I’ve often defended the advantages of social media to my parents, arguing in favour of its power to spread awareness and important information.
However, quite often than I’d like, my social media fam lets me down humongously.
Remember the Kamlesh Soluchan video and the memes that it inspired?
The video was meant to be a documentary that opened viewers’ eyes to a harsh reality—13-year-olds were getting addicted to a poison and they didn’t care two shakes about it.
Instead, he was turned into memes that people guffawed over and tagged their friends, as if their privileged lives could come even remotely closer to how ruined these kids’ lives were.
— DhananJay 😎🎧 (@djaywalebabu) October 28, 2017
But there are some who see the grave issue for what it is and want to spread awareness about it. Unfortunately, they’ve employed the wrong kind of humour to do it.
A YouTube channel called Funk You, came up with a ‘Social Experiment’ where one of the actors pretended to be addicted to Soluchan like Kamlesh.
Bascially, in the video, the actor goes up to people and, on being asked questions about his condition, mimicked the statements that Kamlesh spoke in the original video.
What’s clearly an effort to ride the viral wave of a minor drug victim, it’s sad that they have tried to cloak the actual intention by sprinkling a few hashtags like #SayNoToDrugs, while mocking Kamlesh’s addiction and turning it into laughing matter.
For fans of Kamlesh memes, this became yet another thing they would share on their social media because isn’t this mimicry just yet another way of saying ‘memes’?
At one point, he even pretends to pour the Soluchan into a kerchief, sniff it and offer it to onlookers.
He offers the Soluchan to the boy multiple times, and each time gets rejected and pushed away.
The people he talks to advise him to give up the habit as he is ruining his life. Initially he stays in character, but then reveals to them that it’s all for a video.
These people must’ve thought this was one of those funny television shows that prank people, as opposed to a serious social awareness message.
At the long, far end of this three-minute video, they finally say the right things. But alas, it’s to late. Because by then, most viewers would’ve laughed and moved on.
Adding ‘Say no to drugs’ at the end does not turn a prank video into a social message video.
Here lies the main bone of contention with ‘efforts’ like these. Humour has the power to direct attention to grave issues. However, if a serious issue is used simply as a prop to elicit a few ignorant guffaws, it causes a disastrous situation to be taken lightly and mocked mindlessly.
Social media is what brought the harsh reality of Kamlesh’s addiction to our attention so that we could help. So can we please do just that without adding any other tadka to it, SERIOUSLY?
It’s not just about getting there. It’s how we get there that also matters.