PGTW: A Peeping Tom Culture

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 8 August 2013, Thursday

A Peeping Tom Culture

The latest scandal to hit the virtual sphere involves a video of famous band frontman and his celebrity girlfriend in over seven minutes’ worth of intimate moments – but is this really any of our business?

The footage that features Parokya ni Edgar’s Chito Miranda and television actress Neri Naig was posted on YouTube and subsequently taken down, but not before it had been saved and shared on other sites.

Miranda explained on Twitter and Instagram that the “private video” was leaked after the theft of his computer hard drive and other items.

In a similar case, cosmetic surgeon Hayden Kho’s intimate videos of himself and actresses Katrina Halili and Maricar Reyes, taken for private use, were also stolen and spread on the Internet in 2009 and went viral.

Should people then stop recording their sex sessions, as some commenters have suggested?

Why should they, if these recordings are for private consumption? What happens behind closed doors is nobody else’s business. But there is, however a risk in making and keeping such files, as Miranda, Naig, Kho, Halili, Reyes, and everyone else who’s been in a similar situation has found out. Sadly, they were unable to prevent the theft and leakage of their videos.

The prurient public pounces on material like these because celebrities are involved, and being fodder for gossip and scandal is part of their job description. Sex and scandal sell, as advertisers discovered long ago, and this human propensity created and drives the peeping Tom culture.

In my column last week, I pointed out, not for the first time, that the Web never forgets. Once a person posts something on social media that is not locked to private, that material becomes open to the general public and to criticism, backlash, and trolling.

There is a difference, however, between uploading something on a website that’s open to the public, as Jeane Napoles did with her photos on Tumblr and other social media sites, and having your private files filched. In Miranda’s case, we all know that video was not meant to be shared, and thus none of our business.

There are more important things to talk about than how two people in a relationship spend their time – just open the papers or switch on the TV and take up a cause; there’s the pork barrel scam, corruption in the Bureau of Customs, the China crisis, take your pick.

Let’s leave the two lovebirds alone. Move along, people, there’s nothing to see here.

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The Philippine Blues Society (PBS) recently announced on its Facebook Page that registration for the 2nd Philippine Blues Competition opened last August 3, International Blues Music Day. All blues musicians are encouraged to join.

The winning band will represent the country in the 2014 International Blues Challenge (IBC) to be held January in Memphis, Tennessee.

According to the PBS website, the first Filipino band to play at Memphis was the Bleu Rascals in 2012, when they participated in the FedEx International Showcase and the Youth Showcase.

In September 2012, the PBS held the 1st Philippine Blues Competition to choose a band to represent the country at the 2013 IBC. From the 35 participating bands, Kat Magic Express earned the top score and a berth at the prestigious global competition. The highest scoring youth band, Electric Sala, also traveled to Memphis to try their luck in the Youth Challenge.

For competition and event details, check out their Facebook Page and the PBS website at or email

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After 26 years, writer Geraldine C. Maayo comes out with her third collection of fiction – “The Boys in the Boarding House and Other Stories,” published by Central Books.

The book will be launched August 24, 4pm, at the University of the Philippines – SOLAIR Auditorium.

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In celebration of the Andres Bonifacio sesquicentennial, the Unyon ng mga Manunulat ng Pilipinas (UMPIL) will hold the “Andres Bonifacio as Writer Conference for Teachers” at Leong Hall Auditorium, Ateneo de Manila University, from August 29 to 31.

Scholars in the field will deliver papers on the aesthetics, theory and praxis, and influence of Andres Bonifacio’s works during the 1896 Revolution and after. UMPIL president Karina Bolasco will report on UMPIL’s activities during the past year, while a Writers Forum featuring Leloy Claudio, Axel Pinpin, and Katrina Stuart Santiago will address the question, “Is there still protest in writing?”

For more details, check out the event’s Facebook Page: The Unyon ng Mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) Annual Congress 2013.


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