Short cops policing a short people, corrupt politicians governing a corrupt people. Like Coffeemate in coffee, it all makes sense to me. So then what’s the big deal about Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III’s “veto” of a bill proposing a removal of minimum height requirements for Filipino police personnel? Funny thing, the way a nation of generally short people presume to “debate” the height requirement of their cops.
As the venerable Jedi Master Yoda once said in admonishment of young Luke Skywalker’s exasperation over his inability to get things done with The Force, “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size , do you? Hmm? Hmm.”
Then again, as the old Star Margarine ad goes Iba na ang matangkad (“size does matter”) — in Philippine society, that is. In a nation where brand, skin colour, and regional accents (or the lack of these) matter a lot, height indeed commands respect. Wise words do come out of Malacañang every now and then as presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte reportedly demonstrates…
“If you need to rescue someone from a burning house … or secure detainees, then you would need certain physical attributes. That is the nature of these jobs and it is not discrimination,” she told reporters.
Mr Aquino’s minimum height of 1.63 metres for men and 1.57 metres for women applying for these jobs, would still apply, Valte said.
More important than these practical aspects, height rules the average schmoe’s mind. When someone towers above you, you tend to feel subservient. And when one is a cop, it is all about quickly establishing dominance and authority in potentially life-threatening often chaotic situations. Religion and showbiz have long applied — and cashed in on — this simple reality. This is why altars and pulpits tend to be situated above the lines of sight of the congregation, and why the average actor is taller than the average fan.
Apparently, the bigger the difference in physical appearance, the stronger the perception of authority of the advantaged party, and the more pronounced the deference to the other of the disadvantaged party. Perhaps this is the reason why Filipinos are renowned for being so easily starstruck into a stupor by their celebrities and their politicians. Perhaps it is because Filipinos’ celebrities and politicians exhibit a more enormous appearance and height advantage to their fans and constituents. Studies may already be confirming this as this one shows…
Much has been written about the extent to which beautiful and tall people succeed in life. But what happens when everybody is beautiful (more or less), or everyone grows taller?
In a new paper, Daniel S. Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas and the author of “Beauty Pays,” argues that just being better looking than others in a given competitive situation does not give much of an advantage. What matters, he said, is how much better looking an individual is than others in a competition. In other words, the more extreme the difference between the best and the worst looking, the more the “best” will have an advantage.
Considering how chronically chaotic and crime-infested the Philippines is all year round (perhaps with the exception of “Holy” Week), security officers need all the advantage they could muster to keep Filipinos in line, out of trouble, and obedient. When you have a police force perceived to be of superior stature, you are more likely to get compliant rather than restless natives. You can’t really deny the emerging science behind all this….
Tall people on average enjoy higher IQs, fatter paychecks, more successful careers, and longer lives. We have a better chance of becoming an Army general or chief executive of a Fortune 500 company, and height appears to confer an advantage in everything from climbing the academic ladder to winning an Oscar. “In the last thirty-one presidential elections,’’ the author reports, “the tall candidate has won the popular vote twenty-six times.’’
Taller males are especially lucky; on top of all the other advantages, we’re way more popular with women. “Tall men are the most romantically successful group on earth, bar none: more successful than rich people, accomplished people, and educated people.’’
The simple reality is, the world is a tall person’s oyster.
You need to understand the psychology of a people whose asses are famously in desperate need of a good kicking. And in the Philippines, it really is all about showbiz. Visual cues, and old evolutionary primal impulses to defer to the physically imposing remain stunningly effective, if politically-incorrect, tools by which governments and security forces implement order in society.
Drop the ball in the perceptions game and we get the situation the Philippines finds itself in today — a society where clownish costumed “activists” performing publicity stunts in between cocaine snorts rule the minds of their starstruck ignoramus mobs.