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Going Dutch

Maybe cannibalism is the new TRP frontier

Written by The Indian Express |
December 24, 2011 1:50:57 am

Cannibalism has snuck up on us in the unlikeliest of places,in a house fashioned of chocolate and confectionery in which a witch put a pot on boil and fairytale children in a cage. Hansel and Gretel sugar-dusted what’s considered among the most egregious acts that a human can commit,and saved itself from being banished from the bedside by veering away a moment before it was in fact performed. A programme on the Dutch broadcaster BNN too had the familiar,comfortable settings of a cookery show and the romantic template of a candlelit dinner,but it didn’t stop short. A chef took out of plastic pouches what was claimed to be surgically removed bits of flesh of the two hosts,gently roasted them in a pan and served each what was purportedly the other’s flesh.

It could well be a hoax and the channel is known to have played pranks before. But still it creates its own field that attracts only because of its enormous potential to repel. The grotesque and its capacity to shock have been hewn away in the most spectacular fashion by the mostly non-proscribed world of the Internet,where every violation,real or imagined,finds representation — Photoshopped or otherwise. If our threshold of being shocked has gone up,then reality television would rush in where only Hannibal Lecters have fearlessly trodden. In the Dutch show,one of the two hosts claimed his food tasted like a piece of tyre; the other claimed his meat would be like Kobe beef. In itself,the scene was bloodless,and if played in mute,you would only see a silver fork digging into a piece of meat.

But this is when the phrase “grabbing the eyeballs” tends to transmogrify into something frighteningly literal,much like that old Lecter line: “I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

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