Monday, February 22, 2016

2-Hot-4-8List: 8 Stupid Ways We’ve Been Defending Manny Pacquiao

(2Hot 4 8List are lists that for various, often obvious reasons, need to be published on a personal capacity, rather than as something that de facto represents the website I love to write for. I hope you enjoy it, because whether or not they ended up on the site, I still worked pretty hard on them, minus the epic graphic design you've come to know and love from the 8List.)

.:2-Hot-4-8List: 8 Stupid Ways We’ve Been Defending Manny Pacquiao:.

Manny Pacquiao is a boxing legend, and a man who has nearly single-handedly put the Philippines on the map. He has used the millions of dollars he has earned to give houses to his constituents in Sarangani. He is a devout Christian, and a renewed husband and father who seems to have left behind his past of gambling and carousing behind in favor of Bible studies and family time when he’s not training for his next blockbuster fight.

Sometime last week, almost all of that fell to the wayside when he was quoted as saying that same-sex relations were “mas masahol pa sa hayop.” Multiple rebukes  and Nike dropping its sponsorship deal later, the backlash against Manny isn’t even done yet. He currently runs the risk of disqualification due to the unfair media mileage he gains from his next fight, which none of the other senatoriables can hope to match. Furthermore, former pro wrestler Dave Batista did not take too kindly to Manny's words, and the guy frigging calls himself "The Animal."

If you’re a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao, you might be appalled at this point how far things are going south for him, or maybe even thinking that he will be blessed in heaven because people who are persecuted for their faith, according to the Bible, will be rewarded.

Except if you actually take a moment to read your Bible, you might disagree with that, too, because Matthew 6:1-3 is pretty clear about that... 

1"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3"But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,…"

It seems like a no-brainer to defened a man who fought his way out of poverty and brought us so much pride as one of the best boxers in the world of all time. Unfortunately, his past achievements do not grant him a pass for any stupid shit he might do, because why the hell would it?

Here are 8+1 specific ways people defending Manny Pacquiao air out their ignorance...

Honorable Mention: "You are bigoted towards bigotry. That makes you a hypocrite."

Logical Fallacies Involved: Tu quoque, ad hominem, non sequitur

First of all, allow me to introduce you to the realization that policing my tone is bullshit. If Manny didn't police his tone for the benefit of the LGBT, why should I? I will be as abrasive as I want, not only because he didn't earn me being nice to him when he spoke that way, but also because being nice never won any revolutions. The suffragettes didn't get their vote without a lot of protests. The black people in America didn't get emancipation without a frigging civil war, and they had to fight a bunch more just to get equal rights, too. We didn't drop Marcos like a bad habit by asking him nicely, and the EDSA revolution was as "nice" as revolutions can get, but we sure didn't do it "nicely" just because nobody got killed. It's not like those chants against Marcos were positive slogans of encouragement for him, were they?

Secondly, my intolerance of intolerance isn't an act of hypocrisy, because doing the opposite would be an act of cowardice. When a bigot says they hate a race or a gender, they do so with no logical reason behind it (no, the Bible in and by itself is not enough as a logical reason, by virtue of it being a book of faith). But when someone rebukes a bigot, they do so by arguing using logic and reason. Just because some people may act purely off of emotion does not erase the fact that the vastly overwhelming amount of dissent has been based on the logical counterargument that contrary to Manny's beliefs, animals indeed practice homosexual behavior. Factually correcting Manny isn't an act of bigotry now, is it?

As someone on put it succinctly:

"A bigot is someone who makes generalizations about a group of people and then acts on a hatred of that group of people. To act inhospitably toward such a person is not bigotry, because it does not involve generalization (emphasis mine). It is, rather, a reaction to the hatred of a single, particular person. Such an act, by definition, is not bigotry."

Lastly, if the word "bigot" upsets you so much, then why does it surprise you when the LGBT gets upset about being told they are "masahol pa sa hayop?" Have you considered that for a moment?

P.S. It also doesn't make me gay if I support gay marriage any more than supporting saving the environment makes me an eco-bag.

