Archive for June 4th, 2007

Because if you give some, you must take some

4 June 2007

Journalism professors will always tell you to keep your cool. But it’s easier said than kept. Many of the funniest and the most cringe-worthy clips on YouTube seem to feature media personalities being punched, duped or just making idiots of themselves, says Jonathan Brown in today’s Independent, London.

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“EXCUSE ME, MR LEVIN” 

Exhibit A: Furious over an article Levin had written about his then wife, the actress Agnes Bernelle, Desmond Leslie punches theatre critic Bernard Levin in front of eleven million viewers during an edition the satirical TV show That Was The Week That Was in 1962.

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“IS WRESTLING FAKE?” 

Exhibit B: ABC’s John Stossel asks wrestler Denis Schultz what he has been led to believe is the standard question to be asked of all wrestler: is wrestling fake? Stossel gets a first-hand response.

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“CURVE JOB, NOT A BLOW JOB”

Exhibit C: Fox News anchor Shepard Smith says on air that Jennifer “Jenny on the Block” Lopez had snubbed the Puerto Rican community on a promotional tour of her native Bronx. The folks back in the ‘hood were “more likely to give her a curve job than a blow job,” he said. Regaining his equanimity, he apologises.

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“UP YOURS, WARDEN” 

Exhibit D: In full public view, Italian media tycoon and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi does to a traffic warden what many believe he did to his country and to his competitors in the media.

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“YOU LISTEN TO ME” 

Exhibit E: BBC’s John Sweney losing it before the Church of Scientology
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Ray Bradbury: all TV spews out are ‘factoids’

4 June 2007

Fahrenheit 451, the book and the movie, has for decades been the benchmark film on government censorship and McCarthyian witchhunts. But its author, Ray Bradbury, who won a special citation at Columbia University’s Pulitzer Prize ceremony last month, says it was about neither censorship or witchhunts.

It was, he says, a book about how television destroys interest in reading literature. “Television gives you the dates of Napoleon, but not who he was,” he says, summarizing TV’s content with a single word that he spits out as an epithet: “factoids.”

“As early as 1951, Bradbury presaged his fears about TV, in a letter about the dangers of radio, written to fantasy and science-fiction writer Richard Matheson. Bradbury wrote that “Radio has contributed to our ‘growing lack of attention.’… This sort of hopscotching existence makes it almost impossible for people, myself included, to sit down and get into a novel again. We have become a short story reading people, or, worse than that, a QUICK reading people.”

Read the full article here: Fahrenheit 451 misinterpreted

Link courtesy Vivek Rajagopalan

A hit below the green belt: Cartoon exhibition

4 June 2007

On World Environment Day tomorrow, June 5, a cartoon exhibition and interactive session has been organised at 6 pm at Koshy’s Chillout, adjacent to Koshy’s restaurant, on St. Mark’s Road in Bangalore. K.N. Balraj (phone 99007-22004) will exhibit cartoons on the environment and wildlife. And Indian Institute of Science researcher H.S. Sudhira will present new insights and perspectives on the changing face of Bangalore. Be there.

Is the Indian media losing touch with reality?

4 June 2007

Attacking the messenger—also known as blaming the media—is fast becoming if it has not already become the default mode of Indian politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, film actors, sports stars and virtually everybody else who is at the media’s receiving end.

But when somebody within the media itself turns the telescope on his fraternity, it is news. And Vinod Mehta, editor-in-chief of Outlook, does exactly that in his Delhi Diary. The reason for Mehta’s ire: the media’s reaction to Prime Minister’s speech advocating austerity last week.

“The prime minister’s rather mild and unsurprising address to the CII, pleading with the captains of our flourishing economy to think, worry and sacrifice a bit of their wealth to assist the massively underprivileged, has produced a whopping uproar. Those who earn upwards of Rs 10 crore a year are outraged—and so is the media.

“I can understand the position taken by the pink papers, but even centrist mainstream dailies have poured nothing but ridicule and scorn on the benign Manmohan Singh for having the temerity to ask our overworked tycoons to help curb conspicuous consumption and implement some of the high-minded talk of corporate social responsibility.

“I hope I don’t sound like Comrade Prakash Karat when I say that the reaction to the PM’s speech shows the class character of our media. Since almost all the advertising in the English media comes from big business houses, I can understand, but not endorse, the stand taken. We (and that includes Outlook) know which side our bread is buttered.

“Meanwhile, what I find most distressing is the unrelenting hostility of the media to all poverty alleviation programmes, which are invariably described as “profligate”, “wasteful” and “outdated”. None of this should surprise anyone, but it reinforces my conviction that for the poor of this country to expect that “the conscience of the rich” can be pricked remains a pipedream.”

The choice of words is interesting. Are the wrong class of people, who have no feel for the common man and woman, becoming journalists? Are the wrong class of people in charge? Are our journalism schools too expensive for ordinary Indians? Have huge salaries quelled the fire in the bellies of Indian journalists?

Or is this just a problem with the English media?

Cross-posted on churumuri

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