Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Backlash Against The Baklas!

I read with interest Michael Davis C. Tan’s article “An open letter to the people behind Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot si Remington” in Outrage Magazine. Read it first here before proceeding.

So, is Zombadings a comedic exercise in self-hatred? Is it a satirical, self-aware attempt to poke fun at gay issues? Or is it a reprehensible, irresponsible movie that pushes the gay agenda seven (or more) years back?

What I find interesting in Mr. Tan’s point-by-point analysis of the movie is how careful, how serious, how politically correct each point is. Which is expected of an advocate, I agree (he doesn’t hide his pink advocacy colors anyway).

But this film is a comedy. And if there’s one thing I realized, advocates and comedians will often be at odds with how comedy works. Comedians are serious about not taking things seriously; advocates are serious about taking their causes seriously. For comics, making fun of things is acceptable; nothing is sacred. For advocates, making fun of a sacred cause is, well, a mockery; worse, they fear such mockery can easily be misinterpreted by the audience, making it all the more dangerous.

You know, for the longest time now I’ve not found anything funny with this whole political correctness thing, especially when it’s quite rigid and demanding. And I suppose that’s where the road really diverges, eh? “Being gay is not a sumpa.” But of course! It is obvious that the filmmakers know this to be true. And herein lies the difference: while the filmmakers are fairly confident that no one who watches their film will afterwards drag their gay son to an arbularyo and expect macho dancers to appear during a seance, Mr. Tan seems to fear that there will be those in the audience who will take the whole sumpa thing seriously (“Eh sabi kasi sa pelikula!”). Movies and their audiences do not exist in a vacuum; if someone does take the movie too literally, there will always be another person who will end up whacking him on the head. My mom always has a favorite phrase to put us children in place whenever we got carried away by a movie: “Hay naku mga anak, it’s just a movie!” And that, dear folks, is a healthy sense of perspective. That Mr. Tan believes that “this film believes homosexuality is curable is ignorant” is, well, silly. And, as the cliché goes, silliness has to be excused.

Mr. Tan also makes an interesting case of acceptance versus tolerance: “LGBT advocates do not exist because we want to be tolerated – we actually already are. We exist to push for acceptance.” That I understand; someone must fight the good fight.

But maybe therein lies the rub. Maybe seven years later, despite what we see in the news, there are now gays and gay-friendly people who can actually make fun of themselves and the gay situation. What advocates see as self-hatred, others see as having a sense of perspective and (dare I say it?) maturity. And maybe in their militant push for the kind of acceptance they want, these advocates fail to realize that, in certain cases, what they deem as mere tolerance is actually another form of acceptance by society.


^travis said...

right on the dot. it's a movie not a symposium on gay acceptance.

Tony said...

I was actually discussing this article by Michael David Tan the other day with some friends... and here were my thoughts on what he wrote....

1. Michael David Tan came into the movie with his own biases and expectations. Biases and expectations based on what he percieved Maximo Oliveros did for the LGBT agenda.

2. What is the agenda to him? The agenda is acceptance and not just tolerance. In other words, Maxi showed a world were a gay boy is accepted without anyone giving him any trouble for being gay. He wanted to see that world again. He wanted that alternate reality where the producers/ film makers played in before. He didn't get it and therefore they (the filmmakers) failed to deliver.

3. He doesn't want to be shown what is happening in the here and now, rather how things can and possibly will be. He needs to believe that that world, that the film makers gave him a glimpse of, is possible. He wanted to have a glimpse of it again. He didn't get it.

LGBT are LESBIANS GAYS BISEXUALS AND TRANSGENDERS, obviously he forgets this. He actually wants to push the Gay agenda, scratch that, the "paminta" agenda. It is good to remind him that the T in LGBT are Transgenders (the parloristas even if they are not in transition yet).... and that Remington, because it was pretty ambiguous in the end, might be Bisexual. In other words, he disregards the other forms of sexuality that were also shown.

In conclusion, I think that the film makers are the victims of their previous work. He (Michael) wanted what he was given before, to the point where he would limit a film maker's creativity. In the end, this just goes to show that the movie indeed challenges people.

Rainbow Runner said...