G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Stature surfeit

Paul Krugman observes Americans are turning shorter (NYT June 15 2007).
He quotes: "height is indicative of how well the human organism thrives in its socio-economic environment."
He says: “Whatever the full explanation for America’s stature deficit, our relative shortness, like our low life expectancy, suggests that something is amiss with our way of life. A critical European might say that America is a land of harried parents and neglected children, of expensive healthcare that misses those who need it most, a society that for all its wealth somehow manages to be nasty, brutish — and short. “

Hoping to get such data on India would be a tall order. But we can talk based on anecdotal evidence.

I think Indians in cities are getting taller and fatter.

These days I come across many school and college going girls who are taller than me (I am 5 ‘ 8”). Not so long ago, height of 5’ 4” in a girl was considered her passport to Miss Something (school, college, town, locality, India, world).

This prosperity has created some strange problems.

Public transport seating was designed for Indians who were much leaner and shorter. Seats meant for two can hardly take one and half. Seats meant for three, now used to seat four (such as Pune’s auto-rickshaws) can cause some serious damage to parts of your anatomy like knees, head, private parts etc.

p.s. Is this the reason American hippo is finding it hard to hear European Giraffe on Iraq, global warming etc?


Artist : Bernie Wiseman The New yorker 17 Jan 1953

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