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."

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