This Is Scandalous

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Read “Scandalized (Stripped Down).”

Last I checked, scandals are supposed to spark some sort of righteous anger in the collective conscience of society.  The mob was not above or below instruments of torture: stocks, pillories, ducking stools, drunkard’s cloaks, scold’s bridles, and the every-once-in-a-while hanging were all used as remedies for scandal.  Scandal was a disease, a plague, a pox upon every house in the community.  At least, that’s what it meant for a time.

The boonkaka over the Hayden Kho-Katrina Halili sex scandal sparked anger, all right, but not the kind that hits at the conscience of the people.  Some feel angered, all right, but still others feel aroused by and horny because it.  Different strokes for different folks, but where’s the righteous anger?  Where’s the kind of rage that would have people react to the issue so harshly, so vindictively, in a raging manner, in no uncertain terms?  Where’s the kind of hatred levelled towards Hayden Kho right now that would have us all demanding for a garrote?

Now that’s scandalous.

Nearly all of us are “victims of a scandal,” in one way or another.  Pardon the redundant statement, but surveillance is everywhere.  Camera phones, security cameras, keyloggers, stat counters, search engines, computer viruses, bank accounts, bill collectors, people beside you peeking at your text messages while riding the train, The Government having your personal information… just about everything is a source of personal information.  Information acquired through surveillance is everywhere, and distributed at a rate as fast as it is created.

Yet we’re not outraged by that.  On a daily basis, we take the everyday violation of our privacy in the name of security for granted.  We allow ourselves to live in a prison with glass walls.  Yet we are so outraged, so enraged, and some of us are even titillated at the prospect of watching a blurry video of a doctor having sex with a sexy star.  We have the videos in our phones and show it to anyone who would care.

I feel for Katrina Halili and all, but I think that we should all be scandalized by the kinds of injustices our people face on a daily basis.  There is scandal in hunger, poverty, disease… things that we should be outraged about.  There is nothing more scandalous, profane, and pornographic than the fact that we allow these to happen – willingly, with all consent – and yet make an indiscreet sex act the order of the day.  We are so enamored by what is remotely erotic about blurred amateur sex videos that we sometimes – no, often – forget the kinds of scandals we’re all privy to.

What makes it even more irksome is that while public figures (read: politicians) consider this sex scandal a moral issue that confronts the very values that our communities stand for, so many scandalous things happen on a daily basis that confront and challenge the very values that our communities stand for. The very things that insult and corrupt the very moral fiber of community… and we’re talking about a sex video. We cry an invasion to their privacy, while we don’t say the same thing when our privacy is violated.

Heck, politicians and wannabee politicians weigh in on the matter by appearing on TV condemning this attack, yet say very little in condemning the daily attack on our moral compass.  The moral compass should direct us to moral issues, not moralistic ones.  People still starve, people die from the lack of adequate healthcare, people get fired left and right from a crisis that can be mitigated and resolved, and here we are obsessing ourselves about what goes on in other people’s beds.  These are things that violate dignity, self-respect, and honor as much – and even more – than the sex videos we crave for.  Women become victims of sexual offenses every day, and here we are outraged over Katrina.  We call Hayden a prick, but the mean streets will always have two rapists on two corners, each on the loose.

Where’s the righteous anger?  Where’s the indignation over that?

The kind of outrage we pour into the Kho-Halili sex tape is exactly the kind of rage best reserved for classes held under the shade of a mango tree for lack of a classroom.  The kind of rage best vented out against high gas prices and low salaries.  The kind of rage that should be directed towards book blockades, graft and corruption, social inequalities, economic injustice, political turmoil.  “Scandal” has become so common for us in the political and social sense that it seems OK to be perverts for just this once, and allow ourselves the indulgence of a sex scandal we can all watch for no other purpose than to block out the real issues that we should confront.

These are things that scandalize all of us each and every day.  These are social pornographies that should, right now, be deliberated in the halls of Congress and the Senate.  These issues seem to have a way of sticking around more than a celebrity’s career, and last longer than computer files and blog entries.

The rape of our nation seems never-ending, scandalized on the six o’clock news and in every newspaper or tabloid.  Things that are scandalous are nothing more than daily occurences that are worn out, taken for granted, nothing more than facts of life in the Philippines.  Those things are worth our attention, and worth our indignation.  At the end of the day, Katrina Halili will take Hayden Kho to court, and whatever happens from there will is something we have to entrust to our justice system, no matter how flawed.  The scandals we go through on a daily basis do not have the privilege or avenue that Katrina has towards Hayden.

Scandals are supposed to piss us off to the point of boiling over.  Maybe, just maybe, we’re looking for scandals in all the wrong places.  Maybe we’re really nothing more than voyeurs to the scandals taking place all over us, unwitting spectators to the pornography taking place in each and every corner of society.

The sex video isn’t scandalous.  Yet if you cast the problems of society in favor of a sex video… now that nothing short of a scandal.

1 comments on “This Is Scandalous”

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