January 6, 2013

Outrage on Outrage

Wasn’t it depressing?


The whole Nirbhaya thing.

Is that her real name?


Then why is everyone calling her Nirbhaya?

The media gave her this name to protect her privacy. Some people are calling her Damini too.

It is interesting that the media can give anyone any fictionalized name they want. How come she is “fearless”? Who gets to assign these names? Is there like one person whose job is to assign random names to various victims and then write (name changed to protect identity) next to it?

I’d love to have a job like that.

Maybe they don’t leave such delicate matters to the whims and fancies of one person. I am guessing there is a Victim Renaming Committee in each media organization that assigns names to victims whose “privacy” they want to “protect”.

I can already imagine the meeting that came up with the name ‘Nirbhaya’. Some corporate looking manager fellow must have said, “Alright guys, Hindi news channels are already calling her Damini. Let us brainstorm a list of appropriate names and then we’ll pick the best out of it. Just throw your ideas around, be creative, and remember: No idea is a bad idea!’’

I am even willing to give you away to another cat just to get a hold of that list.

Woah! You are MY cat. I am NOT your human. Haven’t I made it very clear?

Let’s not get into that. How did Facebook people take the news?

1 Like = 100 slaps for all rapists” said one and got a hundred likes. “Death for the rapists” cried another to greater applause. Chemical castration, public lynching, cutting off the wiener with a pair of scissors and feeding it to rodents… everyone had their own idea of justice and most of them included invoking vivid imagery ranging from 13th century Sharia style stoning to Garuda Puranam style torture in the afterlife.

*cough* Wahhabi regime *cough*

The Political Correctness police have decreed that she’s a rape SURVIVOR now, not a rape VICTIM because, you know, being a rape victim is a stigma in our society.

I don’t think the word ‘victim’ is the problem here. There is no shame in being referred to as a riot victim or an accident victim. Technically, it is the word ‘rape’ that is taboo. Why not replace that? Let’s go Carlin all the way and refer to her as an unwilling sperm recipient!

Political Correctness only makes the violence seem subtle

It is interesting to see the different forms outrage takes

Yeah, some people take it personally like how the rapist is a sick, perverted psychopath who ought to be punished in colorful ways based on their favorite era of barbarism to show future potential rapists that we mean business!

Just a short tempered reaction…

Yes, and the anger goes away real quickly too. This guy is shouting KILL THEM, HANG THEM, RAPE THEM BACK and all sorts of things and two minutes later he is commenting on his friend’s engagement pictures with a lot of smileys. That’s weird.

Facebook Turing Machines, all of them ;)

The second category is the Outrage Machine. The mainstream media strokes it wonderfully well. They have truly capitalized on this high intensity drama.

They make sure they never pick a side. That is how you maximize profit… by pleasing all the parties involved: the victim’s family, the “market base” they are trying to entertain, and the government which protects and bails them out during tough times.

First, they spin the story into a sob fest giving her names like Nirbhaya, Damini, Amanat and then they come up with the usual neutral, non-threatening, non-inquisitive, ass-kissing narratives like, “HOW UNFORTUNATE… OH! HOW BRUTAL… SHE WANTS TO LIVE… PRAY FOR HER… THE BRAVE ONE… INDIA’S FAVORITE DAUGHTER… LET US SALUTE THIS MARTYR… LIGHT A CANDLE… OBSERVE TWO MINUTES OF SILENCE… and hey, while you are at it… CHRISTMAS SALE!

No wonder they were chasing ambulances carrying rape victims. I am sure it improved their Q3 profits

And as the protests intensified, there was consensus among all the news channels that the people’s anger is not against one rape incident but it is outrage against all rapes, the way women are treated in our society, the apathy of the police, lack of respect for due process, the snail paced courts, the paralysis of our parliament, the state of the world, the chaotic nature of the Universe and humanity’s collective failure to unify the General Theory of Relativity with Electromagnetism into a Unified Field Theory!

It's in their interest to prolong the issue and maintain the confusion as long as possible.

