Oblivious in Cloud Cuckoo-land

It’s going to be any day now, insists the Legion: ChaCha advocates bring case to Comelec. So the two top stories will be the plenary voting on impeachment, and the announced filing-to-be.

But that’s for later this week. As for today…

Twenty three years, which is how long ago Ninoy Aquino was killed, is a lifetime for most Filipinos. I was 13, and my father and I had just arrived in America where I was supposed to go to school, when Aquino was killed. I had to ask, “who is Ninoy Aquino?”

The late Peter Jennings that day mistakenly referred to Aquino as “Niño Aquino.” That was funny. The situation itself, of course, was not. My father was very sick with a stomach bug he’d picked up on the flight; yet he was constantly on the phone to family and friends in Manila. At times we knew more overseas than people at home were being told or could find out. There were only really two papers, then: the Bulletin Today was as it is now, as the Manila Bulletin;: generally, vanilla. The other paper, the Times Journal was to those times as the Manila Standard-Today is in our time. There were no other real papers, basically no independent radio, and certainly no alternative sources for news and views like the Internet. Eggy Apostol recounts what it was like to wait for him, and hear he’d died. Billy Esposo pens a memoir of that day, too.

My impression of those confusing hours and days was plain and simply, the shock that my elders felt; and after the feeling of shock, the inner turmoil Ninoy’s death provoked: had he been rash? Was Marcos a lunatic, or in a coma? Would anyone care? What did his undelivered arrival statement mean?

People did care. People started smuggling around his undelivered statement; and if you watch the documentaries and read recollections of the time, as breathtaking as the manner in which Ninoy was murdered, was the decision of individual people to do something that should have come easily under normal circumstances: attend a wake, and march in a funeral procession. Newsstand recounts what it was like.

I remember the debates in the late 70s and early 80s: “Let’s unite,” we should “move on,” there “is no qualified successor,” the opposition “is hopelessly divided,” better “the SOB we know than an SOB who might be worse,” not to mention “things are getting better,” at least “there is firm leadership and discipline,” and “if the people really don’t like it why aren’t they showing they care,” as well as “if you’re not a Communist you have nothing to fear.”

Shot Dead On Arrival
(photo from Wikipedia)

The killing of Ninoy and the economy’s collapse set those arguments aside. I hear them now -have been hearing them for a year- which makes me wonder if people rally want to wait for the economy to collapse or a new martyr to be produced, as if we haven’t learned to nip dictatorship in the bud rather than wait for it to flower, first.

But then I suffer, perhaps, from romantic notions.

On Ninoy’s death anniversary, the President decides to appoint a commission.

To mark Ninoy’s death anniversary (ExectoRants says he’s a saint), here are some readings. Those by Teodoro M. Locsin, Sr. profoundly influenced me, and I think they help explain why Ninoy was a hero.

Papa%20With%20Ninoy
(image from Berby’s World)

In 1971, the Philippines Free Press made Ninoy Aquino its Man of the Year. Fifteen years later, Teddy Locsin, Jr. reflected on his interview with Ninoy for that article.

Teodoro M. Locsin, Sr. was close to Ninoy -considering him a friend. In The Conscience of the Filipino: The Sacrifice, Locsin pondered Ninoy’s being jailed, his continuing resistance to Marcos, and his decision to come home. He observed,

Soon after the imposition of martial law, a high American official reportedly described the Filipino people as composed of 40 million cowards and one son of a bitch. Otherwise, they should have risen as one against the destroyer of their liberties, the American must have reasoned. Yet, six million Jews went like sheep to the slaughter, stopping only to bicker over an extra crumb of bread that might keep one alive an extra day. The Nicaraguans swallowed 40 years of indignity and official thievery from the Somozas before putting an end to their rule. And the Poles, to date, have done nothing but picket. The Hungarians, after a brief spasms of prideful revolt, have traded the hope of liberty for that extra roll of toilet paper in the Soviet showcase of a consumer society.

The Filipino people rose in revolt against Spanish rule again and again through 350 years until the Revolution had cornered the last Spaniards in Manila. Then they fought the Americans, who had suddenly snatched the freedom that was almost in their grasp. Ten percent of the Filipino people died in that war. When the Japanese drove out the Americans, the Filipinos fought the Japanese.

Then came martial law, if not with American fore-knowledge and approval, definitely with American support after the event. First, submission. (Cowardice?) Resignation. (Not the Communists, for sure.) Almost 11 years after that, August 21, 1983, and Ninoy’s body bleeding on the tarmac.
The Filipino people are themselves again. And it took less than 11 years for a nation of “cowards” to be the men and women they are now.

In an editorial, titled If, Locsin asked what might have been, had Ninoy come home -and lived, offering up this meditation on power:

So, Marcos was brilliant – at the start. He did not have a gun, then: martial law enforced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines with his Number 1 hood, Ver, as chief-of-staff. Then, martial law! Brilliant he was, okay, or just cunning, unprincipled, a thinking son of bitch? All right, brilliant Marcos was. But the intellect deteriorates not meeting real challenge. The gun makes all challenge ineffectual. The mind becomes dull. Absolute power does not only corrupt absolutely, it stupefies. There is no need for intelligence when the guns serves. The blade of the mind rusts. Absolute power brings absolute stupidity. Such is the lesson of all dictatorships.

And in another essay, Is he? Locsin offered a reflection on Ninoy’s statement that “The Filipino is worth dying for.” Wrote Locsin,

There was, of course, no lack of apologia for venality and cowardice… But nobody cared.

Except a few. The unhappy few who found their cries against the death of liberty met with indifference if not scorn. Scorn for not being practical, for continuing to dream of freedom. Or boredom — for being so right but ineffectual. Even social hostility, for reminding the submissive or collaborator of virtue. What it means to be human, not a dog, glad for every scrap that fell from the table of the dictator and his family and partners in robbery and murder. Ninoy and Cory would afterward speak of how those they thought their friends pretended they did not know them!

