As the very first video blog I’ve ever posted online that’s of this particular format, I launch my personal vlog channel in the hopes of having more avenues for editorial and narrative content. Writing everything down into a readable format does take quite a bit of time, so I’ve taken to recording my thoughts on video to supplement that. Somehow, hitting it off with the whole Manny Pacquiao gay slur issue like this seems apropos as it would immediately bring some attention to the channel.
This first vlog has me talking about a current event, which is something I don’t do often even in real life. While I’m absolutely fine with putting my thoughts on such things on video, it’s not indicative of the kind of content I wish to do for that channel. I somehow go all over the place with this vlog, so please bear with it. (Yes, that’s indeed my ugly mug right there.)
Topic and Approach
This isn’t necessarily done to defend the LGBT community or intentionally put up a knee-jerk reaction to Pacquiao’s statement, whether he does “condemn” homosexuals or not in whatever context there is in that interview.
The main point I’m trying to get across that while Pacquiao was indeed entitled to expressing his own opinion and affirming his belief, it was done with a considerable lack of skill. Perhaps he may have thought it all over and was willing to face all the consequences by letting it rip there, but it still did quite a number due to his particular choice of words. (That’s why I insist that he still slipped.)
Then I also briefly went over the religious beliefs involved and what I think about how people who hold the same point of view as Pacquiao keep pressing on with those sentiments, even at the expense of other people.
(It should be obvious by now what my position is on the LGBT issue, even if it wasn’t the point of the vlog.)
NOTE: This is not 100% what I say in the vlog. This was the script that I mostly followed, and I ad-libbed some minor additions during recording.
Greetings. Welcome to the first ever vlog on this channel. I think I’m about to make a big mistake with this ghetto setup in my dingy room. My microphone is the only thing not ghetto here because I’m foolish with my hard-earned money. Somehow, I’m stupid enough to think I can do this whole YouTube thing. Oh well, whatever…
Out of all the topics I can do for my first video, it had to be this one. Do note that the opinions expressed here are totally pulled out of my ass. However, that now-infamous interview with Manny Pacquiao has gotten so much noise that I might as well take a crack at it for my first try.
First of all, my position in the LGBT issue is that I support them 100%. However, I also support the right for people to not be supportive of homosexuals, so long as it stays in the realm of opinion for the most part. Take it how you will.
This video isn’t really about defending gay rights and all that. There’s enough of that to go around, and there are more qualified people to talk about it than me. What I want to do is to get close to the root of how the hell this happened.
People on different sides of the issue are going nuts with this, understandably because it’s Manny Pacquiao. On one hand, his statement of gays being “worse than animals” is seen as absolutely reprehensible. On the other hand, he’s seen as brave for speaking his mind by those who share the same view.
There’s that thing with animals exhibiting homosexual behavior, scientifically proven… but this isn’t a science channel.
As of this recording, Nike has just terminated its endorsement contract with Pacquiao, which is kind of a big deal. Overall, it’s a torrent of backlash that will remain hot for the next couple of weeks perhaps.
While some may think that all of this is an overreaction, do note that Pacquiao did that interview for election coverage on national television. He did it as a congressman who’s about to run for senator in the upcoming election, so it’s more than just a humble opinion. He has the potential to actually do something about it if things go his way. IF things go his way.
Mind you, this is the Philippines, where it’s certainly not predominantly pro-gay and many other politicians hold similar anti-gay sentiments. However, this isn’t about Pacquiao being anti-gay—that’s been well-known for years now. It’s how he said it—”worse than animals.” That’s quite strong; certainly not a “humble opinion.”
Then later on, in response to the public uproar, he issues an apology for offending feelings, yet reaffirms his vehement anti-gay position. That’s not what I find peculiar; it’s that he’s saying that he’s not condemning anyone. I’m all for people believing whatever they want to believe, but that’s just half-assed.
But then again, I wasn’t surprised at all that he would: A. use such explicit language to express his opinion, and B. backpedal even just a little bit by claiming to not be “condemning anyone.”
Perhaps you can say that what’s worse than a bigot is a half-assed bigot. You just called them “worse than animals,” of course you’re condemning them.
What do you expect from someone who wasn’t built for this? First and foremost, he’s a professional boxer. For most of his 37 years, he trained his body and mind to win boxing matches for money. Meanwhile, how much time and effort has he invested in studying and talking about socio-political issues?
What most people don’t understand is that while just about anyone can have an opinion, it takes skill and finesse to consistently affirm and defend it. Pacquiao may be nigh unequaled in throwing punching combinations, but he’s not as skillful in putting up talking points.
People underestimate just how much is needed to be good at talking about what you believe in. It seems so easy, you think you’re so right, others may have also told you that you’re right, and then you have that one moment where you express it to a wide audience and it blows up in your face. There are many examples of that, even in history.
