Shame! They say. And then they zoom in on that ‘shame’. Move over moral police; the media police is here. I can imagine how eager some of them must have been to cover the story. “Sleaze” they call it – the people who will run loops of molesters’ faces and blur-‘unblur’ faces of victims and make them regurgitate their tragedies, the newspapers that refer to sexual harassment as “eve teasing” and a pervert maniac as a “sex pest”. Shame!
So, what happened? Most of you already know. But here it is:
Television cameras caught two BJP ministers - Lakshman Savadi and C C Patil - allegedly watching pornography on the former's cellphone on the floor of the Karnataka assembly on Tuesday, marking a new legislative low.
The ministers were caught in the act even as the House was in the middle of a heated debate on the recent hoisting of Pakistan flag in Sindagi taluk in Bijapur district. Close-ups of the ministers watching the salacious clip were beamed on TV channels in the evening, sparking a furore. The TV visuals showed both ministers, sitting next to each other, gazing into Savadi's handset and exchanging banter.
That is it. Why has there been no discussion in the media on the crucial issue of the flag hoisting? Why has it all been about two men watching some porn clip, which no one would have known about had the TV cameras not focussed on that? Go to any news website and it says “Click to play”. They want you to watch it and then they scream “Shame”.
Two puerile arguments are being made:
- This is bad for democracy. Is democracy so weak? And, isn’t such openness the hallmark of democracy? Don’t we rubbish the Shri Ram Sene when it talks about western culture? Don’t we send them pink panties to ‘prove’ a silly point?
- It is not about pornography; it is an insult to the Assembly. The Assembly is not a hallowed place. All sorts of insults and objects are hurled. The worst acts of governments are justified in this ‘sanctified’ space. Criminals are sworn in to occupy high office and represent the people. Two ministers catching up with a bit of action is a private matter, and although they behaved rashly, it is not as though it will shake our superficial morals. No one is going to emulate those guys and it is not as though no one watches porn.
Had the people in this episode been representatives of the tourism department and watched the exquisite nude sculptures in the state, would there have been any noise?
When their quotes are displayed on websites with half-naked women in ads, will people not look? The media has its cottage industry in place of carrying its own salacious material, but will get sanctimonious when people in authority are involved.
If politicians are supposed to set an example, then does the media show them any respect and give them right to privacy? What about the snoops who wait to pounce on just such indiscretions? Don’t they have a life that they have to salivate over what someone else does?
This whole business of bringing in the portfolio of Patil, who is women and child development minister and had said on an earlier occasion that women dressed in a certain manner provoked crime in men, does not work here. Treat that as a separate issue. By clubbing it together even women’s groups are demeaning a social evil with a personal foible.
This has resulted in some bizarre self-defence where the ministers say they were not watching porn, but some scenes of rape and murder as research to figure out what happens at rave parties. This is ridiculous. But, since they were forced to resign, they are now behaving like school boys. Why did no one check the cellphone?
They were forced to resign. There was a time when at least Mr. Patil should have quit. I am surprised that pornography is way more important than what the minister says about women.
The media has problems about an ad with cricketer Yuvraj Singh; it is exploitative at a time when he has been diagnosed with cancer. Sure? And giving us daily updates on his health is not? Giving us gruesome details every day about Baby Falak being bitten by her mother is not?
This is more shameless than two guys quietly watching something that excites them.
And since the Shri Ram Sene has urged people to celebrate Valentine’s day as mother-father day – how that becomes part of our culture, I have no clue – let’s just call the ‘porngate’ video clip a Mom & Pop store. And let us accept our own voyeurism.
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My earlier take on Patil’s comment: Why women don't rape men
A related piece on N D Tiwari with call girls: Old man and the She