire’s behavior. The book opened the doors for such cultural additions such as Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and the role-playing game/collectible card game Vampire: the Masquerade.
“I Am Legend” is the third such adaptation, 1964’s “The Last Man on Earth” and 1972’s “Omega Man” being the other two. In this latest version, Will Smith takes on the role of Robert Neville, a scientist who, for some unknown reason, is the sole survivor (or so he thinks) of a plague that either killed its victims, or turned them into bloodthirsty “dark seekers”, a.k.a. vampires. For the past three years, in the aftermath of the plague, he walks the streets of New York, struggling to survive, and discover a cure for the plague. His only companion is his dog, Sam.
It was fortunate that the producers managed to snag Smith and cast him in the lead role. Smith, who seems to be a basically nice guy, has the presence and the talent to sell people on the idea that he is the last man on earth.
What I didn’t like so much was that the dark seekers were too obviously computer-generated, as there seemed to be a rough pixelization of their features, making them seem almost cartoonish. Maybe I have to be thankful for that, though. If they were anything like Steve Niles’ vampires in “30 Days of Night”, I’d have been more frightened. Still, it was a bit of a letdown.
I won’t talk about what else goes on in the movie, as it’ll spoil the surprise, but “I Am Legend” is worth a look see, especially on the big screen.
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It was jarring to read about actor Heath Ledger’s untimely death last Wednesday. He was one of the more talented young actors to emerge in recent times, and he will be missed.
My personal favorites among his movies would have to be “10 Things I Hate About You”, and “A Knight’s Tale”.
His unique and rather chilling take on the Joker in the upcoming “The Dark Knight” will be even creepier, considering that we’ll be looking at the performance of a person who, by then will have been dead for about six months.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
In yesterday’s Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the side headlines read, “PNP plan vs media likened to Hitler’s ‘final solution’”. At first glance, one would think that the Inquirer quoted one of our leftist activists or politicians, or even members of the media, to get that comparison.
Except that it was the Inquirer itself, through its writer Alcuin Papa, which likened the plan to Hitler’s ‘final solution’. Nowhere in the news story is it mentioned that some person made the comparison, so it seems to me that the newspaper, long nicknamed the Philippine Daily Innuendo by Philippine Commentary, is doing some front-page editorializing.
The gist of the matter is that the police will use force, if needed, to remove media from a “crisis situation” (quote attributed to Chief Supt. Silverio Alarcio of the Philippine National Police directorate for operations). The story mentions that the PNP said that the plan will be a ‘final option’, meaning that it will be implemented if it is necessary.
Papa, the writer, seems to think that the plan is similar to Hitler’s ‘final solution’ for the Jews, which was genocide. Is the Inquirer implying that the PNP plans to commit genocide on journalists? But there is a big difference between the word ‘option’ and ‘solution’; one is optional, while the other is already the answer to the problem. What’s worse is that the article doesn’t even explain what Hitler’s final solution was, making it even more nebulous and vague.
The PNP plan makes sense, considering our media seems to think that it’s above such mundane things as laws. I remember about two or three years ago, some former government official and his aide holed themselves up somewhere in the airport, calling for an end to corruption or some such plea. One of GMA 7’s reporters, Arnold Clavio, ignored proper police procedure, and managed to secure a running interview/negotiation with the official, despite the fact that he had no authority to do so. Since there was no coordination, things quickly broke down, and the official and his aide were killed in the ensuing gunfight.
To compare the PNP plan to genocide is a gross exaggeration and misrepresentation. Our media must demonstrate that they can be responsible in their reporting, and, if they are, the PNP plan will not even be implemented.
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Inside the newspaper, I read through Amado Doronilla’s comments about the advisory issued by the Department of Justice regarding media coverage of crime or crisis situations. Ever since I began reading newspapers in detail, which was just after the very first EDSA, Doronilla has been one of my favorite columnists, as his analyses were generally objective and well-thought out. But I think that he was way off base when he noted that the cause of the advisory, which was Trillanes’ stupid Penn putsch, was, of all things, a ‘political crisis’.
Unless we believe that laws are subjective and can be followed, or not, at a whim, let us recall that Trillanes and company walked out of his trial for the Oakwood mutiny, another action, which was both illegal and ill-advised. Lest we forget, Trillanes and his merry men strung bombs around the Oakwood area, and took over the building, an act which can be recognized as rebellion. His walkout during the trial for that constitutes contempt of court, and columnists like Doronilla don’t have to look far for what Trillanes’ crimes are. There is nothing political about Trillanes’ actions; he is a criminal through and through, and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The ‘arrant nonsense’ that he writes about is Trillanes’ actions, not the advisory.
Monday, January 14, 2008
A retcon is short for “retroactive continuity”, which means that events and facts in fiction, especially in comic books, are altered to fit the current continuity.
One of the more comprehensive retcons is the maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, which ran 12 issues from ‘85-’86, with a lot of crossovers through the entire DC universe. The purpose of the Crisis was to make sense of all the multiple universes that existed then, and the result was that one earth emerged, with elements of all the various universes incorporated into it. Of course, it meant that a good-sized chunk of previous stories never actually happened; with the creation of the new universe, some stories were lost.
A result of this was that the histories of the various heroes got retold, as Superman’s was in “The Man of Steel”, penned and drawn by John Byrne. Batman’s story was revisited in “Year One” by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzuchelli. Wonder Woman was returned to her Greek mythological roots by George Perez.
