Open Plasticity … A double positive!

The physiognomy of public candor is really non-honest at all. Even this negation warrants the reaction ‘what’s new?’ – Even the impulse to discover what is novel in this cliché will fail to impress. It is a defeat to trace the enduring integrity of a public spectacle. And yet let no doubt be prodded against a successful man who claims that his triumph over the industry he puts his career in faith began from a perfectly honest feat: to think that it was the same countenance raises enough question to hurl an attack against his personal integrity. What is true about the massive amount of work one has to exert in spelling out success justifies the point of the many transformations that definitely did not happen without destroying his calm. It’s preposterous to think of this beeline victory!

The participation of the media in focusing the spotlight on the personages of success lures corrupted opinions, misdirection spins, and biased editorials – categorical synonyms to collectively abhor the un-truth about publicity. Opening the stage for the story, along with the demand to express in tainted fiction, invites a lot of spiraling, editing, and spicing up. And isn’t this the temptation of confusing the virtual against the real, and vice-versa? Think of how reality shows operate: Cinderella narratives are exaggerated, true to life stories are often added with dramatic elements, and other passive statements to spot the illusion of this new brand of ‘Reality’. Add the element of judgment and this open space of expositions is now a complete set of analytical experimentations governed by a panoptical Big (Br)Other as the alternative superego to (replace) represent traditional value systems. Hence the psychological effect: the subject has to undergo plasticization to illude the gaze of the omniperspectival observatory. And as tricky even as with the amateur magician, illusion is perfected in what we do, not in what we say. Shaping the plasticity in public affairs is imperative not only to succeed in tricking reality, but also oneself – and this preposterous act has to be turned upside down. Specifics are not to be mentioned like Maalaala Mo Kaya, any Big Brother show worldwide, speculative documentaries, TV series following a certain group of socialites, and the like. The question in these vulgarity of plastic public faces would have been: what is the proper response in such shows?

It would be an initial failure to attack it directly. To negate a position that is positive in form but negative in meaning would be the same as negating a negation. That is to say, when we attack this masquerade, which is well-known to be just a face but underneath is a narcissistic meaning, we are not really attacking it but only negating our negation since a double negative is a positive one; so in the end we are only affirming the publicity of the show (recall how attention seekers claim that there is no such thing as bad publicity). This works precisely in the way critics join the charade. Isn’t it that the more critics there are, the more attention, popularity and hence more invitations for success and possible ambiguity of opinions start to trend the show?

In order to work against this so-called open plasticity, the proper response for me would be to render a totally fake act or a terrible liar maimed in excess with positives. And no, this is not the ‘agree to disagree’ move – again, it would be a direct and obvious front to do so. What this excess means is a more traditional interpretation: one is not enough but two is too much. In other words, the classical double positive – the beginner’s guide on how (not to arrive at a panacea but only) to survive in dealing with plastic people. To circulate again the joke:

An MIT linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn’t a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative.”

A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”

Yeah, right – there is salvation at some point in satire. For without it, the staid spelling of success, news, and any public face would be totally believable through and through. The logic of any publicity has its structure, but beneath it are creases and cracks. And reality is not the logically serious plan determinism is proud of. If there is a toleration to negate the positivity of public faces, it is that sometimes, a sarcastic response is enough. For indeed, first there was tragedy, then there was farce; now plasticity proves that farce and it turned out to be another tragedy. And satire sure reverts this by invoking the double positive: now it is proven to be comedy (positive), then the reply should be another farce (positive) – and the result is the striking reality that can wake deceit up.

In Filipino, the Tagalog term for such sarcasm is “Oo na, Oo na”, a double positive which means a responsive mockery of something spotted as fake, or a surrender to a dominating pseudo-Absolute. On a personal level, the same sarcasm can respond to interacting with liars. In another instance, say the acting career: even showbiz is no longer showbiz; acting is one thing, but even the act of acting itself is dedicated for a cause, either for oneself or for the family. In the political arena, of course it is already a held univocal to say politician and corrupt but to operate the satire subjectivity that can respond to this, when meeting personally with a politician, there must still be the illusion of awe and reverence as a “yeah, right” mask. And then there is love, a farcically dumb feeling presenting itself as a success, a rightful conclusion, an idyllic positive. Falling in love is such an uncontainable condition that even just the illusion of being in the state of happiness, which negates all possible negations tied along with it, never fails to suspend itself as a make-believe. A superior vibe provides it with a confident aura. And yet prolonging such euphoria might lead to tremendous piled-up negativities. If anything, love has become the siren song of good liars, the joke in the name of something else: sex, social climbing, recreation, boredom, curiosity, homosexuality, and so on.

There is no total honesty in a public face and it is ideologically worshiped. The current generation is already living the illusion. Few are critical, some are confused, and a good number do not bother at all. So for all the actors in the world proving that illusion really convinces in action, here, you have my innermost “Oo na”!


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