Let’s digress from all of this politics and brouhaha about blogging and talk about showbiz. After all, I am a showbiz blogger.
(Is that lightning I see and thunder I hear? Oh fishsticks.)
PEP.ph, which is a fine, fine source of objective information about the entertainment industry, has news that Rustom Padilla – who starred in such films as “Gagay: Prinsesa ng Brownout,” “Mistah: Mga Mandirigma,” “Marami Ka Pang Kakaining Bigas,” and “Yamashita: The Tiger’s Treasure,” former hubby of Carmina Villaroel – is now Binibining “Bibi” Gandanghari.
Woman, model, character, human being, actress, gay… but note: anything BUT Rustom Padilla. Forget whatever idea you have of Rustom right now – yes, down to that “Wheel of Fortune” schtick – and say hello to Bebe Gandanghari.
Yes, Bebe Gandanghari. Not Rustom Padilla.
For all intents and purposes of translation: “Lady Beautiful King.” Sounds anime.
Here’s what the former (?) Rustom Padilla – now Bebe Gandanghari – had to say in that fine example of entertainment broadcast journalism, “Startalk:”
I’d really appreciate if you call me Bebe. Rustom’s not here. Bebe’s here, she’s alive and kicking! Bebe’s a character that people are gonna watch and I’m gonna portray… so, Bebe’s here to stay.
“Bebe…” that’s pronounced “Bi-Bi.”
OK, we all know that Rustom Padilla is gay, is out of the closet, and is happy with where and who he is. No question there. The problem is that there’s a bit of confusion – at least to me – whether it is proper to treat Rustom – or Bebe – as a woman or as a man. I know that Rustom – or Bebe – should be treated as a lovable and capable human being, but it makes things all the more confusing, at least for me.
I don’t know whether this qualifies for “facepalm” or “headscratch;” I have nothing against gay people, but I’m not sure whether Bebe Gandanghari is:
- An actual woman.
- Actually Rustom.
- A character played by Rustom.
- Not Rustom, that Rustom is in fact “dead,” and that Bebe Gandanghari is a “transformation” of the former Rustom Padilla.
- The aliens have invaded, dismembered and discombobulated the guy who starred opposite Alice Dixon in “The Jessica Alfaro Story,” sent him to some alien genetic engineering laboratory, and sent us the secret to universal peace: Bebe Gandanghari.
This is getting quite confusing, really.
If I remember my music history correctly, Prince became “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” (read: TAFKAP) was because the recording company Prince was associated with kind of “robbed” the dude of his identity. For quite a while, Prince was “dead;” instead, we had the ever-so-confusing “Love Symbol No. 2:”
That was a time of grief for people who were actually fans of Prince, and a time of confusion to people like us who didn’t listen to Prince (except for a couple of songs). How exactly to pronounce “Love Symbol No. 2,” I do not know; to be honest, I never cared. There was just too much debate on whether or not the guy should still be called “Prince,” or he should be called “the Artist,” or referring to him as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” does constitute copyright infringement because you’re still talking about a guy whose name was technically owned by Warner Bros.
Besides, there was a time that Prince/TAFKAP/Love Symbol No. 2 was called “AlexanderNeverMind.” Says Prince about Love Symbol No. 2: “It is who I am. It is my name.”
All this proves to be rather confusing, because we all know his name is Prince.
Okay… now that we’ve gotten all of that into order, let’s get back to the source of our (and by the collective pronoun I mean just me) confusion with Bebe Gandanghari.
As much as I’d like to call this a triumph for gay rights, I don’t understand. My 23-year-old mind, clouded by cigarette smoke and none in the way of sex, still cannot comprehend this whole biznitch and boil it down to shiznit. All this about Bebe Gandanghari proves to be rather confusing, because we all know his name is Rustom. To say that “Bebe Gandanghari” is nothing more than Rustom Padilla in drag is to oversimplify things. To say that Bebe Gandanghari is a mere role is to oversimplify things. Bebe says it best. From the same source:
“That’s my name,” Bebe said. “She is a God-fearing, loving lady. I am a woman. I am a woman. Bebe’s a woman… Emotionally, physically, biologically, spiritually, psychologically, socially…” at this point, Bebe’s seriousness faded and he quipped, “Ano pa ang gusto mo, financially?”
So I sorta convinced myself that these are some of the things I don’t necessarily have to understand…
Although fuck, I still don’t get it. Somebody explain this to me.