Elections, popular culture and democracy
reprinted from "How to Win An Election: Lessons from the Experts", ASG-CSP and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
US president Richard Nixon loved to say that "when the going gets tough, the tough get going". American journalist Hunter S. Thompson had his own version: "When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro." In the Philippines, buffeted by political and economic crises, the weird are turning professional, as strange people scent an opportunity to make money from evil times.
Last month, a Filipino traveller was arrested in Brunei airport after she was found carrying a cloth-wrapped bullet. She avoided a stiff prison sentence, and was released only recently, after convincing authorities the object was really a fertility amulet.
Interface. Stephen Bury. Bantam Books, 1995
by Alan Robles
It's election year. You've hired the usual goons, bribed the local officials, paid off the reporters and rigged the surveys. Gosh darn, is there anything else a self-respecting campaign manager can do?
How about implanting a biochip in the candidate's brain?
Is your blood pressure rising again? Are you choking into your coffee? You're probably reading the newspaper or watching the news on TV. Isn't it about time you did something about all these negative vibrations and destructive impulses?
Now, you can kick back and play this great new game. It's easy!
Two years ago, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was a political lame duck flapping around trying to survive. Today, she's still a political cripple, but with a dangerous difference. The lame duck has a machine gun.
When Jose de Venecia Jr. was a boy, he was almost killed by a goat.
The enraged beast — the head of the herd that he was leading out to pasture — charged at him without any provocation, flinging his body into the air.
De Venecia avoided serious injury — and perhaps even an early death — after being saved by his belt. The billy goat’s horn snagged the leather strip fastened onto his waist, missing the target by just a few inches.
Whatever epiphanies de Venecia derived from this incident are not indicated in Global Filipino, his authorized biography, written by Brett Decker, a speechwriter and a newspaper editor.
October 10, 1997
Last week, publishers and editors gathered at The Anvil, the exclusive restaurant at the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank, for something that had the promise of an extraordinary event. But the absence (so far as I have observed) of any news about it tends to show there was nothing in it after all.
Crisis..Calamity. Murder. What phrase could possibly sum up 2006? How about, "So what else is new?"