All the world's a gate!

  • Asad Ali, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jul 04, 2015 17:51 IST 1972, a pair of investigative journalists – Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward – uncovered a political scandal at the Watergate complex in Washington DC.

It ended with US President Richard Nixon resigning in 1974. Since then (and especially since the 1976 film starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) every scandal becomes some sort of a ‘gate’.

This is an easy, sometimes sleazy and mostly lazy nomenclature. But the press loves to use it, anyway. In 1995-96, the then POTUS Bill Clinton’s inappropriate relationship with 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, became Monicagate.

A wardrobe malfunction-ish incident involving Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson in 2004 became Nipplegate. In 2010, Wikileaks’ releasing confidential American diplomatic cables, was called Cablegate. In 2011, Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid News of the World hacking into phone of celebrities was called Murdochgate, Hackgate and Rupertgate... you get the idea.

In the last three years, we’ve had four of our very own Gates, we LOL every single time it’s in the headlines! (2008):

What it isn’t:
Anything to do with Mika Singh.

What it is: Turbanator Harbhajan Singh slapping temperamental bowler S Sreesanth at an IPL match. The pacer proceeded to bawl on cameras like a baby and later claimed he wasn’t slapped but ‘elbowed’. Monkeygate (2008):

What it isn’t:
Some sort of a monkey menace – like the time some kind of a monster monkey was attacking people on terraces in Delhi. it is: Harbhajan Singh (again) was accused of racially abusing Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds by calling him monkey (Symonds has West Indian roots) during a Test match. Singh claimed he was only saying ‘teri maa ki’ in Hindi.

Porngate (2012):
What it isn’t:
The deserted gate of a building complex where teenage boys gather around a smartphone watching porn.
What it is: The thing that happened when a few such kids grew up to become state cabinet ministers in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. And in 2012, were caught viewing a porn clip on their mobile phone – in the middle of an ongoing session. (2012):

What it isn’t:
Anything to do with the toothpaste brand – but probably resulted in a major PR crisis for the company.

What it is: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s accusation that the then Government of India allocated coal blocks to public and private companies in an unfair manner.

Lalitgate (2015):
What it isn’t:
The gate of The Lalit hotel.
What it is: Lalit Modi’s 20/20 vision! News of him, allegedly, seeking political intervention from top Indian netas to procure travel documents got leaked.
Note how none of this has anything to do with a place, person or inanimate object called gate.

From HT Brunch, July 5
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