I Care Less, and Less

There’s a language. It’s dead. Technically, it’s a script which is dead. The language itself has evolved and survives.

Off the Subway

There are birds and animals which are extinct. There are birds and animals which are on the verge of being extinct. There are are birds and animals which are endangered. There are birds and animals which will soon become endangered. There are birds and animals who are safe. There are birds and animals who should have nothing to worry about, for a while, now. Apart from the extinct, we should do everything to save the birds and animals.

Replace “birds and animals” with “culture” in the previous paragraph. Does the last line hold?

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A few years ago, there was a smoking ban in India. The powers that be, implemented a regulation on where we could smoke and where we could not. 2008, or thereabouts. They didn’t ban tobacco. They just decided where we could consume it and where we could not. It was applauded by every non-smoker. The yaay-ness extinguished every smoker’s way of life; the smoker just ordered the experience back to his home. At the time, no one considered it an assault on liberty and individual choice. The right to consume a legal substance, sold freely, taxed to the hilt; the government happily accepting the revenue. The health issues notwithstanding, it was an assault on choice. 2015. My state government bans beef. Possession and consumption. Jail sentence/fine, no less. People are up in arms. petitions are filed, cases are being heard in courts. There are enough (but not as much against smoking) studies that tell you that red meat is bad for health. Now, it’s not about health. It is about libertyI have the right to consume what I want. But we care less about the beef-eating smoker. We care about the beef-eating block-buster movie-goer. A very specific set.

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Let me explain

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My state government today mandated that every multiplex (which has anywhere from 5 – 9 screens) should show a Marathi (regional language) film at prime time, at just one screen. 6-9pm. Prime time. The scabbards have been emptied. The swords etched with liberty are waving in empty air, pointed at no one in particular. Outrage, outrage! You are telling us what we can eat (or not); you are telling us what we can see (or not). Oh, BTW, we don’t care that you restricted smokers. That we don’t mind. Who cares, that we are not a welfare state like Canada or the United Kingdom. (Also, BTW, we do hope that you continue to allow junk food establishments.)

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I welcome the “diktat” that at least one screen of 5 (or 9) should show a Marathi film at primetime 6-9pm. Not that I watch movies in a theatre. I wait for them to come on TV. I just want to experience what it feels like to argue for a trivial purpose. But yes, it has to do with preservation of culture. Like the birds and animals. Like culture. The multi-plexes got certain concessions from the government; it’s payback. You know, the you-me-back-scratching rule. Keep doing this, dear government. For someday, we will know that liberty is not what affects us personally it is what affects as a society.

For a generation that torrents everything from piratebay (or equivalent), I fail to understand the outrage. Why and how do you care? Why don’t you take a walk in your empty sense of outrage, and try to understand what it is your are, if at all, angry about?

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I don’t eat beef. I don’t care how the beef-ban affects you. You don’t smoke. You don’t care how the smoking-ban affects me. I don’t watch movies in a theatre. I don’t care if that one screen which isn’t showing the movie that you want to see affects you.

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As much as we believe we care, we stopped caring a long time ago.

 

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