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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

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."

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