To meme or not to meme?
Comedy is the most difficult emotion to portray. It is very easy to make someone cry, but it takes a lot of effort to make someone laugh, and the internet has once again proved this.
Recently, Malayalam actor Aju Varghese posted a picture on Facebook of actor Mammootty with actress Sunny Leone from the sets of the film Madura Raja. The image was captioned akka with ikka (sister with brother). However, the actor later took the picture down after it went viral and netizens began to circulate distasteful memes, jokes, and anti-woman slurs.
As per reports, Sunny Leone was shooting for a song from the Malayalam movie Madura Raja alongside Mammootty. The trolling is surprising since Sunny Leone’s last visit to Kochi two years ago attracted an influx of a large number of fans, blocking roads and traffic for hours.
This is not the first time that memes have taken it too far. Previously, in 2018, when Demi Lovato was rushed to the hospital after an apparent substance overdose, Youtuber PewDiePie tweeted a meme which mocked what happened to Demi. However, he had to later take it down and apologise, claiming that he did not fully understand the situation.
Even in India, there are several dank meme pages which cater to audiences by making light of everything. But times have been changing -- slowly but surely. During the #MeToo movement in India, netizens pointed out the sexist jokes made by the members of the comedy group AIB. This and various other reasons eventually led to the fall of the comedy group.
Not long ago there was a video of a kid addicted to huffing correction fluid that went viral. The video was widely discussed, but unfortunately, it was for all the wrong reasons.
Similarly, in October 2017, a viral meme appeared mocking student activist Gurmehar Kaur’s feminist stance, on a now defunct page called Squint Neon. She reportedly said then that she does not care about the memes, but there is no doubt of the impact it has and the larger conversations it gives rise to. Kaur also said that in a country like India -- where there is one rape case registered every day -- such slander against women cannot go unnoticed.
The internet meme culture is a huge deal, with some major meme pages having millions of followers, which also provides page owners with a good income. The pattern of celebrity pictures going viral with memes made on them is nothing new. But where do we draw the line between the good and the bad meme?
One may pass it off as a joke, but it does impact the life of the people who are victimized. And for what? To generate a few likes and comments on these posts. In their attempt to make their social media presence felt, netizens sometimes cross the line by posting and reposting content that is extremely demeaning. If you come across such posts, do not provide them with encouragement with your likes or comments.