Thursday, January 25, 2007

subversive? moi?

I feel so Oscar Wilde-ish today. You know, when he says (in The Important of Being Earnest) "that we should treat all the trivial things of life seriously, and all the serious and studied things of life with sincere and studied triviality"

Ironically, working at a paper has made me a duller girl. Well, not in terms of real life, I don't think very much can tie me down, but definitely in terms of writing. I've allowed myself to become a little.. boring.. if you will. Anyway, all these thoughts were racing in my head as I was looking through my archives, and wondering why I've stopped reading books right now. I was reading Shantaram but I didn't quite finish it. I want to pick up another book recommended by a friend which is about modern India, but haven't made my way to a book shop since I picked up Plum Sykes for a friends birthday.

Now, while I tackle these retarded tragedies in my life, the world has been quite abuzz with news. We're buying weapons from Russia again. By the way, it was pointed out to me last night that while Russia does jack up the prices of spare parts, the US does exactly the same. I quote my mother "they simply turn off the tap." Putin's our chief guest this year, and while on the subject of Republic Day may I add a side note? I was driving to work today, and with the roads blocked and flags all around, I just felt so in love with Delhi. I'm a sentimental git like that. Anyway, back to matters of importance. I know all eyes are on America now, with Hillary entering the race. I support her, no offence to Obama, but I just feel like she's got the guts (and much needed brains) to put that countries foreign policy on the right track. But I did come across this really interesting article the other day. It said the best way for America to break out of this funk is for the candidates to run on a bipartisan ticket. Guess who the first person to do that was? Lincoln! And as Kerry was willing to take on McCain as a running mate, this year too a Hillary-McCain ticket (or anyone else) could do wonders for the problems and morale of the country. After all, if you only say no because the others are saying yes, making partisan politics even more pronounced, there can be no forward movement.

I also want to ask, what the hell is wrong with the Incredible India people? While I totally understand that their 'open-letter' inviting Jade Goody was a funny/ironic/silly idea, now the woman seems to think or might even have to be an official guest! This is what you get for making racist remarks on national TV and then catapulting to international infamy for being a bigot. Ah. The irony. But another world about this Big Brother-Shilpa Shetty matter. The others in the house, Goody and co, were really not the sort of people you put above racist remarks so I'm not very shocked that things were said. Personally, I have never been a victim of racism although I have lived in other countries. But for many British Indians, it really hit home. After all, you build a home in another country and may I add contribute quite significantly to its culture, economy and the like, and you have to accept with a defeated sigh that the whitest of the white are still going to look down upon you and called you a 'bloody Paki'. Which also made me wonder (and my Paki pals, please don't send me slapps) but are we Indians just much more acceptable than the Pakis in Britain? Because 'blood Indian' just sounds like something you will ONLY hear in a movie set in the colonial times. Just a thought. Your mileage may vary.

A last point about the dangers of being so damn ignorant. A Romanian friend sent me the link to a really funny video last night. This Australian guy went around the streets in Texas asking people simple questions to which (of course) they had to answers. He took a world map and labeled AUSTRALIA as North Korea and no one knew the difference. When he asked people what country America should invade next, answers ranged from Italy (I mean, c'mon) to France to Saudi Arabia to anything else. And whats more, when he randomly made up the fact that Bush called 'x' country a threat to national security, most people said they supported its invasion. It still shocks me that the country with the most ignorant people has produced the best minds.

But to a real enemy of America, the Iranian president, Admadinejad. Most of the country is not as hard-lined as he is, in fact, many Iranians see the benefit in having friendly relations with America. Bush and Ahmadinejad can afford to keep fighting with eachother publicly because it manages to distract from their domestic failures, but we hope not for too long. But there is the catch: if Bush pushes Iran too much, then it would seem that the hardliners have been right about the US all along and could crush the growing push for a freer society. Sidenote - perhaps you read my post called 'Talking Politics', out of all the people I spoke to, it was the Iranian who asked me not to quote him. Mull it over now.

Did you also notice that the Oscar nominations have become more culturally diverse? That finally the US is not cutting Pakistan so much slack over allowing Al Qaeda to operate? That even though Israel's President has been accused of RAPE, which scares me to the bone. That Siddhu, our road rager who beats up old men, is still being supported by the BJP? That we still are not sure what happened in Nithari? That Bush might be pushing for a troop build up in Afghanistan next? And that soft power is becoming a buzz word again.