.:8. “You’re being oversensitive.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Non sequitur, ad hominem, double standards

Just because an issue may not be important to us does not mean that it isn’t important, period. Some of us care about animal rights. Some of us care about the environment. Some of us care about human rights, of which LGBT rights clearly falls under.

Everyone has rights, okay?

If it alarms you that so many people were up in arms and so angry, please realize what was said. It was a comparison that likened the LGBT to being “more savage than animals.” Those were fighting words. You do not say those things endearingly. You do not say those things in a friendly manner.

Yet why is it that while people go out of their way to not make a big deal about Manny’s words, when the LGBT and their allies respond, people go out of their way to make a big deal about the responses? Suddenly, people who were okay with hurting the LGBT weren’t okay with hurting Manny, as if only Manny was deserving of protection.

Manny is a multi-millionaire. Even if every sponsor he currently has pulled out on him, he would still have a lot of money to live with. Meanwhile, the LGBT are fighting for little more than basic rights all of us straight people already enjoy. I hope you can appreciate the difference of what’s at stake here.

If anyone's being oversensitive, it's the people being all up in arms for Pacquiao as if he can't take it. He's rich, he thinks God is on his side. I'm pretty sure he'll be fine. Meanwhile, the LGBT constantly finds the church trying to take them away from the anti-discrimination bill because the church apparently needs to be given the legal right to discriminate against them.

.:7. “We have other issues to worry about, like China putting up missiles on our disputed territories.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: False dichotomy, strawman argumentation

People can care about more than one issue at a time. To say that someone talking about the Manny Pacquiao issue doesn’t care about China, or Syria, or ISIS is to create a false dichotomy where we can only care about one issue but not the other.

What exactly are we gonna do about China, in the first place? Oh, right. We don't really have solutions. We just want people to stop talking about Manny. Silencing! Wonderful.

Not even Heneral Luna is sure what we're supposed to do about them.

This realization that we can care about multiple issues at a time actually goes double for how we should vote during the elections. If the one and only issue you go by for electing your officials is whether or not they want to deny gay people their human rights, then you might want to expand your criteria a bit, because even if Manny Pacquiao’s politics agreed with you 100%, why would you want to vote someone who almost never went to work to do the job he was elected to do?

.:6. “Hindi ba si Miriam din, anti-gay? Diba sabi ni Rizal, mas malanasa pa tayo sa isda kung hindi natin mahalin ang sarili nating wika? Bakit hindi kayo galit sa kanila?!?”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: False dichotomy, faulty analogy, strawman argumentation, non sequitur, argumentum ad absurdum

You will notice that most people who got angry at Manny were willing to set aside the gay marriage debate in favor of calling out his choice of words. Miriam did not use the kind of cutting words she is known for using when the topic was about the LGBT. This is because the LGBT and their allies, in trying to keep the peace, can and do respect opinions to an extent (even if really, they shouldn’t, if the opinion is woefully misinformed), even if their opinion is clearly being disrespected by the very choice of words of the people on the other side (protip: calling them abominations and Sodomites would never endear you to them.).

As for Jose Rizal, what he said was a statement about one’s love for the language. Whether one uses Filipino or not is a matter of choice, not an essential component of one’s being, and if it were, hey, who am I to stop anyone from being pissed at Rizal, right? When one says that homosexuality is “mas masahol pa sa hayop,” it means that the very being of a person (remember, you can’t choose to be gay any more than straight people chose to be straight) is being insulted.

Again, those are fighting words. You don't get to sugarcoat them now just to pretend he was being endearing about it. That's about as logical as saying "with all due respect, fuck you." May "due respect" naman, diba?

Don't make Yosemite Sam mad!

.:5. “Tama naman sinabi niya, eh! Nasa Bibliya iyan.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Appeal to authority, double standards, factual errors, cherry-picking, non sequitur

There are a lot of things wrong according to the Bible…

Shall we prohibit slavery or shellfish? Let’s go with shellfish.

