Saturday, December 20, 2008

We The People...Which people?

Zone back to 1963, at around 30 minutes past two, when Walter Cronkite, of CBS News, takes off his glasses when announcing the death of John F.Kennedy.He puts them back on slowly, and struggles to read the next line from his card.One of the most poignant moments of television journalism.

And now, back to the 21st century.Contrast the aforesaid with 60 hours of visual media coverage (read shameless voyeurism) of the terror in Mumbai.To quote some French guy (I don't remember who, but really smart though), "the obscenity of the media is no longer of what is hidden, repressed, forbidden or obscure, but it is the obscenity of the visible, of the all-too-visible and the more-visible-than-visible". So true.

I think that the aspect that is most problematic is the portraying of the Good press Vs. the Evil politicians.This posturing is seen in the shrill rhetoric of blaming the State and political class.The assumed moral superiority of the media over the politicians is perhaps the biggest myth of capitalist democracy.The recent news coverage of the attacks in Mumbai uncovered the fact to me that the media and the political class absolutely CANNOT do without each other.And such a synergy is best illustrated by the media's mutually beneficial relationship with capitalist interests including the entertainment industry.For instance, NDTV's We The People where the panel included Simi Garewal, Ratna Pathak Shah, Luke Kenny and Kunal Kohli.Oh, and Ness Wadia.Only the media can transform the rich and famous into "we the people".

The "close door " button in a lift does nothing, but makes you think that it makes the door close faster.The presumed power of the media does the exact same thing.They are not really "public opinion", a word that is misused, if not abused, today. The media simply gives you an illusion of actually participating in the affairs of the State.If democracy to the true meaning of the word is achieved, the media will never be able to sell the things that it is able to, very easily, sell today, especially terror as a packaged product. Until then, it's going to be more of Shobha Des and Ness Wadias waving their banners for lesser taxes , in an attempt to "connect" with the common man and fight for them and their rights.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's cool, innit?

Im new to this.So I'm completely open to any kind of criticism. (Breathing in slowly).Here goes...

I was in a bus the other day, when I noticed this guy standing right next to my seat.He was wearing ripped jeans and this vest sort of thing that hardly qualifies as apparel to be worn in public.And by his body language,I could make out that he WANTED that people notice what he's wearing, how he's standing, and other highly insignificant details. He had ridiculously expensive noise-cancellation earphones plugged into his ears, and he was listening to drum-shattering metal(you know, Slayer and stuff.I know, becuase I could hear it!). And if you think that was enough, he apparently would disagree with you, because there he was, head-banging in a public bus, hoping to god that after all this effort, people would think he was COOL.

What does that word mean anyway?I mean, we're always saying things like-"Let's go bowling tomorrow.It'll be cool" , or "Why the hell do you still have those in your wardrobe?It's not cool anymore."When that guy was, for the love of God, literally pulling his eardrums apart, just in an attempt to look cool, it got me thinking on how most of the things we do almost everyday are judged according to whether it's cool or not,not whether its right or not.Well, is it cool to hang out with friends late at night, until your parents are sick with worry and fear? Or is it cooler to drive on the divider of the road opposite to your college and have everybody who's watching clap for how brave (or exceedingly stupid) you are? It's cool to talk as if you're from the US of A.Oh, and it's also cool if your friends and you get out of college after every lecture for a smoke 'coz the teacher is getting on your nicotine-filled nerves.

Well, there's no real answer to all this. Of course, there is the one line that works everywhere- It's all relative.And also, I know I'm no one to justify or condemn any of this.But still feels good to say it.I hope the guy's ears are okay now.