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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

entry arrow9:35 AM | And Now, For a Little Showbiz Gossip

But Kris Aquino always had bad choices in men. The first time she went trophying around this weird-faced James Yap basketball guy, he looked like trouble from the get-go. That's another Philip Salvador and Joey Marquez, I thought -- and not too deeply: nobody thinks too deeply about showbiz shenanigans.

But why do we even bother watching this latest soap opera about our one-time Laban-yellow princess?

I'll attempt some answers. Because, as a kid, she was a dramatic bellwether of our political hopes in turbulent times, embodying Ninoy's charm when Ninoy was already gone. Because she appealed to our sense of rooting for the underdog when, seemingly without any hard-core show-business talent (can she sing? can she dance? can she act?), she went on to become a TV drama anthology queen and then a surprise movie star, even managing to secure acting awards -- and, goodness me, deserving ones at that -- against all odds. (It proved the theory that nobody really has to have talent in Philippine showbiz to have staying power: all one has to do is to be a magnificent manipulator of being a tabloid fodder without seeming to be -- and none of that lightning-quick scandals and spats variety either.) Because she is joyfully tactless in her reign as TV's local Oprah, but in a grudgingly admirable way -- while we shake our heads in embarrassed surprise every time she does another brazen interview, we all know that those are the questions we want to ask ourselves, if we were a little more shameless. Because, in a culture where saving face is paramount, she has the guts to say "I have VD" on national TV. Because, with all those billboards and print ads and TV ads blurring our everyday landscape, we breathe Kris Aquino whether we like it or not: she has become the imp in our subconscious, and we read about her latest commiserations to satisfy that imp in our heads. Because she mirrors our own sense of emotional vulnerability, and in her hopping from one bad man to another, we see our own circles of hell that we gravitate to despite our earnest efforts to do better, and to decide better. Because in her, we see the truism: breeding doesn't account for shit. Because in her, we see the embodiment of the caricature of the Philippine status quo: she is both showbiz and politics, and all our lives have fallen prey into that circus that is the very depths of hell.

And so, as we fall deeper into the abyss that is our lives in this God-forsaken country, we might as well get entertained by all its vicious gossip. And what gossip is better than about the figure that more or less defines our trying times.

Don't pity Kris Aquino. This showbiz "monster" -- and I mean that in the Frankenstein sense, the Mary Shelley way and not the Hollywood way -- will always bounce back.

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