Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Argumentative Indian (in me)

I have not forgotten my new year's resolutions.

I have been meaning to write about so many things, it's just that I never got around to writing them, if you know what I mean. I have been busy, but really not so busy to avoid writing, just that I didn't allocate the time to do it. And so, what was supposed to be 1 post every day of the week, is now at latest count 4 posts in 6 months. Which is being charitable, since the 4 posts were there in the first 23 days of the year itself. Last 5 months and 7 days have been blank.

But then, I am not here to bore you with statistics of how often I write or should write. I know I should write, but to paraphrase Paul Simon, "If I could, yes I would". Nuff said.

So what got me out of this stupor?

2 things actually.

First was a spam post on this blog in Spanish or Portuguese or something. No bloody clue how it got there (there is still some chance that it will be back), but then it got there. Luckily D saw it early enough, and asked me about it, and I was able to delete it in time. But then it also left me with the feeling of someone crapping in my backyard without me knowing about it. And I don't like the thought of strangers crapping in my backyard (assuming I had one)

Secondly, I got to read a post last night about my favorite topic of the sole symbol of all that is wrong with this country, and that is the Times of India. I follow Thane Richard on Twitter, and he has excellent perspective on all that we're hyperventilating about, but then he's American and we Indians don't appreciate taking feedback you see. In some of his past posts, you can see the way he gets "ostracized" when he starts with his perspective on what's wrong with this country. (I wonder what his perspective on the other Indian darling, Mr. Modi is)

Anyway, I fully support Thane in his quest to boycott the Times of India !!! I would have asked you to support us in the cause as well (here), but then I am not the types who is a social mobilizer of outrage, and therefore it really is not my business whether you use it or not.

The Times of India, nay the entire Times Group, (a.k.a. The Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd,) is the single most dangerous entity in this country today. It should be sent to the sin-bin before the Home Ministry does anything about the Naxals.

Long years ago, (on my first date actually) I saw a James Bond movie, where the villain was a media mogul who manufactured news to increase business. I dismissed it at as typical Bond movie hogwash, but thanks to the Times Group, I am now thinking maybe it was more of an indication of where things are headed.

And seriously, don't give me this freedom of the press bullshit.. If you really believe the Times is a constructive force and a conscience of this country, you probably also believe that this country is going to the dogs, ergo the conscience of this country is egging it on to the dogs, ergo I rest my case.


So my pent up frustration about the Old Lady of Boribunder is now out.

My Outraged Indian avatar is now sated.

But there is another avatar inside me (among others).

The Practical Indian.

And this practical Indian believes  knows, that 6 people signing to a Causes  website to get a $1.5 billion behemoth to be sidelined, is beyond ridiculous. And that nothing is going to happen. And that moron Arnab is still going to holler on my behalf regardless of whether I have conveyed my grievance to him or whether I have asked him to represent him in airing my grievances or heck, even having a grievance in the first place. (From what I have seen, even if I did meet him, I doubt I'd get a chance to open my mouth to air my grievances)

There might be a chance, but it's about as big as a "dimple on the arse of an ant on the arse of the elephant". And even if with that minuscule a chance, we do succeed in ensuring that we have a boycott on the Times on a Gandhian scale, it's probably not going to make a difference. They've faked so much, that very likely they will fake circulation numbers (assuming they don't do so already). And then they'll still be number 1.

Which brings me to another Indian in me - the disappointed Indian.

Disappointed not with India per se, but with the absolute & stubborn refusal of people to see the obvious.

See, what is peddled in the Times, (and Times Now, and all their media entities) is what has been philosophically described as bullshit. I read a book (On Bullshit - Harry G. Frankfurt) and the description of Bullshit and the distinction from falsehood and truth is quite clear.

... bullshit either can be true or can be false; hence, the bullshitter is a man or a woman whose principal aim — when uttering or publishing bullshit — is to impress the listener and the reader with words that communicate an impression that something is being or has been done, words that are neither true nor false, and so obscure the facts of the matter being discussed; i.e. “the bullshitter is faking things, but that does not necessarily mean he gets them wrong.”
 In contrast, the liar must know the truth, of the matter under discussion, in order to better conceal it from the listener or the reader being deceived with a lie; while the bullshitter’s sole concern is personal advancement and advantage to his or her agenda;
Bullshit thus is a greater enemy of the truth than are lies..
- courtesy Wikipedia 

Now does this not align with how the Times treats us?

But even then, this is not what disappoints me. The Times group is free to peddle all the bullshit that it wants. People pay  for this crap (me included) for whatever reason. They have a right to sell us crap, and if we deem that crap to be worthy of the price we are asked to pay, pay we shall.

What's sad is this apparent role of being the voice of the country - and therefore by extension my voice. It is a sad indictment on this country, and the polity of this country that people assume the media to be the voice and therefore the representative of the country. Per process, it should be the political setup which should represent us, right? Isn't that what their job is? Be our voice to the powers that be? Ensure that we get basic human rights and all that? Basically, be our voice for all that is important to us?

If you haven't dozed off as yet, here's a little secret.. They do. Basically, it's how you define the term "us".

If by "us" you mean everyone that you interact with on a daily basis, your co-workers, your society people, your friends on Facebook and elsewhere, your secret crush, etc., then you being at the center of your universe, you may have a point about being sidelined and feeling like you don't have an outlet to voice out your frustrations.

But by "us", if you mean each and every single one of us Indians, irrespective of religion, age, caste, creed, sex, sexual preference, colour, regional location, then you will see that the political class represents pretty much the average of the various spheres.

It's just that you we are way out on the fringe.

And the day we realize this, tempers will be soothed a little bit

And the Times will go back to reporting the news, and not telling me how I feel about hearing the news.. 
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