The other thing they passionately did to fuel the Outrage Machine was to fish for misogyny. They have searched the length and breadth of the country to find MLAs, MPs, ministers, policemen, senior bureaucrats, scientists, religious people, film stars and all kinds of people who made insensitive, asshole statements like “DENTED AND PAINTED… SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT… WHAT WAS THE GIRL DOING OUTSIDE HER HOUSE AFTER SUNSET? … SHE SHOULD HAVE RESISTED… SHE SHOULD HAVE SURRENDERED… WESTERN CULTURE… BAD PUNJABI RAP and published them with anguish about the times we live in.

The irony…

Okay, the guy’s “music” is disgusting but what is point of directing all the anger towards one person? He just happens to be on the fringes of an industry that makes its money by objectifying women. You can’t celebrate “Munni badnaam hui” and “Shiela ki Jawani” by giving them Filmfare Awards and then call Honey Singh an asshole!

One standard is enough for everybody, we don’t need a double.

The Outrage Machine consumed all the news and outraged at a scale we haven’t seen in recent times. “If this SON OF A PRESIDENT talks like this… what else do you expect?”; “Did you hear that? She is a SCIENTIST and she is a WOMAN… this is disgusting!” MLAs, MPs, POLICE, TEACHERS, GOD MEN … yes it is not very hard to find assholes in this country. We already know that.

Aren’t people tired of this shit?

People are, but the Outrage Machine never gets tired. The third kind of outraged people get emotional and take themselves too seriously.
The Internet Revolutionaries who are draped in their pajamas, lying on the bed tweeting as if they are part of this new-age secret society on the boundary-less internet and all smug about how they wish they were getting Lathi charged and tear gassed while they are going to light candles and shout slogans at Freedom Park or Jantar Mantar and be part of a “revolution”, you know like Rang De Basanti.

They are like the ones who “woke up this morning in Addis Abeba wishing I was at India Gate, wanting to be tear-gassed, wanting to be lathi-charged, wanting my holiday to end and to be standing with people like me…“

haha... కడుపు నిండిన బేరాలు as they say in Telugu ;)

Clearly, she has never been on the other side of a policeman’s lathi. Else, she would never wish it upon herself.

Louis CK captures this Internet Revolutionary Liberal mood beautifully

The next category has people who belong to The Battalion of The Completely Useless. These are the people who keep saying, “Men get horny all the time… The real problem is human nature… Unless men change their attitude towards women, things will remain like this… We should educate children to treat women well… Mothers should raise their sons to be sensitive towards women… We should look inwards and ask ourselves … is this the world we want our daughters to grow up in?… we should be better role models for our kids starting tomorrow… and for tonight, let us all hug a little extra tight as we sleep… and be thankful for what we have… to keep the spirit alive… hopefully one day, we’ll learn to love each other” or whatever the fuck all that means!

Haha… they add no value to the debate. They are not giving us any new facts, neither are they are not giving us any new insights. Except comedy or entertainment value, this point of view has no practical value at all. It is fun to have such colourful characters though.

To be fair, people were genuinely outraged. I mean we are the 123rd safest country to be a woman and that is bad. Even by our standards. And our government also handled it in the worst possible way.

Their first reaction to the protests was suppressing – Shutting down public transport, cordoning off areas, deploying additional security for the politicians, Lathi charges, water cannons, tear gas (optional) and Section 144.

The usual Police State Style

Then they flew her out of the country as a preemptive political move to prevent the on-going street protests from intensifying. And now that she died, they are giving her a state funeral, special aircraft, special postage stamp, flags at half-mast and other memorial shit as if she is some kind of a war hero.

How is she a martyr? That doesn’t even make sense. A martyr is someone who voluntarily chooses to suffer death rather than renounce their principles. War heroes are heroes because they volunteer to take the risk for a higher cause you are cool with. There is no higher cause here. She did not volunteer for anything. There is nothing ‘fearless’ about getting into a bus at 9 o’clock in the evening. She was just a normal girl who was going home after watching the movie. Let her be that “human” person.

Our political class is clearly afraid of its own citizens. That is why they send out poorly trained police force to crush any small sign of dissidence.

