Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What bothered me about Gabe Valenciano's post

I've been thinking about what Gabe Valenciano wrote on Facebook since I shared it yesterday. I agreed with many of his points. I was glad that Gabe, still very much an insider from where I sit, said what he said about what's wrong with the local entertainment industry, particularly the part about how talent is secondary to a specific sort of beauty.

That's mainly why I shared it. But reading it also left me feeling a little disturbed. My friends and I chatted about it briefly last night, and the phrase "check your privilege" kept coming up. In the morning, I woke up still bothered. Now, it's clearer why.

It bothered me that his words seemed to condemn the whole country because of his bad experience with the local showbiz industry, as if it were one and the same. It can appear to be, yes, but it isn't.

It bothered me that he wrote "I don't owe (the Philippine entertainment industry) a thing" when he was raised by parents who made money off the same industry. While I wouldn't force him to give back, and I doubt if he would need to, I'd expect at least some gratitude from him for what put good food on his table, placed a comfortable roof over his head, and gave him room to dream.

It bothered me that he used Kendall Jenner as an example, when Kendall herself came to fame by way of the same system that glorifies the beautiful over the truly talented.

It bothered me that he makes sweeping conclusions like "The Philippines has lost its character" then calls on people to stop whining and do something about it when very clearly the solution for him was to get out and leave and, at least according to his post, not owe it anything.

It bothered me that he didn't write his piece as responsibly as he could have as a--as much as he hates the term--celebrity who has a large online following, sending confusing messages that would most be likely be distilled as, "Leave this god-forsaken country. There is no hope here." Then he tries to be that hope, a product of here.