a little east of reality

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

context is everything

I'm kind of stunned sometimes as just how stupid people can be. I'm usually fairly tolerant of cultural sensitivities such as the Indian taboo against kissing in public (even while raising an eyebrow at the fact that they won't show a kiss in a movie, but will spend half of the same movie gyrating in a near-frenzy of sexually-charged dance moves). But the furore over Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty on the cheek is making my blood boil.

It's the context that makes the whole thing so hypocritical. This "shocking" display of public affection ~ which prompted protests, effigy burnings, calls for the actors' deaths and public apologies, and three law suits ~ occurred at an AIDS awareness rally targeting one of India high-risk groups, truckers. Many of this group of men have helped spread the HIV virus across India by having unprotected sex with prostitutes during their trips and then infecting their wives with it when they go home. And this very public rally was not asking the truckers to stop cheating on their wives. Oh no, it was merely asking them to wear a condom while they do it.

Apparently though, they must have cheated on their wives (and later infected them with a deadly virus) in private, because amazingly there are no protests about this genuinely shocking sexual misconduct. No-one is burning effigies of truckers and creating public law suits against them. No, the protesters are going to save all their time, energy and flammable materials for two people who shared a friendly, consensual kiss on the cheek.

Seriously, is it any wonder the world is in the state it's in when so many people insist on being completely obsessed with trivial crap, while completely ignoring real and genuinely terrible issues that are right in front of their face?

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