Quick take on VK Singh’s #presstitute comment

(and social media­’s overwhelming support for it.) 

The obnoxiousness of a particular news anchor should not have been seen as the media’s blanket disapproval of the army. The media have played an important role in letting the world know the good work defence forces have done at a pittance compared to the pay, perks and comforts that the average patriotic engineer/MBA feels entitled to.

For example, while the army and allied forces were conducting search and relief operation in flood-ravaged Jammu & Kashmir, the media were present there and actively beaming images back to the drawing rooms where a belligerent debate over the prostitute-ness of the media now rages.

***

The anchor whose tendency to rage incoherently and often without a shred of research to back his tirade triggered the comparison between the media and sex workers (?) is the person whose judge jury and executioner avatar had once propelled him to unprecedented popularity and his show to record-shattering viewership. India had opened its hearts to him precisely because of his penchant for harassing those guests who said what he had not wanted to hear. With a new dispensation and a new set of people at the helm his targets have changed, and with that his status as the blue-eyed heckler.

***

VK Singh’s choice of abuse did not surprise me. Sexist language enjoys widespread social acceptability. Also we are increasingly and unforgivingly angry and hateful toward the face of the media that seems pro-Congress and anti-Hindu, and also activists who talk too much, and are convinced that we must all actively encourage gandi baat if those who are doing it are also agents of faster GDP growth and progress.

Therefore, “presstitute” is a very useful word because it expresses all kinds of angers all at once. It expresses anger against the media (nothing can be more demeaning than being compared to a woman who sells her body for a living), sex workers (nothing is quite as disgusting as a woman selling her body for a living), and people who find sexist language wrong (because mere criticism is not enough and must be laced with vicious invectives such as comparisons with a woman who sells her body for a living).

I do not find parallels between media personnel and sex workers offensive since they often lead an impressively hopeful and dignified life despite being victims of one of the worst forms of human exploitation. If #presstitute provides modern India cathartic release from decades of pent-up anger and frustration, then I welcome the use of even more hateful expressions.

But I will be disappointed if, after all the online savagery, we still fail to get our anger out of our system and attain the same kind of rational, anger-free objectivity that so many of us preach via forwarded sermons on social media.

***

People who are fuming against the media must realise that the media is a heterogeneous entity and comprises optimistic women and men who respect the mandate of the nation and are counting on Modi to pull India further out of poverty, elevating its status globally, energising its youth and re-igniting its moribund industries (It is also full of those who voted for him and his men in 100 percent of federal and state elections held in the past one year.)

But they need to remember, surely they must remember, that no amount of social media jeering is going to frighten mainstream media into silence. It is a risk to speak on behalf of an industry that suffers from a terrifying degree of lack of quality control and has ArGo for its most recognisable face, but I will go out on a limb to say that apart from those who belong to pockets of encrusted special interests, the media will continue to report and analyse the good, the bad and the ugly. They will not stay quiet when things must be spoken. It is a thankless job, kind of like being in the army, but they will not stop speaking on behalf of people just because people hate them so much.

They are very thick-skinned that way.

6 thoughts on “Quick take on VK Singh’s #presstitute comment

      • Wow, comparison on Media and Army!! Please come out of glorified past…here you go…a) these days media is just like another good job where service is delivered and in return you get your salary, b) You may like to agree those who run main media in India, visible prime-time face(s), the focus is often solely on TRP…example….a J&K flood sells more than of Assam and Bihar…all three are plight of equal level, c) Mainstream anchor(s) give us their uncalled for specialized opinion however media should give plain information objectively, d) These days you have those less than 10 people who can discuss on anything and everything……doesn’t it sound funny.

        Coming back to V.K.Singh’s comment, why so much noise then and even now….could have been laughed off by thinking comment of a person who is pressed hard and in a corner…..an aberration of anger which could have been avoided….stay light,,don’t see sexist in each and everything.

        Let us leave it here now Anupriya Kumar, Good night.

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      • Wow, comparison on Media and Army!! Please come out of glorified past… –

        Pointless statement that you have seen to have written in passionate anger. Every job – that of a doctor, an engineer, a nurse, a paramedic, a journalist, a teacher – is respectable and pious depending on the person doing it. We have enough evidence of stellar courage by young army men and examples of the heartbreaking selfishness of some unpatriotic, cruel, money-minded ones. My suggestion is – be a rational, objective human being and not a blind hater or supporter of persons or institutions.🙂

        here you go…a) these days media is just like another good job where service is delivered and in return you get your salary, –

        Absolutely nothing wrong with working for a salary unless you think working for salaries is illegal/immoral. In which case you should have a problem with everyone who works for salaries, including engineers, doctors and the army – people you and I think are patriots but are never questioned for working for money – and not just media persons. Or do you think media persons should work for free and beg to support themselves and their families? That’s a terribly inhuman, cruel position if you ask me.

