Home Columns Anantha Narayan A mouthful of purple

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    IF there were a pretty picture of the prim and proper, it must be that of Aishwarya Rai. Politically correct to a fault, every pose and every smile is made for the fawning press. So when the porcelain goddess of perfection — some would say plastic — committed a fashion faux pas by sporting purple lips, the Internet quaked with laughter.
    It was the equivalent of a Black Rolls Royce trying to look very blingy. Naturally, the trolls on Twitter had a field day. The jabs flew thick and fast. “Did she binge on jamuns? Did she feast on Black Currant ice cream? Did she kiss a Smurf? Is Asian Paints her sponsor?” asked her not-so-well wishers. In the melee of taking pot-shots, everyone forgot that the decision to flaunt a bold shade was that of L’Oreal, the brand that showcases Ash at Cannes. Barbs aside, the purple experiment got immense coverage. Not sure if Aishwarya benefited from it, though.
    Methinks the brouhaha had very little to do with the hue, but was more about chucking pies at a star who has positioned herself as the epitome of grace. But some are of the view that mean tweets from armchair critics is a form of ‘celebrity bashing’ and it stems from ‘pure jealousy’. If one takes director Mahesh Bhatt seriously, he believes it’s the national sport of India.
    One research that can shed a little light on the topic was conducted recently by the learned folks at Beihang University in China. The study probed over 70 million tweets from 2,00,000 users and explored the question: which is the most influential emotion on social media? They put four emotions under the microscope — sadness, disgust, joy and anger. The findings were quite surprising. For people who are used to the adage ‘good news travels faster than bad news’, here’s the real deal.
    Apparently, anger is the one emotion that’s super contagious. It instigates people to act, retweet, share or behave like jerks by joining the ‘Who Can Be Nastier’ fest. Honestly, I was not at all surprised with the findings. Celebrity bashing is a manifestation of an inner anger. It’s the same rage that fuels communism. We, the social animals, hate other social animals who are far more successful and this makes us do stupid things. Even if it means bashing someone black-and-blue over the colour purple.
    Disagree with my take on Ash? Share your views with
    anantha@albertdali.com

    -Anantha Narayan

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