Sunday, April 23, 2006

books and other animals

I don't know whats more important- to learn to have an opinion or to learn to be fluid. Let me explain- I was at an office party [I'm working with this lobbying/PR firm in London- FYI- this isn't the American style of lobbying because then I wouldn't even tell you this out of sheer embrassment].. SO I was at this party and one guy I work with, John, said that he isn't sure if he really has an opinion on anything. He certainly talks about a lot of issues, but feels he doesn't know enough to be SURE. Hello, my life. I'm constantly thinking out loud [or on paper] because I don't have any firm conclusions, and its because of the same reason- I never feel like I have all the facts to have a concrete opinion which I can be sure is right. I think thats a good way to be, I don't presume to have all the answers, although, I do cut people off in conversations when a thought strikes me-but I promise, I try my best not to!

Why did I bring this up? I was reading The Economist, another article about how the Deomcrats can't be sure about beating the Republicans- because they don't have a clear voice eminating out of the party. Now, I'm a little out of the loop but as far as I understand the louder voice that is SURE that the Democrats have nothing to say certainly drown out anything they DO have to say. A few days ago I popped into a book store at lunch and picked up Al Frankens hilarious but smart book- Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Before I say anything else, the book is so damn well written that I finished it in two days- that included work and a friday night. So I read it on the tube, walking from the tube to work, walking to the pub, at the bar while I waited for my wine... seriously. I did. And when it was done I wished I hadn't read it so damn fast! But those are my issues.

....

Ok cut to a few days later. Last week I went to work, picked up three books at lunch, came home after an exhausting day only to have to go to Kings Cross to meet a friend who left his keys with me- and give them back before he headed to Nottingham- two pints, still exhausted, but finally home at half past twelve. SO.. the books- well, Freakonomics and Alice in Wonderland I did want to buy. The one that I started reading was the one I hadn't heard about. Its called 'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man'. Now this is what I mean about thinking you know.

Everyone who knows anything about the IMF [et al] and policies with LDC's knows that these banks loaned money to developing (or underdeveloped) countries with major baggage attached. They all owe debt now, and the gap between the rich and poor remains strong as ever. In the book John Perkins talks of his experience as an economic hit man, and that this was a case of being employed by a large corporation and not the government, but the aim was still of economic imperialism. The fact that he was told that he needed to fix projected figures of growth to entrap these countries is something that we all know about to an extent-- but to have a person talk about it so honestly-- is chilling. I went to amazon to read other reviews and many people think he is crazy or that this is mainly a work of fiction set in real events. Others do believe him.

But it did get me thinking about the 'truth' and opinion and sources of information. I read a survey in the Economist about New Media (mulling over what essay to do for my International Media Management class) and some of the points in the survey appealed to me because what the new media does is open up doors into rooms, albeit in cyberspace, but rooms to conversations and views we may not get so easily and openly. Its a democracy of information--- which we are losing because of media concentration in the traditional forms.

Anyway, this is a haphazard post because I have been trying to add in a few lines when I get the time. But I've really been mad busy.

Oh the books- Freakonomics is interesting. Goes into the economic explantions of everyday issues. Fun read.

I did start Alice in Wonderland. Read the intro.... about Lewis Caroll (not his real name) and how he was probably a pedeophile. Seriously, it was 9am on the tube to work. Euw. Haven't felt like picking it up since.

14 comments:

Arjun said...

economic imperialism is right. these countries give a whole new meaning to the phrase "conditions apply" i wrote a paper on this...
it is more pronounced at the micro level though...

rohinic said...

dodson was a peodophile.. hehehehe...

msultan said...

good to know ure back in action.. i was missing the blog

mahima said...

madihaaaa i wrote a fucking loong essay and printed it .. and then realised i'd closed it without saving it so i had to sit for another two hours and write it out again from the printed version.
this is why god invented alcohol.. for idiots like me!!!!
he he .. yeah baby! i'm back!

Cyberswami said...

read William Easterly's 'The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Misadventures in the Tropics' or something like that.

It is about how governments and IMF and so on have tried to inspire economic growth in tropical countries - Latin America, Africa, etc. They have used prescriptions from econ theory and tried to apply them there. And it talks about why and how each of them failed.

A very very good read. He's a former World Bank chap, so he knows what he is talking about.

Anonymous said...

You must read Alice in Wonderland. I'm unsure about the paedophilia (they say Enid Blyton is racist) but read the book.

Cyberswami said...

isn't AiW Lewis Carroll?

mahima said...

AiW? Its this Dobbson guy.. Google it@ Oh I'm back in Delhi in June for a bit

pepperoni said...

To be honest, to say that Charles Dodgson was a paedophile would be playing on myths. It would be unfair to completely tarnish the image of someone as gifted as this individual. From personal experience, I know how highly creative individuals are often segregated from a part of the society due to their eccentricities, and in his case it was no different.
Dodgson was an artist, a photographer and obviously, a writer in possession of a brilliant wit. It was possibly his undeniable fondness for little girls (whom he photographed, at times semi-nude) combined with a lack of interest in getting romantically involved with adult women that led to this speculation. I remember reading somewhere that he once said he found the nude female child form as being free of any eroticism, and beautiful in itself. I can see why this made people believe he was a paedophile but I couldn't disagree more. The simple fact of life is that 'normal' people lead normal lives, while people who are different create news, start revolutions and change history. At heart, Dodgson was a child incapable of finding excitement in the company of adult women. It was for this reason alone that his most loved writings are Alice In Wonderland, Through The Looking-Glass and the rather nonsensical poem 'Jabberwocky'.

Since when did Art and its perception start following rules? When fully nude forms of infants appear on posters, wallpapers and greeting cards, its considered cute and mostly acceptable, yet 5 years later the same people think of it as a mortal sin. What a fuckin' shame.

Peace,

-T.

Cyberswami said...

when in june? because i am not, after the 13th. also, are you in england around the 12th of july? will you be in london? if so can i stay at your place for a couple of days?

mahima said...

i'll be in delhi then.. currently im homeless in london... i'll be back there later in july and i'll be crashing with my bro or something.. need money to pay rent (thats where the whole employment thing comes in!) sorry!

Cyberswami said...

ha. as they say, 'no matter'.
delhi it will be then.

Arjun said...

tsk tsk ..

while i cant respond to this at an intellectual level, i will do what i do best .. nitpick ..

u dont spell it eminate, sweetheart - its emanate .. just a tip for the future ..

mahima said...

hahahaaaa dude have u ever read my posts? i cannot spell!!!