Filipinos need to be less onion-skinned. We need some fun and laughter amid our highly politicized everyday life.
After all, didn’t the televised senate and house hearings on the alleged extra-judicial killings and the proliferation of illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons give us pause to be entertained by what would otherwise be considered offensive, misogynistic overtones and undertones from witness testimonies?
Weren’t we titillated by rumors of a sex video, of time spent in a kubol, or of anectodes about ‘saging na saba?’
Weren’t the Filipino people subjected to accusations depicting our beloved President as a “murderer?”
So why are we now, all of a sudden, so affected by an American TV show that supposedly depicts the “Philippines’ unconventional new president” as a character who crosses the line by making inappropriate advances towards its female lead character, US Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord?
Of all people, it’s the Philippine Embassy officials in the U.S. who are up in arms about the satirical TV series, ‘Madam Secretary.’
An Embassy statement says:
“This highly negative portrayal of our Head of State not only casts doubt on the respectability of the Office of the Philippine President but also denigrates that way our nation navigates foreign affairs.”
“It also tarnishes the Philippines’ longstanding advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality,” the statement read.
Do the Embassy officials ever watch American TV shows? Like ‘Saturday Night Live’ where week after week, U.S. President Donald Trump and administration officials are the subject of humorous, albeit insulting or offensive parody?
Instead of wasting time criticizing a TV show with fictional characters, shouldn’t the Embassy be more involved in countering what appears to be a well-funded, systematic news media blitz aimed at defaming President Duterte and destabilizing our country and government?
Satire is a centuries-old form of expression protected by laws and principles of free speech. Public personas — whether they be entertainment celebrities or heads of state — from the Queen of England to the president of Russia or the United States — are fair game for this art form.
We are better off ignoring an episode of ‘Madam Secretary’ and have a little laugh ourselves. There is so much turmoil and conflict in our world, we all need some light moments.