God Help Us! Carlo J. Caparas has a point, or at least a talking point worth spinning into the age-old rich vs. poor rhetoric that political debate at any level always boils down to.
In a recent radio interview, Direk Carlo J., argued that other National Artists protesting his being awarded a National Artist are dry, old academics whose works are only read in college classrooms. He, on the other hand, is “a National Artist who came from the masses.”
National Artists Virgilio Almario, F. Sionil Jose and Bienvenido Lumbera should be kissing his feet, he said, because finally, there is a national artist “who the masses can identify with—someone who walks beside them, someone who can inspire them.” Inspire them to massacre people, I suppose, or to put on superhero costumes. Or maybe the object lesson is to pray to God in the face of horrible crimes. Whatever. The point is the inspiration is right there for the taking. Whereas, of course, students have to slog through novels and short stories (and go to college, I guess) before picking up some sort of lesson from these old writer guys.
And, really, that’s it isn’t it? A National Artist should be someone who embodies the culture of his people. And if we happen to appreciate fantaseryes and komiks more than we do literature and films that make us think, then Carlo J. Caparas as national artist makes total sense. In the end, the main criterion is “having made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts.” Nobody said that it should be a development we necessarily welcome.
And come on, guys. How can anyone argue with his wife Donna Villa who said “even Jesus Christ was criticized because of his boldness to save mankind from sins”? Do you know who else has used that defense? Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Also, and to much less success, Jesus.
It’s the same thing with Nazis and Godwin’s Law, I guess. As the list of someone’s critics in a Catholic third world country grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jesus approaches 1. This is M‘s Law, and marks the end of rational discussion.