The Smithslap trumps all
A newsroom leader contacted Satireday to talk about the meeting that took place in her organisation to decide upon the news that would be the cover story of a weekly magazine, which covers the stories behind the daily news. Wanting to remain anonymous, she said she had to contact a satire page because the serious outlets were not taking her seriously. The following are her words:
There were a lot of issues on the table that Monday morning. And there were some shingaras too, but they did not last long.
Anyway, back to the issues that I thought would make for a pretty loaded issue. There are the price hikes of essentials, the outbreak of a disease that a country boasting of its rapid progress shouldn't have to deal with, the thing happening in Ukraine, the epidemic of people dying because cars and trains run them over, etc.
On the positive side there were stories about women entrepreneurs rising above their situation in life.
But then it happened.
Will Smith slapped the funny out of Chris Rock. On stage. At the Oscars.
The consensus around the table, now bereft of shingaras, was that this was big news. This changed everything.
"Think of the visuals for the cover page," one newsroom leader said. "The picture of Chris Rock being blown away, and Will Smith in his slap follow through. Written below will be 'The Slap Heard Around the World'."
But what about the price hike?
"Arre poor people care about what the rich are doing," said another member of the majority. "Oscars equals glamour. Let the people have the glamour yaar; it will make forgoing dinner easier. And anyway, what are you doing buying magazines if you can't buy soybean oil?"
And the war in Ukraine? Surely that would be more newsworthy.
"That war is about hate, there is killing there. This one was about love and protection, didn't you hear what Smith said when accepting his Oscar?" someone in the pro-Smith camp asked. "Also, we just have to believe that there are bombs being dropped in Ukraine, but we all saw the bomb being dropped on Chris Rock."
"Man's wife is insulted. He gets up on stage and smacks the taste out of a comedian. I wish all men were like this," a man said.
There was a brief discussion on the optics of playing up an act of violence by someone who is supposed to be a role model. Then there was a lengthy discussion on the rights and wrongs of the joke and whether Jada Smith's disease should have been subject to a joke in front of millions.
Then someone pointed at me and said, "You wanted women empowerment stories? This is perfect. Look how Smith empowered his woman. Done and done."
It was finally, after an eight-hour meeting that included indigestion-inducing amounts of shingaras, decided that the Smithslap would be the cover story. The winning argument was that everyone on social media was talking about it, so it must be important.
Then I went home, later than I thought possible, and my husband said, "Saw that Will Smith thing today? I want you to know that I would do the same. By the way, what's for dinner?"