There was no demonstrations of any consequence for years and years. While the Opposition dwindled into insignificance — except the Communist rebels in the hills — business boomed. With borrowed money much of which the dictatorship stole. National economic growth rose with national foreign debt. The future of the Filipino people was morgaged more and more to foreign banks greedy for interest on their Arab deposits. The children will have to pay, but the parents did not care. The dictatorship was riding high on the back of the Filipino people and they did not feel the weight.

Today, of course, there are still those who deny Ninoy was a hero. I suspect they do not believe anyone is capable of heroism, period. Skepticism, when it plunges a person into an inescapable refusal to recognize anything they have not defined in a manner that reinforces their conviction that only they possess virtue, is a horrifying thing, because it denies everything (except, perhaps, the self-assurance of self-satisfaction) and achieves nothing.

Other readings: on Ninoy, from the Inquirer editorial on officials lacking his sense and principles; the Black & White Movement is one year old;
Bunker Chronicles is irked by official commemorations that ring hollow; Sassy Melbournite asks for something many will overlook: a moment of silence.

Luis R. Sioson on the vanishing landscape of memory.

In the punditocracy, Newsstand broadly hinted at what was coming, which was Justice Isagani Cruz’s response to my reply. And so, today, my reply to his response: Oblivious in Cloud Cuckoo-land.

A reader (Filipino Catholic) who commented previously has additional comments (click on thumbnail image):
Reaction To Your Tv Appearance-1
(Hat-tip to Clever WoT for the Holmes Quote which mentions Holmes’s support of eugenics and in turn, to my reading the decision in Buck v. Bell (here’s an abstract; and here’s the decision penned by Holmes); there’s also this letter to the editor on Voltaire, and further explanations of the letter’s point can be found among the reader’s comments, here.)

Patricia Evangelista had many skeptics in the past, concerning her being an opinion page columnist, but with her last column, In contempt, and her column yesterday, Rage against the dying of the light, I don’t think anyone can deny she has come of age.

As Randy David puts it, emergency rule has become the President’s paradigm of governance. Bong Austero issues a reminder: the opposition must purge itself.

Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ delves into the power struggle between the Senate and the Palace. Sylvia Mayuga’s lyrical look at the Santo Niño. Jojo Robles observes 30 years in the profession. Rita Linda V. Jimeno writes on libel, the Palace’s current flavor of the month.

Overseas: Karma gradually catching up with Thaksin. A gathering of Thai Magsaysay Award recipients says Thais told they must get more involved in politics.

In the blogosphere, some thoughts on opinion writing by Catherine Seipp in Politics Central. Thoughts on contending ideas in down to the wire & squirming.

Jim Paredes in his blog, objectis to an Inquirer story that claimed Finally, Apo’s Jim Paredes gives up on RP. He says it’s a misleading story to say the least. His daughter is furious.

A sampling of blogs on Justice Cruz over the past week or so: [email protected] is inclined to be satisfied with the Justice’s assertion of his freedom of expression; The Bystander says the Justice was justifiably exercising his rights, and Livewire’s Law is also of the opinion that criticism has been excessive and unhealthy. Iloilo City Boy believes there’s a clash of generations. There’s leaflens‘ blog, which argues the disagreement is larger than two contending columnists. saludagabre believes what has been missed out is a larger advocacy of a “struggle for economic redistribution”. Vissi d’arte also says I missed out on something and takes up the slack. prickster is surprised the Justice hasn’t been accused of sophistry.

jamesjimenez writes crimson. Bryanboy raises an eyebrow but plans a fab outfit for the Justice’s permanent retirement. Spunk thinks John Silva’s reaction was good. Random Thoughts reproduces an open letter. Here is another response and here’s another readers sent in.

See also letters from kamijo, and ragnarokette and Hippie Bourgeois, and a sarcastic response from I’m a devil in haste (Pulsar also pens an open letter, someone else explains why they won’t respond beyond their blog). mcvie: Isa Granny makes a brief statement. Bridget Jones is A Man… and I am Her recounts his family’s reactions. Pinay New Yorker, who has a gay brother, explains what bigotry is. Awful Things also reacts, as does jcv000. sunfish is particularly pithy.
true north strong and free and me examines the example of Canada as a case in which diversity works. pixie debunks misconceptions.

Seriously? at in transit doesn’t condone homosexuality but doesn’t condone Justice Cruz, either.

On the other hand, Cutting Against the Grain commends Justice Cruz for establishing a beachhead in the War for Christian Civilization.

At this point, with his permission, I’d like to reproduce what Mario Taguiwalo wrote to members of an e-group that he belongs to:

Friends,

You may have read or heard about Justice Cruz’ unfortunate column on PDI (“Don we now our gay apparel”) and the reactions of many to it, including John Silva, Jonathan Best and Manolo Quezon. Justice Cruz has a rejoinder to Manolo’s own column today (“Neither here nor there”), which I think only deepens the hole he dug for himself.

I re-read Justice Cruz’ original column and tried to understand what made it so infuriating for some people. What I discovered may be useful to many of us who are called upon to express an opinion about something in the public arena. Here are some occasional notes that might be entitled “Anatomy of Bigotry”.

Justice Cruz starts his column in Paragraph 1 with an apparently neutral observation: “Homosexuals before were mocked and derided, but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, even regarded as celebrities.” He then offers a caveat in Paragraph  that his “observations against homosexuals in general” do not apply to those who have not violated his preferred standards of behavior. In Paragraph 3, he cites a general global “change in the popular attitude towards homosexuals”, which have led to a belief that they are “a separate third sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just an illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there”. He then recalls the good old days of his elementary schooling in Paragraph 4, when homosexuals were rare, submissive and mildly amusing.

His alarm begins in Paragraph 5 when “homos dirtied the beautiful tradition of the Santa Cruz de Mayo” by their participation, which he referred to as a “blasphemy”. His alarms escalate in Paragraph 6, when he sees homosexuals everywhere in “alarming and audacious number”. His alarm boils over in Paragraph 7 when he points to schools being “fertile ground for the gay invasion”, which would not have happened if “certifiably masculine” students like his own five “macho sons” mauled them like they used to do in the 70’s.

