Sunday, April 30, 2006

Racism and Sexism on popular comedy show

For past year or two, there has been a very popular comedy show showing on one of India's cable tv channels. It is actually a competition where every week a few comedians try to make the crowd laugh harder and harder, and whoever manages to get the highest points wins. Cool, isn't it? Well, I had rarely watched it even though it was a rage amongst a lot of people because I rarely find their jokes funny.

Recently, I started watching it because of my roomies who seem to like it a lot. I have to say that I am apalled at the stuff that passes around as comedy in this country. Actually, I am more apalled to see that the 95% percent of their jokes are sexist/racist/sick. I am not surprised that they make such jokes but good clean comedy is totally non-existent in their jokes!

One of their favourite (perhaps, the most favourite) target is women. There are always those usual wife-jokes that seem to be omnipresent in the entire world. What surprised me was how blatant and explicit some of their jokes were in exposing the status and perception of women in our society. One incredibly unfunny comedian enacted a conversation between men where men have started referring to their girlfriends as 'flats' and there is this entire segment in which they describe their girlfriends as if they were describing flats. And people were laughing at this. I was speechless. When feminists say that women are viewed as property, as possessions and not as human beings, this joke is like the undeniable proof of that claim. It is incredible the amount of insensitivity to women should go into making such kinds of jokes and to laugh at such jokes. The fact that people did laugh out loud at it makes it even more sickening and kind of makes you want to distance yourselves from them.

The racism of their jokes is also quite evident. It is always some other group that they target who are expected to take it in jest but in reality reveals the prejudices that people incorporate in themselves.

Culturally, jokes are quite an eye-opener to the outsider and to ourselves. It is time we reviewed our society through the jokes that we laugh at. If we respected different cultures and different people, we wouldn't find such jokes funny and there wouldn't be such jokes in existence. But as we can see, these jokes do exist and there is no denying their influence in our society.

I could go on and on about how this show disgusts me with the attitudes presented in them but I cant. They make me so mad!!!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Beach life of goa Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 17, 2006


You must have heard the term quite recently being bandied about by seasoned netas in the news channel. So, shall we take a look at this term? What does it mean? Who is it being attributed to?

The term depends on one's understanding of what 'development' is? And development is a matter of perspective. What do we call developement? Is it just an imporvement in the infrastructure or a rise in the standard of living? Is it the swanky new cars that have started to invade the Indian market or the plethora of airlines vying for customers by offering cheaper and cheaper air fares?

The thing about development is that it has improved the quality of life of a section of the population in India. Whereas there is this huge section of Indian polulation that has been affected inversely due to all these developmental activities that cater to the needs of a few.

In the last decade, there has been an increasing trend of farmers committing suicide because of mounting debts and lack of protection. In an unque approcah to protest against the government lack of concern for them, villages in Vidharba were put on sale. What is scary is that the suicides are not endemic but are quite widespread in regions like telengana, karnataka, maharashtra where the produce is heavily dependent on the monsoons. No monsoons, no produce. A couple of years of bad monsoons and you dont have a means to survive. In a land where its farmers (the food-producers) are facing a crisis of survival, the future is indeed bleak.

The post-Manmohan Singh era of economic liberalisation has seen India opening up its markets to the world's capitalistic companies. India is a huge market for these companies that are running to invest in India. Though globalisation is touted as a phenomenon that levels the playing field, it is arguably not so. Only a corporate can think of manufacturing seeds which would work for only one generation, making the farmers buy them again and again from the same company. The MNCs of the world see an opportunity to do business in India. It must be noted that big busnisses of the world have the capital and the cruelty to destroy the local small businesses and take over the entire market.

22 years ago, we saw one of the world's most horrible chemical accients happening in India. The CEO of UCC at that time never responded to the summons of the Indian court and was declared a 'fugitive from justice'. It does really help to do business in a different country without concerns of punishment, doesnt it? The people still dont have potable drinking water even today and you know what the government does to their pleas? thats right, it ignores them!

