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, January 20, 2010

China a Ferocious Dragon, US a Bank-clerk like Uncle Sam?

Gideon Rachman has written an article- "Why America and China will clash" for FT January 19 2010

I have no comment to make on it.

But I was irritated by the cartoon used for it.

Why is China represented by a ferocious looking dragon while US is by an old-bank-clerk like Uncle Sam?

Why is China, in the Anglo-Saxon media, always represented by a ferocious looking dragon?

Doesn't such a picture prejudice a reader of our ever-shrinking-attention-span era profoundly even before he reads the first word of the essay?

And is Uncle Sam so docile?

Beverly Gage writes in NYT June 12, 2009: "...Beginning in the 1870s, Jackson Lears argues, Americans attempted to stitch their country back together around a “militarist fantasy” of Anglo-Saxon supremacy. Yet rather than bringing the hoped-for personal and national redemption, their efforts produced tragedy. According to Lears, the same cultural logic that justified lynching in the American South and the conquest of American Indians in the West eventually led to war in Cuba, the Philippines and Europe — and, a century later, to our own mess in Iraq..."

Imagine if the cartoonist used an image of laughing Buddha or a tickling Confucius to represent China.

I understand China very little. (Read more on that here.) But I wonder if we can ever trust the Western media to tell us about her.

Or for that matter about India.

I recently acquired best selling book "In Spite of the Gods", 2006 written by Edward Luce, an FT staffer posted in India from 2001-05.

I wish to read it. But I was put off by the first few lines of 'Introduction' itself. He quotes Rabindranath Tagore and introduces him as "perhaps India's greatest poet".

Is Mr. Luce familiar with the works of Vyasa, Valmiki, Kalidasa, Kabir, Tukaram, Tulsidas, Kambar, Purandara Dasa, Mirza Ghalib...?

Rabindranath himself would have admitted that, as a poet, he was not even close to the most of these giants.

Mr. Luce's line should be redrafted as 'perhaps India's most known poet in the West and one of the best in 20th century'.

I got tired of 'The Economist'. I got tired of 'Newsweek'. Maybe soon I will be tired of FT.


Artist: Ingram Pinn, courtesy: FT