Author: Vrushali Deshmukh
YouTubing has become a business these days. And people have become really desperate to do anything to be in the headlines. Creativity has been hyped up but is non-existent and creators have become senseless. Popularity is all that people aspire for, irrespective of the kind of content they are showing. TikTok too recently faced backlash in India for its cringe content. But this isn’t enough. YouTube is also seen promoting content which is offensive in many aspects.
Recently, a comedian had to apologise for cracking a harmless joke in her stand up. The stand-up was about the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue’s Quora answers. She ended up being at the receiving end of a lot of online flak because of these bogus claims, completely nonsensical and moronic. Chhatrapati is certainly an ideal to everyone, but the joke wasn’t offensive at all. It was sheer sarcasm that went bouncer off the hollow heads of some pseudo-nationalists. This raised a very important question as to what exactly is a comic’s job. Are we so ignorant to the happenings in the world that we give this issue our crucial time and attention? Aren’t we civilised enough to acknowledge stand-ups in a light-hearted manner? We are in the middle of a pandemic and all we are left with is to make a controversy about something that happened a year ago? Why does everything have to turn so political in our country?
But this isn’t the end of this topic.
A YouTuber, with over 227K following, hurled abuses at the comedian discussing the gory details of how he would rape her, all this in the name of voicing the truth (“hosala buland”) that offended some biggies because of her previous video. He, in the name of content creation, has been passing crude remarks on people. He is seen targeting people and racially abusing them, threatening them, harassing and bullying them, gay-shaming and humiliating them, all the while lauding and mimicking his ideal creator who has over 798K subscribers.
These people call themselves nationalists and have a whopping fanbase, thanks to their distinctive art of passing derogatory and crass remarks. The details he used were disturbing and mentally traumatising. These men ironically “respect” women. This shook me to the core of the issue of women’s safety. If they can so blatantly threaten to rape women in public, what would stop them from doing so in private, if they are allowed to roam in the society freely? His arrest was a “nice” lesson but not enough in front of the pain inflicted on the ears of the audience, which was just unbearable. The matter doesn’t end here though.
Another YouTuber, with a much lesser following, but promoted by the “ideal” creator, crossed all such lines. Fortunately for him, his unpopularity saved him from the backlash. But his video on the comic was mentally harassing for every woman, every man, every living entity who was subjected to hear him. He vented out his anger by amplifying graphic details of how he would rape her and her mother, how he would assault her, how she should be video graphed in porn, what kind of clothes should she be wearing and how he would not let her walk out of her home. His apology seemed more like a justification as to why he was right and whatever he did wasn’t that big a deal.
WHEREAS, the ideal YouTuber has remained mum on this matter.
The issue was brought to light on Instagram and Twitter by various celebrities and influencers. Netizens were enraged and baffled. But later the thread turned towards dissecting the comedian’s character certificate. Her tweets were shown out of context where she, being a comedian, is using sarcasm to answer the people with low IQ. People couldn’t comprehend her jokes at all. What is the actual problem? People not understanding jokes? People understanding jokes in the wrong manner? People taking jokes too seriously? Comedians doing comedy? Sarcasm? People liking jokes? People not liking jokes? People taking jokes to the heart? People laughing on jokes? Happiness? Relaxation? Recreation?
The incident raises many such questions. Where did this ideology emanate from? How far have they gone in the name of insults and calling out? Who are these people idealising? Who are the people being put on the pedestal? What has gained them so much popularity? Who are the people following them? Why are people following them? Does the fan base resonate with similar thoughts? Why hasn’t YouTube censored such content? Is this what you get in return of sarcasm, a rape threat? Why is rape such an easy word to iterate over and over again? Why is it being glorified everywhere? Who are the people enjoying such offensive language? Are we as an audience responsible for it?
Too many questions, but all remain unanswered. The fact of the matter is that these questions are empty rhetoric and this is disappointing.
Under the pretext of nationalism and “protecting their religion”, comedy is being massacred and logic is being dug deep into the earth. The essence of content remains nullified.
And so, if you’re looking for a career as a comedian, try to not be funny, please.