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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Friday, February 29, 2008

To India Goes the Award for the Most Celebrity Obsessed Culture

I couldn’t watch academy awards function this year after an hour. It got so boring.

I never watch any Indian film award function. At last count there at least are a dozen of them. This year even my wife doesn’t wish to watch any of them. They all look the same...muck like gowns at academy awards function...parade of celebrities. Rate at which Indian media are busy fabricating celebrities is scary.

A. O. SCOTT has written an excellent essay “Are Oscars Worth All This Fuss?”. (NYT February 24, 2008).

“…I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I found myself hoping that the strike (the Writers Guild strike) would shut the Academy Awards down; that for once, in a year of such cinematic bounty and variety, appreciation for the best movies could be liberated from the pomp and tedium of Hollywood spectacle. ..

… So I am not against the Oscars, any more than I’m dismissive of the Salesman of the Year or the Employee of the Month, or opposed to lavish annual trade association conventions for actuaries or ophthalmologists. But I am nonetheless bothered by the disproportionate importance that the Academy Awards have taken on, and by the distorting influence they exercise over the way we make, market and see movies in this country. The Oscars themselves may be harmless fun, but the idea that they matter is as dangerous as it is ridiculous. ..

… In the past it was frequently safe to assume that any relationship between the Oscars and artistic quality was coincidental. The academy was never supposed to be hip, daring or responsive to what was newest and most risky in the world of cinema. It was just what its name implied: the mainstream, the establishment, the old guard. Sometimes, yes, the best picture prize would actually go to the best picture, but more often the academy’s neglect of a film was a reliable index of its merit. The good judgment not only of critics but, more important, of independent-minded, adventurous moviegoers has traditionally been measured by its distance from the consensus of the movie industry.

And that, it should not be forgotten, is what the Academy Awards represent: the self-assessment of a self-interested, self-involved professional clique…

… In the old days it was more often the opposite: the academy would belatedly gild the lily of commercial success with a shiny finish of ersatz class. This vulgarity was the saving grace of the Oscars. It was not necessary for film lovers to take them seriously or for media outlets to cover them like presidential campaigns, with horse-race reporting, sober analysis and war room spin doctoring. A bit of perspective is needed. The wonderful thing about the Academy Awards is that they are fundamentally trivial. To pretend otherwise is to trivialize movies.”