YOU REAP what you sow. The biblical saying has a bearing on how Filipinos have invested their time and money on television, the so-called boob tube. After nearly two generations for example of brainless noontime shows, trite melodramas, and innocuous entertainment, the Philippines has become a nation of shallow entertainment and circus freakdom.

The shallowness has become so unremitting that there have been attempts even among the intelligentsia and even the Catholic establishment to defend the so-called “Dubsmash” duo of one TV network as harmless, pure entertainment, even defending that the segment promotes and revives traditional Filipino morals, as if this part makes up for the fact that the show revolves around silliness and stupidity.

No matter how many times we dissect this phenomenon, we will always go back to square one, banking on the vulnerable feelings of ‘kilig’ of teenagers, middle-aged women, and even grandmothers., as well as the overall mediocrity and even utter crassness of mass taste that has been fostered by television where competition merely impels broadcasters to seek the common denominator of bottomless stupidity.

If you don’t find yourself going gaga about the lip-sync-wonder duo, you can always switch channels and watch that legendary comedian insult yet another helpless soul on national television.

Again, I understand that some individuals only watch these noontime shows to escape their mundane daily routines, or maybe coincidentally, it just happened that the carinderia where they have lunch are solid supporters of either show.

Meanwhile, some spend hundreds of pesos watching and re-watching the worst films modern Filipino cinema has to offer: same actors, same scripts, same recycled stories, and same cliché endings.

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If this isn’t bad enough, these rotten tomatoes have a Christmas reunion in the form of the Metro Manila Film Festival. Of course, again, one may argue that the yuletide season screams for happiness, so why should we burden ourselves by watching history films among other hard-hitting topics for movies?

And how on earth was Donnalyn Bartolome able to make a dent on the Filipino music scene with the song, “Kakaibabe?” But of course, why would people listen to unpopular, yet brilliantly composed songs by independent artists when they could just mindlessly enjoy the youth and wit that is Donnalyn Bartolome?

Maybe some are already raising their eyebrows, thinking “kanya-kanyang trip lang ‘yan.”

But if people can spend time to watch asinine television shows, then they can probably spare a few minutes to watch a documentary on topics such as politics, war, and climate change, among others. If people can line up for blockbuster remakes and sequels at the movie house, maybe they can also find the time to visit Filipino film classics such as masterpieces created by Lino Brocka and Brillante Mendoza.

If the normal Filipino, can invest his time in shallow matters, why can’t he also invest in the matters that make a difference in the country? Why is it that when things get remotely serious, Filipinos tend to return to the comfort that is Alden Richards and his dimples?

It is true, that Philippine media are here to entertain us, but their purpose doesn’t stop there. With their influence, they can empower and create revolutions, expose the truth and be a guide for smart elections, destroy barriers between government and citizens, and educate people in the most significant way. But alas, media in the Philippines are also an agent of crass commercialism, shallow entertainment, and mediocre taste. The Philippine media are a force for a vehicle for stupidity and sheer mindlessness.

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