Peb 2, 2015

Annotation 3: Bautista’s “Flights”

Agents of the show “Ang Munting Hiling” negotiated with Brian Justimbaste for the revision of his wishlist. He agrees to this, gives in until nothing of his wishlist remains and he gets a package completely decided by the show:
“See, this skydiving deal we have includes a full-body massage and spa, a gift check from Uranus Tiles (because “a world without floors is a world without doors”) and an extra parachute!”
His character, details of his past, and even his recent choices get revised in the course of representation—
The man told me the synopsis of my 60-minute exposure: I committed suicide (but failed). Prior to that a colleague wrote this letter to Ang Munting Hiling about my “unfulfilled desires”, the intersections of which is this girl, Julie, which I didn’t know (in real life). She had slapped me in the face, had left a number of death threats, a rabid dog, poignant receipts, etc. on my doorstep. This colleague wanted me to experience the “thrill” of life away from binge drinking, drugs, and whatnot. The neighbor, Aling Luz, which has been my neighbor only when there was fire (every three months) within two blocks from my street, will act as my confidante about this girl, Julie. Aling Luz, in a certain interview, would say something about my being a “Christ-centered”, “loving”, “fastidious”, “incisive” and “diffident” person. 
—and one wonders if it was for this very reason that Brian entered himself into the contest, as if the failed attempt at self-annihilation could somehow be corrected (or extended) by the doubling of the self. As the paragraph reveals, his act and manner of telling the story enriches this doubled image. For instead of telling his life himself, Brian opts to convey what the agent conveys about how the show of his life will play out. There are at least two contesting (but also: complicit) ways of mediation: the show’s use of Brian, and Brian’s use of the show.

One could make the case that this relay mirroring is perverse, a way of obscuring the self-image for the self without the luxury of averting one’s eyes. Be that as it may, this is no case of staring at the abyss but one of glimpsing it: as perhaps befits the briefness of the textual narrative as well as that of the exposure.

I would not make a case for his passivity, even if the story is one of giving up and giving in (perhaps also: of having been given up). As with the (possibly real) suicide attempt, this passivity is but Brian’s performance of himself. And the show bought it. The viewers will likely buy it.

It is also likely that Brian has pressed himself into buying it.

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[1] Bautista, Kevin Moses E. “Flights.” The Sunday Times Magazine. 22 Jan 2012: B4.
[2] Annotation 1.
[3] Annotation 2.