        b) You may like to agree those who run main media in India, visible prime-time face(s), the focus is often solely on TRP…example….a J&K flood sells more than of Assam and Bihar…all three are plight of equal level, –

        The media covers everything, including Assam and Bihar. The remote control and the choice to watch or not is in the hands of the viewers such as you. Don’t blame the media for the viewers’ fascinated appetite for the idiotic/horrifying/mundane/superficial. Have the courage and the honesty to share the blame.

        c) Mainstream anchor(s) give us their uncalled for specialized opinion however media should give plain information objectively, –

        Media persons are duty-bound to provide news AND analysis. Nothing “uncalled for” in that. And if sticking to “primary responsibilities” is so important to you, then you should also have expected VK Singh to stick to his primary responsibility of working as a minister in the government instead of passing uselessly subjective comments such as “presstitute”.

        d) These days you have those less than 10 people who can discuss on anything and everything……doesn’t it sound funny. –

        No, it doesn’t. Do you want 10,000 people to discuss things on television? That’s illogical really.

        Coming back to V.K.Singh’s comment, why so much noise then and even now….could have been laughed off by thinking comment of a person who is pressed hard and in a corner…..an aberration of anger which could have been avoided….stay light,,don’t see sexist in each and everything. –

        See, you are “pressing me in a corner” but am I calling you a prostitute in anger? No, right? So let me tell you – language is the window to the soul. And it is in anger that you reveal your true self. VK Singh’s pressitute comment was sexist in every way. And you are being equally sexist in supporting him. I know he was expressing his hatred toward the media, but the filthy language he expressed it in clearly showed that for him a “prostitute” is a fallen woman, an abuse, a “gaali.” Remind yourself of the Hindi equivalent of the word “prostitute” to know what I mean. Also, I was thinking whether he would use the term “presstitute” in the presence of a sex-worker? Will he say, “hey look, woman, I think your profession is so immoral that I am using it as an abuse, a derogatory word?”

        Let us leave it here now Anupriya Kumar, Good night. –

        Feel free to leave things where you want to leave things, Nirabh Nayan. Don’t offer unsolicited advice to others. Also, don’t send friend requests to me on Facebook. I don’t entertain them from unknown people. Good night.

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      • Hi,

        Response:

        “Pointless statement that you have seen to have written in passionate anger” — Merit of statement to be chosen by reader, so no argument, could be passionate but for sure, no anger from my side. Just sharing my point of view and anyone can agree or disagree or stays grey/neutral/unaffected.

        “Or do you think media persons should work for free and beg to support themselves and their families? That’s a terribly inhuman, cruel position if you ask me.” — Hollow understanding, never intended that. I am responsible for what I wrote not twisted interpretation(s). Media persons must should do their job and get their due in terms of salary, respect, and eligible perks as person. Point was, do not parallel it with Army as just because you are in journalism, keep it simple, just like any other job where you work smartly, honestly and get your respectful living.

        “The media covers everything, including Assam and Bihar. The remote control and the choice to watch or not is in the hands of the viewers such as you. Don’t blame the media for the viewers’ fascinated appetite for the idiotic/horrifying/mundane/superficial. Have the courage and the honesty to share the blame” — Be honest to yourself, are the length of coverage same!! Did you really notice last year’s Bihar draught coverage, it was just blink!! Yaah, we have remote control to switch over or even close the TV and move over to walk, online media, etc….which probably could be a reason which makes few people little jealous that socially people are becoming active which somehow takes little share of cake from regular media. I share the blame but in same lines will you think why big section of people were kind of okay with Gen. Singh’s comment on social media even when traditional media was crying big foul.

        Point c) – I expect him and everyone to stick to what they are supposed and EQUIPPED to do…be fair, when interview someone on TV…listen to her/him – don’t push your agenda there,,speaking more in an interview can’t be called ‘ANALYSIS’. When you have a panel on TV and the host speaks more than all panelists, sorry, to me it is not ‘ANALYSIS’.

        “No, it doesn’t. Do you want 10,000 people to discuss things on television? That’s illogical really.” — Again I am not responsible for interpretations. Panelists should be changed who have fair amount of expertise in areas. You can 10 experts of every area, not 10 expert for all area.

        “VK Singh’s pressitute comment was sexist in every way. And you are being equally sexist in supporting him” — Do not agree, many didn’t agree either. You can have your opinion to which I do not agree. Further, It is less of rational, demeaning to sweep everything in one blow as monolith as it suits someone.

        “Feel free to leave things where you want to leave things, Nirabh Nayan. Don’t offer unsolicited advice to others”. — It was response in public domain to a Journalist’s article where on the post once can respond. It is not unsolicited advice, even mis-interpretation lands it as unsolicited advice, don’t take it,,,in same breath of changing channels:):)

        “Also, don’t send friend requests to me on Facebook. I don’t entertain them from unknown people.” — Fine, agreed.

        “Good Night” — Have great day.

        Kind Regards,
        Nirabh Nayan

        Like

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