Monday, August 01, 2011

Going Blind

...Sorry, guys, but this one isn't about J. Lo. 
Up until recently, I have considered myself to be a mild gossip addict.

Sure, I've weaned myself away from the straight-up smutty items in favor of the less confrontational (and relatively more thoughtful) likes of Lainey and Crazy Days and Nights, and I still could not resist the pull of the Pinoy-centric blind items on Professional Heckler. Yet I was able to manage all that and still go to bed early.

But then... things happened.

Things like the sad, personal stuff that comes from the professional setback I mentioned earlier, coupled with living in the Hacienda and pursuing a double life as a university lecturer and creative writer.

Things like the rape allegations leveled against members of the Philippine Azkals football team, and the takedown of the underwear-ad billboards featuring the Philippine Volcanoes rugby team.

Things like Ed Westwick visiting Manila, and both Leonardo DiCaprio and Taylor Lautner turning down deals to do likewise. Not to mention speculation that The Hotness might follow right behind all of these guys... for a film project that, in my opinion, represents every single thing that's wrong with his career right now.

(Note to people in charge: I do not mind The Hotness showing up in the Philippines. I do mind, however, that you are trying to sell us on the notion that he can be the thinking man's Jason Statham. Um, hello? I can live with him being Hawkeye; I can live with him bitch-slapping Tom Cruise. But I am so not surprised by the news of other actors lobbying for that role, even if he supposedly has it in the bag. Ahem.) 

The truth of the matter is that I know better than to get addicted. I can't imagine myself getting glued all day to CNN - like Scribey and my Dad - and getting upset just because John Boehner decided to say or do something stupid that day. Likewise, I can't see myself reading blogs written by people I disagree with for the purpose of finding something to upset me.

Yet, here I am, reading blind items on the Internet and hoping against hope that none of them is about The Hotness. Or Captain Tightpants. Or Simon Pegg, for crying out loud.

(On second thought, Captain Tightpants was the subject of an epic BI that made me respect him more than I already do right now. Thank goodness.) 


Here's the thing: I've spent enough time in public relations and the journalism field to tell the difference between fact and speculation. I've seen things, to paraphrase Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner, that many people would not believe, about other folks they wish they'd known nothing about at all. Worse, I've come perilously close to getting fired over the very same things that more successful people in my former profession have managed to pull off in public.

And that's what my blind-item obsession boils down to, in effect: that sense of superiority that I get when I read between the lines and point out that nothing is what it really seems... not just with the targets of the blind items in question, but also with the kinds of people who would plant those blind items in the first place.

Am I jealous? Yes. Do I care too much? Possibly. But it also cuts both ways, people - because the cattiness always sells, and we're just as guilty of it as anyone else.

Who's to say, really? Who's to say that these people - no matter how annoying they are - have not rescued a few puppies, checked on their own grandmothers, or helped out a less-fortunate colleague in need? Who's to say that none of them have stood up against bullying co-stars and boorish neighbors? Who's to say that they've done all that without - horrors! - the luxury of a high-profile publicity team to cover it all?

What if some of these famous people are actually - gulp! - straight?  And monogamous? And sober? And super duper nice?

That's why I don't buy the argument any more about bad news selling better than good news. The bad news only gets better for as long as people are around to repeat it, rewrite it, and believe it. But the good news... well, it's been right in front of us all along. 


That's why I also don't get it any more when people read about a BI reveal and go all, "But I liked him/ her/ them!" To be honest, you can still go on liking that person in spite of the behavior; in fact, you might actually like him or her because of that behavior. (See also: my renewed fascination with Jennifer Lopez. I like her fragrances and her over-the-top snottiness on American Idol, but those stories about her being an actual snot in real life amuse me to no end. Shoot me.) Let's face it: the catty stories have to be blind because there aren't enough people who can come out with proof of what did and didn't happen. And not everyone has the patience of a Lainey or an Entertainment Lawyer - or a Meimei - to read between the lines and call BS on a story. Even then, we still need to choose our battles wisely.

And again, to steal a few lines from somebody who said it first and best - this time, from Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell:
...My thoughts flow thus: Scholars discern motions in history [and] formulate these motions into rules that govern the rises [and] falls of civilizations. My belief runs contrary, however. To wit: history admits no rules; only outcomes.  
What precipitates outcomes? Vicious acts and virtuous acts.
What precipitates acts? Belief.

For what it's worth, though, I'm still waiting for somebody who can actually verify that - in spite of his less-than-impressive overall resume on IMDb, and the shockingly hilarious array of old, fully clothed pictures of him available on Google Images (seriously, you have not lived until you have seen that shot of him sticking his tongue out, with devil horns and everything) - The Hotness is a a real peach to work with, a lovely gentleman who writes in complete sentences with proper grammar and spelling, and who is also currently re-reading High Fidelity to make sure that he finally "gets it" this time around. And showers with good soap, and practices good dental hygiene on a daily basis. And also has a few interesting... er... "opinions," about a certain Filipina blogger/ author who used to live in Hawaii and now works as a university lecturer in Southern Luzon. (Extra points if said "opinions" involve Skittles, purple suede pumps, and setting up TweetDeck.)

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