By Prarthana Mitra
Last week, the big bad comedian Michelle Wolf’s comments at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD) garnered criticism. The Nobel Committee also announced their decision to postpone the prize in literature this year. Closer home, a city that once took pride in its liberal outlook witnessed a major setback when moral policing against public display of affection took an ugly turn inside one of Kolkata’s metro coaches. In the meantime, Liverpool’s Mo Salah is the breakout soccer star this UEFA season, besides becoming a figure of considerable social and cultural significance. Find out why.
Michelle Wolf’s controversial routine: All in good humour and honesty
As is customary for a stand-up comedian to take the podium and roast Republicans, Democrats and the media alike at the annual WHCD, Wolf cracked topical jokes at the Hilton, lambasting Roy Moore’s alleged paedophilia, Michael Cohen’s reported cover-up of the Stormy Daniels’ scandal, the conservative crusade against abortion, Trump’s anti-women and anti-immigration policies, and the retinue of lies sold by the US administration.
She even came dangerously close to exposing the American media for playing an instrumental role in Trump’s warpath and faced backlash from all corners. Coming at a time of incredible tension between the press and the president, this may mark a watershed moment as journalists and comedians rally for or against Wolf, while the president remains absent from the correspondents’ dinner for the second year in a row.
Nobel Prize in Literature cancelled amid sexual assault allegations and criticism
The move comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Nobel Committee’s dealings with Jean-Claude Arnault’s misdemeanour against women and his role in leaking the names of winners in the past. After eighteen women came forward, accusing Arnault of sexual misconduct, six of the eighteen members including Frostenson and Academy head Sara Danius stepped down, claiming that the criticism has considerably weakened the very reputation of the award. The Academy which usually begins the shortlisting and evaluation around this time has been suspended and has promised to announce two winners in 2019.
Kolkata youth take a stand against moral policing
Earlier last week in Kolkata, a couple was verbally abused and physically attacked for standing too close in an evening metro. A group of middle-aged passengers, taking offence to the sight of the embracing couple, starting raining punches, slaps and kicks on the young man in question, after they alighted at Dum Dum Metro station. The city has since erupted in outrage and response to this meaningless violence, calling it a medieval outlook towards gender relations, especially when no one bothers to lift a finger against the harassment women face on public transport every day.
In a bid to normalise consensual physical closeness and demand action against the perpetrators, the city’s youth assembled in front of the busiest metro station last Wednesday, in a movement they called Hok Aalingon, which roughly translates to “Freedom to Embrace”. The Metro Railway has condemned the heinous incident and the movement has garnered the supported of important cultural and political figures.
A young couple embraced in Kolkata metro. It made a bunch of frustrated old losers angry. They beat them up. Scenes of hatred are allowed. Scenes of love are considered obscene. pic.twitter.com/Jv4zNaMDe8
— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) May 1, 2018
Hindutva activists attack AMU students over Jinnah portrait
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Satish Gautam, backed by Hindu Yuva Vagini “activists” descended on the Aligarh Muslim University campus last Wednesday demanding to take down the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah hung in the student union hall. The situation escalated to a point where the local police were using tear gas and lathis against the students who were simply demanding action be taken against the interlopers.
The incident reveals the myopic view of Indian history being endorsed by the right-wing, which demonises Jinnah for partitioning a unified India but ironically ignores their own systemic persecution of the minorities.
Mo Salah catapults Liverpool to Champions League Final
Mo Salah who scored 43 goals in 49 games in his first season at Liverpool, has become an instrumental figure for the way he proudly boasts of his racial and religious identity. An Egyptian Muslim immigrant who arrived in Liverpool only last summer Salah is not only accepted but also adored as an icon by its residents for leading the team the UEFA Champions League final for the first time in over a decade. He is a “national treasure for Egypt” and a beacon of hope for thousands of Muslims like himself, teeming the streets of Britain in anonymity and fear.
Songs in his honor are belted out by the spectators at Anfield, Liverpool’s home stadium, and fans carry flags, scarves, shirts and posters bearing his image, complete with Pharaoh’s headdress. As Liverpool faces Real Madrid in the final later this month, all eyes will be on the rising star.
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