I condemn Willie Revillame for what he did to Jan-jan, the six-year-old boy who danced a la macho dancer on the TV show ‘Willing Willie’ hosted by Revillame. His offense was not that he allowed Jan-jan to dance the way he did — Revillame’s offense was not recognizing early on that the dance was inappropriate. He should have cut it short and never should have asked the child to repeat the routine. Revillame should never have mimicked the boy.
Which brings me to the point of this post: Since when have we, the Filipino audience, been offended by bad taste on television? While it is not debatable that Revillame should be held accountable for his actions, why are we suddenly so worked up on this issue? Philippine television has always been awash in trash, Jan-jan or no Jan-jan.
Why are we so upset that a boy danced like an adult macho dancer in a gay bar — and yet be so forgiving of shows like Eat Bulaga! and the defunct show by Revillame on ABS-CBN that featured scantily clad women gyrating as though they were performing live shows in a men’s bar? Or be so forgiving of these shows, among them Little Miss Philippines, that feature children, some even younger than Jan-jan, dressed in bikinis and dancing in front of TV cameras?
What made Jan-jan so different from the others? Are we upset because he danced a decidedly homosexual-oriented routine – a manifestation perhaps of our homophobia?
Or are we upset because our cultural elite were offended by the sight of a boy doing this on national television — regardless of the fact that, as asserted by his parents, Jan-jan had been performing the macho dancer dance in schools and programs but never got this kind of negative reaction?
Is this not an elitist reaction, where the cultural and political elite pounced on Revillame and the show not so much on the belief that Jan-jan was supposedly abused or that he danced an offensive dance but more because he did it on national television, thus shaming the Filipino race?
The disgraceful episode happened on March 12 — the reaction, including an online petition against Revillame and his show, only came this week. Why the delayed reaction? Is it because it is only now that the Jan-jan episode exploded on YouTube — again to the consternation of our cultural elite?
Let me put on record again that Revillame and the show should be sanctioned. But I can’t help raise the fact that the outrage has more to do with us, particularly the cultural elite, being shamed internationally — nagkalat na naman ang mga Pinoy! — than a genuine concern for Jan-jan and children featured in television shows. If it were the latter, those who took offense in the Jan-jan episode should have been offended as well by other shows and other displays of crassness and boorish behavior on Philippine television.
We are a nation of hypocrites, that’s what we are.