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, 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