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."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Triumph of Idiot Culture, Manufactured Controversy, Sensationalism

There is a huge controversy in Maharashtra, including its legislative assembly, over a banner where Union minister Sharad Pawar’s picture is printed above that of medieval King Shivaji.

See the picture below.

This might have hurt sentiments of many but I thought the real debate should be how Sharad Pawar and his party have badly let down the ideals of Shivaji, arguably the greatest ruler of Indian origin.

I remember Carl BERNSTEIN’s words:

“…But I think the really important trends in journalism in the last 25 years are basically the dumbing down of media what I called in a cover piece for The New Republic in 1990 the triumph of idiot culture, manufactured controversy, sensationalism, shouting from the left and the right as if this were real news and real information.

In this cacophony truth, the best obtainable version of the truth, which is really what reporting is that snapshot at a given moment of where an event and the facts stand when reporting is good that's getting lost in this noise and, as Bob says, in this rush to get stuff out. Who the hell knows what's right and what's right and what's fact and what's context and what's not? …”

Inder Malhotra said in an op-ed piece “The debasement of Parliament” (Asian Age March 7 2007):

“…Thanks perhaps to my lucky stars, it has been my privilege to cover India’s apex legislature — for long years on a daily basis — since the first meeting of the "provisional Parliament" in February 1950. Until then the Constituent Assembly used to double up as the Central Legislative Assembly, too. The first Lok Sabha, elected in 1952, quickly attained such high standards of debate and decorum as to win the nation’s deep respect and wide international acclaim…

… Meanwhile, with lungpower having taken precedence over brainpower and raucous shouting replacing reasoned debate, wilful and repeated disruption of parliamentary proceedings inevitably followed. Sadly, the ruling Congress Party, with its massive majority achieved in 1971, became a partner in this disgraceful downhill slide…”


Picture Courtesy: Pudhari April 3 2008