Dethroning “La Comay”: A Rhetorical View of the Issue

SuperXclusivo's La Comay

SuperXclusivo’s La Comay

When a country considers a puppet a legitimate source of news and information, you know that there is something questionable and downright baffling going on. Above is the picture of the infamous puppet known as La Comay (puppeteered by actor Kobo Santarrosa), the hostess of the #1 showed aired in WAPA television titled SuperXclusivo, which is seen mostly by Puerto Rican audiences in and out of the island.

I was never a fan of the show. Although on one hand this could be due to how downright creepy the puppet is, it mostly has to do with how judicious, unethical, and biased La Comay’s so-called reporting process is. Unfortunately, I have had to deal with her ridiculous commentary more than I would like to, for the show is a staple within Puerto Rican communities, and many of my family members watch it religiously.

As a news article points out in Latino Rebels, the show “is a bastion of all that is bad about mass entertainment—the yellow journalism, the unethical investigative tactics, the flat-out misreporting, the playing to the lowest common denominator.” I have found myself appalled with some of the discussions that take place in the show. Perhaps the most “memorable” moment I had with La Comay was during late 2010, when Ricky Martin announced that he would ultimately like to get married in Puerto Rico, where gay marriage is currently illegal. Unsurprisingly, La Comay responded to this with contempt and disgust–and she was already in hot water when she called Ricky Martin a pato (the Spanish pejorative equivalent to the English word “fag”) after he publicly came out of the closet. Needless to say, La Comay faced serious backlash from these remarks, to the point that she had to air a public apology for her socially irresponsible use of language.

Recently, there has been a call to boycott SuperXclusivo, which has been fueled immensely by the use of social media and networks (particularly Twitter and Facebook). As of now, the boycott’s official Facebook page has over 73,500 likes, and its official Twitter page has over 4,000 followers. These numbers are slowly but steadily growing.

Although the causes and the implications of the boycott have been discussed extensively by other sources such as the Huffington Postin a nutshell, it was mostly sparked by the death of publicist José Enrique Gómez Saladín. La Comay implied that José Enrique deserved his fate because he was “looking for it,” and she even went as far as to posit that he was involved in gay prostitution scandals without having concrete evidence on these matters. The boycott has been quite successful, and numerous companies have retracted their sponsorship of the show.

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Companies and enterprises that have retracted their sponsorship of “SuperXclusivo” after the boycott began. Taken from the boycott’s official Facebook page.

It is interesting that many have posited that this boycott is compromising freedom of speech and of press, and that it is leading to an unprecedented degree of social and cultural censorship. Others that I personally know are simply downright angry at the possibility of their lovely puppet disappearing from the small screen. However, from a humanistic perspective, the boycott is not about censorship or oppression, but rather, it is targeted at eliminating hatred and discrimination from primetime television–and trust me, there is enough hate and violence as is within the island. There is a difference between portraying honest and unbiased news, and fabricating honesty with malicious intent solely for the sake of boosting ratings. La Comay must be commended for knowing that it’s not just what you say, but it is mostly how you say it… but what is the cost of this so-called honesty? Does the news really need to be embellished with lies, deceit, and hatred?

On one hand, delivering “news” in La Comay’s fashion is definitely a way to reach an audience. People do tune in, after all, in order to determine what scandalous or outrageous thing she will say next–living up to her catchphrase ¡Que bochinche! (“What a commotion!”). The show’s immense outreach has also led to an increase in La Comay’s authority. Let’s face it: La Comay has so much power and influence over the Puerto Rican population that even prominent figures such as the island’s governor, Luis Fortuño, are interviewed in the show. Yes, even the most powerful political figure in the island found himself “coerced” to share his perspectives on a scandal in SuperXclusivo, a show devoted to slanderous news and gossip. To demonstrate the ridiculousness of this notion, think of it as the equivalent of Barrack Obama being interviewed by Perez Hilton.

My concern is the following: although La Comay gains authority through her use of questionable pathos, at what point do ethics challenge this authority? It is simply a matter of how things are being said? Even more importantly, when do we stop approaching La Comay’s ideas as entertainment and start approaching them as ideas?

True, we have all the duty to fight censorship. We have freedom of speech and freedom of press, and nobody should suppress one’s desire to express their thoughts and opinions. The “problem” with ideas, however, is that they not only carry ideological weight, but they are also not isolated within a vacuum. Ideas are part of a circuitous network of exchange and deliberation. Ideas always have consequences.

Even more so, although we have the right to say anything that comes to mind, we have to keep in mind that anything that is said or written can have repercussions (both negative and positive). At the end of the day, La Comay has all the right in the world to say what she thinks and feels–as long as she is willing to accept the consequences that come with doing so. In this case, however, it is easy to hind behind the mask of a puppet. At first glance, it can be said that the man underneath the hideous fabric shell believes that anything said under the disguise is said for the sake of entertainment. However, matters become convoluted when realizing that the puppet approaches her work as serious reporting and investigation. The fact that “truth” must be delivered under the guise of a puppet leaves me pondering and questioning the scope and purpose of what is being said.

