It's been a bit, hasn't it?
1 Year and 5 months to be, exact.
A lot's happened since then, and I haven't written another entry of this. That wasn't the plan, but alas, plans have a way of going awry.
So the short version- This entry of the newsletter was supposed to be the RRR Subtitles and Translation Notes entry, alongside a South Indian Film Recs List that I promised I'd do. I'd had it all worked out in my mind.
But then something happened: The prior entry- the RRR Essay - blew up. I wrote it for my friends/circle/readership which I figured to be pretty limited, just because I wanted them to have the ability to think through, talk about, and understand this work that was alien to so many of them. I was expecting it to be contained, mostly. But then,it went kinda insanely viral, I was linked to in GQ and a whole host of places, tons of folks reached out, I ended up writing a piece for Vox, and a lot of stuff happened.
And throughout it all, of course, I got hit with an endless barrage of rightwing chuds' nonsense, which ranged from calling me a 'traitor' to 'ABCD' to a billion more crude and vile things best not repeated. The central underpinning idea behind all of it though was the idea that seemed to wish I didn't exist and that thinking in the way I did was 'wrong' and a betrayal to the identity I am meant to be loyal towards. The sense of my personal engagement with the work of a creator I'd grown up viewing felt caught up in some culture war of sorts, given the subject at hand. And it all just...drained me. The newsletter was (and hopefully still is) a space for me to write and engage with things such that it's fun for me. If it's not fun or a drag, then what's the point, yeah?
And so the prospect of writing a second piece on the subject, as I saw the subscriber count go up again and again, whilst wondering 'how many of these are legit and how many have subbed just to try and harass me or bother me some more?', the fun was gone. I'd already had to lock my Twitter at numerous points and do a great deal of things to keep things healthy for me. At a point, I just had to stop looking at the response as well, as friends would tell me they heard my work referenced on a podcast they listened to or they saw some discourse, what have you. The enormity of it all, alongside the shit being thrown my way, which felt so personal and viscerally vindictive, a sort of 'how dare you', it killed the joy of writing more on the film itself.
But I kept telling myself I could do it, I would do it, that I just needed time. Time and distance. But as both came, and as interviews of the director talking about how his father was now directly working with the RSS and held a positive outlook on them and even wrote a script on them that made him tear up? All instinct to really return to the subject, with the subtitles and translation notes to explain and contextualize them? It went away.
I no longer felt the need to write about any of it. I might yet do the recs list for South Indian film, but much like with this, the sense of 'What nonsensical blow-back will I get hit with for this one?' kinda petrified the affair for me. When the anxiety overrides the fun and joy of writing and sharing something, it becomes a strange affair.
Frankly speaking, it's all stuff I should have been prepared for and anticipated, and been able to take. But I was not, and I didn't. That one's on me, I'll take that.
But at the same time, every time I thought I'd return to this newsletter and write some more, as I did have stuff I constantly wanted to write about? I felt obligated and bound to the promise I made to deliver the entries I'd mentioned, and so it became a loop of 'Well, can't touch that until I finally get to...'.
Anyway, once enough time passes, you realize:
Well, that's stupid.