Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas, and the Two Internets

India is commonly called the world’s largest democracy, a title that may confuse anyone reared to think of America’s claim to democracy as primary in every way. Similarly, India outranks the U.S. in terms of how many people in the country are on the internet: upwards of 450 million, by various recent reports, in comparison to the U.S.’s more than 250 million documented users. (Only China holds more internet users than either country, at around 800 million.)

This week, numbers once again seemed less critical than hegemonic power, especially for followers of one of the biggest Indo-American internet dramas perhaps ever: the marriage of the actress Priyanka Chopra to the former boyband heartthrob Nick Jonas. An American perspective has dominated media coverage of the event, to the point that one of the biggest flurries in the Indian press around it had to do with an American article on the subject. A take on New York magazine’s The Cut went viral on Tuesday (then was deleted, after stoking widespread backlash) for deeming Chopra a “global scam artist,” in a tone that pinged confusingly between snarky and earnest. Its assertions were backed mostly by lines that led with the word “I”; the conclusion, which urged Jonas to escape on his baraat horse, painted him as both the victim and hero of the story; Chopra was a devious villain.

The internet is far from a communal space. More often, its architecture exaggerates the divides of the real world. Writing in this publication in 2013 about the internet’s geography, Emma Green explored the work of the analyst John Kelly, which visualized the silos of the web and showed how they can work against comprehension of important topics. Those with divergent opinions on the same issue rarely communicate with the other, though each might benefit in dramatic ways by doing so. “With a broader reach, communities can put their perspectives into dialogue,” Green wrote. “Car lovers might start to understand the environmental effects of their hobby, and environmentalists might start to understand the heart-stopping beauty of a blood red sports car.”

A marriage between an Indian woman and an American man hardly ranks as a paramount global concern—and yet it also serves as a chance to connect different perspectives, through the act of cultural analysis. Chopra, a Bollywood star turned American TV fixture (as the lead of the recently canceled ABC drama Quantico), paired

Source:: The Atlantic – Culture


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