Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Reality has become a commodity"

One of the best things of being here in the States is being able to watch The Colbert Report everyday. Colbert is definitely one of the comic geniuses and he would probably go down as the most famous political comedian ever!
He is the guy who re-invented the word 'truthiness' and popularised to such an extent that it is common parlance these days. And he, in character, has supported wikipedia as a great example of truthiness! He called it 'wikiality' or reality according to wikipedia. You know the idea that if the majority feel something is a fact, it is made so... And to prove it, he asked his audience to go and change the entry on elephants to say that the elephant population has tripled in the past decade and they did it! Of course, the entry was reverted and the users were banned. And yesterday, he invented a new word - 'wikilobbying', citing a news story about how M$ hired some austrian to modify the entry on M$ in wikipedia to make it sound more favourable to the company. What this means is that if wikipedia is considered to be an encyclopedia of facts/reality, then reality is amenable to the highest bidder and hence the quote! He also made a reward offer to the first person to change the wikipedia entry on reality to his quote and people did do it! Wikipedia responded and protected the entry on reality!
Absolutely marvelous. As someone (I forget the name of the person) said, I am sad that the only meaningful political commentry comes from a comedy show!

Colbert rules!

Friday, January 26, 2007

I was there!



Pics and videos later...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

California...

I am in california for a few weeks; the bay area, in particular. This place somehow manages to be both cold and sunny at the same time! Wide roads, lots of different varieties of cars, big office buildings, etc, etc.
I flew in through dubai and I had the rare opportunity to land in dubai at night and quite frankly, I have never seen any city look like that from the sky. To be fair, I had only Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad to compare with. As the flight approached Dubai, I could see long streaks of lights below that seemed to go into the horizon, and when the plane turned, I saw an entire city lit up, covering the entire horizon and the city seemed alive even though it was the middle of the night. I just wish I had my camera handy at that moment! But it was not to be.
The Dubai international airport should probably be renamed as the Dubai international _mall_. It reminded me of The Forum, the big mall in Bangalore. Only here, the people were from different countries and it was just as crowded as The Forum...
I have been in a suburb of San Francisco for the past few days and so far, I feel that this place is a little boring. Of course, the roads are wide and the facilites are impressive but the place seems so... dull! But then I am not in the main city which I plan to do this weekend!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Now I'm stuck with that song... Now it's in my head."

This song is the title track of the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" and since morning, I havn't been able to get this song out of my head!!! It was buzzing in my head all day and I am still not sick of it yet! :)

Partake in my agony! Enjoy...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Funny?

I received this joke through email.


OLD VERSION...
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant’s a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

MODERN VERSION
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house. Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other grasshoppers demanding that grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter. Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance). Opposition MP's stage a walkout.Left parties call for "Bharat Bandh" in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among ants and grasshoppers.


This joke follows the usual trend of jokes on India. It is cynical and in the context of the joke, it becomes funny.

But there is so much politics in this joke that it surprises me that nobody stops to examine it. Why do people want to portray Roy and Patkar as people who support "grasshoppers"? Do they consider the displaced tribals are grasshoppers? Actually, I am more interested in the effect such jokes have on the recipients. Does this make them _start_ disregarding Roy's words or does it just amplify their disdain for her? Some day, I will study jokes in more detail...

I dont know who wrote this joke and whether s/he intended it to be a just a joke or a propoganda, though I would be more inclined to think that this was meant to be just a joke which, in my opinion, is more dangerous. The fact that this joke does get circulated implies that the circulator feels that the joke is worth sharing and is in fact funny. I am pretty sure that a lot of people find this joke funny but I find it sad that the so called "educated" people do not stop to analyse it. There is actually a school of thought - zyada dimag na lagao and quite a few "smart" people seem to follow it. Is that the reason why Bollywood is able to make money off moronic movies?

Monday, January 01, 2007

A new year cometh..

2006 had been very good to me. When I look back at the year and look at what all I have accomplished in the year, I am glad that it wasnt another year of inactivity.

2007 beckons and time, as usual, is inexorable...

Happy new year to all!

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