IN JOURNALISM, plagiarism is a mortal sin. So as in fashion.

But while good journalists fervently nail their pen-and-paper copycats to a cross, fashion designers religiously “condemn” their imitators by – guess what – commending them.

No less than fashion gurus Coco Chanel and, most recently Giorgio Armani have shown, at least verbally, this “unique” approach for subtly belting their runway frustration against copycats in the light of healthy witticism.

Quoting Chanel in one of his stories, Rome-based Independent correspondent Peter Popham recounts, “The more copied you are, the more famous – the time to cry is when they stop.”

On the other hand, asked if his brand “suffer a lot of damage because of counterfeit products” in Time’s February 23 issue, Armani revealed: “personally, I think counterfeit products are good because their existence shows that we create something people want to copy.” To set the record straight however, the Italian fashion icon cleared that on a personal note, the influx of knock-offs (not just limited to Armani effects) in the market “causes big problems because it creates products with your name on them that are not controlled by you.”

As for the latest straw of controversy wrought by media insinuations that he accused fashion rivals Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of “stealing” one of his designs, Armani reneged, saying that what he told one of his assistants during a small press conference (i.e. “Look great designers like Dolce and Gabbana copy us!”) was blurted only in jest and that it was only the press who seriously “picked up on it and splashed it over the headlines.”

How’s that for an overstatement?


If anything, the recent student council election in some faculties and colleges mimicked the kind of runway piracy that nearly ruffled Armani’s diplomatic sleeves.

More than treating a miting de avance as a forum for agenda-setting, some political parties from other faculties and colleges instead mounted a well-directed, finely orchestrated and neatly choreographed…circus, topbilled by clowns and sycophants juggling mothball rhetoric with bizarre platforms. In short, anything but a decent campaign.

And where, no, how did they knock-off this eye-sore idea? Perhaps by habitually watching the mardi gras-style electoral campaign in the political carnival at large. The advertising tools used to “peddle” a candidate however, vary depending on the voting, nay entertainment preferences of the “electorate,” (a.k.a. the audience).

“E, ano nga ba ‘tong pinapanuod natin, gag show o sitcom?” wails a distraught student in the gallery. This writer’s take: neither of the two. Again let me stress…circus, the kind which even the Joker, psycho-freak and all, would happily shun, or if ever he changes his mind and agrees to be, say, a guest adjudicator, is deemed to engage his Thomasian impersonators in a humorously violent display of slapstick, and oh, beastly philosophizing, if only to maintain his novelty, and perhaps marketability as a villain par excellence. Indeed, the campaign antics which this writer saw and grudgingly absorbed were villainous, villianous to both public and personal decency. Commendably, candidates in this writers’ faculty did not resort to such electoral impropriety, more or less, as others expected it. Talk about stereotyping.

Health first

Interestingly, most of the candidates “sell” their “respective” political intentions by “borrowing” a bevy of advertising gimmicks from various rating-conscious TV and movie productions as well as commercials before eventually re-fashioning (or rather “personalizing”) them to fortify their own publicity kitty, all for the sake of wooing the gullible. Talk about name recall. Echoing the Chanel riposte toward copycats, these candidates are at best guilty of riding other people or product’s coattails, which in the vernacular we say,“sumasakay lang sa kasikatan ng iba (tao, bagay o palabas).”

The result? A local council president-wannabe posing as a superhero kuno, flanked by a treasurer hopeful playing the nanay ng bayan role and a walking imbestigador/intrigador of an aspiring public relations officer among others.

This writer’s steal:“Wala ba d’yang kumakain ng apoy? E, marunong tumambling, meron?” (This writer must admit though that such antics were quite effective, leaving imprints to one’s memory, hence the writing of this piece).

How about the voter-audience’s incompetently compassionate response to these promotional morbidities? “Sige na, iboboto na namin kayo basta ba titigilan n’yo na ang pag-eeskandalo sa harap namin. Awat na!” or words to that effect. Mark the derisive phrase: convenient tolerance which is perhaps the stuff that abstentions are made of, as far as “non-circus” goers are concerned.

On the other hand, even some panelists also succumbed to farcical mimicry, parroting beauty pageant-type questions before their disoriented respondents, who (by personal inference, this writer must say) may have resorted to asking himself, “political rally ba talaga ito? Miting de avance ba talaga itong napuntahan ko?” Behold, the predicament of the confused. Funny, but if such was a “real” political rally in the guise of a miting de avance then some candidates, by their actuations alone, should not have been there in the first place. Fortunately, in a circus, everyone is invited as its famous catch-call suggests, “come one, come all.”

Back to those foolhardy panelists, some of the silly questions which rocked various political sensibilities in different miting de avances were: “Kung ikakampanya mo ang kalaban mong partido, paano mo ito gagawin?”

It's all meant to be

“Kung matatalo ka, sinong gusto mong manalo?”

“Kung hindi ka tumakbo, sinong gusto mong tumakbo para sa’yo?”

