The shape of things to come

Between you and me, I would rather get caught up in the intense build-up (or hype, depending, I guess, on which side of the Gulf of Mexico you’re on) over the Pacquiao-Morales rematch, but the resurfacing of the simonpures of Philippine politics in the immediate wake of renewed restiveness in the military (for instance, Ernie Maceda, eternally "so young"), is terribly distracting.

But at least there is a political lesson we can learn from the boxers. (Incidentally, the best place to start reading up on the upcoming fight is Pacland, an aggregator site run, if I’m not mistaken, by Winchell Campos. It links to all articles it can find about Pacquiao, including online analysis by boxing experts.)

The lesson? Well, Morales has apologized in advance to the entire Filipino nation, because he said there was no way Pacquiao could win. Pacquiao, for his part, has broadcast the results of his study of Morales’s latest fight: Now he knows where the great Mexican fighter is vulnerable, he told reporters. The comments, of course, are strictly psy-ops: the idea, made famous by Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, who perfected a stark-raving-foaming-at-the-mouth-mad act before his first bout with Sonny Liston, is of course to unnerve the opponent before the fight.

The claim that the four Magdalo mutineers who escaped last Tuesday were helped by their brothers in the service is only to be expected; it may very well be true, in fact it is the simplest explanation for their escape, but repeating it over and over again is of course psychological warfare. To update Sun Tzu for the John Mayer generation: Make your enemy think you are, well, bigger than your body.

Navy Lt. Antonio Trillanes, who speaks for the Magdalo mutineers, has warned that the escape was only "part of things to come." He could very well be telling the truth; he could also be improvising, hoping that by saying things were moving, things would begin to move.

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Filed under Readings in Media, Readings in Politics

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