Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reality and race

So if you're in India or the U.K., you know there's been a firestorm of criticism over Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother, with brazen reality hussies mocking Bollywood bomb Shilpa Shetty. It might be racism, it might be ignorance, it might just be people with nothing better to do than form petty, meaningless blocs that can bandy insults back and forth.

Seeing as I haven't actually viewed any footage (of them allegedly calling her a "Paki," a "dog," and telling her she can't speak English), I can't really comment; furthermore, even if I did see it, it's nearly impossible to divine the intent behind the words, because, to an extent, they should be considered within the context of the incredibly strange, surreal situation of being locked in a house and filmed 24 hours a day, which may or may not cause people to behave as they would not in the "real world." If you do want more info, or a comparison of how media is covering this (which I find endlessly fascinating), try this link.

No, I'll restrict my comments to a short criticism of India's I&B minister, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who has decided that this is an excellent occasion to highlight just how reactive and moronic government officials can be. According to Vijay Rana's report in the Indian Express ("Government's latest role: Shilpa Shetty's Big Brother"), "...Dasmunsi said actors on foreign assignments should 'inform the government' and also the Indian High Commissions/embassies on reaching foreign shores so that not only the Bharatiy nari's samman [Indian woman's honor] is safe, the country is also saved from 'unnecessary embarrassment.'"

1) I fail to see how a few narrow-minded, silicone-injected, bleached blonde bimbos (if that is indeed what they are) could harm the honor of roughly 500 million people;
2) Will Salman Khan or Mallika Sherawat reporting to an Indian consulate necessarily prevent him or her from making an ass of him or herself and, by extension, the ass of the subcontinent?
3) Isn't this more embarrassing to the U.K. public at large, if one can extrapolate that manufactured C-listers represent the pulse of a nation?

(Note: I am QUITE heartened by the response of Shetty's spokesperson -- "Shilpa's family strongly feels that this is a game, and it should be treated in that spirit, rather than becoming an issue between two nations." At least someone has some damned sense. Unfortunately, of course, not the respondents to an IE online poll, 54% of whom think the government was right to butt into the situation.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was a case for the politicians to look all tough without having to take a stand on something someone might disagree about.

And of course it wasn't about this one situation. Sometimes one act or one situation becomes to represent something larger than themselves.

Obviously many people in Great Britain feels that there are too many Indians in their country. They wish that the Indians who are in the country will learn to speak in a matter that they can be understood easier.

Indians want to be recognized for their achievements. Bollywood as much as any other part of Indian society wants to gain world recognition.

So all these larger issues get played out on a stupid reality game. So no, it might have been a game, but the reaction is because of larger issues that the two societies need to work through.