Why do we love to hate Arnab Goswami when we can just change the channel?

I have never been a particular fan of the ‘entnews’ expert Arnab Goswami. That is a label I have coined where solemn subjects are batted about like ping pong balls and treated like circus acts. It is a kind of an audio-visual pyrotechnic display.

The few times I have watched him cursorily in India, I have been struck by the validity of the issues that came up and dismayed by the screaming and the shouting that now marks Indian news broadcasts, making Fox News seem docile in comparison.

The part of the world I reside in is not in his footprint. So, I have no clue whether Republic TV has risen to great heights or not.

Arnab Goswami. Image taken from Facebook

Arnab Goswami. Image taken from Facebook

But it is stupefying to see the agitation in his peer group and the slices of schadenfreude over the possibility that the channel has failed to live up to expectations.

The one obvious problem with the content is its incessant emphasis on scandal. That singularity can get tiring and repetitive.

There is an old saying: A re-lit cigarette never tastes the same and that's all I'll preach on rekindling old flames.

So, if you are one of those who did have a ‘thing’ for the Arnab show and its framework, you could be disappointed because he cannot raise the decibel level any further and it isn’t easy to feed that hungry beast. The ‘same old, same old’ suspicion increases.

But to propel our own self-importance by becoming strident critics is a symptom of a malady that has India in thrall. We seem to have begun to enjoy sledgehammering everything as if in doing so through the safety of anonymity and social platforms, we are displaying badges of courage. Venting the venom is now so common that we want to hurt. It makes us feel strong and virile.

It is one anchor, not a saviour. It is one channel just getting up on its legs, it is not earth-shattering or in any way going to shift any goal posts. So, if we are not happy watching, why not just shrug, shrug again and change the channel?

Goswami has taken a route and a risk and is running with it. It is a commercial enterprise and give him the credit, he is marching to his own drumbeat. If we do not like it, that is mutually exclusive. Don’t watch it.

Why get so angry or so delighted that you can find flaw in it, in the set, in the speech, in how he is looking? Some of the criticisms are so mean and petty and soaked in malice that it is more indicative of our own failures and inadequacies than there are of his.

There must be something in that which is riveting if you keep going back to watch something you think is tacky and declasse.

Yes, of course, there is that old chestnut about people in public life having to pay the tax of criticism and if they want the bouquets, they must also get the brickbats. Fair enough but then, stick to the technical (like the low sound quality) and the content (is it stretching an inch into a yard). Don't get personal about how tired Arnab Goswami looks and how long his hair is.

Something is very wrong in the whole approach to the Republic re-public if they have to get up close and personal over a TV anchor and his channel.

Envy must be playing some walk on speaking part in all this.

Updated Date: May 12, 2017 14:46 PM

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