Showing posts from July, 2011

Not the end of the world

Simon Jenkins
The Guardian

Britain has gone mad, or at least the tiny patch of Britain round Westminster. The Pentagon would call it a cluster-fuck , an all embracing, uncontrollable chain reaction that appears unable to cease. The new ecstasy theorists call it "whooshing" when reason loses out to passion and thought to imagination. As after the death of Princess Diana, every politician and commentator cried: "The world will never be the same again."

The world usually is. On Tuesday, Rupert Murdoch and his son were summoned before Parliament and gave an eerie performance as an ageing father who had vaguely heard his son had done something regrettable in the family woodshed. Meanwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to return from a foreign trip, like a tottering dictator called home by the politburo. The country's top policeman and top counter-terrorism cop were forced into resignation. Two government judicial inquiries have been set up. Two Common…

A wife like Wendi

Why can't you be like her?
You want me to dye my hair flaming red?

No darling, not like Rebekah Brooks, but like Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng.
You want me to be 38 years younger than you? But you're just 40 years old yourself?

Oof! All I'm saying is that you've never defended me like Wendi defended her husband on Tuesday when she sprung to action and landed a blow on the foam pie attacker.
But I come to your defence! Remember that day when you banged against the car in front...

Yes, dear, you did shout at the driver but maybe you could given the chap a left hook.
But unlike Wendi, I never played volleyball.

Now you're just looking for excuses. Never mind. I shouldn't say anything.
Don't be silly. You must be just stressing over your bhujiya empire going through some problems.

Yes, that must be it. Sorry. So can we now watch that scene again from Kill Bill Volume 1 where Lucy Liu as the vicious gang leader O-Ren Ishii chops the head off a dissenting monster?


Quiet a while

Barkha Dutt

For those of us who still believe in the political process and the idea of India, these are lonely times. On one hand, sundry and smarmy interlopers have hijacked the political discourse and trivialized it with their hyperventilation. But on the other side, the absolute surrender of the robust, honest leadership by the government--and the fact that it appears to have totally lost its way--has thrown open the highway for freelancers and self-styled Robin Hood figures. The problem now is that no matter who you hitch a ride with, you end up in a place that isn't your choosing.

So yes, while we can--and do--cite the huge voter turnouts in the recent Assembly elections to make the point that the sweeping anti-politician sentiment is still an elitist, urban phenomenon, the bare truth is that the UPA has not done anything to restore the country's sense of confidence. So, if you an Anna Hazare acolyte and you are exasperated by the lethargy of this political leadership, who …

Exit: Red Riding Hood

Janine Gibson
The Guardian

Since she was made editor of the News of The World 11 years ago, there has been almost no briefing against Rebekah Brooks. Before she got the big job there were some attempts to dismiss by reducing her to ambitious woman cliches but afterwards the shutters came down. She was tight with everyone, everyone wanted her favours and she circled every administration, every agent, every rising star, every imploding career.

That is, until Thursday (14th July 2011), when her close friend Elisabeth Murdoch was quoted telling friends that Rebekah had "fucked the company". Rebekah Wade, as she then was, was Elisabeth's friend from the moment she arrived in London. They holidayed, worked, played and networked for more than a decade. News International is an empire built on personal loyalty and clannish defiance. As an indication that it was all over, it was brutally efficient.

By now plenty has been written on Rebekah Brooks, her hair, her hippie-like charm and …

Media Matters

Sevanti Ninan
The Hindu

The last fortnight has been a fresh learning in why media morality and media power have become progressively incompatible. It has seen a reinvoking of the famous Citizen Kane fable. Two media scandals unfolded in different parts of the world--here a Minister resigned after the Central Bureau of Investigation said they had enough evidence on how he had used his office to help his family's media empire. In London, the Murdochs, father and son, tried hard to contain the damage after their hugely successful tabloid News of The World stood accused of sustained criminal activity--hacking private telephone records. They shut down the newspaper.

Can morality afford to matter for a big-stakes media player? You do not become really big, influential and seriously wealthy by being a stickler for rules and regulations. At least not in a business like media where tickling the popular imagination is your ticket to success and the bigger your canvas and the more daring the ex…

Breaking News, Breaking Lives

Much has been written about the inevitable and impending demise of the newspaper, "News of The World", especially in the West. None of those oft-repeated reasons for going out of business will, however, apply when the 168 year old News of The World shut down after its last edition on July 10th. A weekly tabloid whose infamy and fortune have always depended on its muck-raking skills, the Britain based newspaper sold 2.6 million copies every week and was generally regarded to be the parent company News Corporation's most profitable venture.

The end of what was undoubtedly a dream run, given these tight times, came from the newspaper's rapacity for bolder, raunchier scoops that led its journalists to outsource the hacking of voicemail messages on mobile phones to a private investigator. The revelations of the identity of these targets shocked all: a teenage girl who was murdered in 2002, relatives of British servicemen killed in Afghanistan and Iraq and survivors of the …

Mumbai's Yesterday, Once Again

The evening of 13th July 2011 brought back a strong sense of deja vu for the people of Mumbai and for most of us in India as the news channels beamed gory visuals of three blasts which took place at diamond district Zaveri Bazaar, Dadar and Opera House. The shocking blasts once again bring us to the fundamental question, "Are we really safe after 26/11?"

The morning after the blasts, news channels showcased the cliched and famed resolve of the residents of Mumbai who do not dwell on tragedies and their will to continue with their lives in spite of the adversities, to commute, work, party, shop etc. It is not really the resilience that works all the time. The residents of Mumbai are resilient by force and not by choice. As I write this on a rainy Thursday morning, the city is agonizingly limping back to normal. A city trying to find feet on the ground. The resilience has not died down but is under massive duress. The city of Mumbai cannot afford to shut down and the recent bla…

Second-hand Death

Ritika Narayanan

I've heard it whispered,

I've heard it said aloud,

I've heard it passed around
a thousand times.

I've heard it in my mind,
Dissolving all sense of reality.

I've heard it repeated,
Echoing hollowly.
The subject ceased existence.

It hurt me, every time I heard it.
It hurt me more, when I feigned relaxed.
Gut-wrenching pangs, not of grief nor anger,
Hurt me every time I remember
That sweet face that now sleeps tranquil.

But my pain is second-hand
-it doesn't belong to me-
It's owner and bearer
Is hurt more than I can imagine.
I have tried and failed to imagine, though.

I do wish this pain had never come,
Not to the bearer, nor to the sharer.
(And may it not happen to the sharer in actuality.)

Coward, I am, who cannot face the fact
Of death, all pervasive intruder
Into normalcy.

Though I grieve as the one no more
was one of my own,
Nothing could compare to the grief of the one
Who grieves because it was one's own.

My grief is second-hand as is the death.