“With great power comes great responsibility” – a Peter Parker principle that we grew up listening to but often neglect as the delusion of fame eradicates the delicacy of sensitivity for some.
The recent fiasco on the Internet over TikTok Vs YouTube is an adjunct argument highlighting the same dilemma, and this involves one of the biggest YouTuber of Indian origin with 17 Mn subscribers, Carryminati’s TikTok roast video.
Roast comedy aka insult comedy dates back to jest book (joke book) which was printed in 1510 and later evolved with the medium of entertainment and artists. Don Rickles, an American standup comedian, the Merciless “Merchant of Venom” who insulted anyone and everyone during his comedy career in the 1950s made this kind of comedy into a legit genre hence acceptable to a broader audience.
Later attempted by many comedians, insult comedy became colloquial in many parts of the world.
Loosely, the term and the style of comedy became popular in India after it was picked up by AIB or All India Bakchod in 2014 hosted and participated by some of the biggies of Hindi film industry like Karan Johar, Ranveer Singh, and Arjun Kapoor. The show was polarising and highly criticised by a section for its derogatory language and racism, however, consumed overtly on the internet. After that, the same kind of comedy was attempted by many TV shows and individual comics and internet influencers.
Carryminati’s TikTok roast video is one such attempt with 70 million views worldwide. While the roast was focused on a ‘TikTok star’ Ameer Siddique and his views on YouTube, but it came out more like a cutting remark on the queer community.
Soon after the argument started doing rounds on the internet and widely reported by the community, the video was taken down by YouTube as it went against the policy of bullying and harassment.
After that, the house was divided into those supporting Carryminati vs those against him. In fact, #justiceforcarryminati started trending on Twitter, clearly missing the point.
One of the most problematic dialogues from the video is “mithai ki dukaan mein le jaunga toh 200 mein bik jayega”. People from the queer community are often addressed with terms like “Chakka”, “hijra”, “meetha” etc. Queer Rights Activist, Rishi Raj Vyas took it to social media to highlight the problems in the video later taken up by Quint.
“Now I really don’t understand how people find this funny because this is not only dehumanising but degrading the value of a queer person’s life. Clearly, these creators don’t understand the high rates of suicide which prevail amongst the queer community or the high rates of self-harm and self-destructive tendencies. That’s why they come out with such derogatory language and derogatory terms for queer people. These content creators don’t realise that they have a certain degree of responsibility towards the society. When they say such queerphobic things or when they say such queerphobic language to people who actually idolise them, they pick up such language and use it to bully other queer people.”
On the one hand, where people have openly criticised and called out the problems in the video, some of the other known names have openly shown support to him. Guru Randhawa, a popular singer amongst the youth, said “This post is for @CarryMinati. You have done great in your Carrier so far, and you will do great always bro. My best wishes to you and all the YouTubers and independent creators out there. Hardwork”
Once the video was taken down, Ajay Nagar urf Carry Minati made another video called “STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS | YOUTUBE VS TIK TOK: THE END”. In which he says, he is still not sure why the video was taken down and how people are taking the meaning of his dialogues out of context.
Well, there is no scope to take his dialogues out of context as they were quite direct and facile. Clearly, his video was not only homophobic but extremely derogatory, which requires high language policing. Some of the frequently used words were “beti”, “aunty”, dehumanising abusive slangs towards women. In one of the lines, he went on saying “tujhse zyaada mard toh mujhe Deepak Kalaal lagta hain”. Such language and casual sexism not only deprive a particular community of positive human qualities, but it influences the minds of the viewers.
The stigma and taboo of the queer people cost thousands of lives around the globe due to suicide, bullying and mob lynching and in this scenario, the ‘infuencers’ should be more responsible and revise the lessons of ‘isms’ from next time.