I’m an enthusiastic student of the martial arts, albeit a bad one at that. I’ve been a boxing fan since I was a kid, I’ve watched a whole lot of boxing, thousands of fights perhaps. I’ve actually watched him during his Blow by Blow days. Manny Pacquiao is now one of the greatest boxers of all time—the only eight-division world champion in history. That’s big.
But now, he’s also a politician, a basketball player, an actor and media personality; he’s all over the place. Unfortunately, he sucks at them. You can’t just branch out after decades of doing just one thing and expect similarly positive results.
He’s spread too thin, and too much is expected of him in other fields he doesn’t excel in; his main strength is in pugilism. But such is reality when you’re a national hero, it’s as if you can do no wrong.
But in this scenario, you can’t really expect him to tread through this with any amount of grace. His best defense against those who oppose his views is the Bible and his faith in “God’s word.”
I have a Bible right here. This one was bought in June 15, 1996; almost 20 years old. It was required reading when I was in 4th grade. Lo and behold, here’s Leviticus 18:22. [read verse]
But then again, in the next page here, 19:19. [read verse] If your mixed breed dog had puppies, you’re in trouble. If you wear a polyester shirt with your khakis to church on Sunday, you’re also in trouble.
Leviticus 19:11-13. [read verses] Hey, that includes most politicians and corporate executives. Seems like God has it in for you dweebs. If you wanna cherry-pick, two can play that game.
Then there’s Leviticus 11:7. [read verse]
Now this is where I put my foot down. Okay fine, you don’t like the gays—to each his own. But no one—and I mean NO ONE—gets in between me and my pork adobo. NO ONE.
There are those who admire his steadfastness and his willingness to throw himself into the fire to proclaim his faith, perhaps similar to all the persecuted Christians throughout history who had to suffer indignities due to their beliefs. If we’re going for hyperbole, let’s go all out.
They see that steadfastness as a virtue; an example of what they must strive to be as well. However, virtue itself can be relative to the limits of one’s focus; we’re only as perceptive as our field of view, and many willingly have blinders on.
The whole time, he had resided in the Christian echo chamber, listening to teachings being preached to the choir. Of course, he’d use scripture to defend himself; that’s pretty much all he knows at this point.
He pulled himself from poverty with his physical prowess and skill against all odds, and he prayed to God that whole journey. Of course, he believes that as the be-all-end-all; he believes that’s what got him to where he is now. There’s power in that.
It’s certainly not like he’s a totally a bad guy. It does seem like he does his best to help those as unfortunate as he was during his youth. Then there’s the whole thing with him making Filipinos proud all these years, and then it took just this to make that all fall down like a house of cards. You know what, I do feel bad for the guy.
Here’s my own crazy conjecture. That’s the thing about ready-made belief systems. They’re not bad, but they’re like shortcuts; package deals. All you need to know about life, love, and your path to self-actualization is in one book, quatrain, mantra, or whatever, all wrapped in its own culture with your heart as the price for admission.
You need not drag yourself through the mud in searching for your true self; no need to explore the metaphysical horizons within yourself to know where your heart truly lies; no need to look at the suffering of others to assess your own beliefs.
Here is a man who learned mostly in church and in bible studies. I’m sure he read the book a few times within his level of reading comprehension. But as I see it, it’s like an echo chamber; a house of mirrors. All he had was boxing, making ends meet, and prayer in between. I’m not sure if there was much else. He may have been too poor to see beyond his own struggles, understandably.
But he’s no longer that; he’s now high up on a pedestal; a high horse. He must be having spiritual vertigo from up there; it’s so high, we can barely see him looking down on us all. Times change, people change, and yet the truth remains—life is full of suffering.
Prince Gautama ventured out of the palace and saw the suffering of others who weren’t as priveleged as him, thus setting him on his path to enlightenment and becoming the Buddha. Jesus had those 18 silent years, who knows what he experienced before he started his ministry. I’m sure he saw some really heavy stuff during that time.
But wait, so are you telling me those guys did all that so we don’t have to? They explored it all so you can just sit back and follow it all by the letter? No need to look at things in other people’s perspectives because whatever is written there and there alone is the only thing that’s right? And what about the people on the other side?
Understanding the human condition not an important factor in all of this? It’s really “us versus them” and all that talk of compassion and love in the tenets of your faith count for absolutely nothing?
To explore, to question, to doubt, and to rediscover. These are essential to understanding the true depth of faith and belief. You skip them, and you skip the one thing more important than your own salvation—understanding your fellow men.
Okay… I don’t know what I was getting at there, I may have sounded so full of myself. I just had questions and ideas I wanted to explore while I wrote this, but it felt flimsy as I went on. But that’s what I came up with, take it how you will. I’ll stick with it for now.
As for Manny, he’s still in the thick of the controversy as of this recording. For all the trouble this has been causing him, and most likely will continue to cause, let’s hope—even pray—that he learns well from this experience.
In the meantime, ponder on this. Jesus taught us to “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” right? Maybe next time, when you leave the house, and you happen to have a gay neighbor, you may want to say hi and wish him/her a nice day. That can make a difference.