Memory is fleeting. And so we try to capture the past and the present. A face in a crowd, the light of the moon. Things one cannot hold on to.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Immoral or Not, That is the Question
"To be or not to be – that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And, by opposing, end them."
---William Shakespeare, (Hamlet)
When my friend Jethro invited me to be part of the "I Am Not Immoral" campaign, I said yes. Not because I was particularly upset about the decision of the Commission on Elections to disqualify the gay party-list group “Ang Ladlad” from participating in this year's election, but because he is my friend and I wanted to support him.
He wanted to create a short video showing gay men and women protesting the decision of the Comelec and the branding of all gay people as immoral. The participants gave their names, said something about themselves, and the line "I am not immoral."
It appears gone are the days of marching in the streets and shouting "Off With Her Head!" Instead, people don on costumes, pose in front of the camera, and scatter the videos all over the Internet. The person who was interviewed before me wore a black-and-white Lady GaGa-inspired outfit, posed, and said "Hi. I'm a gym instructor by day and Lady GaGa by night."
So I was a little disconcerted when Jetty suddenly started asking me questions about the issue. I was flustered and told him "Wait, Jet. Bakit may Q&A? Akala ko ba simple lang ito."
I realized I was flustered because 1) I had to sound smart and intelligent!, and 2) I haven't really thought about the issue, not deeply, at least.
Fundamentally, I had to ask myself what does it mean, to be moral? Who defined it? The protest implied two things: to be immoral is not something desirable, and that gay people are immoral.
But, what if some of us are? What if, I am not moral after all? Should being moral be a requirement for a person to run for public office?
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "There is no moral phenomenon at all, only a moral interpretation of a phenomenon." He argued it is people, individuals and societies who define morality and that these definitions change depending on who is on power.
But then I realized to explain all these things on camera requires too huge a task given I only had a few seconds of fame. Sometimes you have to know what to say and when to say it (so I'm saying it here).
And oh, the best part of it all? You get a free photo shoot. And ladies, here's my best shot.
I like stories. Whether they're of random strangers or close friends, people's stories hold me spellbound.
Every story leads us to an insight: Who are we? Why do we do the things we do? Why are we here, and not there?
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress Susan Jane Gilman
In her memoir, Susan Jane talked about growing up uncool as a white kid in a tough Puerto Rican neighborhood, dreaming to be a ballerina, chasing after rock stars, having sex for the very first time.
She brings us back to the best (and the worst) parts of our childhood and our youth, helping us realize things are never as good (or as bad) as we remember them to be.
For Emma, Forever Ago Bon Hiver
Justin Veron, also known as Bon Iver, spent four months alone in a log cabin in the mountains of Wisconsin after the break-up of his band, DeYarmond Edison in 2006.
"The name refers to someone in my past, and it's not her real name," Veron said in an interview about the title of his album. "The dedication is not just to her, it's about the end of an entire era. The entire context of my life at that time was tied to this person, and this record is a way for me to flee from this thing."
For Emma captures the sound of broken and quiet isolation, wraps it in a beautiful package, and delivers it to your door with a beating, bruised heart.