Finally, he climaxes in Paragraph 8 in these rhetorical questions: “Is our population getting to be predominatly pansy? Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities.”

In his 8 short paragraphs, Justice Cruz took the trouble to use all emotionally laden words he could conjure about homosexuals: gay, pansy, siyoke, queer, binabae, fairies, lady-like directors, bading, sexless persons, effeminate bearded hairdressers. He offers the behavior of couturiers as deserving his admiration and respect; and points to vulgar members of the gay community as having degraded and scandalized that community. In his world, homosexuals “dirtied” and “cheapen” whatever they touch. In his latest column he defends his piece as his own opinion and that “it depends on what and whom you hate” that matters. He then says he hates grafters, murderers, rapists and other criminals, implying therefore that his hate for homosexuals is on the same basis. Contrary to his caveat in Paragraph 2, it is not some behavior of some homosexuals that he attacked, it was in fact all homosexuals and whatever claims homosexuals may have as human beings that he wishes to deny.

Let us reflect on what Justice Cruz [would] have us do with homosexuals.

For those of the homosexual persuasion, Justice Cruz wants you to: (a) stay in the closet; (b) if you have to be outed, behave “decorously” and (c) above all, do not blaspheme religious festivals with your visible participation. For the rest of us who wants to stem the rising tide of homosexuality, Justice Cruz wants us to: (a) avoid being amused by their antics as this only encourages them; (b) if necessary, maul them back to the closet or towards more decorous behavior.

Reading Justice Cruz, one can replace “homosexuals” with many other groups who have been discriminated against such as “women”( it is not women I hate, but loud aggressive women), “Negroes” (I do not hate Niggers, it’s uppity Niggers I want dead), “Jews” (Jews are not bad, just those bloodsucking ones), “Muslims” (Muslims are fine but Muslim zealots should be exterminated), young people with long hair in the 60’s, the developmentally disabled, etc.

One has to ask Justice Cruz and people like him who think that there are groups deserving condemnation for simply being who they are and for acting in accordance with what they believe is right even when it is different from our own beliefs: what damage have they done to our society? what harm are they inflicting on our lives?

A bigot is a person obstinately devoted to his own opinions and prejudices who regards or treats members of a group with hatred and intolerance. Justice Cruz’ column is an example of bigotry.

Have a good weekend.

Mario

Jessica Zafra makes a political prediction: Danton Remoto is going to Congress.

Bunker Chronicles makes some observations about the excuses tend to make to justify their hold on power.

Manila News on how the days of the generals has returned. As in the period leading up to 1986, this serves the purposes of the upholders of the status quo. For the military to be a decisive factor in the political impasse would require one of two things: their repudiating the ongoing offensives in the provinces, or an absolute enforcement of similar methods nationwide.

Iloilo City Boy: rare red shrimps among casualties of Guimaras oil spill. Read also, of the personal tragedy his uncle’s facing because of the disaster.

New Economist on why the UK is so expensive.

Leon Kilat with a nifty entry on backing up cellphone information.

As above me, so below me on an email from the Dash Media Project.A viewing:, just for fun: How computerized elections might work.

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    • cvj on August 21, 2006 at 4:54 am

    Esposo is right to point out that Ninoy would be appalled at the behavior of TeddyBoy Locsin, Edcel Lagman and his sister Lupita. In the case of Locsin, that’s why i feel his speech to the Atenean graduates rings hollow.

    As for Isagani Cruz’s rejoinder, he falls back on a meta-defense arguing for his right to express his opinion, but does not really address why he should not be considered a hate-monger. Also, he misrepresents Jesus’ behavior in the temple as ‘hate’ when in fact it is anger. His frame remains that of a bigoted Christian.

    Maybe Jesus and Ninoy are sharing frustrations over drinks right now.

  1. PERMANENT RETIREMENT? I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THAT MAN GO SIX FEET UNDER THE GROUND!

    • jhay on August 21, 2006 at 7:51 am

    I never expected Justice Cruz to write something like that, at least think like the way he wrote. Then again, he is old, though highly educated, traces of Catholiic conservatism dot his genes. This prevents him to adjust to the modern times, “it’s future shock” as Alvin Toffler would call it.

    • krik2 on August 21, 2006 at 9:32 am

    justice cruz must have realized better to mess with the opposite sex but not with the third kind.

  2. I don’t know if it’s just me or not but why do I find it annoying when Filipinos consider LGBT community as “third sex”?

    As far as I know there’s only 2 gender classifications – male or female sex.

    • Joms on August 21, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    Id be so much happier if they consider lesbians women and gay men. It’s as simple as that. There should never be a second sex, much more a third sex.

    • vic on August 21, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    That seems to be the problem with a some of opinion writers the like of Isagani Cruz. He can’t take what he dishes out. He becomes so defensive, defending his distorted views, that the majority of his readers found to be either discriminatory, biased, or for some “bigoted” that he resort to attacking his critiques. Had he wrote such piece in this part of the world, he would be slapped with all kinds of lawsuits, regardless of who he was, how ‘macho’ his breed are, or for that mattter how smart he think he is. Chances he’ll be might be just ignored as another “crackpot” high on cheap drugs…

    • trix on August 21, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    * To krik2 who said thus: “justice cruz must have realized better to mess with the opposite sex but not with the third kind.”

    –What’s with the hierarchy? Pls expound.

    ** To Bryanboy who said thus: “I don’t know if it’s just me or not but why do I find it annoying when Filipinos consider LGBT community as ‘third sex’? As far as I know there’s only 2 gender classifications – male or female sex.”

    –countless present-day discussions from the domains of literary theory, sociological theory, etc, of sex politics and gender politics have been notoriously replete with the most ambiguous definitions for sex and gender. usage of those two terms has been infuriatingly amorphous, arbitrarily pegged to the frameworks employed in the discourses where they’re taken up. Add to those two terms “sexual preference,” “sexual orientation,” “sexuality,” etc, etc, etc….

    *** To Joms who said thus: “Id be so much happier if they consider lesbians women and gay men.”

    –Me too. Problem is –would our happiness matter to other people?

