which is what Ricky Lo is. and yes, we can go on and on about how bad that interview was, and the wrong questions he asked, or you know, we can go the way of wanting more hits and ask people: what do you think?
but what we might want to ask too is the question of why: why is Ricky Lo the one we’re sending out to represent good ol’ Pinas? why are his interviewing skills so bad? why is he not replaced in this position of an-amount-of-power? why has it taken an interview with Anne Hathaway to get us all riled up when he’s been doing it all this time?
yes, all this time. there is no Ricky Lo interview on television that is remotely better than the one with Hathaway, believe me, and he’s done plenty with international movie stars. and no, he doesn’t do any better as host of Star Talk. in fact, he does worse because he is forced to do live interviews with guests in this seemingly removed and distant way, without a smidgen of warmth. Ricky also seems to think that he’s asking the more witty and critical questions than his co-hosts; on Star Talk, Joey de Leon does so much better at both.
but Ricky’s been on TV all these years, and no one has complained. this is a TV career kicked off by his credibility as columnist in the Philippine Star, where he does interviews and does the whole coming-out-with-scoops for a living. this TV career can only be premised on the idea that one’s skill at writing can be transposed to becoming a skill at hosting. and this is true for many-a-showbiz-talk-show-host, yes? case in point: Cristy Fermin.
but we wouldn’t send her out to do an interview with Anne Hathaway.
we used to think that English was all we needed to go global. Ricky proves that we need so much more than that, even when — especially when — what we are doing are press junkets with international movie stars. but too, Ricky is a finger pointed at us, who put people up on pedestals, who let media enterprises make celebrities out of the talentless. i mean Ricky’s discomfort and utter lack of skill for TV was obvious from the beginning, and yet he has stayed on. the sad fact is that he has not improved. the sadder fact is that at this point in time, the criticism of his work will make no difference.
yes, to some extent, it is too late. after all, we are already at a time when we can actually say: at least Ricky Lo has a body of work to back him up.
we are at a time after all when self-proclaimed eventologists and lifestyle columnists can have their own TV segments, if not their own TV shows. we have those who have gained fame as bloggers, those who have a zillion followers on twitter, becoming celebrities given mainstream media attention. those who are tumblr famous (thank you to wanggo for alerting me to the existence of the latter) and who maintain blogs, if not are social media creatures jumping on the more controversial issues of our time, are now in our broadsheets.
and we are responsible for that, for making celebrities out of the people we follow on twitter and tumblr, the ones we are fans of on FB, the people we read in the papers. i am not saying that all of them are unworthy of the attention; i am saying that we nip it in the bud, we acknowledge the limits of twitter- and blog-celebrity, we insist that writers be writers, and give the hosting gigs to the one who have the skill for it, before any of it gets out of hand.
or at least before they go on TV and are sent out into the world to do embarrassing and shameful interviews.
we create media creatures like Ricky Lo, after all. and maybe we are being taught to be more careful about who we put up on pedestals, who we demand to see on TV. maybe it’s telling us all to be more conscious about our own limitations, at a time when it is easy to get carried away by the number of followers we have on twitter, or having an amount of (ewew) tumblr-fame.
after all, at a time when anyone can be celebrity, the last thing we want is to have more Ricky Los in our midst.