Life Hacks from Agony Akka Columns

Mamma Mia Khalifa!

Illustration: Satheesh Vellinezhi  

Dear Agony Akka,

Yesterday, when I logged onto our home computer, which I share with my (just-retired) husband and college-going son, I got a shock. A series of pornographic images tumbled out of the photo cache. The browser history also pointed to searches for ‘Mia Khalifa’. Now, I can understand that hormonal young adults sometimes do get carried away, although I wish they would learn a bit of discretion. But I was still disturbed and was going to write to you to ask how I should handle it. Then I was struck by an even more disturbing thought: what if our in-house porn connoisseur is not our son, but my husband? Can it be that at an age when he should be preparing for vanaprastham, he has gone rogue? How do I find out who the naughty boy in the family is? And how do I handle it? It’s clear that I have to have an honest “conversation” with somebody, but with whom?

— Mrs. XXX

Dear Mrs. XXX,

The pseudonymous name you’ve written under — XXX — gives a graphic hint of the extent of explicitness of the images you’ve unwittingly been exposed to. Mia Khalifa isn’t what one might call a classical porn queen, but in her time (some would say it’s still her time) she could get male hormones gushing with more careless abandon than even Kangana Ranaut’s Twitter outbursts are capable of. Evidently some of Mamma Mia’s old magic still lingers, perhaps across generations, as the insight into your home life suggests.

But let’s break this down. I say this not to make light of your situation or — as the occasional letter from inflamed feminists hectors me — to “normalise male patriarchy”. But as personal as it is, your problem is not yours alone. In just the past 10 days, it has become India’s problem. Going by Google search trends, Mia Khalifa, the Lebanese-American adult video star, is enjoying a “breakout” moment in India. The number of searches on her name has exceeded searches on Modi’s name, for instance, by three to one. (If it’s any consolation to you, a lot of IT cell managers are rather more distressed by this than you are.) So many households across India are waking up to the passions that can be roused by even so demure a vestment as the hijab.

This eruption of interest in Mia memsaab among Indians came about, of course, after she posted social media messages of support for the protesting farmers (backed, as you know, by a few unemployed andolan jivis). In other parts of the world, though, the learning flowed in the opposite direction: people who were already familiar with Mia’s high art learnt of the farmers’ protests for the first time. In that sense, she’s been truly educational.

You could make that the starting point of your ‘investigation’. There are, of course, simple computer forensics methods of figuring out who’s been naughty, but I’d recommend another approach. Over dinner tonight, you could casually ask: “What is this I hear about a ‘foreign disruptive ideology’ to defame India over the farmers’ protests?” Observe both father and son to see which of them turns a beetroot shade when you bring up Mia Khalifa’s name. A woman’s instinct should let you figure out which of them is acting more shifty. For your sake, I hope it’s your son. Even in a world where the Pope’s official Instagram account ended up ‘liking’ pictures of skimpily clad models — twice in a matter of weeks — there’s something perverse not so much about a man in his 60s slyly looking up porn but his not knowing how to cover his tracks. (At least the Pope has an alibi: he doesn’t directly handle his social media accounts.)

As for you, woman, get yourself a content filter software for your shared computer! You can’t cut off your boys’ access to salacious material, but at least it needn’t come into your orbit.

— AA

agony.akka@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 1:42:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/mamma-mia-khalifa/article33819437.ece

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