Yet people will go through amazing lengths to excuse all these other behaviors, kesyo Old Testament, kesyo context, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, it seems only they can do that (hence, a double standard), because once someone points out the context of Sodom and Gomorrah, or points out that the only thing mistaken as condemnation of homosexuality in the New Testament was actually about shrine prostitutes, and was never a direct quote from Jesus, who literally had nothing to say about homosexuality in the Bible, they magically insist that people should take the Bible on face value.

Pictured: face value.

As we can see above, let's not forget that it's Manny himself who just loves quoting Leviticus when he points out that the Bible says gays should be put to death, so he's clearly not discounting the Old Testament for his argument. But then, how does he weasel out of Leviticus 20:10, if that's the case?

10"If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death."

Well, that's awkward. But, hey, that’s not the same, right? Only one side can look at context when cherry-picking which laws of the Bible should still be followed.

And, oh. Manny was also factually incorrect when he said that no animals engage in homosexual behavior.  If we made a bunch of 8Lists featuring these animals, it would take around 200 lists before we’re done.

Lastly, even if it were in the Bible, it’s irrelevant. Let’s be clear about one thing: there is a separation between church and state. Churches are free to never marry gay couples due to religious freedom and the separation clause. However, this also means that if the government decided to give equal rights to the LGBT on the topic of marriage, then the churches have no say on this. As they shouldn’t. The marriage we speak about here is a legal, civil procedure: not a religious ceremony. Please do not forget that.

We can't keep making up excuses for Manny Pacquiao while we keep making excuses against doing right by the LGBT who certainly are also made up of productive members of society. Why do we afford so much special consideration for Manny while we deny the LGBT the most basic of human rights? Because we don't like what they do with their sex life? That's pretty fucked up, if you ask me.

.:4. “Tingnan niyo: yung marriage ang ‘masahol pa sa hayop,’ hindi yung pagiging LGBT. Ang problema sa inyo, hindi kayo marunong umintindi.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Faulty semantics, cherry-picking, double standards

This argument is ridiculous because of one plain and simple fact: Manny’s justification for calling something “masahol pa sa hayop” was that animals did not perform these things. If he meant marriage as “masahol pa sa hayop,” then it would be ridiculous, because straight couples get married too, but no animal actually ever gets married. No, really. Look it up. Animals getting married by their own volition? Not a thing.

Not pictured: the part where it was the dogs' idea to get married.

What does this mean? Well, this only means that, regardless of the full interview that supposedly “explains everything,” Manny was not in any way equivocating when he made his statements. It was pretty much gay sex to him which was “masahol pa sa hayop,” which again emphasizes the disturbing fascination LGBT detractors have over what happens in LGBT bedrooms.

You can insist on context all you want, but demanding context only weakens your point further: he is answering a question as a senatorial candidate, and not as a pastor. That was the context of the question. If he knew the difference between the two like any decent politician ought to, then he would know better than to compare the LGBT to being worse than animals, because no matter how much you try to sugarcoat his words, those words were fighting words. You don't say shit like that to people and expect them to just smile and say "yeah, you're right. Mas masahol nga ako sa hayop."

.:3. “Bakit nung binabanatan siya at ang kanyang nanay sa comedy bars, narining mo ba siya magreklamo? And why are you so bigoted against bigotry? Isn’t that being hypocritical?”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Tu quoque, ad hominem, false equivalence, hasty generalization,

If Yeng Constantino can say that not all Christians are like Manny, surely, it is easy to point out that not all LGBT are Vice Ganda. Vice Ganda is not the be-all and end-all of the LGBT community.

No, really. He's not.

And even if Vice were, that does not invalidate his point. That he jokes about looking like a horse doesn’t mean that it’s okay for people to now call him “masahol pa sa hayop” because of what he does in his bedroom.

Furthermore, the difference is pretty clear: Manny’s statements inform his legislative agenda, and are clearly a perpetuation of the continued ignorance of the separation of church and state in this country. A joke in a comedy bar will not achieve anything remotely like that anytime soon. It is the sheer impact of such speech that explains why so much more weight is placed on what Manny had to say. He is running for the Senate: he, of all people, should know better.