Another contentious issue that has been going on for approximately the same amount of time is the Narmada Valley Development Plan, which basically involves construction of a huge number of dams on the Narmada and its tributaries. NBA (not the sport) has been accused of being anti-development but there is a lot of abuse that goes on behind the scenes that NBA actually is protesting against. For example, whenever you build a dam, you are going to drown out a humungous area that acts as the reservoir. An area inhabited by people! The fact that these people are adivasis and marginalised communities does not make any less important, because thats what our constitution says (all men and women are equal). These people need to be rehabilitated, something that the government ignores to do or does so reluctantly. To protest against rasing the dam's height without rehabilitation of the people is anti-development! because somehow these people are not important, not as important as the bourgeois who live in the city and have ever increasing energy needs (ACs, TVs, Computers, etc).

In case you didnt know, both these groups were protesting in the capital recently. What depresses me is the fact that the no major media reported their protests till the hunger strike by Medha Patkar precipitated action from the ministry or till Aamir Khan came out in support of them. The latest news from the PMO is that they will go ahead with the height increase of the dam despite a Supreme Court order that supports the NBA. If the government goes ahead without rehabilitating the people, shouldn't it be taken as contempt of court and the PMO held accountable? Not so sure of the legal stuff but I think something can be done there.

Are these people anti-development? Bullshit! How can you just develop one section of India and 'develop' at the expense of the other??? And how is protesting against this inequity anti-development??

When MNCs are let to run amok in the country, cases like Plachimada and Bhopal would keep happening.

I consider the 'anti-development' argument as very stupid and ridiculous;an argument that aims at shutting dissenting voices by invoking jingoistic ideas.

Today depresses me...

Actually, I have been depressed for quite some time but there are some days when you just feel so low that you think there is quite possibly no hope out of the situation. The phenomenon of depression amuses me no end and it is one of those areas of psychology that interests me because it is personal.

The reasons for my depression are many - personal and those not so personal (but still are). I wont discuss the personal because I have never done that on this blog (and will never do so in the future, either. For that I have my own pseudonymous blog). I discuss politics here and thats what I shall do today too.

Apologies to my readers for my flaky writing.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Nice post on institutionalised racism.

If you think that is not relevant to India, think again.

Caste system and the Hindu-Muslim divide is perpetrated by segregation.

On meritocracy.

The interviewee basically argues whether the standard tests designed to test 'merit' are really indicators of the true principles of higher education? For example, the Harvard study that is mentioned in the interview found that "the two variables that most predicted which students would achieve these criteria were low SAT scores and a blue-collar background". Now this is an amazing revelation! What if this experiment was done in the IITs/NITs/DU? What might the result be?

What interests me more is this Ten Percent Plan. The plan is basically that 10% of students of all high schools in the state are given admission to University of Texas (the state where this was implemented). With the IITs going the CET way with the JEE (making it objective and all), this study and assertion could be very interesting. Maybe, we could replicate the idea in India. Take the top 10% in all dsitricts (perhaps, even get down to the schools) and offer them opportunities for higher studies in our premier institutes. I would say that this will go a long way in alleviating the huge socio-economic differences that exists in this country.

(I was unable to find a link to the Harvard and Mischigan studies other than other interviews of Lani Guinier, though she just cant be dismissed because we could not find those studies. If somebody could dig it up, I would be much obliged)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

PHILOSOPHY: Proudly corrupting youth since Socrates.


Thanks to: Abhi

Hitler and empathy???

How was Hitler able to rise to power within a short time. His coup was a failure but then he was able to win popular vote and gain a majority in the Reichstag. Just how did he manage to do that? People do not doubt his gift of speech and his gift for rhetoric, because to rile up the public with his hate-speech needed some doing on his part. It is quite well known that he did rehearse a lot for his speeches but did he possess some kind of empathy that helped him to play himself to the tune of the other person? Or was it sociopathic mirroring? Appletree digs this interesting observation from pictures of hitler found on the internet.

Thanks to: Ampersand

Site Analytics

Powered by Blogger

eXTReMe Tracker