- It was juvenile humor best left in the eighth grade among kids who are trying on their manhood for the first time.
- It was sexual and offensive to me and I suspect others. Get Real Post is a public forum where dignified people, men and women, nuns and grandmothers, are presumably in the audience. The remark suggested a lack of social refinement from the person making the joke, rather like the sex jokes told to me by Filipino men I have just met as if "ho ho, we are all macho guys here, sly and manly and quick of wit". The reality is that such intimacy is crude and unsophisticated to many westerners. I for sure have a different threshold of discretion.
- It was personal and had nothing to do with the blog subject. It astounds me how so many intelligent Filipinos can't sort out the difference between an issue and a person. Or they can, but don't want to, because they like to see gunfights. That, to me, is obscene.
- It was not patriotic; it disparaged the Philippines by disparaging its President. This is fairly typical of Filipinos who are missing the D drive, the personal commitment to raising the Philippines up. See my prior blogs: Article 1 and Article 2.
- It was a typically Filipino win/lose way of arguing; any thing that brings the opponent down to make the person whacking away seem smarter or better. Indeed, it was not something the writer would say to the President's face, which makes it flat-out chicken-shit. He might macho up and CLAIM he would say it to the President's face, but I assure you, put him in a room alone with the President and he would turn into the most kiss-ass Filipino you have ever seen in your life.
- The writer's denying there was anything wrong with the statement was typical face-saving Filipino intransigence, the ego-defensive attitude that contributes most to the Philippine's lack of progress at anything. Lack of responsibility. Lack of owning anything that does not work out well.
- Anyone with that particular writer's skills and perspectives, which are pretty sophisticated, has the ability to walk a higher road; it was disappointing to read low-road trash from him. His pen name is "Fallen Angel".
What is obscenity? It is not fixed in cement. It is variable. One person's joke is another's obscenity.
We often think of obscenity in terms of swear words; words that deal with sex or religious blasphemy or unkind references to the anatomy.
TV networks in the U.S. restrict kids' exposure to obscene words or "gratuitous violence" by scheduling adult television shows and undue gore late at night. But kids can watch cartoon violence all day long. Sponge Bob gets ripped to shreds before our very eyes, every afternoon at 3:30.
And it is more fun for kids in the Philippines as they watch bloody network news.
My own personal standards are strange. I can happily use swear words to punctuate my meaning in an article, or if I am angry, as a vent of steam. I love the convention-challenging humor of Chris Rock and the late George Carlin, dirt mouths for sure. Yet I find it offensive when people I hardly know launch immediately into a dirty joke. This is common in the Philippines when guys meet and no women are present. It is a part of the macho persona that infests the nation, from cock fights to murders for hire. Flex your muscles, your language, your manhood.
So setting rules of understanding on obscenity is extraordinarily difficult. Especially when two cultures have different sensitivities. In America, you only get hard-core gore on the news if you are advised ahead of time that "viewer discretion is advised". That means get the kids out of the room mighty damn quick.
Philippine radio is also a piece of work. I've hear the F-word in songs regularly, always before I can get my hand up to the car radio and save my three-year old from the trash. He has a mind like a trap when it comes to songs. That's the Filipino half of him, I suppose.
But all in all, I am fairly liberal about words, seeing them as a part of unrestrained thinking and communicating. But I do argue for contextual discretion.
One of the writers on Get Real Post the other day offended me by a sexual reference to President Aquino which was not kind. It is futile to explain my objection to the people in that crowd, for their face-saving backs get bent out of shape and all their macho buddies come flying to the rescue, flinging their own obscenities. Civility erodes. Get Real Post is a lot like that.
So I'll simply lay it out here and hope for something other than an obscene response. Although I DON'T MIND being informed if my perspectives are off.
Here is why I considered the writer's comment about Mr. Aquino inappropriate . . . and obscene. He referred to the President's missile being limp.
My choice, in reading the remark, was (1) shrug and let it go, or (2) protest. I chose protest because so much was objectionable about the comment. It seemed like a "cross-cultural dialogue moment", although I am now sure my protest was taken as so much irrelevant blather.
I need to do a blog about intransigence. For one thing, it is a big word. For another, the Philippines is thick with it. It is the failure to learn, as if education were a criticism, because it suggests we don't know something. It is the failure to own up to anything bad, as if responsibility were a threat to our very being. It is obscene, come to thing about it.