An idictment of not just Willie, but of Media and a broken culture

It was never against Willie Revillame per se. At least for me personally. When I joined those who objected to the treatment of Jan-jan on that fateful episode of Willing Willie that is now the continuing subject of public debate in the country, it never occurred to me that I did it because of my contempt or hatred of Willie Revillame.

Port Area by Roger Alcantara
Dole outs even on prime time TV will never help them out of poverty
I’ll be honest that I never liked the guy, but hated him? No, it wasn’t anything personal. Even remotely. For I have other better use of my time than to troll or send ‘anti-Willie’ sentiments both on the Internet and off it.

That was never the case for me. Neither was I under the influence of any powerful, deep-pocketed or influential enemy or rival of Willie. I did so on my own because the incident was ‘the last straw that broke the camel’s back’, so to speak, for me.

My actions stemmed from my indictment on the way media has been creating and handling their TV programming, especially the noon-time shows. The point I’m trying to put across has been clearly said by F Sionil Jose in his April 17 column on

Alas, what Willie and most of us cannot see is that his popular program and so many imitations of it, exploits the very poor as well as our permissive culture; he compels those hapless and disadvantaged Filipinos — the young and the decrepitly old — to give up their dignity to perform as he wants them for the money which he dangles before them.

Willie has to be reminded that he diminishes and demeans the poor; we can even argue that he lures the poor with the promise of easy money and thereby encourages dependency, belief in luck rather than in hard work. His show as it stands should be barred from TV. He should have been fully chastised when so many were killed in the stampede to his show some years back. The market resurrected him. Obviously, popularity and money had swelled his head.

A few months back, at a public forum I enlarged on the Willie ruckus which was first aired by the columnist Conrado de Quiros. I criticized our appreciation of TV personalities who are not talented, who cannot act, sing or give intelligent commentary. I also brought into the discussion quasi-religious leaders amassing wealth while feeding on the gullibility of Filipinos who, in their poverty, search blindly for faith and a better life. I concluded that we must decolonize our minds.

Friends and family know that I do not watch noon time shows, other game shows or any local programming. They are just the same of the old bunch: shallow, absurd, consumerist and often-times rip-offs of foreign films and shows.

The last paragraph above, of which I highlighted the most relevant sentence, is the whole point of why I joined those who are seeking to bring Willie Revillame and TV5 to account.

I would like to have it as a reminder to all TV networks, other mainstream media and even to most of my fellow new media practitioners (bloggers, social networking gurus, Filipino netizens) that it’s about time we do something about our “broken” culture. Media is one of the most powerful player in shaping our culture. So the responsibility of helping our nation to fix, refine and elevate our culture falls on their hands.

My indictment of Willie Revillame is but a part of my indictment of the current popular culture promoted and shaped by Media; one that is shallow, violates the dignity of the Filipino and does little to help fix our “damaged” culture.

Image by Roger Alcantara

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