mga awit ug yawit sa kasingkasing bisaya

For crying out loud

THE most important contribution of the ZTE scandal to national development is that it sparked a discussion on the role of crying in ferreting out the, er, truth. Thanks to Rodolfo Lozada and Erwin Santos for continuing the noble cause Kris Aquino started in 2003. For eight years we waited for someone to cry on national television once again and tell us “I got gonorrhea from Joey Marquez” or something like that.

It’s surprising how crying, despite its power to shake governments, remains one of the least discussed phenomena among the world’s intellectuals and policy makers. It’s even more amazing how there’s not one single definitive study on crying while there are exactly 715,045 dissertations on why frogs love to have their pictures taken atop a water lily. And believe me when I cite facts because most of the times they are accurate.

My friend Charles Darwin, the evolutionary biologist who formed the pop-rock band The Beagles, did one of the earliest serious attempts to understand crying in The Expression of Emotions in Man, Animals and Mama Mary Statues (1872). In this book, Darwin concludes that crying serves no purpose at all in the evolution of man and stones.

Darwin said shedding tears when one’s cell phone is run over by a garbage truck is the same as when one weeps after being hit in the face with a sledgehammer. It’s all about putting pressure on our eyes when we contort our facial muscles, he said. This early, we are told that any serious inquiry on crying would end in disappointment.

But succeeding researchers dismissed Darwin’s theory, saying the Englishman’s frequent touring with The Beagles had taken its toll on him. So they went to work on their own theses, this time with a more brilliant starting point. They asked themselves: “If man had no eyes, would tears be possible?” This went on to become the most dreaded question in beauty contests because it can’t be answered with “world peace.”

Two authors did more than just positing the idea of an eyeless man. They suggested that animals cry copious tears at a death of, say, a kindhearted zookeeper. In When Elephants Weep (1996), Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy present anecdotes and insights that offer powerful proof of the existence of animal emotion, from dancing squirrels to bashful gorillas to coupling hamsters. With chapters on animal love, joy, anger, fear, shame, compassion, and loneliness, the book assures that we will never look at the lowly cockroach the same way again.

Parallel investigations managed to classify tears into various types: “Basal tears” are those that continuously keep the eyes moist so we can freely roll our eyeballs whenever politicians utter the phrase “in aid of legislation” on national television; “reflex tears” result when you chop onions or when you attend an anti-Arroyo rally and cops disperse you with tear gas; “psychic tears” result from increased lacrimation due to strong emotional stress, physical pain or crippling fear when in police custody.

It is this last type of tears that carries societal significance. It is this last type of tears that Lozada, Santos and Aquino shed copiously in aid of legislation and TV ratings. It is this type of tears that Congress, Senate and Malacañang are using against each other now.

And because we’re running out of space, let’s just include here one last type of tears – the crocodile tears. These are tears resulting from an insincere display of grief or dishonest remorse. It is taken from the ancient anecdote that crocodiles would pretend to weep while luring or devouring their prey.

Actually, Darwin’s theory is much safer, really.

(, february 26, 2008)


3 Responses to “For crying out loud”

  1. I remember an enterprising student who almost drowned her teacher to pass the course. Tears have been an effective weapon. But it seems the tears of Lozada and Santos are more than just weapon.

    I enjoyed Frank Malilong’s column (Sun Star Cebu – February 24, 2008). Here, I share some.

    Why is Rodolfo Lozada Jr. more credible than Erwin Santos? Answer: because he cried first.

    They’re not so young or so good-looking but Lozada and Santos are giving Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby a run for their money. “The Crying Ladies” starring all four should be a blockbuster.

    I’m afraid of crocodile tears! It nullifies rules of Physics.

  2. “They’re not so young or so good-looking but Lozada and Santos are giving Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby a run for their money. “The Crying Ladies” starring all four should be a blockbuster.”
    -I see that these guys do have what it take to be a star! hahaha!
    i.apil ni nato sila sa kokey: ang ikalawang kabanata… tsk tsk…

  3. Kakasawa na ang mga bangayan na yan..

    Oist!! Salamat sa pagbisita.. Balik ka po ulit ha ^_^

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