As far as the police are concerned, it is just another day at work. That is how they deal with every protest. Farmers, price rise, labor rights, women’s rights, nuclear plant, corruption, land grabbing, child malnutrition, water…. It doesn’t matter what you are protesting for, this is what you are going to get.

Have you noticed that the media rarely talks about the unnecessary use of force by the police when poor people protest?

They don’t cover most of the people’s movements to begin with. Those protests happen in “Bharat” you see, the third world country where people hold signs and placards in vernacular tongues saying they don’t want mines, nuclear plants, dams and factories built on top of their houses. They don’t want “development”.

But we live in this country called “India”, an emerging market and rising superpower where these protests are a “nuisance” because they create a “bad investment climate”.

The recent Delhi protests happened in “India” with urban middle and upper middleclass people holding sign boards in English and that is why the “Bharat” Sarkar’s methods of dealing with dissent are being questioned now.

It is good that they are being questioned at least now.

None of this outrage is gravitating towards finding an effective fix to the rape and sexual harassment problem. The criminals win more often than not because they know exactly what they want. A rapist knows what he wants. It is the same case with a company that exploits their workers; a politician who scams the public; corporations that rape mother earth; or a Bhopal gas tragedy.

Look at how well the criminals are organized. The big criminals I mean –- politicians, corporations, media and the bureaucracy. They are organized at the global level. They cover each others asses when they are facing the heat. The police provide security to the politicians. The politicians protect the police from scrutiny, the corporations write labor laws and mining companies are in charge of environment regulation.


The reaction to the crime on the other hand is always spread out all over the place. Some want all the rapists to be hanged. Some want us to look inwards and meditate. Some people are happy that Congress is going to pay for it in 2014. And right wing people pretend that rapes don’t exist at all!

You don’t even know what you’re protesting for. You don’t even good mechanisms to collect statistics that might help nail the criminals. All public debate only happens in the emotional space. We rarely see any arguments backed up by real data.

Yeah, emotional responses in short bursts cannot bring any meaningful change

You humans suck at democracy

We have failed to develop that scientific culture. Elections here are primarily won by vote bank politics, not through debate and reason.

But democracy is not about voting your favorite feudal lord and hoping that he’ll be benevolent. Democracy is about dialogue. Democracy is about humans organizing themselves and demanding what they want and getting it.

Historically, all the rights and freedoms you have today like your fundamental rights, freedom of speech, labor rights, judicial rights… all of them have been the result of hard won and often bloody struggles. They weren’t “given” to you by your rulers because “it was the right thing to do”. Bullshit, the rulers of the time did everything in their power to deny you those rights! And given a chance, they’ll take them back again and that is what they are doing.

Democracy is a continuous process of imposing the will of the people and making life difficult for those in power unless they do the right things. Elections are just one aspect of it. Democracy has been around for 2000 years and still you don’t get the essence of if!

Now, that is a lot of democracy coming from a cat!

Cats are Anarchist. We know better.

But there is only so much the government can do. The problem is just not a question of law enforcement. It is about the society that we live in, our patriarchal mindset itself. I mean, we are a culture of Goddess worshippers who burned millions of women along with their dead husbands. If you are a woman and made of stone, you're revered. If you're made of flesh and blood, you're on your own!

Bullshit doesn't get any finer. There is something fundamentally wrong with a society that gropes women who are protesting against sexual harassment!

Yeah, there are no easy solutions. There is no giant off button that says “Press to stop all rapes” that we can go and click. The brutality of this particular rape is almost unimaginable. Why are such psychopaths roaming free? How alienated from the system must one feel to even think of doing something like that to another human being? What are the conditions that create such maniacs?

Is it the rising income inequality? The conditions of horrible poverty, objectification of women, economic policies that accelerate these conditions, apathy of the majority, dowry, female infanticide…

The only way to go about is to take scientific approach of collecting data, crunching and empirically arrive at feasible solutions that make the roads safer for our women and make those specific demands. Any solution that doesn’t include these two processes will end up belonging to the four categories of outrage.

Which one do you belong to?

My allegiance is solely to The Battalion of the Completely Useless!

Co-written by Flawsophy