For a long time, Teddy Locsin, Jr. embodied our idea of a cultured, well-read gentleman who was in touch with his emotions and yet not afraid to go ballistic when needed. In case you missed it, President Rodrigo Duterte recently appointed him as the Philippines' ambassador to the United Nations.
In 2009, we were in awe of Locsin's heartbreaking eulogy for the late Corazon Aquino. In it he said, "I did not realize it, even when I was already in the Palace, by the side of the President—among all her advisers, I like to think, the one who loved her most." (Heck, even if you weren't a Cory fan, you had to admire Locsin's eloquent revelation.)
In 2010, when Locsin was still a Makati congressman, he became enraged during the House inquiry into an alleged poll fraud.
Locsin, who was then chairman of the House committee on electoral reforms and suffrage, cursed at a representative of poll automation supplier Smartmatic. He said, "You sons of bitches! You had us standing here guaranteeing to the public and the world that even if fraud is committed, we would be able to trace it. We never said that fraud could never be committed, but you said we could trace it. But now, you tell me that at 10 in the evening, you could [cheat] and we would never know?"
Locsin has a way with words and this has served him well as a journalist. On ANC's The World Tonight, he does his witty "Teditorial" segments. Admittedly, his humor is often too high brow for mediocre minds (ours included) to comprehend.
And, yes, it doesn't hurt that the camera loves Locsin's mestizo looks. The man has aged well. He looks his age but in a good way. He's in his late 60s but looks at least 10 years younger.
But for all the good things we remember and still can say about Locsin, it seems that all is not well. More and more now, he has been making statements that needlessly provoke violent reactions.
In March this year, he made controversial comments in connection with the debate among presidential contenders. He tweeted, "English is the language of men. Tagalog sounds manly only when clipped and short like English." He added, "Tagalog should be discouraged. So long, so bullshitty, so useless a tongue for debate."
More recently, Locsin made a reference to Adolf Hitler in a tweet that swiftly became viral for all the wrong reasons. "I believe that the drug menace is so big it needs a Final Solution like the Nazis adopted. That I believe. No rehab," he declared.
As the controversy over Locsin's Hitler tweet played out, writer Jessica Zafra expressed her disappointment in the October 1 installment of her InterAksyon column. She titled the piece "Obituary for the formerly brilliant."
Zafra didn't name names in her writing. Practically everyone knew whom she was addressing. She wrote:
"Loyalty and gratitude had blinded me from speaking. I thought that if I shut up, surely this vicious insanity would end, and once again we would be sitting down to a meal at which he would bring his own rice, steaming in its cooker, declare his love of HBO's Rome and Ciaran Hinds' portrayal of Julius Caesar, and bemoan, hilariously, the demise of his hair follicles."
Then again, let us admit that of late, Zafra's former mentor has been less hilarious and more incendiary. It often seems as if the lines between hilarious and downright offensive are no longer there.
It's not for us to say why he says what he says, but perhaps examining some of his most provocative tweets may help us discern if he's being funny in a way that our mediocre minds can't comprehend or if he's become a person that we're ashamed of admiring.
Check out the following tweets:
We confess that we find ourselves laughing at some of Locsin's quips. He is a master of words, after all. Other times though, we can't help raising our eyebrows and shaking our heads.
That said, we still can't say if Locsin embodies the best version of ourselves or if he's someone whom we don't want to become. Like Zafra, we shall burn that bridge when we get there.
Brilliant people like Locsin are hard to figure out. We of simpler minds only dream of better days ahead—when we don't have to work so hard to explain why people who should know better seem to enjoy saying things that don't do any good.
This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.
*Minor edits have been made by the Fhm.com.ph editors.