Trivialization. We used to use that in school debates when all was lost. The strategy was effective as slapping one’s way out of a fistfight. But face was saved, it gave the semblance of not giving in. We have all seen posts about queues during last few hours, suddenly they are everywhere. Started with the jio sim one, now it’s movie queues, ration and what not. Indians stand in queues. What’s the big deal?
16 dead. Standing in queues and other directly relatable causes. How many unreported ones? We don’t know. Few can’t make the difference between choice and compulsion, the same way they can’t between a democracy and despotism, courts and encounters etc etc. They have seen queues in which people stand for 6 hours a day, women wailing, old men dragged out of their houses, all for enough money to buy food or medicines. I have not. For me these queues are first of its kind in Indian history.
Anyway, back to trivialization. How does it work? Why is it such a perfect weapon for the absurd? Let me give you an example, a few in fact.
Trivialization by comparison or generalization
The current ones about queues falls under this category. Compare it to every other queue in the universe and make it about queues only. It is not about having a choice or harassment or an issue about food and life.
You also see this in saas-bahu serials.
“kalmunhi, tv ka channel change karte haath nahin dukhtha, roti banane main bada dukh reha hai”
You see, that’s a perfect example. It’s a taunt, it completely ignores her pain and it goads her to do what is desired of her, without daring to ask again. It will usually be followed by a “hunh” and walking away before the subject can respond.
Trivialization by vilification
‘’oh, that guy with the long hair met with a bike accident! Hona hi tha”
“decent girls don’t get raped”
“Everyone shot down was a terrorist”
You see, what we did there? Deny. Deny that there would be more aspects to it, deny that the issue is more complex. When Modi said most in those queues is a black money hoarder, he vilified the ones standing and denied there is an issue. Also, that everyone cribbing is an anti-national, the patriotic ones are just having picnics outside the banks.
Trivialization by opposition
There are no queues, there is no issue, there is no discontent.
My maid gave up her salary for the country’s good,
My bank had no queues and they gave me cupcakes
I just went into an ATM and got all twenties, warm and tossed with sesame seeds
So on and so forth. They will oppose fact with fiction, issue with grandstanding and try to debate the very facts that everyone can see. It is effective to the extent that it makes people wonder if there are pockets where things are not that bad. No, they are not. It is a deflective strategy.
There are many more and I can write a whole chapter on it. But you are not paying, not even in cupcakes. So, while you create your own lists, let me go and punch that guy ahead of me in the queue.