Ultimately, I am simply amazed with the fact that  so many people have become the puppet’s marionettes. Oh, the irony.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog post contains some copyrighted material whose use has not been authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this not-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material (as defined in section 107 of the US Copyright Law). No infringement is intended.

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17 thoughts on “Dethroning “La Comay”: A Rhetorical View of the Issue

  1. karasuhimechan says:

    (sent it again just in ca I agree with everything except you forgot to add some things

    1. Fortu~o was in no way coerced to appear on the show. He appeared multiple times on his own will just like he did in every other channel during his “reign” That man just loves excessive publicity; just look at how much Puerto Rican money he used for his personal campaign. I dont think you should use him for an example for anything but ‘whos the biggest corrupted politician’ Ley 7, gasoducto, anti freedom of speech laws. That man loves “La Comay”

    Something a lot of people forget to mention are La Comays words against the so called “regular people” Since I watch La Comay, I know. “Puerto Ricans should just take justice into their own hands, everyone should carry guns, its the only way to get justice!”

    Whoa, what a great way to solve crime. Violence vs. Violence. Yup.

    And lets not forget her comments against the students in the strike. “They just dont want to have class! Those police should are just hitting them back to defend themselves!” Oh really.

    La Comay is an extremelly policallized Tv show. SPECIFICALLY Right wing ultra conservative PNP statehood supporter, and presents a lot of the same views as “El Nuevo Dia, Primera Hora, El Vocero”

    All pnp statehood support. Thats why she favors Pnp in her show, in her words (“dont talk like that about ** he deserves respect”) and to others (“que cafre”)

    Aside from her extremelly hateful words, her bigest offence is to call herself “La Voz del Pueblo”

    (The voice of Puerto Rico’s people) Ironically, that same people have turned on her now, but not for the “right” reasons.

    The people who hate la Comay can fall into 3 categories
    1. Regular smart people who can see and remember all her diffamatory comments as well as her shameless bias towards Pnp even though she calls herself “News”
    2. Disgruntled people who dont like specific comments towards certain people
    3. People who dont like her attitude or concept
    4. People who favor this Publicist who was killed

    Thats why la comay is being hated on. Unfortunatly peiople tend to think only the last issue is more important.
    Shows how much importance the news gave to this Publicist.

    +(btw el Nuevo dia + Primera Hora have the same owner, so its not that they arent any more sides to whatever isse, just that they wont be revealing them. Remember elections? Its want until late the nexy day they finally took the “it looks like Pnp is winning” “news” out)

    La Comays biggest mistake in my opinion was to call herself “news” and the voice of PR when she is clearly a gossip show with political undertones and an overall bad qnd fifamatory character.

    But then again, she is a Puerto Rican show, made by Puerto Ricans and contributing to Puerto Rico.
    Few shows can say that. That it is a bad show is undeniable, but its about the only PR show these television companies will support.

    It seems that, regardless, in the end, its Puerto Rico that suffers.
    Because Wapa favors La Comay, everyone knows (The voice of Puerto Rico’s people) Ironically, that same people have turned on her now, but not for the “right” reasons.

    The people who hate la Comay can fall into 3 categories
    1. Regular smart people who can see and remember all her diffamatory comments as well as her shameless bias towards Pnp even though she calls herself “News”
    2. Disgruntled people who dont like specific comments towards certain people
    3. People who dont like her attitude or concept
    4. People who favor this Publicist who was killed

    Thats why la comay is being hated on. Unfortunatly peiople tend to think only the last issue is more important.
    Shows how much importance the news gave to this Publicist.

    +(btw el Nuevo dia + Primera Hora have the same owner, so its not that they arent any more sides to whatever isse, just that they wont be revealing them. Remember elections? Its want until late the nexy day they finally took the “it looks like Pnp is winning” “news” out)

    La Comays biggest mistake in my opinion was to call herself “news” and the voice of PR when she is clearly a gossip show with political undertones and an overall bad qnd fifamatory character.

    But then again, she is a Puerto Rican show, made by Puerto Ricans and contributing to Puerto Rico.
    Few shows can say that. That it is a bad show is undeniable, but its about the only PR show these television companies will support.

    It seems that, regardless, in the end, its Puerto Rico that suffers.
    Because Wapa favors La Comay, everyone knows That if she gets eliminated shell just be replaced by a similar show, maybe by an non PR. Its cheaper. Who cares about unemployement or PR?
    La Comay spreads hate. The same hate the people who manage our mass media carry (not pnps, but money grubbing guys) And unfortunately, they are many sides to the same issue, because the comay has sometimes attact the “right people” but mostly “the wrong people” its complex.

    I wish that at least a tiny piece of the passion that people feel for this issue, theyd put into protesting corruption and un-moral actions, violence in Puerto Rico. If you watch La Comay, just watch it with these things in mind. (“why would she say that? Who does it favor?”) because it always does.

