On Hashtag Movements and Misinformation

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Before you post another Black N White picture in the name of a challenge, Do take the time and kindly read this.

Ernest Hemingway had a theory, like we all do. Or not. Depending on the day. However what Hemingway emphatically talked about was something fascinating called the Iceberg Theory. Not that difficult to understand as compared to all the post-isms that we try to grasp hold of now. This was a theory of  writing(especially creative writing) with which he believed that when he told a story, the narrative engaged more meaningfully and excitingly with the reader , if and when there were few ommissons. Few ommissons to add layers to the meaning, to prod the imagination, to skilfully weave brevity , to manage information so as to reach a larger diverse spectrum of readers, amongst others. What he postulates is an ommisson by intention with the knowledge of the content omitted.  This is what we do as writers of poetry or fiction.

Why am I saying this though?

It has been a few days since our social media feeds have turned monochromatically beautiful. I do have a special love for monochromes and have always loved the aesthetics of it. But since I have not come across a post with a strong argument or definitive caption across the few thousands of one’s that I have seen, including those of friends and celebs, except for the #challengeaccepted #womenempowerment #womensupprtingwomen, I remained uninformed as to what prompted the prevalence of the same. I have had students challenging me to put up my picture. When asked why , it’s a trend is the answer. Why should you know when its all for “women supporting women” catapulted a few others. Are you not a feminist? Questions and more questions popped up.

Somewhere in all this chaotic misinformation, I typed in and Google spoke. Took me mere seconds to understand the tragedy of it all.

Pinar Gultekin. Read. Understand. Vocalise.

What is happening is a drowning of a movement by omission in which most remain unaware of what they are ommiting. There’s a poweful story under the bridge of vague hashtags or token of challenge cue cards. However unlike Hemingway’s theory, there is nothing exciting, informative, imaginative, stimulating about omitting quality information when it comes to life and social concerns but rather is severely detrimental to the origin and undercurrents of the same. He did say “If you leave out important things or events that you know about, the story is strengthened. If you leave or skip something because you do not know it, the story will be worthless. “

So, the next time we do what we do for any movement, I urge you to communicate, convey, share how powerful this movement should be, why it should be, WHO started it all and why do you stand for the same. Terribly sorry to say this but this has turned into one of our “everyday have fun with social media” moments that everyone are engaging with now. It Should NOt Be. What it should be is a story of a Turkish University student Pinar Gultekin and the fight  for justice started by a group of women who wanted the world to know about the atrocities committed, garner visibility  and push authorities to take immediate action. The real challenge for us is to share the story, as is and not play by a theory of omission.

The facts are important, the particulars are terribly stark, but talking about the reason behind it all is the way that the best could come out of this. This is not a performative engagement but rather of a ethical and moral stature.

Have a wonderful day. But let’s all take a few words out of our vocabulary and talk, be vocal about the causes we support and not let it drown in the trance of digital challenges accepted. Take the effort to stay informed.We might not know everything that goes around. We are not Hemingway after all.

Published by thegranddaughtersmusings

Anusha A J is a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Faculty of Arts, University of Kerala. Her personal website features her readings on the dystopian, the human and the broad plethora of cultural mandates.

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