Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The return of macaca

In case you're wondering what macaca means, it is the genus name of the macaque monkey (the common monkey) and comes from the Bantu word makako, meaning monkey. If you're wondering what's this leading towards, then let's take a trip back to Aug 11, 2006, in Virginia, where Republican senator George Felix Allen was hoping to get re-elected over the democrat candidate Jim Webb. During one of his speeches, Allen looked at a student of Indian origin and called out to him as "macaca, or whatever his name is", in spite of knowing the student's name (S R Sidharth). The word macaca is considered as a racial slur and not surprisingly, Allen lost the upcoming election to Webb. So along with the two 'N' words that are used to racially insult people of African ancestry, macaca too is considered a racial abuse on par with the 'N' words and hence is banned from being used.

I'm guessing that by now you know what I'm going to be talking about here but before that, there are a few new definitions that I'd like to introduce you to, so that you get a sense of what to expect later.

Bucknor: n. adj. 1. A condition that affects your hearing where you don't seem to be able to perceive the obvious.
2. Alternately, when the eye-ear coordination fails to detect the differences between sounds and movements made by moving objects.
3. Informal: A euphemism for foot-in-mouth syndrome

Benson: n. adj. 1. A condition characterised by the complete meltdown of the core of the human cerebral cortex, resulting in dependence on others, especially those with no credibility whatsoever, for your decision making.
2. Informal: An evolved form of bucknor.

Note: Benson and Bucknor needn't always occur together, but when they do, the resulting condition is usually extremely painful to bear to those in the surroundings who have to deal with those symptomatic of Benson and Bucknor.

Ponting: n. 1. Any of the unique bipeds found on the Tasmanian island that are extremely short-tempered and claim to be of impeccable integrity but cannot substantiate the same with actions or deeds.

Oxenford: n. 1. A unique biped from the Australian mainland that seems to enjoy good batting displays and hates to see a good cricketing batting innings come to an end.

Clarke: n. 1. A lesser evolved species of the lark, that seems to have mutated before it got its feathers and ended up with the characteristics of a young canine (hence the nickname pup). The unique aspect of this species is that it claims to be of unquestionable integrity while displaying a complete lack of understanding of the word integrity when it comes to its own actions or deeds (also see Ponting). Symptoms of Bucknor are almost always displayed.

Symonds: n. 1. A lesser evolved but larger cousin of the monkey that doesn't have a tail, which has led some anthropologists to conclude that this could be an hitherto unknown ape and could well be the missing link that we've been looking for. These creatures are found in the Australian mainland and are extremely sensitive to words that emanate from sub-continental tourists, while not having any qualms about using those words on others. These creatures seem to enjoy a certain kind of protection provided by Pontings and Clarkes, which includes claiming to hear words that were not said by tourists.

Now that that's out of the way, let's see what can be made of the malarkey of a certain Australian called Andrew Symonds.

As mentioned above, the only words that are considered as racial slurs that either term people as slaves or question their parents are the two 'N' words and macaca, neither of which seem to be used by Harbhajan Singh on Andrew Symonds. If Harbhajan did use the word 'monkey' (and there doesn't seem to be any proof that he did), is he to be charged under the racism clause just because Andrew Symonds doesn't like that word? Agreed, if at all the word were to used, especially on a person of African or Caribbean ancestry (as is Symonds), it could only be to tease the target person's appearance, and so the person can draw an inference that his race is being made fun of, unless, like in India, it's used to describe the peculiar behaviour of certain people if it involves antics or theatrics of any kind. On a parallel, since when did Symmo become the authority on what words constitute racial slurs and what don't? If the reason is that the word monkey questions the origins of a person, then are the Aussies forgetting (or do they not know) that the words they happily use on touring sides that suggest that the person has come out from the genitalia of a female dog, or the rectal region of an donkey, or the origins of their fathers is unknown, also question the origins of the person they're targeting and hence the entire team can be charged with racism? I guess not, because after the Sydney test match, it's become evident that logic is something that the Australians are a little slow to come to terms with (ask third umpire Oxenford).

Initially, I was a bit surprised to see the amount of air time this issue was give by all the news channels in India, but whatever their reasons were for it, it certainly deserved it. Maybe what the media lacked in their coverage was the fact that calling someone a racist is not something that should be limited to the punishment meted out by the ICC, but if someone is found guilty of racism, he or she must be thrown into jail, which raises the question: would the Aussies charge Harbhajan outside of the game? Clearly the answer is no, because they don't have the evidence to support it and hearsay and one mans word against another's is not legally admissible. So how did Mike Proctor, a cricketer par excellence, who unfortunately had his career curtailed due to the 22 year apartheid ban on South Africa, find Harbhajan guilty? No one questions the fact that Mr. Proctor wouldn't know what racism is, but did he go by the evidence (or the lack of it) or his gut feeling?

From the Sydney episode, it's clear that the Aussies can't take what they dish out to the opposition, but what really came to the fore was the subtle but tell tale difference: the difference between not wanting to lose and being a sore loser. I'll leave it to the reader to decide which category the Aussies come under.

And on a lighter note, spot 6 differences between the two photographs below.


Prashanth V said...

hey dude ... visitng your blog for the first time and you have some great articles here..... keep writing buddy.

Prashanth(MSP) said...

didn't know we had a "M-word" as well!!

Anonymous said...

i see you've moved on from being a North-Indian basher to an Aussie-killer........keep it up, my man ! :)

Abhijith Shetty said...

Oops! Forgot to leave my name....Abhijith

Karthik Shetty said...

I ain't no north or south Indian basher; I'm a basher of stupid people and stupid practices, that's all. But I'll admit, Aussie killer sounds cool in a sinister way... hehehe
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