  3. I seldom read Justice Cruz’s column as I find his views extremely conservative (sort of fundamentalist) and out of touch in the present world. But I read your column regularly as I find it very informative and relevant. I regard your opinion highly and looking back I find no hint of your gender preference in your past opinions I read. Frankly speaking, I share some of the views of Justice Cruz regarding the vulgarity of some gays, but not to the extreme(hate) he described in his column. The same dislike I felt for vulgar and loud boys and girls I encountered and met. I just turned away and avoid being friend with them. But what put these vulgar gays in the limelight is they did these openly and on purpose just to attract attention. I admire and respect the likes of Fanny Serrano, Ricky Reyes, Pitoy Moreno, and many more who I believe are exemplar of what gay should be. I also like Bernardo Bernardo. I have lots of gay friends on same mold but I won’t mention their name. On our casual talk, they also mentioned their dislikes on some vulgar gays they know and admit these gays are the reason why some people lacks respect on them. Justice Cruz maybe too extreme in his words, but I hope straight gays will look on this more on the objective side. If there are etiquette standards for men and women, I think it is about time we also have one for gays.

    • Rank on August 21, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    One of the reasons I dropped out of religion was that the Apostle Paul sounded like Justice Cruz. Keep it up, Manolo.

    • Jeg on August 21, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    I think you and Justice Cruz are speaking different languages, MLQ3. That’s why I think your ideas can’t meet.

    Justice Cruz said this:

    In the free society, ideas are countered with ideas, not pejorative names.

    Yet his first column was full of what we today would consider pejoratives. Obviously, to him, they were not. It’s the language of his generation. MLQ3 speaks with the language of our generation. They may sound similar, but they arent the same.

    I said before that I give the Justice the benefit of the doubt. I still do. Never attribute malice (or bigotry) to that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    • Paenggoy on August 21, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    What I found disturbing isn’t Justice Cruz’s dislike of vulgar gay people but his remark about allowing his five sons to beat up a gay person. I don’t see anything right about that.

  4. I said before that I give the Justice the benefit of the doubt. I still do. Never attribute malice (or bigotry) to that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    Jeg said this on August 21st, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    Hey, isn’t this last statement of yours contradictory? While you gave Mr. Cruz the benefit of the doubt, you dismissed his opinion as mere stupidity. Which is which jeg?

    As between Manolo and Cruz, neither of them can claim a clear victory in the battle for the hearts and minds of those who read them. Manolo is advocating for due recognition of “gay” rights and respect even for the most vulgar among them. Cruz on the other hand, while his concepts on homosexuality is archaic, is banking on freedom of expression as a justification for the exrcise of his right to criticize (or deride) some members of the gay population who scandalously display themselves before the public.

    C’mon people let’s admit it. If heterosexual men and women are called upon to observe certain unwritten rules of behavior and decorum, then it behooves the gay community to likewise do the same. In that sense, Justice Cruz’s opinion cannot simply be dismissed as mere stupidity.

    • Coco Alcuaz on August 21, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    I used to read Isagani Cruz because he seemed intelligent. I tuned out when he started insulting people who has less formal education, less English-language skills and who enjoyed cheaper thrills, such as TV variety shows. He never conceded they could be as wise if not wiser than diplomaed, English-speaking people who enjoyed so-called finer things in life. He was just scared they’d elect Noli or FPJ president, not someone with more polish. (Pause for irony.) A favorite writer of mine once said beliefs come in clusters, like grapes. So, apparently, do bigotries, if there is such a word. Manolo is the better thinker and, by far, the better man. He’ll also influence more people, thank God.

  5. In this issue, I am taking the fundamentalist line. MLQ3 has the right to his opinion, and he’s entitled to defend gay population (LGBT as bryan said). On the other hand, Cruz has the same right to express his views. We (the readers) have the right to comment, approve, or disapprove each man’s stand. Whoever can’t respect another person’s stand is the bigot (where bigot is defined as a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own).

    For example, I believe that one can be gay or straight. As such, you can have feelings and practice things (including sexual) the way you want them. However, you have to be ready to face the consequences of your choice/s and actions. If you choose to be a loud gay, then a consequence is to be hit by an article by Mr. Cruz, and others who disapprove of such ways. If you choose to be a practicing gay (have same sex relations), then the Bible says that “ye shall not inherit the kingdom of God”, the same consequence if you’re straight and have sex when not married (fornication) or extra-marital affairs (adultery).

    Of course, we don’t share the same point of view that this thread is going to become lengthy once again, where we will see people trying to impose their preference of what is right and wrong.

  6. What I found disturbing isn’t Justice Cruz’s dislike of vulgar gay people but his remark about allowing his five sons to beat up a gay person. I don’t see anything right about that.

    Paenggoy said this on August 21st, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    This is what Cruz actually stated in that article: “That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine.”

    Let’s be more accurate with our statements Paenggoy before we even stress a point. See the difference? Did he say that his five sons would have mauled the poor gay had the latter been studying in the 70s? Or did he say that he would have allowed his five sons to maul the homo? Or better yet, wasn’t Justice Cruz merely stating an opinion (which you could either reject or not) that gay bashing in the 70s was the rule contrary to what he has observed at present?

  7. We (the readers) have the right to comment, approve, or disapprove each man’s stand. Whoever can’t respect another person’s stand is the bigot (where bigot is defined as a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own).

    Jon Mariano said this in part on August 21st, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    –Aptly said, Jon. That is exactly my point.

    • cvj on August 21, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    Let’s not unecessarily expand the definition of bigotry. The proper definition of bigot is not whether we are intolerant of another person’s opinion or not. When it comes to opinions, either we agree, disagree or remain indifferent. None of these reactions qualifies one as a bigot. Bigotry applies to irrational hatred towards another, something which Cruz is guilty of and the LGBT community is not.

