Posted by: nastypen | August 31, 2007

A Night With a Pornographer

Ah…pornography is such a haze. What you consider pornographic, it’s another person’s art.

But this is not about a discussion on the merits or criteria of a highly-charged or highly-sexualized arena of pornography per se. It’s about me in a smoke-filled room, listening to bawdy talks, alcohol-doused semi-drunks and a man that went by the name Xerex. If you had a semblance of consciousness from post-EDSA ’86 to the early ’90s, you might be familiar with his work.

He wrote for a tabloid. His column is the reason that drove the tabloid’s popularity to the high heavens, or if you have a different point of view, dragged it to the pits of hell. It was his colorful language of the erotic mired in the gutter culture and exemplified in print. He predated Sex in the City, only his is far removed from glamor but awash is bodily fluids. He didn’t intellectualize sex and relationships…it was all about animal sounds, poundings and playful nicknames.

Oh. yes, he’s THAT Xerex.

So, I met a “legend.” He looks frail, but drinks like a college student exploding in hormonal maladjustment. I sat there staring at a man that incited several passions in culture. And the passion I’m talking about is not the romanticized kind. It’s the passion of the religious right to incite scenes with fire and brimstone, or the scowl from parents on how his words are churning rapists.

Society always needs a bogeyman and for a short span of time, it was Xerex. From the pages of Abante! his columns became the kama sutra for the masses and it oh so appalled polite society. He started writing after Marcos was ousted. It was such a heady time for a new-found freedom and Filipino journalists and periodicals were determined to make this country to most free press in the entire continent.

And thus Xerex and his orgiastic columns came to be.

In several occasions, I was asked to read Xerex’s steamy columns out loud because I do stumble in reading Filipino aloud. I sound like a drugged-up Fil-American SoCal himbo. My attempts to read his columns out loud always elicits laughter from people within earshot. I get to hone my colloquial vocabulary, too, via those sparse times of me reading his columns. And these are words and terminologies absent in any “decent” reference.

And there I was a few hours ago facing the man that in his own way shaped tabloid culture in the metro….and even popular culture. I never really imagined Xerex as a person. I mean, I never really cared so much as to visualize him. All I know is that somebody is just typing scenarios that meant to titillate the readers.

Apparently, he does not write the Xerex columns anymore. The column still exists but it has become “tame” according to some readers.  Or to put it more accurately, perhaps the readers became desensitized and jaded and sex can only do so much?

I don’t know. All I know is that Xerex is on his way to Basilan.

Yup, Basilan….a hot spot of the current military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf bandits. He shall be shipped alongside the latest batallion to be dispatched in that blighted land. Now, what would Xerex, many of whom think of him as a pornographer be doing there? He may not longer be a columnist, but he is still a journalist and he was assigned to cover this “war.”

Xerex gruffs, “War? This is just bloated. Exaggerated.” He posits that the government is behind this hyping up of a puny war. This way, the military can get more money. He chugs another glass of brandy. Smoke is hanging ominously thick in a non-smoking building. He guffaws and unleashes conspiracy theories.

I just smile the way I smile watching a sneezing panda cub on youtube. I was told later that Xerex has considerably mellowed. Before, he would just stand and scream at the top of his lungs the Shahada, the Muslim prayer, which is disallowed to be uttered (moreso in a drunken state) by an infidel.

My reverie is shattered by a guy asking Xerex where the clitoris is. Xerex scratched his back, reached further down and produced a black pen from his back! What the? And he started making diagrams on the papers placed there to absorb the alcohol rings. The men shifted in their seats and started hovering around Xerex with glee in their red eyes as I sat there, this time with a facial expression I use every time I see a baby seal being attacked by a polar bear.

Xerex yelled a modified Filipino adage, “Ang lalakeng hindi marunong tumingin kung asan ang pinanggalingan, may erectile dysfunction.”  It’s basically “If I man does not know how to look from where he came, he has an erectile dysfunction.”  Meaning, where he came, the birth canal…. No, I didn’t laugh either.  I just squirmed in my seat.  Again, I was the minority here.

He asked me what is the part in between the vagina/penis and the anus called?  I have no idea.  He muttered “Salumbaba.”  In Tagalog, that literally means “a place to rest one’s chin.”  Ok, that was funny…I think.

Xerex started doodling the female genitalia and he was enumerating the names he remembers. He remembers few because the brandy has addled almost everyone. I didn’t drink. There was this old guy with a bulbous stomach, his eyes are as red as his neck thanks to the alcohol and he starts to snigger at the drawings and looked at me and asked loudly if I can draw that.

I just smiled and thought “I don’t draw for infantile drunks.” If I said that allowed nobody would have paid attention because all of them were whooping at a crude drawing that reminded me of a venn diagram drawn by a dyslexic.

Xerex started to scream “I LAB YA!” This is his “witty” way of saying “Labia.” I looked at this group of older men, shaking with laughter and I thanked God I am gay.

So, this is the famous Xerex. Millions, literally, millions of people have read him. Many people have had their sexual awakenings via this guy. Many tabloids owe their existence to him. Many tabloid writers try to beat him. He of one name, Xerex. He who sparked the sexed-up money machinery of films that showed more boobs and simulated sex than emotional range.

He warbles on about him being in the military before. He spouts to me “I have had my share of human rights violations.” My eyes did not hide my shock. He mistook it for awe. He went on about being part of the military during the Marcos regime. This frail old man. How many did he kill?

He leaned towards me and said, “In battle, soldiers get combat stress. In thirteen days, we get to experience a lot of things. Killing is one of them. Some, don’t like it. Others, they enjoyed it. Now, when you enjoy it, that’s really bad.”

YOU THINK?!?!?!?

He was quite serious when he mentioned this. He then looks at me. His eyes twinkled and his face crumpled into gleeful wrinkles and he chuckles, “I enjoyed it.” Is he serious? It must be the rum talking. In vino veritas? He thought that I would be shocked. I just looked at him with utter contempt. How can you argue with a drunk? I did once and the guy broke a bottle and wanted to stab me.

I just smirked and said, “Good luck in Basilan.” I took my stuff and went home. I met so many assholes in my life and I grow weary on having to have wasted time.  I’d be more satisfied had I watched Priscilla Queen on the Desert for the nth time instead.

Goodness……inflicting pain then killing for pleasure….now, that’s pornographic.

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