So what was supposed to be the first Sunday of Advent was somewhat disturbed when the much awaited interview was aired on commercial television.
The hype was created during the week. And although unfolding the details, where-and-why-and-how of what truly transpired in the much publicized love life of a high profile celebrity couple will not affect the course of Philippine economy or the fate of the beleaguered Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, most of Manila stopped. Well, it was not of the same proportion as a Pacman fight aired via satellite but the emotional weight and anticipation were there.
People were also waiting for someone to be knocked out if not flattened.
Indeed the Sunday afternoon burst into a frenzy at the social networks --- especially Facebook and Twitter. Everyone had to have an opinion. Most certainly every one had a conclusion. But the intensely emotional interview was anti-climactic: it seemed like every one already knew where it was going. The question was how far would it go --- and, thank God, decency and discretion still ruled over what could have completely turned into a full-fledged three-ring ratings-friendly circus.
Nothing blatant was said --- but everybody was reading between the lines. In a way, that was good. This triggered the public's imagination --- ergo, titillation. But, in so many other ways, this was really baaaaad for the other "party": the delivery of highly ambiguous statements invites the magic of implication and over-reading what is between the lines. And when this happens --- you will read what you want to read. You will see what you want to see. You will confirm what you sought to confirm in the first place.
So let that be. A young and beautiful couple broke up. It was not like this was a historic event. There are other more painful and tragic stories of love except for the fact that this union came with such business like no other. Show business, that is. Add multi-million peso contracts to the pot. Then, of course, there is the even larger investment of media institutions on the viability and marketability of the characters involved --- as individuals as well as a couple.
That means far more interests than the act of public katharsis. This is not as simple as a case study for re-enactment in an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya?, right? This coupling goes farther than the kilig of romance: this love affair involved investments. That is the best and the worst part of this whole affair. It is not only about these two young people --- this involved so much more.
There may be personal emotions involved --- a whole lot of it --- but the fact that Sunday stopped and gaped at a segment of an afternoon show meant something even more disturbing. The fact that the characters involved warranted trending in Twitter worldwide says even more. The thin line between fantasy and real life has practically diminished: we are entertained and perhaps even more fascinated by the private lives of others rather than the fantasies they portray in their working hours.
Come to think of it, even those who appear in front of the camera can no longer distinguish when the cameras are turned off or when to go back to their private selves. Thus they forfeit the right to their privacy by giving access to the public to see, hear, feel and even tamper with their personal existence. Right there and then they also open the doors for the public to demand that each and every cough, sneeze and burp be made available as information to everyone without discretion or caution. Nothing should be left to secrecy: private lives become public territory.
More even wonder why the Sunday afternoon public confession had to take place. Some are all too sure that this was only for purposes of television ratings---or to stir enough interest to jump start the present state of the careers involved. But this goes much farther than that. Since reading between the lines became the name of the game, the art of implication has become so vile and vicious for the public that indeed the interview became a certified "confirmation" of what was once merely speculated, whispered about and even assumed.
In other words, presumption became fact. The tear-drenched interview was turned into an indictment that generated comments that go, "Sabi na nga, eh." or even "Taka pa si Babae?" ...or worse, "Kasi naman patulan ba?". But regardless of how the larger public reacted, one thing was for sure: no one was really shocked ("Sus! Balita pa ba yan?"). Some were disappointed. Others were saddened --- not because of the "confirmation" but because a young woman found herself in that situation. Worse yet, some were disgusted precisely because this young woman ended up in such a situation.
But nothing definite was really said. Nothing was irrefutably confirmed. When you come to think of it, we are back to where we started --- speculating about something that really does not personally affect our lives but merely starves our malicious curiosity.
But the story does not end here. What should be more interesting is the damage control that is yet to take place and what are the repercussions (OK, let us use the term implications) of the public confession to the careers of the said personalities. When will the charades end ... or is this part of an even much larger machinery oiling its wheels?
Yet the bottom line seems to be plain and clear. Oh, come on: what we do in the privacy of our bedrooms has got nothing to do with how good we are in our line of work. What we owe to the world is to be the best of what we can become --- but we do have our own private lives, you know --- and we also make an ambition out of being just happy.
Unfortunately, if you loan your life to the public --- and if the curiosity of the larger number of people become the fuel to start the engines of your success, then you are doomed. You do not have a right to privacy ... and people judge you not for what they see you do but what they speculate you are doing ...in the dark.
And that is also a very good reason to cry.