1/20/2017
Enjoy the spotlight, Scarlet Snow

Obviously, I don't watch baby videos. Well, I don't seek them out. When I see them on my feed, I don't click on them. When I'm asked to check it out, I might. If it's Shalla, I would. I'm pretty sure we'd be talking about it for at least ten minutes.

A few weeks ago she began watching videos of Scarlet Snow.

"Sino?" I asked.

"Scarlet Snow," she answered. "'Yung anak ni Belo."

Obviously, I don't follow local entertainment. I remember our newscast project for television production class. Arlene and I had this sort-of argument about whether to include news of Claudine Barretto giving birth on our program. She was for it. I was against it. I had this idea that hard news can carry us through, that we don't need to tack some pointless story about some actress doing a biological exercise to get people to watch. That feud dragged on one day too long, and I yielded, saying we can put it in if we still have time in the fifteen minutes provided.

I don't remember if it did make the newscast. The whole thing did not end up well - technical problems on our part; Mae was my technical director and we could not get a good rhythm. (And chromakey was intimidating.) It was an early example of me taking the blame for everything, at least internally.

I could say I follow foreign entertainment, but my days of writing about American television are long over. I could say music counts. You could argue I know too much about Korean entertainment now, that I have gone over to the dark side, but I know people who know more. But I know enough to have a conversation with Arlene about it. But I digress.

Obviously, I don't follow local entertainment, but I had this inkling about Vicki Belo having a child, through in-vitro fertilization and a surrogate mother or something, the father being, apparently, Hayden Kho. I did not know it's been long enough for the baby to have a following on the Internet, thanks to videos of her doing cute things. Cute, smart things, her knowing all these things at a year old, I think.

"May baby trainer kasi siya," Shalla told me.

"Baby trainer?"

Setting aside the imagined imagery of a baby doing tricks for the amusement of their adults, much like we do for dogs - and the actual imagery I have of a toddler on what pretty much is a leash so he doesn't run away from his mother - apparently these things are happening. I don't know. They want smart babies, and they want smart babies now. Remember when these things manifest themselves naturally, either at a young age, or when they're at school already? Once in a while, you get these stories of precocious kids having memorized all fifty American states, for example.

But now there's the Internet. If you know what to look for and where, you can get yourself a steady drip stream of videos of babies and toddlers being able to say things beyond "mama". Say, Xiaxue's kid, Dash. By the way, I only know this because my girlfriend and my sister both watch her videos, and I got roped into it at one point. What I said earlier. I'm pretty sure we'd be talking about it for the next ten minutes.

I don't know why Scarlet Snow is popular. All I know is she looks like Bonnie from Toy Story 3. Is she popular because she's cute? That's shallow, but easy to understand. Is she popular because she's smart? That's not as shallow, and just as easy to understand.

But then you realize that we live in a time where being smart is seen as a bad thing. "Masyado kang matalino," I'm sometimes told. "Masyado kang maraming alam," I'm sometimes told. Essentially, you should not be smart. You should not know too much. You should not think too much. You should not have the ability to challenge preconceived notions.

"May nalalaman ka pang 'extra-judicial killings'. Sige nga, anong gagawin mo kung naging president ka? Ha? Ha? Putang ina. Masyado kang matalino! Wala kang alam! Wala kang alam!"

Enjoy the spotlight, Scarlet Snow. Today, you're popular. Tomorrow, you're... well, you'll still be popular, but for a completely different reason.

And your responses...

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