    • mlq3 on August 21, 2006 at 6:24 pm
      Author

    i think that what is overlooked here is that this is not a debate about etiquette or politeness. if that were so, and only about that, then i would advocate deference to our elders and the modification of behavior, at least when around elders, in deference to their sensibilities. consideration is never wrong in that sense.

    my bone to pick with straight people in this debate is that it is difficult for them to imagine the perpetual fear and terror many gay people experience at the hands of authority figures. and i’m not talking merely about psychological pressure or fear. people get beaten up, they get hurt, etc.

    now call me an extremist but i don’t think that under any circumstance, what one person believes is wanton behavior justifies getting that person beaten up.

    now, say you assert it is ok to condemn noisy, flagrantly provocative gay people; and knowing that such people tend to be on the recieving end of physical if not mental abuse from the “normal”; what is the gay person who sees the potential for such abuse taking place, supposed to do? be thankful that because his behavior is different, he most likely won’t be on the receiving end of a club, a fist, a gun, a gang? or worse, shrug, and scurry away, thanking the gods someone else got beaten up (or even worse, being angry at the provocative gay person for “causing trouble”?).

    i happen to think manners make sense because they smoothen relationships between people. if i’m noisy, there are several ways to quieten me down, and in my case, appealing to my consideration is more effective than ordering me to do something.

    worse is calling for a general effort to clamp down against a kind of behavior, on the pretext that such behavior represents a threat: which is what justice cruz argues. he is afraid of an effete and ineffectual new breed of filipinos. there is a very big difference between asking for consideration and tact, and pronouncing the existence of a pink peril.

    and again, what straight people do not get is that when you pronounce there’s a pink peril, it leads the more atavistic to take matters into their own hands. particularly when justice cruz did not, by any means, denounce people getting beaten up in the past.

    but again it boils down to your view of how change is achieved and how positive things remain positive and you prevent things from sliding back. change never happened by wishing for it. you fight for it -and you fight back if someone wants to reverse what you believe to be a positive change.

    change involves excesses -just look at the 1960s. but society works things out, and surely we can appreciate that for those of us who are younger, we don’t want the 70s back, or the 80s, or the 90s, we grew up then and to slide back would be to revert to infancy. we can be nostalgic, sure: but our nostalgia has to be tempered by the inevitability of change and a horror of any kind of reactionary instincts on the part of those with authority.

    it’s more difficult and often unpleasant to deal with change. in other blogs i’ve read people arguing that the gay person some straight people find obnoxious are people who had to tough it out, even brazen it out, because their being different immediately put them up against limits that no one else has to endure. so to my mind the beautician that irritates people deserves more than a little tolerance because he’s supporting parents that disapprove of him but take his financial assistance, and sends siblings to schools that deny openly gay students the chance to be on the honor roll, etc.

    it’s the same thing with women’s rights -you hear exasperated men complain of how shrill and confrontational they can be, but what would you prefer? women treated as property? as baby incubators and cooks and that’s it? women were throwing themselves under the king of england’s race horse and getting beaten up and arrested simply for the right to vote in the 19th and 20th centuries; and gay people have had to fight back because you cannot ignore the pink triangles of the third reich or how gay people are sent to labor camps in cuba and china. don’t tell me it could never happen here -it can happen anywhere and you always have to be alert and even confrontational.

    now if you’ve never been beaten up, if you’ve never lost friends merely because of your sexuality, if you’ve never been condemned and faced harrasment not even for your behavior, but for your identity -because not every gay person who suffered was the kind everyone thinks is the cause of all this commotion- then of course you will think this merely a matter of taste, and grounds for an advocacy of every possible point of view.

    but you know, to my mind, that’s identical to those who say political dissidents should be arrested, and they have it coming if they get shot. it is what leads dissidents to abandon trying to reason with their critics and attempt armed revolution: because in not recognizing how things have turned into a battle for survival, the critics of the critics unleash war.

    the question is, if we have two different points of view, how do we resolve them? by demanding one side totally surrender? the problem with not recognizing there has to be a better way is that surrender shouldn’t be the only choice for those at risk of surrendering even their lives.

    you object to a kind of behavior, say so, and for the proper reasons: it intrudes on your right not to be bothered, and ignores the fundamental obligation of everyone to give a little so everyone can get along. transform your irritation and fear into proclaiming there’s a threat to be fought, without even having attempted a dialogue or search for a compromise -that’s too much. considering what’s at stake.

    Addendum: I liked this article very much:

    http://www.mckenziestudycenter.org/bible/articles/bigotry.html

  8. Let’s not unecessarily expand the definition of bigotry. The proper definition of bigot is not whether we are intolerant of another person’s opinion or not. When it comes to opinions, either we agree, disagree or remain indifferent. None of these reactions qualifies one as a bigot. Bigotry applies to irrational hatred towards another, something which Cruz is guilty of and the LGBT community is not.

    cvj said this on August 21st, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    This is the meaning of a “bigot” the last time I looked in the dictionary:

    bigot
    (plural: bigots)
    noun

    intolerant person: somebody who has very strong opinions, especially on matters of politics, religion, or ethnicity, and refuses to accept different views

    [Late 16th century. From French , of unknown origin.]
    Microsoft® Encarta® Premium Suite 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    –Could it be that my dictionary is wrong or plainly outmoded? Or do you have any dictionary that does not include the above definition? If we could not even agree on what/who is a bigot, then there’s no use discussing the issue further.

    • Jeg on August 21, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    From the bystander: you dismissed his opinion as mere stupidity. Which is which jeg?

    Stupidity. Not bigotry. Ok maybe stupidity is not the right word, but I was quoting someone but forgot who. Ignorance then. Not bigotry.

  9. I happen to be in the same line as with The Bystander’s line of reasoning. I got my definition from the free Wordweb version 4.01 dictionary copyrighted by Princeton University, 2005 (it’s free if for personal use, and can be downloaded from the internet).

  10. “that’s identical to those who say political dissidents should be arrested, and they have it coming if they get shot.”

    And you got one bryanboy who wished that Justice Cruz should die.

    Frankly, it is this type of gay /blogger who infuriates people. A blogger who blaphemes the Blessed Virgin Mary by inserting his picture and peppers his blog with the F words and pictures of himself with the blowjob thing.

    So what say you, Mlq3?

    This is the same as one commenter who wanted GMA to be assasinated.

