You either get it or you don't. Devendra Banhart's solitary claim to fame, at least in pop culture, so far, has been that he's Natalie Portman's ex-boyfriend. On his own, he comes across as a psychedelic rebel looking to affront. He ain't no Allen Ginsberg when it comes to the standard of psychedelic rebels but I thought he was amusing to read at least in this article that he wrote after his break up with Natalie Portman. He's also a songwriter, singer and a musician whose career, well at least I haven't been following.
His new music video for the song Carmensita, from his album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, is a spoof of Ramayana and has gotten Hindu Religious scholars all riled up.
zeitgeist | Pronunciation: 'tsIt-"gIst, 'zIt | Function: noun | Etymology: German, from Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit) | Date: 1884 | Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.
So what is the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of our era? All trends seem to suggest that it is Page 3 bullshit and you're all a bunch of voyeuristic wankers.
While Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert remain favorites, I have a problem with them. They are too intelligent. When one is looking for dumb stuff, you know the kind that is sensitive to the needs of the Lowest Common Denominator, it is far more rewarding to turn to self-proclaimed Religious custodians. My favorite has been televangelist Pat Robertson who among other things had this to say about the feminist movement:
(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.
Nice going there preacher but I think I've found a strong contender. The Saudi cleric Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajid had this to say about women in Olympics:
How come modern sports - especially women's sports - involve the exposure of private parts? It is well known that the Olympics - both in the past and the upcoming games... the world's worst display of women's clothing is the women's Olympics. No exposure of women's private parts on a global scale could make Satan happier than Olympic games that include women's sports.
Wrestling involves the exposure of women's private parts. Even the promotion of the competitions is done by scantily clad women. This is done at the beginning of the match, in the middle, and at the end, or so I hear... the matches are promoted by half-naked women.
In this hilarious rant against the profound dumbness of Sarah Palin, Aden Renkai puts her in her place:
Sarah Palin is a stupid, self important, ignorant bitch who I wouldn’t put in charge of wiping her own ass. And it’s not just that she’s dumb - which she is - it’s that she’s willfully ignorant of the facts and yet absolutely dead-bang certain that she’s right about her opinions. It’s more of this “governing from the gut” bullshit that we’ve been Chimping along with for the past eight years.
And here's Palin's debate flowchart from Aden Renkai's caustically funny take on the vice-presidential debate.
The Times Group is India's largest media conglomerate with a turnover of over USD $700 million. It has eleven publishing centers, fifteen printing centers, fifty five sales offices and over seven thousand employees. It owns five dailies, thirty one magazines, thirty two radio stations and reaches you, your children and your dog in two thousand four hundred and sixty eight cities and towns. Through its subsidiary companies it has interests in major radio, television, film and online businesses.
It is fair to say that the trap of this media composite is inescapable if you are in anyway connected to India. With ownership of such mass media, The Times Group exemplifies how modern corporatism has turned the meaning of language upside down. Mass Media is no longer mass if it is held by a couple of entities. The 'mass' in mass media was meant to be us, the masses. Mass media means people's media, not corporate media injected into people's veins. It means the media is of the people not a media which steals from the people.
In the aftermath of multiple blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi, within the last 2 months, Indian politicians and the mediascape have notched up the din on combating Terrorism with tougher terror laws. Even a catchy name has been assigned to the blasts that gels with the foot-tapping beats and motion graphics of News Networks. Operation BAD (Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi). The nifty acronym optimistically presumes that this might be the end of the operation since Delhi was bombed on the 13th of September.
The responsibility of the blasts was taken by a group that calls itself the Indian Mujahideen. In perverted displays of machismo, the group sent out emails to media networks and SMS messages to cops, minutes before the blasts, presaging the inevitable certainty of what was about to happen and taunting them to stop it if they could. Perhaps this was their idea of fair play and feeling invincible. Twenty one people were killed in Delhi that day.
When a bomb rips through a busy public place it kills without prejudice. It does not discriminate between a man, woman or a child, a believer or a kaffir, rich or poor, black, white, brown or yellow. It is unbiased as the harbinger of death and destruction to all those and that within its periphery. As it shamelessly robs its victims of life, it also rips through the social bonds they carry with their loved ones. Just like the barbarity of those who planted it and the truculence of a Government that vows revenge, a bomb is apathetic to that extended adjunct of its prey. These families and friends are left to deal with their psychological wounds on their own. Then there are those who are left maimed at the borders. A lost limb, a lost sense, shredded skin and a benumbed mind. These scars of trauma they carry for the rest of their lives.
For those of you born in the nineties or later, unaware of the word "Krishi Darshan": it is a TV program started in 1966 on Doordarshan - the Indian State sponsored Television channel. It literally translates to "A look at Agriculture".
In the eighties, growing up as an urban kid, it was the most boring program one could imagine watching, but then there was nothing else to watch. The dullest anchors interviewed the dullest speakers on the nature of soil, various low and high productivity seeds and ways to improve crops using chemicals and fertilizers. The National Propaganda and our lie-infested school books harped about how successful the Green Revolution was.
The underlying theme of all propaganda was: hold your head and your cock high because socialist India is going great guns. Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan (Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer). And so the pseudo socialist spin went on till 1991 when we were informed by the then finance minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, that India was about to go bankrupt!
Compared to today, some may remember that as a more innocent time. But that would be a romantic fallacy. Indira's India was as corrupt as today's India. The only difference being that there was a sense of shame in corruption (or maybe even that is my childhood imagination). Today, that shame, imagined or otherwise, has certainly gone away. Now we boldly proclaim our right to plunder and call it "Free Market". And of course a lot more have joined the orgy giving it a notion of democratic participation.
The mockery continues. Do you know what a surge is?
More of Get your War on - Playing the Race Card. It just keeps getting funnier and more politically incorrect.
Last week I caught a discussion on NDTV's new program "Uncommon Ground". The discussion was between Medha Patkar and Anand Mahindra. Since Medha Patkar is rarely interviewed on television, my interest was piqued. Having met both Medha Patkar and Anand Mahindra I also knew where they'd be coming from. The discussion was going to focus on land acquisition for Special Economic Zones.
The show was mediated by Rohini Nilekani who, I thought, looked inexperienced, clueless and a terrible head-bobbing anchor hosting a children's program. At least she doesn't suffer from the high-pitched yelling syndrome that seems to have infected most Indian TV presenters thanks to Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai. But that's another story. Maybe Rohini will improve over time. She should check out Zeinab Badawi, Bill Moyers or even the bubbly Mishal Husain to get some ideas on anchoring such a program.
The guests, both Medha Patkar and Anand Mahindra came across as intelligent and did not resort to a yelling contest which was refreshing. I was quite impressed with Anand Mahindra. He was articulate, sincere and made a pledge on behalf of the Mahindra group, stating on record:
"...if there is any question where any farmer does not want to part with their land, I am telling you, Mahindra and Mahindra will not go [forward] with it [the acquisition of land]."