09 April 2007

Pigs, Photoshop and politics

ONE OF the better, truth-telling Hollywood movies I saw over the weekend is Jason Reitman's Thank You For Not Smoking, headlined by a powerful cast that included Aaron Eckhart, Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Rob Lowe, Katie Holmes and Maria Bello.

It's been lying there unplayed in my hard disk for some months now, courtesy of my brother Dennis aka Patty; my other brother Nelson aka Macky's raving endorsement finally spurred me to see it, and Ezekiel too when his Playstation 2 finally gave up. It was 90 minutes truly well spent.

This particular exchange during the Senate committee hearing scene between the anti-smoking Sen. Ortolan Finistirre (played by Macy), who proposes to slap the skulls-and-crossbone logo -- indicating poison -- on every cigarette pack, and his resource person Dr. Meisenbach is telling:

Sen. Finistirre: Why don't we just use words as we currently do? Something that describes the dangers of cigarette smoking?

Dr. Meisenbach: Well, the American public is not affected by masthead anymore. They need images. We've done studies which show that consumers react up to 80% more to imagery rather than words. The stats are there.
The way the ongoing electoral campaigns are shaping, not only did our politicians warm up to the idea, which marketing man Winston Marbella alluded to here, but some are indeed smarter than others when it comes to optimizing the visual media. In the words of Giancarlo Giannini's Rene Mathis, the Montenegro-based British agent in Casino Royale, "It's amazing what you can do with Photoshop these days, isn't it?

Locally, the tarpaulin streamers of Camarines Sur Gov. LRay Villafuerte easily stand out above the rest; they're far better than the airbrushed Manny Villar or Ralph Recto we have dotting the local landscape. Not content on capitalizing on the bevy of movie stars that have started to descend into the P300-million Camarines Sur Watersports Complex -- which his father Luis, Sr. promises to level back to ground in case his bet Eduardo Pilapil wins over his prodigal son -- LRay has also effectively leveraged his moviestar visage, and more.

While LRay in the flesh is as brown as you and me, the LRay on his streamer boasts of an almost caucasian white skin -- certainly not because of Eskinol or the milk content of Dove, but digitally enhanced by Photoshop or its rival picture editors. From afar, it even has the feel of a 3D-animation character, not quite unlike Cloud from the Final Fantasy series.

His father, while definitely outdone by his son in this department, has also taken advantage of what digital technology can offer. His posters and calendars feature an LRV that has a bright, shining and definitely younger face. If the House Speakership were to be decided on looks alone, he will soundly give JDV a beating.

Compare that with the conservative maroon motif of the F-100 tarpaulins that the Fuentebellas have set up all throughout the stretch of the road to Partido, starting from Anayan down to Nato where we recently went swimming, and the difference cannot be starker. No wonder, as Maryanne Moll pointed out in her comment to a recent post, the Villafuertes continue to loom large in the province.

But what takes the cake, to my mind, is the picture above, which is taken a few meters from LRay's walled abode along Maharlika Highway, about a kilometer from the Provincial Capitol. If Pigrolac ends up getting some party-list votes come May 14, I will not be surprised if these adverts are responsible.

If at all, they will not surely be sufficient to meet the minimum threshhold, not to mention the Comelec approval that Ladlad and other wannabe partylist groups failed to muster. Yet come to think about it, if Pigrolac becomes the default partylist for pigs, they will be in good company in the Lower House ruled by crocs.


Dominique said...

The Pigrolac thing had me laughing out loud. Sounds like a party list, really. Maybe the pig farmers in this country are underrepresented.

Dominique said...

Speaking of Photoshop, Angelica Panganiban comes to mind....