Monday, February 08, 2010

My motherfucking way? Or- I'm scared of Filipinos.

So we already talked about this madness, so that's good-- but what is this?
The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling “My Way” in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the “My Way Killings.”

The killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country’s culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?

Whatever the reason, many karaoke bars have removed the song from their playbooks. And the country’s many Sinatra lovers, like Mr. Gregorio here in this city in the southernmost Philippines, are practicing self-censorship out of perceived self-preservation [. . .]

A subset of karaoke bars with G.R.O.’s — short for guest relations officers, a euphemism for female prostitutes — often employ gay men, who are seen as neutral, to defuse the undercurrent of tension among the male patrons. Since the gay men are not considered rivals for the women’s attention — or rivals in singing, which karaoke machines score and rank — they can use humor to forestall macho face-offs among the patrons.

From the NYTimes "Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord." Related: Letters of Note has Frank Sinatra's belligerent response to a news reporter's allegations: "I will allow you to pull my "hairpiece"; if it moves, I will give you another $100,000; if it does not, I punch you in the mouth. How about it?"

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