Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jessica Sanchez in American Idol

Jessica lost to Phil because it is an American audience who is doing the voting.
The profile of the American Idol audience may be characterized as white, young, from the conservative middle to lower class, with little sophistication, whose music preference would be country westerns, whose singer type would be wholesome “boy (girl) next door” types. Tinges of being homophobic can also be discerned among the voting audience which kept Josh Ledet’s progress at a standstill when he showed signs of this inclination. The same bias reared its head in the case of Adam Lambert who lost to a mediocre Kris Allen.

American Idol is in the entertainment business. It depends on ratings for its sustenance, otherwise, it cannot attract sponsors and advertisers who provide revenue to defray production costs, airtime costs and the profits that would accrue to the program. The AI production has to cater to the demographic profile of the larger part of the audience. This audience will support a contestant who falls within their group more than any other. The effort to bring down the popularity of Jessica was so obvious in the mid part of the competitions, even the subtle revelation of Josh' gender preference was noticeable.

Josh Ledet and Jessica Sanchez, both with awesome vocal ranges and phenomenal performance abilities didn’t stand a chance at winning because Phil Phillips, despite a vocal prowess that was just creditable, was the archetype of the ideal American Idol profile.

 If you wish to bet on competitions like this, heed the advise of the odds makers. With their vast experience, the touts in Las Vegas know this only too well, in addition to having developed a good gut feel for winners, they use the stats in their enormous database of historical data to know the probabilities of a win. It would be a wise thing to heed the odds that they publish.

I think the hierarchy of profiles for winners in AI would be as follows:
1. Attractive, young, white American, middle to low class, boy/girl next door type, country western music, rock and R&B
2. Young African American, middle to low class, really great vocals, soulful, jazzy singer
3. All others; Latino, Filipino and other Asians who are exceptional and awesome performers.

Winning in AI is tough if you don’t fall under the desired profile of the largest segment of the audience. Jessica having won second place is a recognition of her being superior in singing over Phil Phillips and is tantamount to having won the American Idol title.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Corona's Long Winded Tale

 Corona composed a masterful defense testimony which covered all the accusations that the prosecution put up against him within the scope of the trimmed down impeachment issues. It was delivered as an opening statement, an unorthodox narrative style that was uninterrupted by the other side’s objections to normally not allowed declarations such as hearsay evidence, uncorroborated testimony, unjust impugning of characters made against Pnoy, the Ombudsman and Jose Ma. Basa (deceased), self serving stories of frugality other irrelevant and immaterial citations. The prosecution objected to the prolonged statement but the CJ was allowed by the presiding officer to continue with the reasoning that the prosecution can object during the direct questioning by the defense. It was truly unfair to the prosecution for the witness to have a prepared testimony read in its entirety uninterrupted. JPE said that the testimony will be stricken off the records if the CJ does not return for the cross examination only to change his mind later on when he said that the read testimony of the CJ will be admissible as testimony.

It also had the benefit of being delivered with emotional (tearful pauses, choked utterances, hypoglycaemic discomfort, etc.) histrionics worthy of acting awards which would never have been delivered in that manner in the normal course of a court procedure.

The presiding officer JPE ostensibly allowed citing liberality of the court.
This was a brilliant defense testimony because it addressed both legal issues and public opinion without any interruption; something that would not have been possible if the normal court procedures were followed.

After delivering (reading) all that he had to say, he capped his three hour speech in a dramatic fashion by the declaration that he will sign the waiver to open his dollar accounts. But wait, in almost the same breath he put a condition that Senator Drilon and all the 188 congressmen who initiated the impeachment proceedings against him to do the same. An adaptation of Christ’s “he who is without sin cast the first stone” momentarily forgetting that he is the only one accused here.

Without waiting to be dismissed as a witness he rose from witness stand and left after declaring “I am the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court...I wish to be excused” leaving all and sundry agape with the abruptness of the uncivil move. There was no sign of him having a hypoglycaemic episode as he sprightly stood from the witness chair and strode towards the exit elevators going to his waiting getaway vehicle already out of the garage and ready to zoom  away, only to be stopped by an aging sergeant-at-arms of the Senate.

Recognizing the indefensibility of his case he may have planned it to end this way. JPE said that if Corona does not return to the impeachment court he will be forced to strike out all the three hour long testimony, declare the proceedings closed and make the senator judges make their votes on the basis of testimonies already given by earlier witnesses. Since the ultimate defense of opening his bank accounts to the impeachment court was not an option, closing it now after making an impassioned but unsupported claims and counterclaims, after having an uncensored lashing out on his critics and detractors, this against any other time would be the best way to end the impeachment proceedings and have the senator jurors vote on his fate.

A stroke of genius; allowed to make a three hour defense unimpeded, unregulated by the rules of court and unchallenged by a cross examination from the prosecution. By not appearing further he rests his case. No matter the ruling of the presiding officer to disregard the testimony, the senator judges have heard his unchallenged testimony and more importantly, he was able to address the public who cannot be told by JPE to disregard what they heard. His chances at acquittal would have improved considerably now that some of the senators who were so inclined to side with Corona from the start are given some reason for voting in favour of the Chief Justice.

