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Former Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin – who recently gained some measure of infamy for his “Teditorial” on NAIA, branding bloggers who criticized the airport as “homeless gays” with a not-so-subtle dig with “kneepads in restrooms” – is at it again.

This time, Mr. Locsin calls Inquirer’s tribute to the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre “just plain baduy.”  Without the homophobic innuendo, Locsin rambles on with contrarian pontifications criticizing the pictures of the columnists: kesyo the columnists who closed their eyes are in the act of forgetting, kesyo the columnists should open their eyes, kesyo the stunt was baduy, etc.  It’s as if Mr. Locsin held the monopoly of knowledge in meaning, in semiotics, in expression – whether artistic or journalistic – and that the schoolyard pejorative should make for a good summation.

While we’re no strangers to editorial segments in newscasts – the late Frankie Evangelista excelled at that – I guess we can all agree that editorializing has its functions as well as its limits.  For the lack of a disclaimer, as well as a lack of prudence in editing the talking-head piece, the caricature of Locsin has not only painted itself as an ultra-conservative elitist who does not hesitate to betray deep-seated homophobia, but now it also paints a caricature of a cantankerous nitpicker who forgets the importance and relevance of symbols and metaphors.

This, a week after the commemoration of the second year of the Ampatuan Massacre.  The other, a few days shy of Pride Day.

Again, while we’re no strangers to editorials, we should know by now that while an editorial will offend people at one point or another – especially those in positions of power – that is not its primary purpose.  The editorial should enlighten, should make sense of the news, or at the very least present an opinion of the paper outside of what it is reporting.  This is not to say that papers or news organizations should be devoid of opinion, but knowing that Locsin’s opinion takes center stage in a nightly newscast – without the benefit of a disclaimer or a knowledge of why it’s there in the first place – is a bit unsettling.

Which brings us to the problem: if Teddy Locsin is the “chief commentator” (for lack of a better term) of ANC, do his opinions represent ANC, The World Tonight, and ABS-CBN in general?  I don’t think so: not with the homophobia and elitism and self-aggrandizement present in his previous “Teditorials.”  I don’t think he should, either, as should his own pieces and commentaries be edited prudently by the organization (in this case, the newsroom) to prevent them from being offensive.  Or at least having a clear disclaimer.

What difference does it make if you’re rich or poor, gay or straight, to have a properly functioning airport?  Are those remarks and innuendos necessary to make a point against current plans for rehabilitating NAIA?  So what if Inquirer chooses to pay tribute to their murdered colleagues in the media?  Baduy as it may be to Locsin, walang basagan ng trip holds as much – if not more – weight.  And more than that, what do these innuendos and remarks do to elevate discourse and conversation about the NAIA mess and the Ampatuan Massacre?  Yes, it’s important to “read between the lines” and all that, but if between those lines are the unnecessary and uncalled-for remarks of a talking-head on television, then the lines should be raised and, more importantly, drawn.

J. William Fulbright writes, “When public men indulge themselves in abuse, when they deny others a fair trial, when they resort to innuendo and insinuation, to libel, scandal, and suspicion, then our democratic society is outraged, and democracy is baffled.”  In the case of Teddy Locsin, it is more than just outrageous and baffling: it is, for a segment in a much-watched telecast, unacceptable.

8 comments on “(T)Editorializing”

    • jam
    • December 4, 2011

    Loved this commentary by Teddy Locsin. The guy has spunk.

  1. Reply

    Glad you are here to slap reality into the former representative, and that all these “grand” talks and social commentaries will not go unnoticed. Well what else can an elitist do with his free time and a network where he can do all of what his hearts desire? …than be a jerk on his own Teditorial. Not that it justifies it, but that is what most of his kind do. Now I am sounding a bit racist but I have no regret hehehe.

    • Peter
    • December 5, 2011

    This guy lives in his own planet. The word ‘pompous’ is too small to describe him; maybe super pompous.

  2. Reply

    That is why it is called Teditorial. Teddy has his own mind and this is guaranteed in our constitution or in any planet who knows the meaning of civil or respect or “I will defend your right to your opinion” whatever. If he is wrong then he gets it. If he is right he gets it too. This makes life colorful!

    1. Reply

      That’s problematic. John Stuart Mill, for example, while setting a defense for “I will defend your right to your opinion,” sets a bar/limitation to the absolute practice of free speech: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

      Hence the need to edit, if we go by the offense principle of free speech within reasonable limits of what’s fair and just in society. The fact that members of society were offended by an intentional innuendo – not as an unintended consequence – then it doesn’t make life “colorful” at all. It leaves to doubt whether Locsin represents the view of the entire organization, or there the privilege bestowed upon him is not used prudently.

    • J
    • December 6, 2011

    I disagree on a minor point. I don’t think the intended harm of Locsin’s comments is beyong the limits of the absolute practice of free speech. I fully agree, however, that there should be a disclaimer to protect the Network from Locsin’s bigotry.

    But then again, what the fuck is that elitist douche doing on the World Tonight anyway? He should get lost.

    • jlm
    • December 20, 2011

    The sarcastic smile of his face tells me he thinks of himself as clever. Teddy Locsin’s arguments sound like they come from an away-bata brawl in kindergarten.

    • GabbyD
    • December 28, 2011

    he makes a point when he points out it weird to close one’s eyes as a gesture of remembering.

    i’ve never seen anyone invoke that gesture before.

    in regular life, one doesnt close one’s eyes to remember either; unless one is tired.

    the inquirer doesnt really explain the rationale all too well.

    a better example would be wearing something, say a ribbon around the finger, or an wristband (ala livestrong, or WWJD).

    thats how people remember. closed eyes? uhmm… i guess… if you are 4 years old..

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