How Delightful is Defamation

April 24, 2019

While most people were preparing for what they choose to do on the second half of the Holy Week, I was surfing channels; and I came across a local network showing an uninterrupted Hugpong campaign rally.  From the way references were made to local leaders, I guess it was somewhere in Southern Tagalog.  This was obviously a campaign gathering of a senatorial slate; and usually, the senatorial candidates would take turns in standing up the stage and speaking.  But this one seemed to be a one-man show; with just the President talking the whole time.  It took well around two hours; and it had already started when I chanced upon it.  Although, it had not yet ran for too long; judging from the context of the speech.  If I would make an outline of the Duterte discourse, it would be composed of two parts: (1) strike the other party’s candidates, (2) strengthen his party’s candidates, with intermittent stances against his opponents here and there, with some vanities on violence.  This is probably the first time that I hear election opponents being blatantly attacked by name and by enumeration one by one.  I was also expecting for his stint to be some sort of introductory.  Then after his chit-chat, time would be given to the candidates who I think should be doing the actual campaigning.  But the President stayed there for a lengthy period.  After his speech, the emcee announced for photo opportunities which I suppose would take some 20 minutes as Filipino culture dictates.  


I used to find these speeches extremely revolting and reprehensible.  I failed to count how many times he cussed p……g ina, and how many times he confessed of torture and murder, and how he would not hesitate to do so again.  For several times, he actually vowed to run after drug lords and corrupt officials with threats of death.  Or am I so naïve that I still act surprised?  The audience would actually burst in cheers and laughter every time he spits a curse or a threat.  They actually enjoy this; and for some reason, I also did.  Like I said, I used to cringe at this, but I don’t know, I stuck and I found it entertaining and….  Endearing.  What has happened to me?  Have I been drugged?  


“Research has shown that cursing might increase the effectiveness and persuasiveness of an argument. Not only that, swearing can communicate how you feel about a certain subject without explicitly explaining it or resorting to a physical altercation, the BBC reported: By swearing, we not only communicate the meaning of a sentence, but also our emotional response to the meaning — our emotional reaction to something. It also allows us to express anger, disgust or pain, or indicate to someone that they need to back off, without having to resort to physical violence.” (https://www.huffpost.com) Well, that’s based on research.  


Here’s another one. According to “Science of Swearing” by the Association for Psychological Science, “Swear words can achieve a number of outcomes, as when used positively for joking or storytelling, stress management, fitting in with the crowd, or as a substitute for physical aggression. Recent work by Stephens et al. even shows that swearing is associated with enhanced pain tolerance. This finding suggests swearing has a cathartic effect, which many of us may have personally experienced in frustration or in response to pain. Despite this empirical evidence, the positive consequences of swearing are commonly disregarded in the media. Here is an opportunity for psychological scientists to help inform the media and policymakers by clearly describing the range of outcomes of swearing, including the benefits.” (https://www.psychologicalscience.org)  Okay, this scientific data is telling us that swearing has benefits.  I need time to accept this  Maybe I’ll go on a retreat first. 


If this is Hugpong’s formula in campaign rallies, supplemented by their low interest in debates (and not really doing good at it), apparently, it’s working.  Their candidates don’t only dominate surveys; but are noted to make remarkable rises which are significant to include them to the list of 12.  Frustratingly, other candidates make jumps but fall short of entering that delightful dozen.  Mar Roxas seems to be the only LP bet with a safe spot, but he seems to be climbing up and down the lower half.  (And if you’re one of those doubting the reliability of surveys, this is the Philippines and not US.  People who have misgivings on surveys are candidates who don’t have favorable ranks and their supporters.)  So, I guess, Duterte Dynasty would go on and along with it, the changing acceptability of decency and decorum.  


“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Ephesians 4:29

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