Thursday, 3 November 2011
Stereotyped into a corner
Metallica, Metallica, Metallica. Heavy metal, Heavy metal, Heavy metal. Hard rock, Hard rock, Hard rock. Amboli, Amboli, Amboli. Women, Women, Women. Eve Teasers, Eve Teasers, Eve Teasers.
Nope, I haven't gone completely batty (yet). Neither have the keys on my laptop gone haywire. I'm just pondering about something deeper and realising how impressionable we’ve all become.
Does repeating certain words, create a certain impression in your head? Most people would agree. Being a mother I'm more conscious of what I say and when I say it, especially in front of the kids, whom most believe are rather impressionable. But aren't we all? Try repeating those opening lines at the top for yourself. Sooner or later you too may be forming your own impressions. Good, bad, indifferent. They are there and they will provoke your response. Micheal Jackson called it Human Nature. You certainly remember Micheal Jackson right. That guy who died a few years ago and whose death has been reduced a court room drama. But I digress. Do allow me to explain where I’m coming from. We ladies often take our time to get to the point. Oops, I did it again and played in to the stereotype.
World Wide Wonders
Either the surge of hectic activity on social networking sites has become hard to keep up with, or maybe I'm just behind ‘The Times' (pun intended).
The death of a megamind (at least in my mind) Steve Jobs a few weeks ago, shook a whole truck load of us till we had something else to concern ourselves with.
Though I never knew Jobs personally (and trust me, I wish I did), the graduation address he made to students in a university half way across the world from where I lived, were freely available on most websites for years. I too was blown away with his speeches, his creativity and his ‘be original’ attitude. However that was rudely altered after he passed away.
I'm sure I’m not the only one now receiving posts about how he was also a horrid task master. How his company is ruthlessly competitive, (and which company isn’t you may rightly ask), how he was just plain bad, bad bad…your typical reputation getting away with you kind of thing.
Well perhaps ‘all’ the arguments hold equal measures of truth. I’m not trying to imply that Jobs was perfect when none of us are. But hello Tweethearts, where is respect for the dearly departed!
Someone had the lack of sensitivity to upload a video of Mr. Jobs fainting at a board meeting, supposedly when he was his frail best. ‘Shocking video,’ it said. I felt sick to my stomach so perhaps I shouldn’t have viewed it either. My bad. I now wonder if the former CEO of Apple would have wanted his most private moments broadcast this way.
Which takes me back to the earlier point about quick impressions. China, China, China. Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs. Bad product, Bad product, Bad product, Bad product, