Daily Archives: 10 January 2007

Billions of blue blistering barnacles!!!

Tintin is every journalist’s “dream journalist”. (Or should be.) The comicbook-reporter is never at a typewriter, never files stories, never takes orders, and never gets sued. Yet he goes around the world and beyond, meets the Yeti, and even manages to have his dog Snowy with him all the time.

2007 marks the 100th year of birth of Tintin’s Belgian creator Herge. The Guardian‘s Sarah Bostock and Jon Brennan take a themed tour of Brussels.

Read the full story here.


Seven rules for reading the newspaper

On Salon, Garrison Keillor has a piece on the seven rules for reading a newspaper. Rule No. 2 is pretty instructive on what journalists think is newsworthy:

Take your sweet time opening the paper. You already know what’s in it, boss man, you only read it so you’ll know how much other people know, so there’s no big rush.

Read the full story here: Seven Rules for Reading the Paper

Have news channels lost their balance?

ANANTHA SHENOY K forwards a forward attributed to “Ninth Dimension” that has been doing the rounds for a couple of months but still must be read.


The body of Major Manish Pitambare, who was shot dead at Anantnag, was cremated with full military honours at Thane on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a news swept across all the news channels: ‘Sanjay Dutt relieved by the court’, ‘Sirf Munna not a Bhai’ ’13 saal ka vanvaas khatam‘, ‘although found guilty for possession of arms, Sanjay can breathe a sigh of relief as all the TADA charges against him are withdrawn’.

And then many experts like Salman Khan said, “He is a good person. We knew he will come out clean.”

Big B: “Dutt family and our family have relations for years he’s a good kid. He is like elder brother to Abhishek.”

His sister Priya Datt said, ‘we can sleep well tonight. it’s a great relief.’

In other news, Parliament was mad at the Indian cricket team for performing badly; Greg Chapell said something; Bomb scare on Gorakhpur Express; Shah Rukh Khan replaces Big B in KBC; and Sonia asked PM to consider reducing petroleum prices.

But most of the emphasis was given on Sanjay Dutt’s “Phoenix-like” comeback from the ashes of terrorist charges.

Surfing through the channels, one news item on BBC startled me. It read, “Hizbul Mujahidin’s most wanted terrorist ‘Sohel Faisal‘ killed in Anantnag. Indian Major leading the operation lost his life in the process. Four others are injured.”

It was past midnight. I started visiting the foolish Indian channels, the ones who are ‘Sabse TEZ’, but Sanjubaba was still ruling. They were saying how Sanjubaba pleaded to the court saying ‘I am the sole bread earner for my family’, ‘I have a daughter who is studying in US. Who will look after her?’ And then they showed how Sanjubaba was not wearing his lucky blue shirt while he was hearing the verdict. Also how he went to every temple and prayed for last some months. A suspect in the Mumbai bomb blasts, convicted under arms act, was being made into a hero.

Sure Sanjubaba has a daughter; sure Sanjubaba did not do any terrorist thing as in bombing some place or hijacking an airplane, etc. Sure Sanjubaba went to all the temples; Sure he did a lot of Gandhigiri but then…

Major Manish H Pitambare got the information from his sources about the terrorists’ whereabouts. Wasting no time he attacked the camp, killed the Hizbul mujahidin’s supremo and in the process lost his life to the bullets fired from an AK47.

He has a wife and a daughter (just like Sanjubaba). Age? 18 months. Major Manish never said ‘I have a daughter’ before he took the decision to attack the terrorist hide out in the darkest of nights?

He never thought about his having a family and being the bread winner of the family.

No news channel covered this since they were too busy hype-ing a former drug addict, an actor in real and reel life, a suspect who’s linked to bomb blasts which killed hundreds.

Their aim was to show how he defied the TADA charges and they were so successful that his conviction in possession of arms had no meaning. They also concluded that his parents in heaven must be happy and proud of him.

The parents of Major Pitambare are still on this earth and they have to live rest of their lives without their beloved son. His daughter won’t ever see her papa again.

Major Pitambare, Sir, to my generation there is no greater hero than one who laid his life in the name of this great nation. Hence Sir, I salute you. You are the real Star, Vande mataram.

Best Regards

Lenin J F

Coffee, journalism and blogging

“Starting out as a Washington beat reporter, I quickly learned the power of a cup of coffee. While most of my reporting was done at one end of a telephone line, I got much of my best stuff after convincing sources to sit down with me at a Starbucks…”The blogging life has no coffee hour. I miss meeting my sources in person. It’s a vital part of reporting. But now that I’ve been on the receiving end of the terrific torrent of tips, questions and thoughtful notes we get from our readers, I pity the reporters who have to rely on coffee alone to get their stories.”

Read the full story here

‘Norman Mailer ko gussa kaisa aata hain?’

Indian writers and book reviewers lead such an incestuous, you-scratch-my-back-I-will-write-a-blurb-for-your-debut-book existence that it is always a pleasure to encounter the likes of Norman Mailer.

The old man’s The Castle in the Forest about Hitler is now out, and Mailer has reserved his worst for Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times resident critic, who has built up a reputation for not letting let Mailer’s (or anybody else’s) past fame intrude into her present assessment.

# In the Proust Questionnnaire in the January issue of Vanity Fair, Mailer is asked what his greatest fear is. Answer: “That I will never meet Michiko Kakutani and so not be able to tell her what I think of her. She has an unseemly haste to rush into print with the first very bad review of any book I write. She does this ahead of publication. That is a strategy. If the first review of a book is dreadful, an author needs at least three good ones to change that first impression.”

# “In 2005, he told Rolling Stone, “Kakutani is a one-woman kamikaze. She disdains white male authors, and I’m her number-one favorite target … But the Times editors can’t fire her. They’re terrified of her. With discrimination rules and such, well, she’s a threefer … Asiatic, feminist, and ah, what’s the third? Well … let’s just call her a twofer … She is a token. And deep down, she probably knows it.”

# “What put the hair up her immortal Japanese ass is beyond me,” Mailer tells Esquire magazine.