So Buzzfeed published a post two days ago, titled “This Dude’s Butt Is Breaking The Indian Internet“. It’s about an unnamed man, seemingly a poor working class man, who is sitting on a slab of ice butt-naked. The post goes on about how the Indian twitterati is having a laugh-riot over this man’s butt (not really, as of now it has only 319 retweets).
To be honest, even I found the pic funny when I first saw it and joined in this virtual classist cacophony. But not anymore. It stopped being funny the moment it occurred to me that India is suffering a heatwave that has killed over 1,100 people as of today. To top that, it also occurred to me that all the people laughing at that man are nothing but raving a***holes (pardon my french). Such classist sneer and mocking of the poor and deprived has always been common among the Indian middle class (the usual suspects are homeless children who beg inside trains and the transgender community). People with access to facilities and the technology to keep themselves cool in that atrocious weather really have no right to mock this man who is doing whatever he can to not die in the heat. The day this post was made Huffington Post reported a death toll of over 500 people because of the heatwave. The heatwave has been all over the news for atleast a week. So either Buzzfeed’s reporters had no idea about it (in which case, they should really stop calling themselves journalists) or do not care enough.
That man’s arse is not an object for your amusement. It’s the sign of his desperation, his poverty and his deprivation, and also of the thousand plus people who are dead today. If anything it shows our failure as a society.