Have you seen Muhinda Rajupaksa? No? Here.
Muhinda is a parody – a parody of recently rejected President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. I don’t know who runs it; I don’t have any idea why they’re doing it. What I do know is that it’s damn funny. I’ve seen insane amounts of meme’d mud-slinging on all sides, but Muhinda is special. Special. Because some smart wit has not only gone and parodied MR, but also created supporting accounts for almost everyone in the story. Shirunthi Raupaksa? Nomal Rajupoksa? Ronil Wickrumosinghe? There’s a whole gang of these new pages interacting and joking with each other, and it’s hilarious.
It speaks volumes that, in a world where meme-making is commonplace, it took an election for this kind of slapstick humor to emerge. Humor and jokes – especially those of a derogatory nature – are a universal part of human culture. Where three men meet, two will gang up and laugh at the third; in the cultural crossroads that is an entire society, the attention commonly shifts to public figures, stereotypes, and to making light of issues that, in the light of tomorrow, can be safely laughed at (see Humor across cultures: an appetizer). Even, as in the case of Charlie Hebdo, things that cannot be safely laughed at…
But I digress.
Jokes about the Rajapakses were never common, unless one counts Awantha Artigala’s amazingly astute political cartoons. The Rajapaksa clan is-was practically taboo – partly from their actions, partly from the rumors that spread behind their backs about what happened to people who dared speak against them. Stories of Lasantha Wickrematunge gunned down in cold blood. Stories of beatings and and strong-arm guards and white vans that would whisk you away. I rant – but tell me, how much subconscious fear does one have to instill in a populace to prevent it from doing this very basic thing from happening?
I think it’s good that the humor is coming out – as acid-like as it is, it’s important that the country get over this fear, this combination of awe and terror of the King In The South. Parodying a man and his family is not the wisest course of action – definitely not one I would take. But if laughing at a man diminishes that subconscious fear, if it reduces that errant unease that prevents people from speaking their minds for fear that Mahinda Rajapaksa might return to power, then I think it’s time for some humor.
Or perhaps people, being people, are always ready to kick the dog once it’s down.
Slow clap, anyone?