“Bakit hindi ka namin dapat iboto?”

Far from bombarding the candidates with issue-based questions in relation to their platforms, those panelists as typified by their misplaced queries, opted to “re-personalize” the election by posing feel-good intimations reeked of hypothetical irrelevance.While some candidates gamely embraced those panelists’ idiotic quizzing, some disciples of common sense in the audience could not help but answer back:

“Bakit naman nila ikakampanya ang kalaban nila? E, ‘kung ganun lang din pala sana hindi na sila tumakbo.”

“Sino naman ang gustong matalo? E ‘di kung ganun lang din pala sana hindi na lang sila tumakbo.”

“Kung ‘di sila tatakbo, e ‘di boboto na lang sila, malamang, at saka bakit pa nila pasasakitin ang ulo nila para maghanap ng po-proxy sa kanila. Kung ‘di sila tatakbot e ‘di hindi?”

“Sino ba namang matinong tao ang sisiraan ang sarili sa harap ng marami?”

To this spate of rejoinders, by far the most telling was: “Sana hindi na lang kayo (panelists) nagtanong. Sayang ang air-time.” Amen.

Meanwhile, upon enduring a candidate’s porous answer heading into the final hour of the circus grilling-cum-miting de avance, another wisecracking dude spontaneously uttered: “e mas may pakinabang pa yata kung gagawing bopis ang utak n’yan e, kesa gamitin sa pag-iisip!” What does this stinging remark imply by the way? It could be that the person favors an intelligent candidate, someone who is well-spoken, soundly cultured and perhaps charismatic.

We have had already raised, by virtue of our ancestors’ uneducated votes, an empire of this political breed, in and out of the campus. Having said this, this writer therefore submits: a good candidate need not be an expressly intelligent, do-gooding, and aesthetically pleasing creature. Being sensible alone does wonders. Care to mimic this line?


Let this writer share to you a few excerpts of the talk he delivered regarding the effects of the readership problem from a student’s point of view, during the launching of the “Read to Achieve: Shaping the Future of Printed News and Information” advocacy campaign of the Circulation Management Association of the Philippines (Cmap), last Feb. 23. at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Auditorium.

— Among the youth of today, the prejudice toward the kind of language they want the reading materials of their choice to exhibit cannot be denied. May mga mambabasa na gustong English ang medium ng kanilang binabasa, e ang tanong naiintindihan naman ba kaya nila ang kanilang mga binabasa?

Pagpupugay sa mga working scholar

Sa isang English-language website tungkol kay Alfredo Benipayo, ang kasalukuyang dean ng Faculty of Civil Law, na ginamit ng isang student-journalist bilang reference sa pagsulat ng isang article, sinabi na si Benipayo ay naging Associate Justice ng Court of Appeals at dating Chairman ng Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Ngunit nang i-edit ko na po ang article nagulat ako nang mabasa ko na si Benipayo raw ay naging “Associate Justice of the Commission on Election.”

Ang depensa ng nagsulat: “nag-research naman po ako eh.” Ang tanong ko: “paano ka nag-research?” Sagot niya: “tiningnan ko po ‘yung website at ‘yung nakasulat dun. English ‘yung pagkakasulat kaya naintindihan ko agad.”

Ang sabi ko: “Wag ‘mong basta tingnan ‘yung text, basahin mo! By the way, hindi ka nga pala marunong umintindi ng English.”

For the record, there exists no bureaucratic animal such as an “associate justice of the Comelec.” So, kapag hindi mo naintindihan ang binasa mo, you are someone who is BARKING AT PRINTS.

— Kung siguro ang di-mabilang na mga volumes ng Supreme Court Reports Annotated, kung saan mababasa ang mga jurisprudence mula sa mga kasong dinesisyonan ng Mataas na Hukuman simulat sapul nang maitatag ito ay may mga movie versions na kagaya ng Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings at Twilight, siguradong hindi na kakailanganin pang magpakuwento ng isang law student sa kanyang kaklase ng mga kaganapan mula sa gabundok na mga kasong dapat sana niyang binasa pero ‘di niya nagawa bunga ng pagka-bore o ng simpleng katamaran.

— We have unfortunately inculcated onto ourselves a kind of learning mechanism that is hinged on too much spoon-feeding and convenience-shopping kung kaya naman mas gusto natin na ikinukuwento kaysa binabasa at kusang iniintindi ang teksto ng isang akda. Self-learning is thus defeated in this context.

— Reading at this juncture is unfortunately confined to the one-way street of sensical appreciation, that it is for mere study purposes alone. Perhaps only a few “boring” souls nowadays can appreciate reading in the pretext of entertainment or rather reflective amusement grounded on textual cognition. Hence “leisure reading.”

By our language, you will know why in our country “no-brainers” are in, former Varsitarian editor in chief Nicolo Bernardo once wrote. And by one’s writing, I submit, you will know what kind of book, magazine or newspaper he or she is reading or if he or she is reading at all. Yours is the final say.


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