Saturday, May 24, 2008

Vignettes from Wimpistan

Wimpistan is firmly amongst us. As I write this I’m watching the Big Fight that’s discussing the latest media pet “story” – the horrific double murder of Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj. To be specific, random individuals like you and me, “experts” summoned to this grand studio where pet theories and counter arguments freely handed out.

Let me show some respect to the dead and not stain my blog with my views. To be specific, I have none. I shall only go back to my initial posts here. I had spoken of 4 pillars of respect. Those I want to talk about today are:
1. Respect for the rights of the individual
2. Respect for rule of law
3. Respect for women

A measure of society is gauged by its response to its worst fears. We then see how low it is willing to stoop, how lofty are its pronouncements and how calibrated its response to an issue. More importantly, we see the metrics by which it measures success, critiques failings and gauges its progress.

When, in the case of the Aarushi case we let our faculties adrift and instead chose the easy wrong over the more difficult right not only do we do injustice to the memory of a child who is no longer able to defend her good name, we also create an unholy precedent for the future.

Shall every incident now be judged by the media? Will every investigation be so shoddy and vindictive? What came of the respect for the due process of law and of the individual? Are they subservient to 30 seconds of TV fame? And what of things more important for this nation?

In all this media attention, we’ve quietly ignored issues like the dismal state of Indian agriculture. In a country which boasts of super-smart IITians and MBAs, it is inconceivable that farmers consider suicide an honorable option. Unfortunately, agriculture does not sound sexier than an extra-marital affair, and so we languish.

These days what with time on my hands, I’ve been reading quite a bit. Most pertinent here is the source of Kamala Subramaniam’s book. Sage Vysaga, the author of the Mahabharata sees the incoming downfall of man in the Kali Yuga. Sage Narada visits him at this time and suggests that the only way for man to attain liberation from the horrors that will visit him in his life is to read the stories of the Lord’s incarnation.

This is the genesis of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Given the state of affairs, I think I’ll read faster. Till then, sileo in pacis,Aarushi and Hemraj.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What the F!

This brief break amidst an education and a job has had quite an effect on me. Apart from the mundane activities which characterize the existence of every individual on this planet (and hence not being repeated here) I have been up to no better good. The only salutary impact has been that I have flipped a few more pages than usual and I’ve been seeing a lot of shows of George Carlin.

Now who’s this? George is in my humble (and irrelevant) opinion an amazing artiste who uses comedy to harangue the petty minds and activities which somehow surround us and take much of our time, effort and worst of all money. His expletive-rich shows have had me laughing my guts out at his irreverence and sincerity.

So, today I’ll be noting my top 4 (why 5 always?) pet peeves, at this point of time. If you like to read on, do. Else, close this window.

4. Gazettes and beyond
What is it about official procedure which makes sense and yet does not make sense? Why for instance should the Connemara Library in Chennai require your membership application to be signed by a Gazetted officer? This presumes that every applicant knows one such officer who can vouchsafe for him/her. One can understand a vetting procedure in issuing passports, but a government library? What’s the intention? Prevent theft? So why not have a better system to prevent it? Isn’t this just a waste of my time?

3. C*#p about “Youngistan”
What the F! This is perhaps one of the most bull-s*&%%y marketing ploys I’ve ever encountered. The idea that there is a world for youth, into which you have entry only if you happen to drink a particular brand of cola and watch an insane program on a gone-to-the-dogs music channel( more on this channel coming up) is pure bull. I think it’s an insult to the youth of today by STPing (MBA lingo- figure it out) and making consumer zombies of them.
To add insult to injury, I am subject to an irritating advertisement with a storyline weaker than the government of today. It features an as-yet to provide a hit male Johnny with a one-hit wonder diva and a bunch of extras doubling up as college students. Do me a favor and pull the plug on this, Marketing Honcho!

2. IPL
Oh come on! It’s not like we were facing a shortage of insane regionalism, sensationalism, crass consumerism and superstars to gawk at that we need these torture session.
I don’t quite understand why anybody with at least a pea-brain watches this. The players are the same prima donnas, it’s the same depressing game and there is more action off the field than on it as usual. The attraction for the advertisers is the probability that they can pander to our consumerist tastes through a new channel now. For the owners, who strut around in their Pradas and Tag Huers it’s yet another way to satisfy their overweight egos and (hopefully) milk Mother cricket. The players of course got bid for over-hyped capabilities than anything else. Proof of this is in some of the high fliers having much reduced egos these days. Perhaps Mumbai should restrict itself to the Salsa…

1. Pseudo-reality shows
If there was every an award for the most warped, most f*&^%d up, most hedonistic act ever on the telly, this would be it. What kind of a depraved executive producer would ever associate with this rubbish? These claim to create some kind of heroes amongst teens. But the reality show is just a cover-up for perpetuating a “winner-takes-all” culture amongst the youth who are miserable enough to watch this crap regularly. And this is audition is managed by jerks that are supposedly qualified, or are ageing DJs in front of the camera.
I happened to view an audition for this. The dope had his self-respect rubbished at almost every stage of the way. And what was his answer for the why-you question? “Because I will do whatever it takes, I play mind games very well and am a failure in whatever I’ve done, this is a springboard for me” Or another show, where a girl asks people who are voting on her future to rise above the “Delhi-Bombay” fight. With a DJ who couldn’t speak proper Hindi even if you put a .45 to her head.
This brings me to the end of this special George-Carlin wannabe show. Let me end by expressing my deepest sympathies to those who have had the misfortune of watching Tashan! (Not me, I wouldn’t go near a movie that has the lead actors donning blonde wigs and doing insane dance steps with a hundred extras!)

PS: Yea, I should probably stop watching TV but without it this blog would not exist!