When I was small I learnt an important lesson through sheer accident. And the lesson was that the “underdog” always gets public support. Even if the ‘underdog’ was pretending to be the underdog and was actually the villain of the piece, he/she will always get support because people love to take up for the ‘underdog’.
As a kid I realized that I was no match for my arch rival, my second brother M. Like a true brother, M loved annoying me and making me scream. And when I lashed out at him in anger; he would merely hold my hand and fend me off while I tried to wildly kick him. And while all my effort to kick, scratch and pull his hair went in vain, I had the double ignominy of watching him grin triumphantly. So I did what I had to do. I screamed. Because I realized screaming and sobbing when the elders arrived running from all corners of the house made them annoyed enough to give my brother a ticking off!! :p
It was very satisfying to watch my arch rival get a ticking off for troubling “your poor helpless baby sister” and “bullying a small girl?” etc. ( One of the few advantages of being the youngest in the house is that you remain the ‘baby’ of the house till eternity) It was lack of creativity that drove me to this novel method while I could actually get back at him by merely ignoring him!! But like millions of sisters worldwide I too fell for the bait specifically designed to irritate me :)
Supporting the underdog or the “underdog” syndrome, is so powerful that most of us get swept by it. I broke out of this syndrome when a couple of instances of blind loyalty to my friends made me ignore the “other side of the story” leading to some very red face when I realized that the person I had defended was the actual culprit! Since then I have become the ‘devils advocate’. But then I am not entirely infallible. I do get taken in by sob stories initially till good ‘ol common sense kicks in or gives me a solid kick.
Off late I have come across some people/bloggers who use the “underdog syndrome” to great effect. They craft stories based on their lives in which they are shown as an underdog, while the other characters of the story are strategically characterized so that that readers like hypnotized zombies hate/love/sympathize with these characters according to the writer’s design. Soon the 'underdog' gets sympathy and support and a large number of 'protective' and sympathetic fans. If a stray reader were to raise a question about the ‘sob story’ he/she is immediately looked upon by horror by the others readers like thief found stealing from a frail old lady.
The feeling of protectiveness is so strong, that the readers will not tolerate any voice of dissent against the ‘underdog”, i.e the writer. Many of these readers will go out of their way to help the ‘underdog’. The ‘underdog’ becomes an icon. If someone starts questioning the story of the ‘underdog’… the writer who is a master in this game will play the part of the ‘poor accused’ well by taking the questions/accusation gracefully and thus raking in more supporters.
Politicians and leaders, ordinary people, younger siblings [:p] have all used this ‘trick’ to great effect. It is high time we shed the herd mentality and looked at both sides of the coin whether it is a news item or a Blog. There is always an ‘other’ side of the story.
The World Wide Web is happy hunting ground for such pseudo “underdogs”. All with private agendas of their own. Be careful of people and causes you espouse.