Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Popularity of Nonsense and Possibilities of a Counter-Culture

A paper on popular culture.

The full text and pdf can be found here.

[An abstract : The first part of this paper tries to analyze the ways in which 'popular' culture becomes popular and the role that racism and hatred plays in the same, citing a few explicit instances of prejudices that have appeared in Indian media over the last few years. It includes a news report in Mail Today that dalit women appointed as cooks in schools of Uttar Pradesh divided the schoolkids on caste lines; a blurb on a Sunday Times of India story that listed reservation as a social evil along with crime and corruption; a cartoon by Jag Suraiyya and Neelabh that considers Mayawati's figure ugly; reports on wikileaks 'revelations' about Mayawati without mentioning that the source the information is journalist circles of Lucknow; instances of Malayali obsessions of making moralist judgements on women and their hatred towards migrant labourers from other states and a nursery rhyme that plays up the 'white pride'. It is followed by instances of how the subalterns internalize the Brahmanic cultural supremacy and become a part of playing to the galleries knowingly or unknowingly.

The second part first reviews some theories on the power of mass media and considers some possibilities that the popular nature of the popular culture offers to counter the underlying racism and hatred, mainly in the Indian context. What follows is an overview of some of the contemporary cultural resistances in India, both outside the mainstream and within the mainstream. Two recent events that created disturbances in the dominant cultural sphere, one a television advertisement of a soft-drink and another a batting display by West-Indian Cris Gayles, are taken note of.]

[An initial Malayalam version of the same appeared in Pachakuthira monthly, Published by DC Books, in its July 2013 issue.]

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Lunchbox? No, Thanks..

Men would be happy to have a woman cook tasty food for them, and I guess most of them would be happier if she is not his wife. Enough reason to fantasize an old-age relationship.

As for women, many women are still thriving to find a way to the man's heart through his stomach. Marriage or an 'affair', pleasing a man's taste-buds is the measure of her happiness.

'No, thanks' to 'The Lunchbox' -- somehow it gives me digestion problems.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Collective consciences of a sick society

Justice Basant is not the only person who believes that a girl who loves someone more than her parents is "deviant / abnormal" and that she can not be raped, she can only be a prostitute. He is only voicing the judgements of a sick society that almost always criticizes the woman whenever there is an assault on her.

The Supreme Court judges who decided on capital punishment for Afzal Guru wrote down in their order that "the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to [him].

Unfortunately, these collective consciences cannot be hanged to death by a law or by a court order.

The friendly matches of 'Kadal' and 'Devasuram'

Maniratnam's 'Kadal' reminded me of Malayalam 'Devasuram'. In both the films, on the surface it is a battle between two white men. However, beyond that surface we realize that it is only a friendly match between them, and it is the women who are untamed, the Muslim who has become rich and the fisherfolk who are 'uncivilized' and 'violent' -- who have to be tamed / shown their place / shown the path to god -- who are the real baddies. I think I understand why Rupesh Kumar said a Kadalakramanam would have been easier on him.