Thursday, July 26, 2007

The artistry of intolerance

Finally the truth is out. And it was uncovered by the Commission for Racial Equality. After doing years of painstaking research into the causes of racial segregation, bigotry, intolerance, ghettoism and stereotyping people by their skin color, race, language, nationality, religion, the Commission discovered the real culprit. No, contrary to our initial suspicions, the venom that poisons the minds of several millions of people in the world, causing immutable segregation isn’t caused by the bigoted, orthodox and absurd religious texts that people are taught to revere and live by. The colonial and imperialist activities of nations are not to be blamed either. The chief culprit behind all these activities was, and always has been the tuft haired comic book character, Tintin.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a commission member told us, that apart from the various crimes of omission and commision that Tintin was guilty of, what sealed his fate was his maltreatment of tribal Africans.
"This book contains imagery and words of hideous racial prejudice, where the 'savage natives' look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles," he said. He added that the only place the book was acceptable was in a museum - with a sign accompanying it, saying "old-fashioned, racist claptrap".

Not content with banning Tintin in Congo, we heard
that the Commission is next considering a similar offensive against other such racist and offensive works as The Merchant of Venice (which stereotypes the Jews) and Othello (which satirises the Blacks). Enid Blyton's books are also on the hit list for portraying girls as homemakers. Going by this trend we can imagine how our classics will end up some years down the line.

In the years to come we can look at a sanitized version of the Ramayana, in which Rama gets His comeuppance for being an Aryan, and in the best traditions of political correctness the Dravidian guy (Ravana as claimed by our liberals friends in the media) gets to marry the Aryan woman he has abducted. Sita is divorced by Rama to facilitate the marriage and to give it a fig leaf of acceptability, and to further the Dravidian - Aryan alliance Rama accepts Surpanakha's proposal for marriage. No war takes place, there's no spilling of Dravidian blood and no Aryan conquest of Lanka and all communities live happily everafter in a sort of liberal paradise.

From there we fast forward to medieval era. Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and Othello are reworked to remove all traces of prejudice. Next the axe falls on Dickens' Oliver Twist, where the very existence of Fagin is anathema to liberals. From being a Jewish money lender Fagin becomes a right-wing reactionary, horror of horrors - a conservative. He is opposed to global warming, and big government and is the very stereotype of the ugly capitalist. After suitably purging Oliver Twist of evil, they turn their attention to Sherlock Holmes. How dare Conan Doyle project Mormons in an unfavorable light in A Study In Scarlet? Isn't that religious discrimination, bigotry, hatred? Snip, snip.

At the end of the exercise we are left with sanitized literature. Literature in which everyone lives happily everafter, there are no conflicts along racial, religious, gender or sectarian lines. Everyone is nice to everyone else, and all disputes are resolved amicably by talking. Characters who suffer too much stress and are on the verge of going bad, visit psychiatrists who psychoanalyze and treat them and bring them back to normalcy and all is right with the world again. Great and lofty literature and inspiring stuff I am sure. Except that it bears no relation to the world as we know it. And somehow I get the feeling that changing literature that depicts the ugliness of the world, without changing the ugliness of the world itself is an extreme example of putting the cart before the horse. An example of liberalism having gone mad.

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