Yarn it! Society

Where tomorrow’s headlines come from

Who do you think started all this fake news?

Who do you think started all this fake news?   | Photo Credit: Sreejith R Kumar

Who’s creating the news that you’re eager to forward?

“What a noisy party last night! I could hear it through my monkey cap,” Mr L griped to his neighbour, Mr V, on their morning walk in Lalbagh.

Mr V nodded amicably. “These parties should be banned!”

Mr L went home to tell his wife over their first filter coffee of the day. “Mr V insists that parties should be banned. Uselessly ruining the peace of mind of us senior-citizens and all!”

Mrs L nodded distractedly, while rushing to the pinging of a Skype call from their daughter in San Francisco. “What news, what news? Here, it’s same-old. Your father’s friends are banning some party, which screams and shouts apparently.”

“Why?” asked her daughter.

“Oh, the party is anti-senior-citizen and anti-peace and all. No one cares about us old people!”

“I do. That’s disgraceful! Don’t worry, Amma,” her daughter, a lawyer, swore vengeance from another continent. “Elections bring out the worst in these parties!” She went on to send a long incendiary message to her mailing list of righteously angry people: “Let’s not allow our politicians to get away with their anti-senior-citizen, anti-peace, anti-equality, anti-national agenda! They are shouting down helpless people. Share this with every patriotic citizen you know!!!!!” (Every exclamation mark is assured to raise tempers by a notch).

The message ricocheted around the cyber corridors of America, India, and 50 other countries, where it was translated more often than Fifty Shades of Grey. The translated messages threatened, based on their political biases, that such-and-such lower-than-maggot-level political party was anti-peace, anti-elders, anti-polarbears, anti-gays, anti-antibodies, anti-everybodies.

Impressionable geeks whose bosses had stepped out for lunch went into a frenzy; attaching old clips to whip up claims of rallies and massacres. Fat faces were morphed on to stick-like necks, dates and places were changed, hapless activists were given lip-synced dialogue they’d never uttered, hack writers clacked away at election pre-stories which screamed injustice. Hot-blooded males and females of the homo sapien species were seen climbing walls, tearing out their hair and swearing they’d butcher their political opponents.

The newspapers ran raging headlines. Talking heads on news channels almost throttled each other. Social media witnessed a bloodbath. Everyone called everyone else fake.

Mr L, whose pace-maker had to be replaced later, so livid was he on his morning walk, screamed, “Heard how that cowardly MP of that vile party was caught taking bribes — stealing money from us senior citizens’ starving bellies, the coward!”

“Nonsense!” Mr V’s blood pressure shot up to suspected-stroke levels. “It was fake news spread by the other party MLA, that disgusting, lying, cockroach! Filth — he and his back-stabbing party! Who do you think started all this fake news?”

Who indeed?

Mr L and Mr V, who had gone on friendly morning walks for the last 15 years together, promised to hate each other till death did them part.

Where Jane De Suza, the author of Happily Never After, talks about the week’s quirks, quacks and hacks.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 1:41:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/where-tomorrows-headlines-come-from/article26608790.ece

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