Saturday, May 27, 2023

Hashing out the Harsh Truths behind Hashtags

 Hashtags that set social media ablaze tend to be ominous beings that mutate into somethingbigger and uglier in seconds. They lurch along in true monster style dividing people into opposing camps who shovel s**t at each other before piping down, since the creature that stirred up such divisive sentiment has simply vanished in a puff of digital smoke, having achieved its mission to divide without conquering or liberating. Besides being almost entirely useless, hashtags serve a sort of purpose. They reveal much about those of us who generate these thingamajigs and waste our lives watching them play out in virtual time, preferably in the form of easily consumed reels or tweets as per our personal penchant for prejudice.

Take the #TheKeralaStory for instance. It reveals that though we mindlessly consume content which has been hastily assembled with the view only to make a profit, without caring a crap for political or social consequences, folks will still argue about whether Bollywood and the patented brand of balderdash with a heavy helping of baloney it belts out, has the capacity to divide people along the lines of religion and endanger secular India and everything it stands for. In the meantime, most of us still in pocession of a semblance of sense have little patience for indifferent Gods and the more moronic of their followers because we'd rather watch #GuardiansoftheGalaxy3 since Superheroes are sexier and don't bore us with tedious talk of sin and shame.

Speaking of shame, #WrestlersProtest tells us that sexual harassment remains an inconvenient truth which we Indians insist on burying under the carpet because who amongst us has the bandwidth to deal with the whole He said She said hoo-ha which is destined to remain inconclusive though protestors carry on protesting till they are fit to burst? We prefer to wear them out with indifference and further abuse till they can protest no more. And when the issue persists and victims continue to be victimized by powerful predators giving rise to further hashtags, we merely shrug in exasperation or blame the victims for being falsely implicated in their victimhood before turning to #IPL2023 for more mindless entertainment. Like the #KohliGambhirFight. It confirms what we already knew. Most Delhites are angrier and more aggressive than most and think the rest of us are worth less than the dirt beneath their shoes. We bristle with outrage and feel better about ourselves by treating those we consider beneath us worse than dirt.

The advocates of #SameSexMarriage will certainly attest to being treated horrendously in the land where the Kamasutra which was light years ahead of its time in terms of addressing gender as well as sexual fluidity was written. We know that love can never tear apart the fabric of society but who wants to get involved in this farcical fracas when it is simpler to fixate on our own love lives and marital problems or Malaika Arora's vacation pics with Arjun Kapoor?

Hashtags themselves come and go too quickly to be too harmful but what is far more alarming is the hopelessness of the human condition they so clearly elucidate.

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