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The Conscience Porn


The news of a Saudi Cleric talking about how driving might hurt women’s ovaries is making headlines. It’s blindingly obvious he is wrong. But the story is getting unbelievable attention. Ironically because it’s blindingly obvious he is wrong.

If you read all the comments,, there is unanimous agreement that the guys is idiot. Yet people need to repeat it again and again and again, to themselves and to others. I must say, I get some guilty pleasure reading that too. It just feels good to see a guy I didn’t like getting ridiculed. It feels good to see that so many people are on the same side as me.

While reading those threads, it just hit me. It’s a conscience porn. One dimensional, unrepresentative portrayal of reality that quickly makes us feel good in short term. Like a quick smoke or dope, we all love the black and white situations where we can easily pass a judgement. We love it when the bad guy can be clearly identified and criticism can be heaped on him without any repercussions. It just makes us feel like a good person. A little massage to our conscience. Or in short, conscience porn.

Perhaps I shouldn’t judge it so harshly. We all need equivalent of porn in some or the other areas of life. We all need to feel stimulated. After all, a large part of life, paying bills to doing groceries, is not that exciting.

Media know this. And that’s why they continue to feed us such stories. The head lines are sentiment provoking or instinct provoking rather than thought provoking. What do you think is the real reason behind the big following of the reality shows. People love to hate them. People love to see those Kardashians and assert in their own mind how they are totally different. People love judging them and the bonding exercise it turns into in social settings. Bash Kardashians, make friends.

There is perhaps nothing wrong as long as we are clear what we are doing. We are just chatting with similar minded people and making us feel good. When porn like this claims that it’s activism, that’s when it takes turn of hypocrisy.

The truth is most likely that guy is ineffective even in his own country. Defeating him on cyberworld will serve no purpose. It will not make any advancement in the driving rights of women in Saudi Arabia. If you want to make any real contribution to the plight of women in Saudi Arabia, you need to do things that are totally boring. You need to do things that might not work so there is a risk of failing. You need to act from the place of compassion, not insecurity.

 

 

One Response

  1. Interesting post. The media feeds on this kind of “feel-good” bashing; and social media has just added more fun in the game. And I say this knowing that I’m one of those million wannabe-activists on Twitter. 😛

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