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."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Times of India, a Patriot and Harold Pinter, a Traitor

I was moved by Michael Henderson’s obit of Harold Pinter:

“…Lord’s was in its midsummer majesty that afternoon. There was the lovely three o’clock murmur of a thousand conversations, and on the field England were making short work of a poor West Indies side. Best of all, Pinter had gathered around him four great pals who shared his love of the game: Gray, Stoppard, Harwood and Hare.

Seated behind the box’s glass partition, with a glass close to hand, and never empty, Pinter hardly missed a ball, because he was watching Brian Lara, the star batsman from Trinidad, who to his craftsman’s eyes represented something of the nobility he had admired in previous generations. One thought of the line Pinter put in the mouth of young Marcus Maudsley in the village cricket scene in The Go-Between: ‘Such elegance and command!’ Every stroke of Lara’s prompted some purr of acknowledgement, as Pinter saw in his mind’s eye all the days he had spent at that special place.

Returning to the box after spending an over or two elsewhere, I found him standing with his back to the cricket, about to address his friends. This time he was not talking about cricket. ‘Do you know,’ he asked them, ‘what I consider to be the most beautiful line in all literature?’ …

…Simply this: ‘That beautiful evening Compton made 70.’…” (The Spectator, 29th December 2008)

And then I read Times...

A report in The Times of India January 15, 2009 is headlined: ‘Hayden greater than Sachin.’

Donald Bradman - the unquestioned supreme deity of batting - said Sachin Tendulkar reminded him of himself more than anybody before or since. You might think Sachin can, thus, safely consider the No. 2 slot in a list of all-time greats his for the taking.”

Notice the impunity with which TOI is manipulating Bradman’s words.

Report continues: “But you would be wrong, or so says the ICC. Sachin isn’t even in the top 20 Test batsmen , according to new ICC "best ever" ratings.”

The report does not mention who those “top 20 Test batsmen” are. Therefore, I decided to find out more. I found it here.

ICC website very clearly says: ICC Best-Ever Test Championship Rating. Note it does not say: “ICC Test Championship Rating of Players.”

It is an attempt by the ICC to rate the best-ever test-cricket patch of a player. That is why Donald Bradman’s entry reads:

ID Rat. Name Nat. Career Best Rating
1 961 D.G. Bradman AUS 961 v India, 06/02/1948

If the ICC wanted to only rate players, there was no need to include the period and the opposition.

Look at following two entries:

20 916 S.M. Gavaskar IND 916 v England, 30/08/1979
26 898 S.R. Tendulkar IND 898 v Zimbabwe, 21/02/2002

It means Gavaskar’s 1978-79 patch was ‘better’ at number 20 than Tendulkar’s in 2001-02 patch at number 26.

But why did I bother about this? Isn't newspaper business only "yelling about the axe murder"?


Artist: William Steig, The New Yorker, 21 October 1933