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."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I Smile because I have an Exclusive from this Land of the Dead

Nicholas Taleb:

"....journalism may be the greatest plague we face today- as the world becomes more and more complicated and our minds are trained for more and more simplification".

“To be competent, a journalist should view matters like a historian, and play down the value of information he is providing…Not only is it difficult for the journalist to think more like a historian, but it is, alas, the historian who is becoming more like the journalist.”

Gnani Sankaran: “…Flash "exclusive" — even if the reporter is sending in reports from outside the Taj Mahal Hotel, where at least 400 reporters are stationed. And for viewers gone blind while watching blood-curdling reportage, scream "exclusive" after every nine words…Why should Arnab and Rajdeep and Barkha keep harping every five minutes that this piece of information was exclusive to their channel, at the time of such a national crisis? Is this the time to promote the channel?…”

Michael Crichton:

“Jennifer had no interest in the past; she was one of the new generation that understood that gripping television was now, events happening now, a flow of images in a perpetual unending electronic present. Context by its very nature required something more than now, and her interest did not go beyond now. Nor, she thought, did anyone else's. The past was dead and gone. Who cared what you ate yesterday? What you did yesterday? What was immediate and compelling was now.

And television at its best was now.

So a good frame had nothing to do with the past. Fred Barker's damning list of prior incidents was actually a problem, because it drew attention to the fading, boring past. She'd have to find a way around it—give it a mention and go on.

What she was looking for was a way to shape the story so that it unfolded now, in a pattern that the viewer could follow. The best frames engaged the viewer by presenting the story as a conflict between good and bad, a morality story. Because the audience got that. If you framed a story that way, you got instant acceptance. You were speaking their language.

But because the story also had to unfold quickly, this morality tale had to hang from a series of hooks that did not need to be explained. Things the audience already knew to be true. They already knew big corporations were corrupt, their leaders greedy sexist pigs. You didn't have to prove that; you just had to mention it. They already knew that government bureaucracies were inept and lazy. You didn't have to prove that, either. And they already knew that products were cynically manufactured with no concern for consumer safety.

From such agreed-upon elements, she must construct her morality story.

A fast-moving morality story, happening now…”



Artist: Lee Lorenz The New Yorker December 8, 2008 Cartoon Caption Contest 172

My caption:

“I smile because I have an 'EXCLUSIVE' to report from this land of the dead”