Anil Thakraney: The Feku/Pappu tamasha

15 Apr,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

Two stories from last week caught my attention. One, as the battle of Feku (NaMo) and Pappu (RaGa) got raging on the social media, with both their followers (many of them fake) getting into a mudslinging match, the television media got busy discussing the social media’s impact on politics. On whether all the fan following (or hatred) on Twitter will affect the fortunes of the netas in the next elections. Well, all they had to do was ask me, and save themselves a lot of precious airtime. The answer is a big NO. And I don’t say that because a vast majority (over 95%) of Indians aren’t connected on social media, that would be the obvious explanation.

 

I say that because a vast majority of those who are, are likely to be from the Great Indian Middle Class. The class that cribs heavily but never goes out to vote (me included!). The kind of people who have opinions on politics but don’t wish to engage with the process. These people are having fun on the internet, and all they want to do is outsmart each other on the ‘retweet’ value, have a good laugh, and then forget all about it. The people who will actually queue up to cast their votes will, as usual, come from the lower or very lower classes. They have no interest in the social media chatter, they give a damn about who tweeted what. They will vote for the same reasons they always vote: Regularization of their bastis, a new bore well, electricity connection, etc. And they will vote keeping caste, religion, language, etc, in mind.

 

In short, enjoy all the outpouring on the internet. It’s fultoo time pass, and nothing more.

 

The other story was that ‘super exclusive’ on Times Now. Which involved bowler Sreesanth giving the channel a soundbite, which had him ranting about the ‘Slapgate’, an incident that happened five long years ago! What was funnier was Arnab babu excitedly announcing that ‘this is the biggest cricket controversy’. Wow, Mr Goswami, you call a slapping incident post an IPL match a bigger controversy than the assorted match fixing scandals? Anyway, Sreesanth is upset it’s still being called ‘Slapgate’, he claims he was never actually slapped. Apparently, our man was struck by Bhajji, with the latter using the back of his palm, and not the front. Therefore, according to Sreesanth, that can’t be called a slap. Haha. Two things: One, Arnab babu needs to dig harder for real stories if trash like this is getting him fired up these days. Two, mental Sreesanth needs urgent help.

 

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PS: Interesting campaign by The Guardian for its US launch. Using graphic design, each ad puts out two sides of a heated political debate. The flip side of the ad reveals the flip side of the argument, so to speak. Fantastic work by the art director.

 

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