Sunday, December 12, 2021

Somnambulism to the Rescue!

Everybody wants to be a part of the solution to life’s many problems. Nowadays, that usually means calling out someone or something on social media adding to the cacophony surrounding celeb/celeb children’s misbehaviour or the trending cause célèbre. It is the simplest way which requires next to no effort to feel like something meaningful has been done even if it hasn’t. And of course, every activist out there feels they have not earned their stripes if a vigorous attempt has not been made to ‘disinfect’ popular art by calling for the ban or boycott of films, music or books that are deemed offensive for whatever reason. The tone has to be strident, passionate, outraged, excessively intolerant and reeking of righteous fury to be considered acceptable. 

 Naturally, none of these things are ever likely to be effective in fixing whatever it is that needs to be fixed but never is. The reason is simple enough. We have all allowed ourselves to become increasingly divorced from a reality which was never less than dull, dreary and depressing on the best of days. Being an adult mostly means looking for increasingly creative means to escape the humdrum of monotony that is part and parcel of life to cope with the demands of personal as well as professional problems and pressures that pile up in a never – ending conveyor belt of unceasing awfulness. 

 So we disappear into make – believe worlds which have become easy enough to access through the internet, smartphones, gaming devices and tech toys that offer so much by way of entertainment that is such a relief after the drudgery and dismal sameness of the real world. Virtual reality is so much more fun and it is easy enough to immerse ourselves in films, binge – worthy television shows and world – building games that are a wonderful way to kill time which otherwise seems to stretch on forever in tepid tedium. 

 Which is why we are so much more comfortable raising our voices when something is deemed offensive or unacceptable in the arts or celluloid. We cry ourselves hoarse when crimes against women are treated flippantly in a film or women are inappropriately portrayed. Whereas in real life when we witness injustices perpetrated against women, it is easier to pretend that it is her fault and therefore not our problem. We viciously attack a celeb kid who has been arrested for possession of drugs but we couldn’t give less of a crap about the dangerous drug dealer types destroying the neighbourhood because everybody knows that if you do interfere, chances are you will wind up in a body bag minus your limbs or worse. Hence it is hardly surprising we are all tigers in La La land while being pussy cats everywhere else. 

 This column originally appeared in The New Indian Express

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