Charles Bukowski wrote:
“If I write badly about blacks, homosexuals and women it is because of these who I met were that. There are many “bads”–bad dogs, bad censorship; there are even “bad” white males. Only when you write about “bad” white males they don’t complain about it. And need I say that there are “good” blacks, “good” homosexuals and “good” women?”
Every once in a while, the Indian blogosphere explodes in a cataclysm of self-righteous rage and indignation because yet another blogger brought up the Indian version of the Mason-Dixon Line. Our north-south divide. The GaysiFamily team had its own battle with Hippa Southies being the affronted group. Against my better judgment, I decided to stay out of it as the insulted always holds more weight in the moral scales of any such debate. However, I did read the most irreverent and comic take on such futile arguments.
Ok so someone says that South Indian women are fucking doghippos and not having any dress sense and someone else valiantly defends us all by saying ALL SOUTH INDIAN ARE BEAUTIFUL SMART TALENTED SEXY etc etc. Aw. Here you are, thinking you’re smart because you read a lot and stuff like that but it’s really because you’re South Indian! This exercise is called killing the face of people who say bad things about South Indians by nice things about South Indians, which is very #winning because it involves defending the South Indian women who were not in a position to defend themselves, possibly because they were too busy fucking doghippos. It has been my experience that these righteous flowers of praise are often followed by lines like ‘I love South Indian food’, which always makes me nervous because I wonder if this means that I have to cook for them as a way of saying thank you for defending my South Indian Womanhood.
Read more fantastic Kuzhali here.
We are constantly vexed about how to maintain our political correctness. “How can I cause minimum offense by expressing how I truly feel? Should I add disclaimers like “No offense but…” or “I don’t mean to be racist but…” Don’t forget the well-meaning defenders/apologists who are always quick to ‘rescue’ the victims. “I have gay/south indian/north indian/minority friends and they’re nothing like that. How dare you speak your mind?”. We never know which word will set off a flurry of angry comments. Can I say fat or should I say ‘horizontally challenged’? Is it okay to say ‘dumb’ or will I be offending the mute? Is ‘tranny’ a good word or a bad word? Is it still acceptable to call someone ‘butch’? We ascribe so much importance to words, that our self-esteem revolves around what someone on the internet says about us.
The internet is always teeming with monsters and devis alike; the devis constantly creating ‘safe spaces’ to protect us from monsters. I’ve only recently been acquainted to the concept of ‘trigger warnings’. Surely trauma is not a 21st century concept. People from generations that go back to our grandparents and their grandparents have suffered trauma. They read newspapers and never needed trigger warnings to insulate themselves from urges of self-harm or painful flashbacks. How did they deal with racism? How did they deal with discrimination? Were they made of stronger stuff?
All I am wondering is if we’re somehow making ourselves more vulnerable and ill-equipped to handle any negativity by expecting everyone on the internet (or off it) to be polite, respectful, politically correct and conforming to our idea of what’s okay to say and what’s not.