TV news caters to the misogynists who want to declare Veena a scarlet woman in the daytime and ogle reruns of the FHM story at nighttime
Do you think Veena Malik googles herself? If she were to use Google in the way it is commonly used, she would not be wrong to assume that people in Pakistan think of her only in two ways: as a girl they all wish they could get with; and as a human piñata just waiting to be sticked and stoned into submission. Not too surprisingly, it is very possible for both sentiments to coexist simultaneously in one human mind. Such minds are often allotted to those out in the streets, vociferously decrying Veena’s epicness and proclaiming her infidelity.
Secretly, they all want to be there at the airport when Veena Malik arrives in the country and is being led off the tarmac in the midst of a media circus. It is there that these predators want to be, just so they can discreetly cop a feel in the heaving and panting mass of humanity that will result as the wee lass tries to make her way out. But before you can say “You pigs! How dare you…” allow me to play the devil’s advocate and tell you that such misogynistic minds are the ones that will eventually save our heroine from certain death and disrepute. This is because these people, who would otherwise commit the foulest blasphemies against women’s rights and basic human values in general, have a very strong sense of fidelity. Let me explain.
After the success of “Mufti Sahab – The Remix” and “Ah-Ah-Ah-Aaashwin!” (Gesundheit), Veena’s public portfolio has been flaccid, to say the least. That is to say, she hasn’t been in the news for some time, what with Memogate and Nato attacks eating up airtime on news channels. Ratings are at an all time low, especially since Meher and Kashif decided to tie the knot. Now that she’s married, Meher Bukhari is obviously off-limits for oglers. The same goes for a variety of other good-looking TV show hosts, such as Sana Bucha, Najam Sethi and the canned laughter girl from Hasb-e-Haal. There has also been a downturn in the number of times Sheila ki Jawani and Munni Badnaam are plugged into news bulletins nowadays. This is why, in recent weeks, average TV viewership in the country has fallen by nearly 17 percent.
All of this is good for journalism, you might say. Now that news channels have been weaned off the Jhankaar Studio-style of reporting, you might be tempted to think that reporters and editors everywhere would’ve heaved a sigh of relief. Now, you may think, there will be space for some actual news stories and hard-hitting investigative journalism looking into more seminal concerns, such as the correlation between our forex reserves and trade with India. I take great pride in telling you that if you agreed with all of the above, you would be dead wrong in your analysis.
When was the last time that you watched a whole TV news broadcast? Not too recently, eh? Why then, pray tell, should news broadcasts be tailored to what you want to watch? The whole point of the mass medium is to give the people what they want to watch, innit? By that logic, TV news should be catering to the aforementioned misogynists who want to declare Ms Malik a scarlet woman (look up this reference) in the daytime and fantasize about making her their scarlet woman at nighttime. Hence, Jhankaar Studio-journalism is born and Ms Malik gets to make a living (or killing, as the case may be).
Before you think this diatribe insensitive, let me remind you that TV is all about target audiences. Veena’s target audience, i.e., the people who make sure she keeps making a killing, are the same ones that are currently playing Ghairat Brigade. It is a vicious cycle, one that media barons have learned how to exploit all too well. What else would be the point of pitting her against Mufti Sahab in an epic battle of the wits, engineered in a way that she would be seen to have come out on top and Mufti Sahab be left gasping for air (pun intended)? Why else would Veena do a risque shoot and then spew forth hellfire and brimstone on local TV when it emerged that the pictures were causing an uproar back home?
That which you call vulgar may be art to Veena, cash and ratings for media moguls, ammunition for radicals and some good alone time for the aforementioned pigs who want to greet Veena at the airport upon her return. So you see, it is in no one’s interest to see Veena go anywhere. We need Veena to maintain the precarious balance in our oh-so-hypocritical society. We need Veena to show us what’s good, what’s bad and what’s worth suing for. And above all, we need Veena to make sure that the pigs don’t get up to other, more violent and explosive mischief at weird hours of the night. I say God save Veena Malik, our national security depends on it.