The National Artist Award Massacre (God Help Us)

I am not an expert when it comes to art, but like many others, I appreciate it and believe that it is a matter of taste. But I do however have some thoughts about Carlo J. Caparas winning the National Artist Award.

Carlo J. Caparas
Carlo J. Caparas

As for the visual arts category, again I am no expert. But what the artists that are protesting the award are saying is simple. They know Caparas didn’t draw any of his comics, and it is because he did not draw the supposed art that he is being sited for, that he is not deserving of the title. If he has conscience he shouldn’t accept the award, or might I suggest that he at least turn the spotlight on the guys who actually drew the comics for him. JG says that he is now running around holding presscons and interviews with a bunch of his drawings in tow. I saw a video streaming of him in a presscon going on and on about how the elitistas cannot accept someone who is poor and is accepted by the masses. Again, they don’t care where you came from, they are boycoting you because you did not do what are you being awarded for. It’s like winning a race when you had others to run for you.

Now him being hailed a national artist in film, I was really irritated. I do not know where to begin in citing how much he doesn’t deserve the award. His films are so bad even the titles sucks. I don’t even think President Arroyo has seen his films. I urge her to do so, maybe she’ll change her mind once she does. I bet you she will. 

Poster of one of Caparas' movies complete with infamous sub-title
Poster of one of Caparas' movies complete with infamous sub-title

And don’t think that I haven’t seen his movies. I was once forced to see the Vizconde Massacre film in a bus (where most B films are shown), and it was one of the worst hour and a half of my life. I couldn’t get out, and I couldn’t sleep on it because all the “Wag Po!” yelling and screaming kept me from doing so. I didn’t get the movies’ sub-title until I saw the film, because I suddenly heard myself saying “God help us…please let the movie be over”.

One of Caparas’ tabloid writer supporter defended him and said that more Filipinos watched Caparas’ movies compared to the movies directed by the late great Lino Brocka. Sure, Caparas’ films were blockbuster hits, but just because a lot of people went to see it doesn’t mean its critically acclaimed (same reason people watch slasher films). And besides Lino Brocka’s films are being remastered and digitized, its DVD copies still sold at special shops retailed at around 200php or more. Once every few years they hold special screenings for Brocka films to celebrate his genius and his art. I haven’t had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing Caparas’ massacre films in any buses lately, but I saw a worn-out VCD copy of The Vizconde Massacre film on the discount section of a rental store, tag priced at 50php. That should say something right? Even though more people saw Caparas’ films?

I am no expert, but the thing I like best about art is that when something beautiful is made, you cannot help but be amazed at the talent of the person who made it. And the worst part about this issue is that there were others who are more deserving but were ignored. Someone said to me that they might as well have given it to Caparas since there really isn’t anyone else to give it to, but this is not the case. And even if it was, you don’t lower the standards just because nobody else can reach it? Otherwise the prestige of being able to is lost since everybody else can have it. And in turn no one will strive to aim higher.

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