What ‘Bossing’ needs are new cusswords
For heaping on what the husband of Michelle calls “colorful words,” Digong threw away the opportunity for the hard-to-obtain, most-sought-after privilege of many heads of state: a power tête-à-tête with the commander in chief of the most powerful nation on earth.
P**angina, anyare? How could Digong be so careless with his mouth, uh, vocabulary, when any unfortunate thing he spews out would surely reverberate all over the planet and produce diplomatic complications?
Well, that’s all water under the bridge now. Like what most poets and preachers say, a word, especially bad or ear-grating, cannot be recalled once it leaves your mouth. The best thing that can be done about the bad situation it creates is to bear it as best as you can and not make it any worse through panicky, damage-control efforts, such as making lame justifications and excuses and cop-outs for the faux pas, like the Malacañang rah-rah boys are doing. The other best thing is to work out a formula—a strategy, if you may—that something like this unhappy episode will not happen again.
How can we ensure that Digong does not anymore diminish our race by spouting expressions so utterly vulgar that they cannot be mistaken as to come from any other source but an uncouth and ill-mannered people just dropped from the trees? It looks like there is no way you can break his habit of lacing his impromptu, and even formal, speeches and asides with p**tngina and other bleeps.
A sometime PR man—okay, guru, as some fans want to label him—says it’s too late for any effort to reverse the image of a waterfront toughie that Digong is projecting.
Instead of tinkering with his foul-talking habit, which even the husband of Michelle recognized is ensconced in Digong’s DNA, the guru suggests that his spokespersons, both the appointed ones and the plain kibitzers, undergo crash training in the basic techniques of clearing up the rubble and debris left in the wake of another “colorful” speech by their man.
The suggestion that Digong’s communications boys be equipped with super-duper adeptness and facility to “explain, translate and clarify” certain statements of his, especially those that are at the very least impolite and at the very most gross and offensive, is well taken. But this prescription does not cure the illness or solve the problem that their boss’ insults, demeaning words and cussing create. Because when you bellow “son of a bitch!” especially at a person, you can “explain, translate and clarify” till the cows come home and still the stink of the remark will remain and offend.
Is it really too late to change Digong’s style of expressing his thoughts by cleansing it of jolting cusswords? Of course not. What’s too late, and of faulty thinking, is to assume that in trying to convert his negative, tough-talking image into the positive image of a charming and tactful man, the way to go is make him talk out of character, mangle the English language perhaps, like what Erap did, and be mistaken for a buffoon. Anyone out there who’s got gumption enough to dare suggest this option to Digong?
It’s futile to lead the “Bossing” to abandon his cussing habit. But we all know this is a disagreeable habit that hurts his presidential stature and can cause relationship complications in many areas of national concern—business, diplomacy, etc. So is there a solution? There is. It’s simple, and it’s a small wonder why no one in the Presidential Communications Group has made an attempt to memo the President about it.
The solution is: Insert in Digong’s lexicon an array of invectives he can choose from, which you can listen to with half-open ears, print forward and in reverse, take out of context—yet will not make you or anyone else wince or feel sick.
To help out the Malacañang bright boys, here is a selection of mild explosions that the “Bossing” can use as substitutes for his favorite but widely unappreciated p**tangina:
Nampucha, anak ng bakang dalaga, tinamaan ng kulog, anak ng pating, lekat, putragis, anak ng tinapa, lintik, pinukpok na itlog, gardemet, che-let, lastima…
There are many more cusswords not unkind to the ears that we can add to this selection if we mine Ilocano, Bisaya and other Philippine languages and dialects. But I leave this chore to Digong’s image-makers, assuming they are serious about finding ways to make his colorful speeches startle-free, or which will send no one to paroxysms of vexation, just, at the very least, a cruise to a soft landing.
Mart del Rosario ([email protected]) is a retired advertising-PR consultant.
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