Friday, March 16, 2007

On Tim Yap and the Inquirer

I had long been bewailing the deteriorating substance of the Inquirer's lifestyle section. See, we have a daily subscription courtesy of Mang Tom, our toothless, but always cheery, newspaper (old)boy. I usually enjoy reading the paper while doing my business in the loo. So, day in day out for the past few years I was witness to this decline in quality of the previously 'literary' parts of the paper. The irony of the hard-hitting headlines on the front and features of the champagne-drinking lives of the rich and famous a few pages on is hard to miss . A few years back, there were actually some good writing.

Because he and Tessa Prieto are fast friends, Tim Yap took over the Super! Saturday edition as 'creative director.' More and more the Saturday lifestyle pages looked more like a magazine; huge 'artsy' photos and hardly any text at all. Yap himself tries to dabble with pen and paper, but he masterfully demonstrates that the best money education can buy can't make you a writer.

One of my mailing lists has been reacting to a recent Inquirer article featuring a decidedly insensitive comment from the Yapster:
There is this mind-set, which I think is so passe, that says: ‘The country is in shambles and the country is having a hard time and you are out there partying.’ But this generation is guiltless when it comes to that.
Either Yap is even more moronic than I realised or, like most fabulously rich folk in our country, he is willfully blind of the conditions in which 98% of the population live. He and his ilk have managed to create this fictitious bubble where all is happy and gay, where the pursuit of happiness is just a bottle of wine or a pill away.

The blogosphere reacts:

Manolo links Spy in the Sandwich who says:

There's another word for the guiltless in an orgy of evil, Tim: a sociopath. Which suits you: you are sosyal and you are pathological.

Seriously, why is this guy a freaking editor at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, directly dictating this country's sense of style and all? Maybe the best answer comes from this album by Radioactive Sago: "P*****ina Mo, Ang Daming Nagugutom sa Mundo, Fashionista Ka Pa Rin!"
Gibbs Cadiz who addresses the Yapster himself:
Tim, you're a friend and we work in the same paper, but I have to say you've just supplied the money quote that might well end up a) defining you and your generation, and b) explaining in sum why we continue to have the world's longest-running insurgency.
Well I for one know that Tim Yap does not speak for my generation. He speaks for a minute section of young people perhaps. And for them, what he says is perfectly normal, rational even. Why indeed should they feel guilty for enjoying the fruits of their "labour?"

What is seriously disturbing is that its this lifestyle of this minute elite, emblazoned and featured on the most popular broadsheet day in day out, featured on TV and radio shows, that shape young people's idea of the 'good life.' It probably wouldn't matter if this were Shanghai. But this is Manila folks.

If Tim Yap does indeed embody his section of my generation, he simply manifests the perennial disease of generations before; a Filipino elite that has washed its hands off of this nation.

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