Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
Now, there are some things that you know will always make news. And this, I don’t think refers to the journalist’s revered ‘nose for news’. Sadly.
A Poonam Pandey will always find takers, no matter how distasteful her statements are. Some fanatic in an obscure town who doesn’t have a life otherwise will become a national celebrity, as soon as he decides he has an issue with the latest movie release whose dialogues/song lyrics/character’s names/colour of the leading man’s shirt hurt his sentiments as an individual or enlightened member of a religious or cultural community. There are some things you know will usurp media coverage. The ability to pay attention to some things is sadly inherent. We don’t have to go around looking for such news, it comes to us.
What’s sadder though is that respected names like Jaya Bachchan and Rekha should find themselves in the same category, as the recent spate of events seem to indicate. When Rekha received the very prestigious Parliament nomination, most of us knew painfully that the follow up stories were sure to not revolve around the solemn oath taking ceremony. Or even her renowned sartorial sense. We would just have to go back to the past and talk about everything that we never tire of. Here, I think, we deserve a little time to introspect as reporters and citizens. When two individuals known and acknowledged for their mastery over their craft, their expertise, grace, skill and contribution over so many years find themselves in the august house of Parliament, the last thing they need is to be told who’s sitting in the chair next to them and the inconsequential things they need to be conscious of. Their role as Parliamentarians demands concern for the country, not towards each other.
For all we know, they probably haven’t met each other for years, and maybe in the few instances that they have, they’ve been highly civil and cordial. Or maybe not. In either case, does it really matter? What bearing will their personal equation have on the country’s future?
Also, are we not demeaning both of them by not focusing instead on how much they deserve to be where they are? Rekha is someone who has had a difficult life. Brought up single handedly by her mother, she came into her own after umpteen looks, some hideous hairdos and obscure roles in forgettable films. Unsuccessful relationships and some serious media lynching later, she has found herself honoured with the Parliament seat. Does she not deserve her moment of rightful glory after slogging for so many years?
Mrs. Bachchan, known for her graceful and comely demeanour on screen, has brought joy to millions of lives with her meaningful films. A huge star herself, she’s never basked under her iconic husband’s shadows. Her presence in the Parliament is in fact symbolic of how far our women have come today. Which is why it’s important to give them both credit where and when it’s due. They are empowered women who’ve set an example for many others. Associating them with such nonsense is not just demeaning but also akin to taking the reader’s sensibilities for granted. And, let’s not even go into the newspaper space and broadcast time we spill.
As a growing nation, we need to rethink our priorities. In our daily lives and in our reportage. Maybe our celebrities get rattled because we choose to focus so much on the inconsequential. The good stuff just ceases to matter, then. Truly, some things always make news. News that hurts. Either your sensibilities or your sensitivities.