    • Paeng on August 21, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    mlq3,

    while i am generally on your side on this one, i don’t think you should have resorted to insults. Oblivious in Cloud Cuckoo-Land? c’mon, man, you’re above that.

    • mlq3 on August 21, 2006 at 7:09 pm
      Author

    Ca t,

    having disliked that person’s blog, you are free never to visit that blog again, and that’s probably the best solution for all concerned: or express how that blog disturbs you (i’d only add that it’s a stretch to say that bryanboy disturbs me, many bryanboys are going to turn this country godless, irreligious, sexually and morally depraved, etc.).

    i have made clear my own personal disagreement with those who express themselves a particular way. and how i think certain “solutions” (such as violence and assassination) don’t solve anything. i banned one person from this blog, because they were making death threats against a private individual; as for death threats on public individuals, i beleive there are even supreme court decisions that state it’s within the permissible freedom of speech. and considering how freedom’s being assualted, i’m comfortable with someone venting venom against officials when those officials wouldn’t even permit demonstrations.

    and those who dislilke or object to what i write express themselves here, too, and those who agree -and go beyond what i’d ever say- express themselves here, too; better they say what they want to say than not be able to say it at all.

    which is why i objected, too, to those demanding justice cruz be fired. he writes, i write, you write, we might find something to agree on or understand how deep our divisions are, but i’d never advocate someone losing their forum because someone’s mad.

    • mlq3 on August 21, 2006 at 7:16 pm
      Author

    paeng,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_cuckoo_land

    for example, there’s the chance that statistically there were far more gay people in cruz’s time and that it wasn’t what he thinks it was -and that certainly, it seems to me he was being extremely lacking in information in making the generalizations he did about gay people and the “threat” they represent. and that in particular he doesn’t consider the dangers to others his words could produce.

    • Jeg on August 21, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    Im glad PDI published both Cruz’s and MLQ3’s columns. This is one of those issues that need to be discussed.

    Exceptions, C at. The actions of one bryanboy does not necessarilty reflect those of the community.

    • whynotchoconut on August 21, 2006 at 8:03 pm

    I know this is an intelligent place and all, but can I date you Manolo?

    • vic on August 21, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    Since I believe these issues, homosexuality, bigotry, hatred, and biases will be with us forever, why not let the law and the court intervene and straightened everything out. We had have the same Gay bashing, intolerance not so long in the distant past and arguments and even honest, factual discussion had not come to solutions. Then came the Charter of Rights And Freedoms (1982), the basis of challenges that just in a matter of few the years, got away with all arguments, angry debates and put into law the basis where society behaves and just about eliminated the public discrimination, hatred, prejudice and biases against any member of our very diverse society.

    As for the member of any groups, who misbehaves, like “vulgar depictions”, “indecent exposures”, or “public mischief”, there are separate set of laws to cover such behaviors without resorting to attacking the rest of the group for the sin of the few. And lastly, we can’t even agree as to the meaning of the word ‘Bigotry’, then how can we ever agree that bigotry is just wrong

    • trix on August 21, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    hello manolo. this i think is worth a mention on this thread.

    while i personally advocate “political tolerance” in discourse, i consider it just as critical not only that participants in it (especially writers who have extensive media mileage like columnists or fictionists) keep abreast of their evolving freedoms within present-day debates, but that they also stay attentive to the possible impact of their writings on those who are likely to read them. and such an impact is difficult to scale beforehand, hence the need for a writer’s discernment.

    writing by profession is not a trivial thing; writing for an audience that has the potential to broaden and further diversify, can have real-life ramifications. writers cannot afford to lose sight of the social accountability that accompanies the territory of becoming well-known and of communicating with a growing audience. writing, BY DESIGN, is of as much personal, social and intellectual consequence to the person making written statements, as it is to the person really
    bothering to suss out the validity and heed the authority of
    those statements.

    the written word has the power not only to stir emotions; it has the uncanny ability to influence, if not dictate upon, behavior. and true enough, in many instances, the written word has ably fomented uprisings.

    people actively AND prominently participating in discourse therefore ought to take upon themselves what is anyway the very minor duty of maintaining the delicate balance between freely seeking out an audience for the personal “politics” that they’ll openly express AND keeping themselves in tune with the likely repercussions for other people of venting their views.

  11. MLQ3 said:

    1. “i think that what is overlooked here is that this is not a debate about etiquette or politeness. if that were so, and only about that, then i would advocate deference to our elders and the modification of behavior, at least when around elders, in deference to their sensibilities. consideration is never wrong in that sense.”

    –On the contrary, that was what Justice Cruz partly wanted to point out (minus his calling of homos as pansies, fairies, siyokes, etc.) — the etiquette/behavior of some gays that borders on vulgarity and those who scandalously project themselves before the public. Like it or not, what “proper behavior or etiquette” is depends on a person’s values. Unfortunately for the overly sensitive homo population, It just so happened that Mr. Cruz who happens to write for a paper finds vulgar and exhibitonist gays obnoxious to his jaundiced eyes.

    2. “my bone to pick with straight people in this debate is that it is difficult for them to imagine the perpetual fear and terror many gay people experience at the hands of authority figures. and i’m not talking merely about psychological pressure or fear. people get beaten up, they get hurt, etc.

    now call me an extremist but i don’t think that under any circumstance, what one person believes is wanton behavior justifies getting that person beaten up.

    now, say you assert it is ok to condemn noisy, flagrantly provocative gay people; and knowing that such people tend to be on the recieving end of physical if not mental abuse from the “normal”; what is the gay person who sees the potential for such abuse taking place, supposed to do? be thankful that because his behavior is different, he most likely won’t be on the receiving end of a club, a fist, a gun, a gang? or worse, shrug, and scurry away, thanking the gods someone else got beaten up (or even worse, being angry at the provocative gay person for “causing trouble”?).”

