Stalin has become a darling of internet caricaturists as he consistently blunders with his sentences. While AICC president Rahul Gandhi has been an acclaimed hero of gaffes, Stalin is slowly but surely catching up
The internet is an unforgiving ecosystem. One’s errors and missteps instantly become viral clips. This becomes even more inevitable for politicos who practically live under 24/7 the lights of news cameras.
Up in the north, Rahul Gandhi’s gaffes have been meme-material for years now, with the BJP IT cell having had a big role to play in circulating such material widely.
But targeting opponents with memes is a legitimate political campaign strategy. Every party has a huge team that churns out such stuff on their opponents. In general, the onus is now, more than ever, on the politico not to stumble or stutter.
As it happens, DMK president M K Stalin is now proving to be the biggest ‘hit’ among meme-makers and social media caricaturists as he has shown a tendency to slip up quite often.
Yesterday, at a public meeting in Nagercoil where he shared the dais with Rahul Gandhi, Stalin got the name of former TN Chief Minister and well-known Congress leader Kamaraja wrong. He described him as “Kamirar”.
It is a normal slip of the tongue, some of you may think.
But with Stalin there seems to be a pattern.
At a meeting earlier, he attempted to say “When I was the Deputy Chief Minister I went to Japan (for Metro Rail project). But he ended up saying 'When I was Deputy Chief Minister of Japan”.
In no time, the hashtag #DeputyCMofJapan began to trend on Twitter.
Stalin, who is the son of Karunanidhi, a seasoned orator, known for his precise articulation, also channels his inner Malaprop from time to time. One of his gems include:
'Yaanai varum munne, mani osai varum pinne’ This is the exact opposite of a popular Tamil proverb he intended to convey. (the Tamil proverb means the arrival of elephant is always preceded by the arrival of the sound of its bell). He also famously said:
'poonai mel madhil' (he wanted to say 'madhil mel poonai' which means 'cat on the wall').
Stalin also gets English wrong. This is not a crime at all. But you have to consider the fact that he slips into English, while otherwise speaking in Tamil at a function, just to impress the audience. A clip of him saying that “vacuum is filed as it is cried” (instead of “vacuum is filled when it is created.”) is an example.
“He has this tendency to mangle words or forget names. Nothing enormous. But in these times, they inevitably get blown up disproportionately,” says Swapna Bose, a social media strategist in an ad and marketing firm. “He has emerged as the darling for caricaturists as we have seen him dominate the memes in these parts.”
Swapna’s firm offers advice to politicians on social media usage and strategies. “What we tell politicos is to be very careful when speaking on a podium because once you become a meme-material, it is impossible to stop the momentum or change the image.”
Stalin can testify to this point. Whether he likes it or not and whether there is truth in it or not, he has been projected as a perennial fluffer.
Another social media strategist on conditions of anonymity says, “we use cases of politicos like Stalin on what one ought not to say in public podiums. He has become that kind of example.”
Unfortunately for Stalin, his opponents have been digging up old material, stuff from many years ago, and presenting them to highlight his bumbling lapses.
“Nobody is bothered about when it happened. In a viral frenzy, only the mocking stays,” Swapna says.
“But Stalin can take heart from the fact that on the internet everyone is fair game. No one is spared,” she adds.
Last Updated 14, Mar 2019, 7:17 PM IST