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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Friday, October 31, 2014

Nigger in the Woodpile: Gandhi, Lincoln....and Modi

Rahul Jacob, Business Standard, October 30 2014:

"How Mr Modi has outplayed the media: ... From a ruling party's perspective, the BJP is, thus, in a sweet spot; editorial independence in India - and with it, analytical coverage of governance - is rapidly declining. There is little reason to waste one's energies with press conferences; a press handout works so much better..."


Dr. B R Ambedkar, 'RANADE, GANDHI AND JINNAH’, lecture at Pune on January 18 1943:


"...Journalism in India was once a profession. It has now become a trade. It has no more moral function than the manufacture of soap. It does not regard itself as the responsible adviser of the Public. To give the news uncoloured by any motive, to present a certain view of public policy which it believes to be for the good of the community, to correct and chastise without fear all those, no matter how high, who have chosen a wrong or a barren path, is not regarded by journalism in India its first or foremost duty. To accept a hero and worship him has become its principal duty. Under it, news gives place to sensation, reasoned opinion to unreasoning passion, appeal to the minds of responsible people to appeal to the emotions of the irresponsible. Lord Salisbury spoke of the Northcliffe journalism as written by office-boys for office-boys. Indian journalism is all that plus something more. It is written by drum-boys to glorify their heroes. Never has the interest of country been sacrificed so senselessly for the propagation of hero-worship. Never has hero-worship become so blind as we see it in India today. There are, I am glad to say, honourable exceptions. But they are too few and their voice is never heard. Entrenched behind the plaudits of the Press, the spirit of domination exhibited by these two great men (GANDHI AND JINNAH) has transgressed all limits. By their domination they have demoralised their followers and demoralized politics. By their domination they have made half their followers fools and the other half hypocrites. In establishing their supremacy they have taken the aid of " big business " and money magnates. For the first time in our country money is taking the field as an organized power...":



Joseph Lelyveld, 'Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India', 2011:


"...The stenographer normally handled Gandhi’s correspondence and whipped up the transcripts of his nightly talks at prayer meetings for the small retinue of journalists that trailed him. A pioneer in the art of press manipulation, Gandhi insisted the journalists file not on the words that had actually come out of his mouth but on versions he “authorized” after his own sometimes heavy editing of the transcripts. The journalists—like the armed police detachment assigned by Suhrawardy to protect him—were also instructed to keep a decent distance so that the Mahatma’s sense of his solitary mission would not be compromised..."




“…People are amazed or disgusted, or both, at today’s “power of the media.” The punch is in that plural, “media”—the twenty-four-hour flow of intermingled news and opinion not only from print but also from TV channels, radio stations, Twitter, e-mails, and other electronic “feeds.” This storm of information from many sources may make us underestimate the power of the press in the nineteenth century when it had just one medium—the newspaper. That also came at people from many directions—in multiple editions from multiple papers in every big city, from “extras” hawked constantly in the streets, from telegraphed reprints in other papers, from articles put out as pamphlets.

Every bit of that information was blatantly biased in ways that would make today’s Fox News blush. Editors ran their own candidates—in fact they ran for office themselves, and often continued in their post at the paper while holding office. Politicians, knowing this, cultivated their own party’s papers, both the owners and the editors, shared staff with them, released news to them early or exclusively to keep them loyal, rewarded them with state or federal appointments when they won.

It was a dirty game by later standards, and no one played it better than Abraham Lincoln. He developed new stratagems as he rose from citizen to candidate to officeholder. Without abandoning his old methods, he developed new ones, more effective if no more scrupulous, as he got better himself (and better situated), for controlling what was written about him, his policies, and his adversaries…”
 

Artist: Louis Maurer, 1860
Now almost 155-year-old, the cartoon- little verbose- is itself very good and, once you understand, very funny.

'The Nigger in the Woodpile' means "some fact of considerable importance that is not disclosed—something suspicious or wrong"

What is Mr. Lincoln doing in the picture? 

He is trying to hide an African-American from a man identified as "Young America"!

Did he need skills in press manipulation to accomplish such acts?
 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wishing Ms. Divija Fadnavis Interesting Places to Play at Varsha

John F Kennedy has been the most popular US president in India by some distance. I have already written about it.


courtesy: Frontline magazine

"Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with U.S. President John F. Kennedy in the White House garden during his visit to the U.S. in 1962"

Apart from millions of other places, in late 1960's and 1970's, the picture above hung in a corner restaurant 'Bharat Bhuvan' (भारत भुवन) in our neighbourhood at Miraj


JFK became the president of US at the age of 43. Devendra G Fadnavis is going to be the chief minister of India's most important state Maharashtra at the age of 44.

Mr. Fadnavis and his wife have a young daughter: Divija, aged 5

This reminded me of the famous following picture.


Photo courtesy: AP and Daily Mail UK

"John F. Kennedy works in the Oval Office while his son John Jr. plays under the desk - the last time the White House was home to young children."

Here is wishing Ms. Divija Fadnavis interesting places to play at Varsha, official residence of the chief minister of Maharashtra.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dylan Thomas @100: The Wheel’s Still In Spin

Today October 27 2014 is 100th Birth Anniversary of Dylan Thomas

Notes on the Art of Poetry:
I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,,,
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights,,,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.

Mr. Thomas was decidedly a poet who thought in images.


"...Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’..."