What Crisis did was to organize the history of the DC universe, and it succeeded, creating just one timeline around which the history of the DC universe unfolded. It wasn’t perfect, though, as certain aspects, particularly that of Hawkman’s convoluted history, took time to resolve. The Zero Hour series in the 90’s, the Infinite Crisis storyline last year, and the ongoing Countdown to Final Crisis continue to refine and redefine the DC universe, making it more cohesive and sensible.
On the other hand, we have the recent development in the Marvel universe, where a massive upheaval in Spider-man’s world is about to unfold. I don’t really follow the Marvel universe, so what I have is primarily from what I read about in the news. Apparently, to save his beloved Aunt May’s life, Peter Parker and his wife Mary Jane strike a deal with the demon Mephisto. In exchange for saving her, the marriage of Peter and Mary Jane will be as if it had never happened. Everything will go back to the way it was before Peter and Mary Jane got married.
Simple, if it weren’t for the fact that so much else has happened in the Marvel universe that one has to ask what happens to the rest of the Marvel history?
- Last year, during the Civil War storyline, Peter Parker revealed to the whole world that he was Spider-man. So that never happened?
- While I agree with the fact that the spider clone storyline was a bad idea, what happens now? Did he even exist?
- Will Peter have to go through meeting some of the people he had met during the time he and Mary Jane were married all over again?
The problem that I have is that Spider-man isn’t just a separate entity from the Marvel universe; he’s an integral part of it, so changing his situation will necessarily have repercussions on the rest of the universe. Does that mean that Marvel is going to be dealing with these repercussions?
I read that the editors felt bad about marrying off Peter and Mary Jane immediately after they did it, because it killed some of the tension which made Spider-man tick. Treating the marriage as if it didn’t exist, they probably reasoned, would bring back the Peter Parker that people identified with. If this was the case, why take so long in rectifying what they felt was an error?
Of course, Marvel does have an escape clause. Since Mephisto was the cause of the retcon, and since he is a demon, it’s likely that, if the whole thing doesn’t work, the writers can simply cause Peter to discover that something is terribly wrong, and have Spider-man force Mephisto to put everything back to the way it was.
But the damage will have already been done.
Some comments from the blogosphere:
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
In the past, relief pitching was a much-maligned position, the repository of failed starters. Pitchers like Gossage and fellow Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers showed that relief pitching was a necessary tool in the managers' arsenal, allowing a fresh pitcher to face batters in later innings. And Gossage's fastball was a scary pitch, closing down games effectively; Goose saved 310 games for various teams, notably the Chicago White Sox, which originally drafted him, and the New York Yankees, and the San Diego Padres, for which he both pitched in the World Series.
Goose helped pioneer the role of relief pitching, paving the way for the specialized system now in place. However, unlike the current relief pitchers who are often just brought in to face one batter, Goose was effective whether he was called in to pitch one or even three innings. Goose was special, and deserving of his award.
For the other players on the ballot, Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice, outfielder Andre Dawson, and pitcher Bert Blyleven came very close this year; in fact, Rice, who is on the ballot for the next-to-last time, missed induction by 16 votes. Slugger Mark McGwire, who is tainted by his association with the Steroid Era, got only 23.6 percent, and may be a bellwether for other sluggers of that time, notably, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmiero, and, of course, Barry Bonds.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
For the opposition, trouble looms, as the major candidates are all on their side, and the situation is made worse by the fact that convicted and unconditionally pardoned former President Joseph Estrada may look to 2010 for vindication of his continuing popularity. That in itself presents problems due to the legal wrangling that will result as to whether he can actually still run; the opposition may get mired by the endless debate that may ensue.
Another problem for the opposition is how they will settle on just one presidential candidate. Some of the presidentiables, notably Senators Manny Villar and Ping Lacson, may not want to back down to Estrada’s ego, their own being fairly inflated. It’s a scenario that reminds me of the 1998 elections, when numerous candidates split the anti-Erap vote, allowing Estrada to claim a landslide victory. Ironically, this time around, Estrada is one of a number of opposition candidates, who may deliver the presidency to the administration bet if they don’t get their act together.
Presently, however, Estrada appears to have backed down from his desire to run in 2010, saying that he was only stressing that he could run if he wanted to.
Of course, promises about not running are as fickle as the wind, as a number of our politicians have demonstrated in the past.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
It must have been a pretty successful year for a lot of people, judging from the intensity of the explosions last New Year's Eve. It was a rather unwelcome change from the previous year, when the really loud blasting only lasted about an hour and a half. Last Monday, the blasting started from about 6:30 pm, and went all the way to 1 in the morning. Is it a sign that 2007 was more prosperous for some? Considering that the peso has come all the way down to around P41 against the dollar, maybe so.
Even though the number of firecracker-related injuries went down, it's still amazing how people are willing to risk life and limb to set off what are essentially small explosives. It's even more dangerous for those who sell them; this was punctuated by the chain explosion of a row of fireworks vendors, likely set off by a stray cigarette butt. The blast, which was caught live by GMA 7, was strong enough to shatter the glass doors of the house across it.
In my family's case, we've long left the fireworks to other people; the last time any of us had anything to do with them was back in the mid-90s. There are enough people who've invested in the things, anyway, so we just sit back and watch the show.
One has to wonder what the year 2008 has in store, both for our personal lives and the world in general. At any rate, I'll continue plugging away on this blog, hopefully on a more regular basis. As I mentioned in my previous entry, there's always so much to write about, and so little time.