I killed Xander Ford, so sue me!

Posted by watchmen
October 3, 2017
Posted in OPINION

Social media has been flooded with comments regarding the transformation of former Hasht5 member Marlou Arizala into a new “matinee” persona. Some have praised Xander Ford , while others have bashed the new image. However, Xander Ford is now living his dream image and doesn’t care either way.
This kind of desperation for white skin, a sharp nose, and “chinky” eyes is the corporal manifestation of a colonial hangover.
Why are Filipinos still troubled with this dilemma?
One of the culprits is the media. We are living in a third world country, that’s a fact. However, society is searching for something out of the ordinary; the very reason Mexican telenovelas grew in popularity in the 90s, the rags to riches stories sensationalized by beauties with fair skin, sharp noses, and sexy bodies. “Marimar” is the typical example of the types of programs Filipino audiences went gaga over. They can relate to Marimar for being a “probinsyana” neglected by society and transforming into an iron butterfly.
The following decade, Taiwanese series “Meteor Garden” captured the hearts of local audiences with the love affair of the average San Chai and Dao Ming So, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. The series captures the dilemma of the Filipino people.
Filipinos believe the only way to bridge the gap between rich and poor is love; as is evident with the number of Filipinos who prefer to marry foreigners, it’s a means to uplift them from poverty.
Additionally, Filipinos tend to focus on what is most appealing to the eyes and criticize what is “odd” by underscoring and placing importance on those who are considered good-looking. It is why there is emphasis placed on Badjao Girl, Macho Igorot, the beautiful teacher from Bacolod, and the Philippine Airlines flight attendant, with all of them achieving “rock star status” and going viral on social media.
However, Arizala’s physical appearance did not live up to the criteria and became the subject of internet memes and the object of ridicule. His experience with this lethargic society prompted him to change his appearance for the mere sake of acceptance, giving birth to Xander Ford – a result of being a victim of ridicule.
With this sensationalized transformation (brought forth by the media), who wins in the long run? The capitalist.
German philosopher and sociologist Theodor Adorno said, “Society was fallen into the hands of an omnipresent and deeply malevolent entertainment machine,” which he called, “The culture industry.” An example of this is how the media, through magazines, films, and social media, are designed to keep us distracted and unable to understand ourselves without a will to alter the political reality.
Using the case of Xander Ford, the story is distracting audiences from the Horacio Castillo III case, allegations of corruption in government, and extrajudicial killings.
The transformation also places the focus on one’s beauty and how, it would seem, the only way to be accepted in this society is to have a face similar to a Korean “oppa” – in the way the term is used colloquially to describe a handsome guy and not the formal version in which females use to describe an older guy or an older brother.
Due to the huge range of goods available through modern capitalism, we naturally suppose everything we could possibly want is already available. The problem arises when there is something we cannot afford.
Adorno pointed out “real wants” are shielded by capitalism and we end up forgetting what is “needed” and settle for desires manufactured by corporations.
What do we really want? Tenderness, understanding, and acceptance – all of which are in short supply and utterly disconnected from the present economy – and Xander Ford is the poster boy for how profit-hungry corporations promote ideas in the hopes others follow in his footsteps in the hope of gaining connections and a community.
However, the industry would prefer us to be lonely.
It is a challenge to step up and think about what we really need, instead of focusing just on what we want.
Philosophically speaking, do we need to change ourselves for the sake of acceptance? In the third thesis of Ludwig Feuerbach, he provides a concise solution: “Should I change myself so that the other might love me? According to [Karl Marx], it is only in loving that we experience self-transformation.”
Why Marlou changed into Xander is purely because he was lonely and out of love. Why? Xander is just a hologram of what we believe is needed to be accepted in Philippine society.
Look at Empoy Marquez, Pokwang, Ai-ai de las Alas, and other comedians who have embraced their physical appearances and they are accepted by society.
Contemporary British Philosopher Philippa Foot summarized the “sad transformation” of Xander Ford as an absence of happiness. According to Foot, deep happiness comes from love, friendship, and work one considers significant. Ford’s assumed need to change his appearance in order to be accepted is a sign of cowardice and lack of contentment.
If this kind of attitude prevails without an acceptance of the self, he has perhaps no reached the apex of self-concept, or Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Ford has decided to hide behind his fake appearance; a capitalist slave milking TV stations for attention. Yes, he is happy, however, I am delivering the coup de grâce to that persona – and that’s how I killed Xander Ford, so sue me!/WDJ

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