    –You are exaggerating the issue, Manolo. Worse, you are assuming that those who read Isagani Cruz’s columns are downright fools to immediately accept hook, line and sinker to everything that he says or follow to the letter his condemnation of what he describes as the vulgar members of the LGBT community. Contrary to your extremist fears, people now (especially those who patronize the PDI) are more discerning. So please, don’t unnecessarily expand the issue as if every physical abuse inflicted on gays is Mr. Cruz’s fault. Under the circumstances, that’s too farfetched. What I notice at present is the exact opposite. Some homos want him literally dead. Don’t tell me now they didn’t say that.

    • mlq3 on August 21, 2006 at 9:31 pm
      Author

    bystander, we will have to agree to disagree and hope you are right on this one, that no one gets hurt and that hurting is justified on grounds the justice has put forward. i wish you would stop to think why to me (and the others similarly aggrieved), it would be impossible to be “overly sensitive” about what someone like justice cruz (who by implication, rightly or wrongly, has the majesty of the law wrapped about him) says. as i said, defending politeness is his right but he does not even bother to ask why people behave that way -for if he did, it might suggest whether his is a valid call to make or not.

    you see, he was confronted with a highly critical point of view from a minority traditionally repressed, and chose to escalate. which might suggest to some, that if there are gay people who are expressing violent thoughts or desires, it could be a form of self-defense.

  12. “I know this is an intelligent place and all, but can I date you Manolo?

    whynotchoconut said this on August 21st, 2006 at 8:03 pm”

    –Since you want to date Manolo and knowing him to be gay, either you are gay too or a straight who indulges in same sex relationships. BUT this is not the avenue for God’s sake to ask somone for a date. How could you be so disrespectful and lewd? Either you are that vulgar and obnoxious gay Justice Cruz is talking about or you are just out to cast aspersions on the character and reputation of MLQ3. What a shame.

    • Schumey on August 21, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    Maybe we should look at it in a differnet perspective. When women began to assert their rigths, the male specie frowned at the thought that the women will be a co-equal. Women’s Lib spread. Through the years, the women was integrated into society and had become a powerful force in social development. We are now faced with the emergence of a third force that has been in our midst for ages. Once again, the male-dominated society is threathened. Man had given the women so much concession that he wouldn’t want to give anymore of what’s left of his ego. Could it be that the threat factor and not morals is behind all these? Personally, I look at a person not as a man, a woman or whatever term you may want to use. What I see before me is a human being. Not gay, man or woman. The same goes with whatever your race, creed or religion may be. Now, wouldn’t it be better if we saw it that way?

    Its human nature to defend ones space. Our society is evolving once again. I’m sure, we will all learn to accept this emerging force in due time.

    • mlq3 on August 21, 2006 at 9:40 pm
      Author

    hold on, what’s wrong with a date?

    but i’m not available, sorry.

    • cvj on August 21, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    bystander, jon, i see where your coming from. However, the dictionary definition does not seem to be in line with the common usage of the term. Holding strong opinions, on its own, does not qualify one to be called a bigot. Intolerance has to be directed at a person or a type of person. Intolerance towards the opinion of others, on the other hand, can just be considered (depending on the situation) a sign of being principled or plain stubbornness, wisdom or arrogance.

  13. Oops. I stand corrected. It’s okay with Manolo pala. Sorry for my unsolicited defense.

    • mlq3 on August 21, 2006 at 9:52 pm
      Author

    i appreciate your indignation, bystander! i found it touching (but it underlines our differing approaches to things, no?) it reminds me of a story a friend told me, about another friend who proposed to the lady he eventually married at a wake. she was shocked he asked her right then and there, he replied, “but why not? look, there’s lots of flowers, and candles, and…” (pointing at the coffin) “we even have a witness”.

  14. Mlq3,
    Well, a bloghopper like me visit blogs whether I like them or not.
    That’s how i learn about people.

    I am referring to his comment in your blog which is contrary to what you advocate.

    But I am not suggesting to remove it. Justice I. Cruz is justified for disliking the members of the rainbow people who cheapen and reduce the third gender to freaks. All they have to do is read his blog and be scandalized.

    jeg,
    I did not make a blanket statement only face towel. bwahaha

    When MLQ3 admitted his sexual orientation, I was one of those who expressed support.

    My best friend is gay anf I would not trade him for a female friend.

    • Jeg on August 21, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    Googled and the quote “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” is attributed to Spider Robinson, Robert Heinlein, some fella named Hanlon, and to that most famous source of quotables, the Greek poet Anonymous.

  15. 1. “bystander, we will have to agree to disagree and hope you are right on this one, that no one gets hurt and that hurting is justified on grounds the justice has put forward.”

    –Since when did I say that physically hurting vulgar and scandalous gays is justified on the grounds that Cruz has put forward? And did Cruz ever say, much less imply that physically hurting gays is okay? Don’t tell me you can find such bold declaration in his column? In that article, he was merely stating a nostalgic opinion that gay mauling was prevalent in the 70s, especially in the school where his 5 macho sons studied. He never advocated for it as a matter of personal policy. He never called for such action either in his public or personal life at least as far as I’ve known the old man.

    2. “as i said, defending politeness is his right but he does not even bother to ask why people behave that way -for if he did, it might suggest whether his is a valid call to make or not.”

    –Again, you are assuming that he was utterly careless in his gay bashing because you think he did not even bother to ask the gay community why a vulgar gay, for example, scandalously blowjobs his male classmate inside the classroom. The thing speaks for itself Manolo. Of course, you will agree with me on my definition of what is scandalous or not. And I’m not about to define it for you. BUT I will know one when I see one.

    3. “you see, he was confronted with a highly critical point of view from a minority traditionally repressed, and chose to escalate. which might suggest to some, that if there are gay people who are expressing violent thoughts or desires, it could be a form of self-defense.”

    –Wishing ill on someone, especially one who is now at the “departure area” can never be sanctioned, even if that person has exhibited a view totally opposite yours. For how are you different from Justice Cruz whom you and your lot so viciously condemn?

    And tell me Manolo, just because he chose to “escalate”, that already justifies some gays to virtually call for his demise? Justice Cruz was well-within his constitutonal right to free expression. He has the right to criticize, much as you have the right to oppose his criticism with equal intensity. To curtail that right (e.g. demanding for his retirement from the PDI, entertaining the thought that he be lynched by an angry mob of “fairies”) because of the exaggerated outrage of a particular group would be the highest form of bigotry. They who seek redress must come with clean hands. They should not expect sympathy and understanding when they are bigots themselves.

