Thursday, October 12, 2006


This week, two curious articles caught my fancy. The first is an article entitled, “Mel Gibson: Alcohol is ‘poison’ (cf. Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 11, 2006 ). The second has the curious title of “Estrada’s x-rated film likely to be shown in house” (cf. Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 12, 2006). The two articles seem to speak of two types of addiction, the former to alcohol and the latter to pornography. In the first article, Mel Gibson confesses and apologizes for his drunken behavior last July. Gibson humbly called his behavior, “the stupid ramblings of a drunkard.” And who in his right mind could have blasted at the Jews saying “they are responsible for all the wars in the world?” But a drunken Mel Gibson did. When Gibson was interviewed by Diane Sawyer for the TV program Good Morning America, he said he has not had a drink in 65 days.

In the second article, the allegedly pornographic movie which was usually classified as “X” had no explicit sex scenes. Instead, Congressman Joey Salceda, appropriations committee chairman explains how this movie about deposed President Joseph Estrada “had some scenes that threatened public stability, undermine the state of confidence of the people in the government, were libelous or defamatory to the good name of the persons, and referred to matters that are sub judice in nature.” It was due to the aforesaid reasons the Movie Television Regulatory Censorship Board or MTRCB gave the new movie about Joseph Estrada an “X” rating. Thus, a symbol typically used to classify a movie as soft or hard pornography, with one “X” as soft and three “Xs” as hard has been appropriated in a new way. X can now be used to classify anything “politically offensive” to the powers that be. This leads me then to ask whether Salceda and all those who belong to the ruling camp are aware that by giving the ‘Estrada Movie’ an X, they have effectively singled out “politics” as another form of addiction from which the public needs to be protected.

It might help to look at a definition of addiction: “addiction is a pathological relationship with a mood-altering experience that has life-damaging consequences. Behaviors that result in addiction must initially provide some sense of pleasure or have a positive association, even though the long-term results are not pleasurable. The spectrum of addictions can range from drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol, to behaviors, such as compulsive eating and working.” (cf Wellness, Concepts and Applications, 3rd Edition, eds. David Anspaugh, Michael H. Hamrick, Frank D. Rosato, (New York: Mc Graw Hill), p. 304. Although pornography is not listed along with addictive substances, experts agree that exposure to pornography releases endorphins responsible for compulsive and addictive sexual behavior.

Mel Gibson’s humble public confession and apology is an important step in his healing. I wonder whether the MTRCB’S rating given to the Estrada movie is the beginning of our national healing from a different kind of addiction, the political kind. In this case the MTRCB is the therapist who decides what is addictive, who is addicted and how the addicted are to be rehabilitated. In this case, I ask what then is the addiction, who is addicted and whether the X rating given to the Estrada movie in effect heals the addiction? Has the MTRCB and the government it serves also in effect given itself a clean bill of health and declares “political addiction” is their disease not ours. Borrowing Mel Gibson’s own words, I ask another question, “don’t the words of the MTRCB sound like the ramblings of a drunkard?” Politics indeed, like alcohol intoxicates. So many in our beloved country are drunk and have already been caught but unfortunately and fatally for them and all of us, they do not have even the faintest trace of humility to admit, apologize and at last be healed from it.

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
October 12, 2006


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