Theory of insensitivity

Soaps numb our sensitivity. Photo: M. Vedhan.   | Photo Credit: M_VEDHAN

I am much baffled by my own proposition of a supposedly brilliant theory. Forgive me if you find this complete crap. Any theory, however stupid it may be, can never be ignored. In an impulsive reaction; the theory-haters would painstakingly try to disprove the very theory that the writer wishes to establish. The little pleasures they derive in disproving someone's claim. Ruthless people!

The other day, while I was in the coffee shop (a shop that sells filter coffee powder, not Barista-types), the shopkeeper sat glued to the television watching a Tamil daily soap. This is not a matter of shock, for, a majority of the urban/semi-urban/rural dwellers spend their late evenings the same way.


But this scene initiated a thought process in me. I started analysing the “serial watchers” more critically. We have often ridiculed people shedding tears when the protagonist in the play is humiliated by her mother-in-law or tortured by her drunkard husband. Well, if we still have the same notion, then we are in for a shock. On further analysis, I found that no one sheds tears when they watch someone being physically or verbally abused, nor do they show any emotion when women are ill-treated. They no longer empathise with the people who are shown to be living in abject poverty.

This brought me to a new consciousness. A negative trend is emerging. The “serial watchers” have started displaying insensitivity even to social issues.

Malnourished kids, farmer suicides, honour killings — all evoke the same response from the people. They remain emotionless. The same people who cried with the characters in the soaps have become emotionless.

Did these emotionless souls ever show concern to social issues in the pre-soap era? This remains a moot question.

Social degeneration

Emotion is a thin but a strong fabric that holds the society together. Mindless exploitation of this divine quality will definitely degenerate society. In the name of entertainment, we have been inflicting grievous injuries to our delicate emotions. A constant hammering of human suffering into the hearts of the innocent masses has definitely made a negative impact. The little empathy that they could display has died a slow death.

Does the relation between TV soaps and people's apathy towards social issues really hold any ground? Am I suffering from compulsive-analysing syndrome? The ruthless beast in me smirks, and gets ready to disprove my theory of insensitivity.

Before this beast started to grow stronger to wage a war against me, I fled home with my half-kilo coffee powder.

D. ARAVIND, civil service aspirant

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 9:12:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/Theory-of-insensitivity/article13369615.ece

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