Sunday, April 27, 2008

A sticky wicket

Politicians in India are in an uproar over a professional cricket league's decision to add cheerleaders to the sport:
Sparsely clad cheerleaders are facing a performance ban at Indian Premier League tournament matches in the western port city of Mumbai as the authorities have declared them "crude and vulgar".
"The scantily clad foreign girls' dances are obscene and do not gel with Indian sensibilities, culture and ethos," state home minister Siddharam Mhetre said.
"These are things meant for foreigners and not us. Mothers and daughters watch these matches on television and it does not look nice", he added.
Being an uptight, sexually repressed right-winger, I naturally share the Indian home minister's horror at the idea of "scantily clad" girls engaged in "obscene" dances. However, I suspect that the key word here is "foreign." Let's take a gander at these scantily clad gals, shall we?

Methinks that the Indian politicians are in large measure outraged by the superior hotness of the American hotties, which insults the ethnic pride of caste-conscious subcontinentals. And I suspect the women of India are hurt to see their menfolk lusting for foreign flesh:

In Bangalore beer-addled spectators exhorted the girls to come down and dance with them, screaming in unison to a Bollywood song: "Come to us, come to us, now!"
And in Mumbai, swooning men implored the shimmying girls: "Madam, madam, shake hand, shake hand!"

In other words, the anti-cheerleader sentiment appears to be a sort of nativism, and the outraged politicians are just doing a Pat Buchanan shtick. Sexual protectionism, in other words. (Once E.J. Dionne teaches you how to spot racial undertones, you see undertones everywhere.)

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