You really cannot argue that those two things are equivalent to each other, because they clearly aren't.

.:2. “Crab mentality! You are suppressing his freedom of speech and his right to an opinion, especially after you made Nike drop him as an endorser.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Non sequitur, red herring

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences of said speech. In fact, the backlash Manny is receiving is proof that freedom of speech exists, because these other people are now using their freedom of speech to refute Manny’s assertions. Some might even say that Manny’s speech is no longer even protected speech because it could fall under “hate speech,” which, I admit, is debatable at this point.

Opinions aren't magic. Just because you claim something is an opinion, and just because you claim this opinion was formed by the Bible does not mean that it is beyond question and beyond criticism. It does not follow that your entitlement to an opinion means you are also entitled to not being met with any form of dissent for your ideas. Nuh-uh. That's not how this works.

Imagine if life had traffic signs for logical thinking.

It is also not “crab mentality” to want to rebuke Manny Pacquiao for his rampant homophobia. Ano yun? Kesyo “hero” siya, hindi na siya pwedeng pagsabihan? Hindi na siya pwedeng magkamali? Oh, please. The problem with this country is that we put too many people above scrutiny just because they've done something for us. No, they don't get a pass. Why should they?

Nike is not the government. And at no point in dropping Manny did it mean that Manny can no longer say what he wants, because he clearly still does. Manny Pacquiao’s freedom of speech is guaranteed insofar as people also have their freedom of speech to call him out on it, insofar as Nike could also use its freedom of speech to distance itself from Pacquiao.

This goes double for the people who are expressing their none too charitable opinion about Manny right now. Manny had his turn. Why do we want to deny everybody else their turn? Or do we only want freedom of expression for ideas we agree with, while others should remain censored and silenced?

Whether they did it for humanitarian or economic reasons is besides the point. Nike just did it: just as people who don't like what Nike did are free to burn their shoes. It's a free country.

.:1. “He is being persecuted for his beliefs.”:.

Logical Fallacies Involved: Non sequitur, red herring, ad misericordiam

You will notice that so many candidates also do not believe in legalizing same-sex marriage. If you listen to the  interviews, you would notice that most senatoriables actually share that opinion. Yet only Pacquiao was crucified the way he was over it. Why is that?

So oppressed, you guys!

This is because he was the only one who went the extra step of comparing the LGBT to animals. He was the only one who decided to include something decidedly hateful: a slur on a group of people not even for something they chose to do (I would have no qualms calling, say, ISIS, as a bunch of terrorists, but I wouldn’t lump all Muslims with them), but for what they are.

Yes, what Manny said is a slur. Please stop trying to pretend it isn't. You can say a person is black or a person is a n*****. They are both factually correct, but one of them is a slur while the other is not.

It is in going the extra mile to hurt these people, going out of his way to extend a message that is divisive and painful, that Manny now gets all the blowback he is getting. It doesn’t matter if he is a great humanitarian. It doesn’t matter if he brings Filipino pride. He is also human. He is also prone to error. And it falls upon us to correct this error, lest we turn Manny into a sacred cow who can do no wrong. This is especially dangerous when we realize that as an aspiring Senator, Manny Pacquiao is supposed to represent all of us, LGBT people included, and yet he doesn’t see these people as equal to him while representing them. He even sees them as worse than animals, if his words were to be believed.

Correcting Manny’s perceptions and of those who agree with him won’t be easy. Some might try doing it nicely, as not a few have. Then again, as Manny himself has demonstrated, not everyone feels the need to get their point across nicely. I obviously don’t. Not today. Not when I see so many kids who feel worthless because their boxing idol told them they were worse than animals. Not when I see suicide cases elevated in the case of the LGBT, because people refuse to acknowledge that words do impact people, even if they're "just words," and especially if they're "just words" of both a boxing icon and a potential legislator who will not work for their welfare, if at all.

In the end, Manny was not persecuted for his beliefs. He was persecuted for being an asshole. A religious asshole who does a lot of charity work yet has repeatedly demonstrated he is not fit for Congress, much less the Senate, yes. But an asshole, nonetheless.