YouTube Vs. Gandhi In Death Match
A New York-based clown-turned-stand-up-comedian-slash-yoga-mime posted a video of himself on YouTube impersonating Gandhi doing a pole dance. Stop laughing. India doesn’t think it’s funny, and the government has threatened to take action against YouTube if the video isn’t removed.
The comedian is Gautham Prasad, whom you’d never heard of until India got its sari in a twist. He says he put the video on YouTube as a marketing tool. But a user-generated video site was no match for a national government in marketing power.
Since the Indian government read the riot act to local Indian TV stations for airing clips of the video, and threatened to block YouTube, the video has been viewed nearly 56,000 times and climbing.
The video has also spurred over 580 comments, most of which are arguing the finer points of Gandhi’s charmed life, whether he was a pedophile, or biased toward Hindus – you know, same stuff, different part of the Internet.
But Prasad, on his blog, says it’s not really him in the video wearing a thong diaper and gold stripper-tassels:
It doesn’t matter if it’s Prasad in the video or just a guy that looks like Prasad looking like Gandhi, according to Indian officials. The video itself is an “assault on the dignity of the father of the nation,” and they are demanding a profound apology from the Indian TV channels that aired the video. In Gandhi’s hometown, university students disrupted a train with a Gandhi-style sit-in protest.
But the prize for loaded pro-Gandhi journalistic sentence formation (and, by default, anti-Prasad) goes to Khaleej Times, a news outlet that understands straight journalism about as much as India understands freedom of speech. I love the first two sentences, which are playing characters pretending to be AP Style sentences:
The controversial video which shows a man dressed as Gandhi – apostle of non-violence and leader of India’s freedom movement – resorting to violence, carrying an automatic rifle, gyrating to music and doing a pole dance.
He said “gyrating.”
The rest of the story is so clich, you could have written it without any research whatsoever. Prasad says supporters of the pacifist icon “have threatened to stone me, hit me, or kill me. I don’t think Gandhiji would approve.”
A Google spokesperson said, “these issues are complicated as the Internet is an international phenomenon. While technology can bring great opportunity and access to information globally, it can also present new and unique cultural challenges.”