On what is and what isn’t ours

In the age of open information, we assume that every bit of news is our business. Even our own business suddenly become’s everyone else’s business. Rarely does a tweet about your lunch or a boring day ever get any @you responses right?

In the last two weeks, amid CGMA’soperation and Ramgen Bautista’s high-profile murder, KC and Piolo’s break up managed to grab the world’s attention. Many of us weren’t surprised–need I say why? Others, I included, thought that KC should have known better.

The truth, however, in this entire matter: We should have known better than to have made comments.

You see, media loves to make us think we can talk about these celebrities as if they were our own friends. The status they attain and the perks they experience are things we aspire or wish for. Yet once in a blue moon will we ever get Adidas to sponsor our entire line, or date the sexiest man alive. So all we can do is talk about the meal they’ve tweeted about or the nth pair of shoes they’ve bought as if they personally texted us about these matters.

Of course, this type of attention is all part of fame’s price. We seek them out and they need our attention to make sure a product sells or their next film hits the top of the box office.

In the end, it’s all just business. Personal matters however, our not really our business. What Anne Curtis wears or her next great ad campaign is ours for aspiring. But Piolo’s orientation? KC’s feeling? Really?

We forget these people are people. That if we were in the same situation, we wouldn’t want someone saying “well you should’ve known better.” After all, don’t we make mistakes in order to learn from them?

I think Katrina Stuart Santiago’s piece, The Piolo Predicament, makes the best point on this matter. It’s a wakeup call to us chismosas:

Which is not to look down on how KC feels. Any girl who’s gone through a bad break-up, celebrity or not, would’ve seen those tears and known them to be real, would’ve heard her anger and known it to resonate.

Katrina makes her strongest point with how we have been reacting to Piolo and his predicament:

What is relevant is what the middle- to upper-class inhabitants of social media sites decided to do with what KC did not say, and how this has revealed itself to be a homophobia that’s just horrible, not only because we will refuse to admit it, but because we even think – because so many of us are doing it – that we are on the side of what is right and correct and valid in light of Piolo.

Granted that the rumors of Piolo’s homosexuality are considered as fact by many, granted that welove tsismis like this, and granted that right here is where we can all poke fun at the impossible images that this guy creates for himself. But do we really think that this kind of bombardment, almost a collective concerted effort at making fun of him, allows for anything productive at all?

In fact it is nothing but mean, and it is not only mean to Piolo, but it looks down on the kind of pain that KC as the aggrieved woman is going through. It looks down on Carmina Villaroel, whose name shouldn’t need to be dragged into a narrative on ending up with a homosexual man. It looks down on the kind of life that someone like Rustom Padilla aka BB Gandanghari has proven to be difficult but possible.

And what does it mean to come out of the closet, really? Are we even supposed to come out of the closet–straight or gay?

And yet, truth to tell, none of us needed to watch that interview. None of us needed to involve ourselves in this narrative at all. None of us were forced into this. We engaged with that video of KC crying and instead of feeling compassion and listening to what she had to say, we decided to read between the lines and bully Piolo into coming out of the closet.

But why would he? For us? Why would he do it for every tunay na lalaki or every bakla who is making fun of him already at this point? By this kind of reaction of a purportedly intelligent and educated class, no one – and I say no one – of Piolo’s stature would even think of coming out of the closet. For truth to tell, what is liberating about coming out of any closet, going public about anything at all, in a nation that has proven itself incapable of dealing with difference? What is it that someone like Piolo will gain by coming out of that closet, to a public that’s already making fun of him, already bullying him, at this point?

And seriously, what is our problem with anyone being in the closet? Many have lived and died within it, and that is their own cross to bear. And when we can’t promise freedom from oppression outside of that closet, staying within it could be pretty liberating, too.

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