Ah, what is soft power you ask. Well, as Shashi Tharoor (who I will forever love for his book the Great Indian Novel) explained in a speech reently: (and I quote) It means giving attention, encouragement and active support to the aspects and products of our society that the world would find attractive -- not in order directly to persuade others to support India, but rather to enhance our country's intangible standing in their eyes. So Bollywood, Yoga, Goa pants, what have you. It is not a substitute for hard power, but definately keeps up good will for the country. Like how McDonalds made us all so happy when it came. We love you America for giving us FRIENDS. But, according to Joesph Nye, American soft power is at its weakest, as was obvious by events at Davos: it seems popular opinion is that only Israelis, Indians and Vietnamese have a good opinion of the country.

Anyway, I better be off. I have to decide what to wear this evening. And catch the dog and make her wear her coat which is going to be a challenge cause she’s chasing some imaginary arch nemeses outside. Ah. This crazy thing called life.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beware of the dullness! I still believe journalism tends to alienate from real-life passions as the eyes of the journalist tend to consider the world as a sobber place...

As for Shilpa Shetty and the bullying racist comments she faced, it was interesting to take note of some of the ways the British and Indians examine racism: On british side, the Asian lots (including me) are nowadays much more educated, smart, cultured and intelligent than the working-class brit (Goody) and the poor, inferiorised, ill-educate Goody had no other choice and recourse than to racial abuse! So, all things well-considered, suffering from an inferiority complex in terms of one's low-education and low esteem brings one to be racist. On Indian-side, there is a diplomatic row bringing the chancellor to condemn the bullying and lots of indians stomached and shocked as if they just discovered the concept of racism, some burning the effigies of C4 execs. What to conclude from all that? That racism, the color line, prejudice are real things and that C4 could make a lot of money out of that thing; and it is always refreshing to see that lots and lots of people from all over the world agree that not enough if not nothing is being done to combat the scourge of racism and that with that thing of the war on terror it is even being given a second life.

At last,Friday is here and have a great week n

mahima said...

Spot on about the racist attitudes in the UK.
Weekend.. yay. I'm like the only one working on a national holiday today!

Anonymous said...

well for starters, you aint the only one workin on a nat'l holiday...

ok, moving on: oscar wilde is the man! and that IS one of his better lines.
you can give up many things, but dont stop reading, it makes people so dull, opinionated and un-fun (yes i know thats not a word!)

On the hillary thing, it would be great to have her win, her or obama, but both are gonna have serious issues - for starters theres the file on whitewater (did i get that name right? i get confused) and the issue of the californian drug dealer that paid some $400,000 to her brother who bill pardoned... such things matter in elections.. and obama, much as id like to see him win, will suffer greatly cos well, his middle name happens to be Hussain and americans are stupid like that... good thought on the bipartisan ticket though!

On the shilpa shetty thing? dont even want to go there, but you should read a piece in the hindu not more than a couple of days old on that about rascism and classism in the UK and it coming out cos of this, not to mention other 'details' that havent been given much light.

HAHAHA! love the texan questionnaire thing, send it to me. my emails on my page, would LOVE to watch this one!

The bush/admadinejad issues out of my field of expertise, so am gonna bow to you on that one...

Yes, the oscars are trying to lose their "political" image.
Yes, thats cos pak dont have nothing the US needs anymore and we make them shit their pants.
Hmmm..hadnt heard about the israeli prez, will check out...
Sidhu, Sidhu, dont even get me started on the BJP and indian politics...
Nithari is one of the worst things to happen and its gonna be almost another manu sharma, mostly cos this is a case of one set of cops who have no interest palming of bodies to other areas.. its a whole bad argument that ill drop cos it wouldnt fit here.
Again - BUSH should just burn and be done with. if we can hang Saddam, theres no reason Bush cant get the same right here, right now!

and finally (since ive been talkin outmy ass for some time now) yes it has been noted that soft power is becoming a "buzzword" and if you ask me, its about time!

Anyhow, im gonna disappear now, catch you later, speak and be heard, write and be read, and read to make sure your mind dont atrophy!

adios and cheers...

jerry said...

Oscar Wilde thinking happens quite a bit. I remember this one: Now that everyone wants to be someone else, you might as well be yourself, which to me sounds very cool. Had work on Friday, it was depressing.

rossoneri said...

ha you r not the only one working on holidays, i was in the office for a full 14 hours on republic"f#@$%ing" day [:(]