A clever plan that needed the acquiescence of the court for it to succeed; an opening statement; a prepared speech which took all three hours to complete. If it was not allowed to be delivered in the manner it was done then the whole stunt would not have had its desired effect.

I feel a lot of discomfort with what has transpired; it was all so neatly done, an elaborate defense tactic that depended on the liberality of the court.

My sense is that there is something amiss here. To quote Hamlet, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Enter the Dragon - 2012

“In the end China will win” father once said.

The 70’s western China watchers have had nothing but dire predictions for the ability of the sleeping dragon to wake up from the stupor caused by a burgeoning and hungry population,  unabated natural calamities, substandard manufacturing, backward technology, pollution issues, Mao's cultural revolution prior to the Deng Xiao Ping leadership and the curtailment of basic human rights and freedoms.

To the chagrin of these critics China has emerged victorious. Chinese domination in all significant fronts has been awesome; from economy to sports, from technology to the arts, they have demonstrated enviable prowess. To be expected is the effect it had on nationalism of the citizens; the same euphoria which the Americans experienced in the 19th century is now in the consciousness and awareness of the Chinese.

With it is the jingoism that accompanies the feeling of superiority of their citizens against all others. It makes   them believe that anything they do is tolerable if it is for the good of the nation. It probably goes further than that in the way it fosters arrogance utterly disregarding universal precepts of morality and fair play.

This groundswell of support will keep China’s resolve to maintain its super power status. As with the Americans of more than a century ago, the same kind of power status and approbation of its people gave rise to the notion of Manifest China it is their birthright minus the blessing and the comfort provided by a divine sanction which probably the Chinese have no need for. From early Chinese civilization they have always felt the confidence of being superior in culture and civilization and that their ultimate destiny will be one of universal ascendancy.

Perhaps this is what would be worrisome. China is a godless nation and therefore would not share some of the precepts of morality that emanates from the recognition of an Almighty. Some of the local reactions on the bullying of China at the Scarborough Shoals had some tinges of resignation and of leaving it to the divine for a comeuppance on the offending bully.

China will probably be more successful than the US in handling their dominant position in world politics. Despite their huge population they are able to hold in check the resistance to their stringent ways of governing by applying harsh penalties for subversion and the limiting of basic freedoms; human rights and press freedom.

The democratic principles adhered to by the Americans are the source of their dynamism which propelled them to their greatest heights, but these are the same principles that helped undermine their success as it allowed much protest, protest actions, for perceived abuses of government and the mighty institutions that are allied to government.

American commitment to basic freedoms within their country is laudable but in many instances has been a source of critical observations and pressures to government as they tended to give much freedom to those who tend to abuse them and those organizations who champion anti establishment advocacies. A leading democratic nation, the US is sensitive to the opinions of their publics, much more correctly, to politics which at times bend honest intentions to accommodate what is politically expedient.
As in other democratic countries the US is not exempt from the abuses the establishment has in curtailing freedoms through machinations, manipulations and conspiracy among the institutions that represent the structures that make up their society. The government, the financial bloc, the political groups, the military and civic organizations who champion the rights of civil society find themselves in collusion with each other, in several instances contrary to the individual citizens’ interests and well being. 

Their role in the international sphere started from their imperialistic dreams as seen in their doctrine of Manifest Destiny. At its start Manifest Destiny was just a way of justifying and idealizing their desire to spread American influence to the whole world. At its basest it represented the penchant of dominant countries to exercise power over puny countries using “shamful” altruism as motive. Real intentions have been subsumed in the messages their media and mercenary chroniclers have depicted in their propaganda not only addressing their countrymen but the world at large.

The Americans are masters of this artful deception. The guys who brought you Balangiga Massacre, the carnage in San Juan bridge, the My Lai village obliteration are the same guys who brought into our culture Coca Cola, Levi’s, Ford, the Marcos regime, political corruption, a rambunctious and irresponsible media. Through their crafty use of media to massage our minds we have become reasonable facsimiles of the white man minus the wealth.

These have all being ushered in by Admiral Dewey in the spirit of Manifest Destiny in that infamous afternoon when the hapless Montojo saw his fleet sunk against a glorious Manila Bay sunset. This American naval victory heralded the brutal and harsh colonization of a far eastern country. Our former colonizer, Spain just looked on helplessly as a former ward nation underwent a harsh change of masters. Not any of the western master nations could lift a finger in succour of vanquished wimp nations.
Manifest Destiny is not arguable and so is might is right, an unfortunate but factual notion.  However, it provides the other powerful nations like the US, UK and France the reason to just stay away from the scene and let the travesty happen. At the end of the day, nations instinctively avoid order threatening situations and other issues which may be more inimical than beneficial for their state. They once had their fling with Manifest Destiny in one form or another, so, even without condoning China’s imperialist thrusts, they understand and may cast a blind eye.

Only the noisome terns and frantic baby terrapins would be witness to the abuse committed on distant shoals. The bullied is alone.

Woe to the Philippines and the other countries that would be swept away by the Yellow tide, the ever extending boundaries of Chinese sovereignty.