    • Angel Daniel Matos says:

      Thank you for your insightful response, and I absolutely agree with what you say! I think I used the word coerced as a slight hyperbole (I put quotation marks on the word as to avoid misinterpretation). As you pointed out, nobody forced Fortu~o to actually appear on the show multiple times– but it is still questionable that a major political figure uses this platform to share his thoughts and ideas with the “pueblo.”

      I am so glad that you pointed out that La Comay generally targets “everyday people,” and that she approaches her work almost as if it were vigilante justice. Apparently she is the so-called Batman of our times, taking justice into her own hands. But Batman, an imaginary figure, was anything but devious and corrupt. When it comes down to it, I am quite uncertain with La Comay’s future. I just hope that people will stop viewing a puppet as the island’s most “legitimate” source of information.

      • karasuhimechan says:

        I hope that people realize that its not only “La Comay” who is witholding information and twisting the facts, merely the most obvious.

        La Comay is almost a small fry in a place where people favor opinion like hers.

  2. karasuhimechan says:

    I agree with everything except you forgot to add some things

    1. Fortu~o was in no way coerced to appear on the show. He appeared multiple times on his own will just like he did in every other channel during his “reign” That man just loves excessive publicity; just look at how much Puerto Rican money he used for his personal campaign. I dont think you should use him for an example for anything but ‘whos the biggest corrupted politician’ Ley 7, gasoducto, anti freedom of speech laws. That man loves “La Comay”

    Something a lot of people forget to mention are La Comays words against the so called “regular people” Since I watch La Comay, I know. “Puerto Ricans should just take justice into their own hands, everyone should carry guns, its the only way to get justice!”

    Whoa, what a great way to solve crime. Violence vs. Violence. Yup.

    And lets not forget her comments against the students in the strike. “They just dont want to have class! Those police should are just hitting them back to defend themselves!” Oh really.

    La Comay is an extremelly policallized Tv show. SPECIFICALLY Right wing ultra conservative PNP statehood supporter, and presents a lot of the same views as “El Nuevo Dia, Primera Hora, El Vocero”

    All pnp statehood support. Thats why she favors Pnp in her show, in her words (“dont talk like that about ** he deserves respect”) and to others (“que cafre”)

    Aside from her extremelly hateful words, her bigest offence is to call herself “La Voz del Pueblo”
    (The voice of Puerto Rico’s people) Ironically, that same people have turned on her now, but not for the “right” reasons.

    The people who hate la Comay can fall into 3 categories
    1. Regular smart people who can see and remember all her diffamatory comments as well as her shameless bias towards Pnp even though she calls herself “News”
    2. Disgruntled people who dont like specific comments towards certain people
    3. People who dont like her attitude or concept
    4. People who favor this Publicist who was killed

    Thats why la comay is being hated on. Unfortunatly peiople tend to think only the last issue is more important.
    Shows how much importance the news gave to this Publicist.

    +(btw el Nuevo dia + Primera Hora have the same owner, so its not that they arent any more sides to whatever isse, just that they wont be revealing them. Remember elections? Its want until late the nexy day they finally took the “it looks like Pnp is winning” “news” out)

    La Comays biggest mistake in my opinion was to call herself “news” and the voice of PR when she is clearly a gossip show with political undertones and an overall bad qnd fifamatory character.

    But then again, she is a Puerto Rican show, made by Puerto Ricans and contributing to Puerto Rico.
    Few shows can say that. That it is a bad show is undeniable, but its about the only PR show these television companies will support.

    It seems that, regardless, in the end, its Puerto Rico that suffers.
    Because Wapa favors La Comay, everyone knows That if she gets eliminated shell just be replaced by a similar show, maybe by an non PR. Its cheaper. Who cares about unemployement or PR?
    La Comay spreads hate. The same hate the people who manage our mass media carry (not pnps, but money grubbing guys) And unfortunately, they are many sides to the same issue, because the comay has sometimes attact the “right people” but mostly “the wrong people” its complex.

    I wish that at least a tiny piece of the passion that people feel for this issue, theyd put into protesting corruption and un-moral actions, violence in Puerto Rico. If you watch La Comay, just watch it with these things in mind. (“why would she say that? Who does it favor?”) because it always does.

  3. rbeato says:

    Great balanced article. I still wonder how we let our media turn into the cess pool ig is today. I rather listen to my music and monitor media via the web.
    I just hope people would stop tuning the garbage in general. The boicot began with la comay. Something is better than nothing.
    My views on what will eventually happen to the boicot if no psrticipation anf followers increase is writdn on my two most recent articles on my blog.

  4. Jess Vel says:

    Love your post. For how long have I been praying for the cancellation of this show? It reflects extremely poorly on us Puerto Ricans. Hopefully, the day is near. Thank you for explaining our points objectively and eloquently. That’s the representation we need!

  5. Barbara Nieves says:

    Great article and very eye opening because I don’t live in Puerto Rico. Much of what you say about responsible TV journalism goes back to Edward R. Murrow. Reporting on what is deemed as news should be presented truthfully, factually, and objectively because it is a responsibility. “Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information.” ~ Edward R. Murrow

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