  16. *Erratum: Of course, you will NOT agree with me on my definition of what is scandalous or not.

    • mlq3 on August 21, 2006 at 10:59 pm
      Author

    bystander,

    I never said and certainly don’t think you advocate any such thing -my argument is that I have a genuine apprehension that Justice Cruz has condoned that kind of hurting. My assertion is that an unintended consequence of what he wrote is that it will provoke confusion (at best) and at worse, will convince some he thinks assaulting gay people is ok -no effort was made to condemn such behavior as a wrong solution to anything. and nostalgia for such behavior is wrong.

    I don’t know if we will agree on what is scandalous or not, and blowjobs in a classroom is a far cry from a man in women’s clothes. and he was careless, because he should not have done any gay bashing at all. Now what Justice Cruz implies is that unless vigorous steps are taken about gay people he finds obnoxious, then the next step is people humping in the streets and in church, which is again, a slander on gay people and the kind of leap in logic based on a totally inaccurate understanding of gay people, the various subcultures at work, etc.

    and as i said, i have opposed those demanding he resign or be fired. he proposes a view; i contest the view; he can defend and i can defend though i’d hoped he might pause and consider if there’s another way. he did not. now, if you leave him unopposed, it will simply strengthen a dangerous frame of mind.

    i disagree that those who seek redress must do so with clean hands. a human being is a human being and this is precisely the nature of human rights. it does not depend if one acts in a socially acceptable manner or not -those are conventions that change and are subject to challenge and amendment, as the fashions of women and even men demonstrate. it is precisely the person who belongs to a traditionally marginalized, and persecuted, threatened minority, wh you find obnoxious or reprehensible who deserves protection, even to the extent it might temporarily upset or impinge on the rights of the dominant group. after all, the dominant group is more than capable of defending itself and has the dominant point of view; but the minority at times must be protected and vigorously so. otherwise human rights is reduced to “a numbers game.”

  17. “bystander, jon, i see where your coming from. However, the dictionary definition does not seem to be in line with the common usage of the term. Holding strong opinions, on its own, does not qualify one to be called a bigot. Intolerance has to be directed at a person or a type of person. Intolerance towards the opinion of others, on the other hand, can just be considered (depending on the situation) a sign of being principled or plain stubbornness, wisdom or arrogance.

    cvj said this on August 21st, 2006 at 9:44 pm”

    –I maintain my earlier position that a bigot as defined in the dictonary is somebody who has very strong opinions, especially on matters of politics, religion, or ethnicity, and refuses to accept different views. I’m sorry cvj, but between your own definition and that of a presumably well-researched work, I have to rely on the latter.

    • Jeg on August 21, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    From the bystanderyou think he did not even bother to ask the gay community why a vulgar gay, for example, scandalously blowjobs his male classmate inside the classroom.

    Am I to understand that in this act, the gay fella alone, the blowjobber, is acting scandalously, while the presumably hetero blowjobee is not?

    And by the way, I think cvj’s definition is better than the presumably well-researched work.

    • mlq3 on August 21, 2006 at 11:11 pm
      Author

    Bystander, it’s the indivisible combination of prejudice and intolerance of opposing views. So see the definition of bigot and that of prejudice. A person who holds views that won’t budge is merely stubborn; it’s the combination of stubborness and prejudice that produces bigotry.

    From the Oxford English Dictionary, which is the creme de la creme of dictionaries (askoxford.com):

    bigot

    /biggt/

    • noun a person who is prejudiced in their views and intolerant of the opinions of others.

    — DERIVATIVES bigoted adjective bigotry noun.

    — ORIGIN French.

    prejudice

    • noun 1 preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or experience. 2 unjust behaviour formed on such a basis. 3 chiefly Law harm that may result from some action or judgement.

    • verb 1 give rise to prejudice in (someone); make biased. 2 chiefly Law cause harm to (a state of affairs).

    — PHRASES without prejudice Law without detriment to any existing right or claim.

    — ORIGIN Latin praejudicium, from prae ‘in advance’ + judicium ‘judgement’.

    The American Heritage Dictionary also defines it in terms of the word itself and another:

    bigot

    SYLLABICATION: big·ot
    PRONUNCIATION: bgt
    NOUN: One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

    intolerant

    SYLLABICATION: in·tol·er·ant
    PRONUNCIATION: n-tlr-nt
    ADJECTIVE: Not tolerant, especially: a. Unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions, practices, or beliefs, especially religious beliefs. b. Opposed to the inclusion or participation of those different from oneself, especially those of a different racial, ethnic, or social background. c. Unable or unwilling to endure or support: intolerant of interruptions; a community intolerant of crime.

    • manuelbuencamino on August 21, 2006 at 11:14 pm

    What positive thing did Cruz’s two essays contribute towards understanding and bridging the differences among us?

  18. RETIRED (emphasis on retired) Justice (such an irony) Cruz (another irony to his bigoted stance) really is fast becoming a senile old coot. Though he has a right to freedom of expression to lambast gays, he should have known that such right comes with responsibility. And he shouldn’t feign innocence when the brickbats hit his senile head.

    Such a shame that such a legal luminary had degenerated himself into uncouthe and bigoted tirades. It’s also scary when you think that he equates homosexuality with murder and graft. He thinks that such a state of being is enough to be put on reclusion perpetua. That just shows how skewed his views on human life is. Hitler has the same views for the Jews.

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  1. […] Today we remember the assassination of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. It was 23 years ago and if Manuel Quezon III was just 13 and had just arrived in the US to study, I was just 2 years of age back then and was probably cuddled in my mother’s arms in our home here in Silang, Cavite when this tragic news shocked the country. […]

  2. […] It was indeed rare to find a fellow columnist debunking what one has written. But this is an exception since Cruz has touched on a raw nerve that eventually illicited various reactions in the Philippine blogosphere. Quezon has somehow collected most of it here. I’m sure there will be more. […]

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