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Uncool Jim

After bravely facing down a fearsome total of seven kids at the Yellow Edsa rally last Saturday, backed by thousands of his black-shirted supporters, this is what fearless balladeer Jim Paredes had to say to his adoring Twitter followers:

“I had an immensely enjoyable confrontation…It is so satisfying to shut them up when it mattered. Face to face. In person.”

Well. I must say that I’m truly impressed by him. It takes so little after all to get Jim’s rocks off. His modesty is quite becoming.

Of course, if Jim had wanted to stretch himself a bit, he might have picked on a more challenging target than these seven. They were only products of schools like UP, TUP, Adamson, nowhere near the rarefied realms of Ateneo that oh so gently cradled Jim’s growth to maturity under the watchful eyes of the gods of privilege.

Not only that; most of them, it turns out, used to be ROTC corps commanders back in college. Que horror! They were nothing but young men who were trained only to lead other young men to fight and die for their country if the need arises. It’s a safe bet that none of them can carry a tune as well as our precious Jim.

Unfortunately for them, they were too well disciplined to raise their voices against someone like Jim who was clearly older, wealthier, better-bred (did you ever hear so much proper English bandied about in a street confrontation?), and most definitely louder than them. Were they less disciplined, they might have put up a better show for Jim’s greater delectation.

* * *

None of this deterred Jim, who has never been known to run away from a fight where he enjoyed the upper hand.

I remember a sunny weekend afternoon some years back, when I was walking in Rizal Park together with the late Chief Justice Renato Corona and others, on our way to some obscure rally that he just wanted to observe.

Passing by a group of well-heeled young people (whom I later learned were Ateneo schoolmates of Jim’s), I heard them start to boo the old man, who had just been relieved of his Supreme Court seat courtesy of P50 million paid to each senator by the estimable Budget Secretary Butch Abad, a founding member of the estimable Hyatt 10.

The boos began to build in volume, until CJ Corona decided to just leave the place. It certainly wasn’t the finest hour for freedom of speech, PNoy-style.

So, you see, Jim Paredes doesn’t discriminate. He’ll pick a fight with the old just as readily as he’ll pick on the young. It does take so little to get his rocks off.

* * *

Flashback even earlier, again in Rizal Park, on a late day in June 2010, when outgoing President Arroyo was on her way to the ceremonial turnover of power to her successor, Mister Daylight Bringer himself, the Noynoy.

As she made her way through the crowd, obviously jampacked with Yellow supporters, the boos started. A few catcalls mixed in. If there were any presumably well-bred Ateneans in there—Jim Paredes included—they certainly didn’t bother to show off their good breeding.

I learned right there not to expect too much from this gang. When NoyNoy and Corona shared the same stage much later, before the impeachment started, the President did not even bother to shake the hands of his co-equal the Chief Justice. Why should the Son of Heroes and Martyrs be bothered with something as trivial as behaving politely?

These days the NoyNoy has become so invisible, it’s embarrassing. He’s gone to ground at Times Street, occasionally he’ll pop his head out like a hedgehog at the end of winter to sniff the air and issue some profundity (“The fight is not yet over!” he thundered last Saturday), and then he’ll disappear again.

Even with his limited faculties, the guy understands that discretion is now the better part of valor. Live to fight another day, but not now—not when your former justice secretary, at long last in jail for drug pushing, might decide to become less than discreet and unburden herself of the truth about where, exactly, and how high up, did all that drug money go.

In the meantime, Noynoy isn’t really missed. Not with valiant warriors around to defend his putative legacy, of the mete and caliber of Jim Paredes.

* * *

All of which is not to say that I consider the guy a lightweight, or, worse, laos. To my own senior’s ears, that sounds so unkind. His music has been derided as frothy and sentimental, but, hey, I like a lot of it. I can be just as frothy and sentimental as anyone else.

But I will ask this: Jim oh Jim, where were you when I needed to have substantive discussions about politics and such? I’m right here, my friend, whenever you realize that, at your age and elevated social status, you really should be picking your fights with someone of the same size, age and background. Any way you’d like the fight to go, dude, I’m game.

My email address is right here below. Don’t be a stranger, just drop me a line. And remember my parting words to you:

3.1416… mo. 3.1416… ka.

You’re well-educated, my friend. You can figure it out.

Readers can write me at [email protected]

Topics: Gary Olivar , Uncool Jim , Edsa rally , Jim Paredes
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