Monday, September 28, 2009

Archies and Barbies

Sometime back in a fashion show Bollywood star Katrina Kaif walked the ramp dressed up like Barbie.
Hitting headlines in major fashion circles, it achieved what was expected: Huge popularity.

But ridiculous as it may sound to some cynics, this was not enough.
It also started a series of comparison between Katrina and Aishwarya.
Magazine section of a major newspaper "informed" readers how the younger-looking Katrina was more Barbie-like.
Can't say how this affected the graph of Barbie sale figures in India.
Or for that matter Aishwarya's market as one of the top ranking Bollwood leading ladies.
But it actually is consolidating a trend that is stealthily in the process of grounding itself unnoticed but decisively firm as an acceptable way of life.

In this world of Barbies, could Archie be far behind?
Recently there was an article analyzing behavioural patterns among the youth on the basis of the "fact" that comic strip character Archie has (after sixty eight years of existence!) popped "the question" to Veronica instead of Betty.
The results of the research on human behaviour it seems points out that men (represented by Archie!) now like the so called bad girls (represented by Veronica ?!!! )

Honestly I would have laughed off this comical clumsy "analysis" had it not been put forward as something that is really happening.
Fictitious comic characters now becoming the established standards of judging behavioural attitudes among real human beings?
Yes! Preferences do count in a research.

Popularizing an Archie or a Barbie as a sales promotion strategy may be fine. But to take these characters so seriously indicates serious bankruptcy of thought.
The idea perhaps is to dull and numb the senses of the youth so that they don't ask questions.
In all probability they are being trained to become brutally selfish, blandly robotic and callously intoxicated by materialism.
Is it any wonder then that living such a superficial life, there is going to be a future generation who would become emotionally impaired and far too dependent on hollow materialism.

The Barbies and Archies of the world are essentially urban characters, who anyway do not constitute the majority. Has anyone given a thought to what life is like for the tribal youth living in forests ?
How many of us even have an idea about the difficult lives of that portion of the Indian population which lives in rural India and is deprived of even as basic a necessity as water?

How many of us have heard of  those who eat lot of chillies not to impress a girlfriend, but to cause a burning in the stomach so as to forget the pangs of hunger for some time??
And what about them who are caught between State and local terror outfits???
They are all real human beings, and they are also Indian citizens.
But they are not wrapped in glamour, hence not attractive to the common urban Indian.

One political party gave the slogan "India Shining" another declared that its "Haath" was "Aam aadmi ke saath"! But that's about it.
Our double standards have become increasingly stark and stridently visible. We shout on top of our voices how India is the next super power of the world (Karan Johar even has Preeti Zinta calling a white woman "Kameeni"in his film "Kal ho na ho"!) but in the same breath everything foreign is divine and Mr.Johar as also the Chopras shoot most of their film sequences in their adopted Motherlands.

Urban India now has a global culture where we eat, drink, sleep, socialise, shop, love, live, talk, short do everything as per global attitudes dictated by the Barbies and Archies.
So where is the time to "think"?
Barbies and Archies don't "think". They just "have fun"
How fascinating this sounds to people whose faculties of understanding are glamourously moronic.

Should this intrusion in our private lives go on? Or should we pause and take stock before it is too late?
The question is what we want our children to become?
I think it is an important question...more important than which religion is perfect or whether sex education should be imparted in the sooner we debate it the better it will be in the interest of our children.

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