What does Rush ‘the Dawg’ Limbaugh have that Bal Thackeray doesn’t? Answer: a radio talk show and a microphone. It turns out that Mr Limbaugh, in his inimitable style, has picked up the term ‘slumdog’ from Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning film and quietly turned it into a gaali.
Technically, he can say with a straight face that his use of the word ‘slumdog’ isn’t an insult, but a description, even a term of ‘inverted pride’ as picked up from the reactions in India to Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. It’s nice to check the context of his comment though. “If you’re sitting out waiting for a job that’s now being done by a slumdog in India,” he told his listeners, “and you’re waiting for that job to be cancelled, for the slumdog to be thrown out of work, and you to get the job, it ain’t going to happen. It’s not the way economics works.” If that’s all what he said, we think that being a ‘slumdog’ Indian BPO employee is akin to being a ‘topdog’. Which is a rather nice thing actually.
Fat cats like Mr Limbaugh have embraced controversy in the past and have flourished because of it. He had mocked Barack Obama (for being the first Black American President) and Michael Fox (about his Parkinson’s disease) on live radio. So Mr Limbaugh is tasteless. But we must roll with his witless wit and smile without rancour. If his ‘slumdog’ comment provides cathartic comfort to thousands of jobless and to-be-fired Americans, why should we begrudge Dawg Limbaugh in his manger?