Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The Gates of Hell
By OFW Editor: Carlos J Cortes
Published: June 11, 2013


Philippines officials are up in arms against Dan Brown’s unflattering portrayal of Manila, the Philippines capital city.
 
The problem stems from a line of internal dialogue in the mind of Sienna, one of the protagonists of Inferno.
 
You can check the details in Newser:
 
Manila officials were probably excited to learn that one of the characters in Dan Brown's latest sure-to-be blockbuster visits the city. That is, until they read the descriptions of the child-sex trade, pollution, and poverty, all of which prompted the character in Inferno to declare, "I've run through the gates of hell." Well. Manila official Francis Tolentino has written a strongly worded letter to Brown and his publisher complaining of the "inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis" and demanding a correction of some kind, reports AFP.
 
Tolentino even pored over Philippines travel records and declared that Brown has never visited the country. If he had, says Tolentino, Brown would know that instead of being the "gates of hell," Manila is actually ... wait for it ... the "doorway to heaven," reports ABS-CBN. (And people call Brown a hack.) No word yet in response from the Da Vinci Code author.
 
But if memory serves, this is not the first time that Philippines’s officials have tried to defend the indefensible by a time-honored resource most politicians use: a virulent attack.
 
When Jose Javier Reyes’s film, Live Show,  was released; a harrowing story of young people whose poverty led them to perform live sex on stage to survive, all hell broke loose (I couldn't resist the pun). Critics hollered until they managed, with the help of Church and Government, to suppress the film; which was well done and portrayed an unfortunate reality.
 
A few years ago Claire Danes was in Manila to film Brokedown Palace. Back in the Unites States she described Manila as a "ghastly and weird city," that "smelled like cockroaches", and where "rats were everywhere," in the pages of Vogue and Premiere.
 
After a big stink and tries to ban Danes’s films in the Philippines she was declared persona non grata, even though her remarks were accurate.
 
I’m not Dan Brown’s fan, but fair is fair. Manila may not be Inferno or “the gates of hell” but it will certainly fuel the nightmares of average travelers.
 
Rather than bellyaching, the politicians of such a potentially beautiful countries should do something about the filth and the squalor in their cities and give artists a modicum of the respect they deserve for denouncing what they see.
 

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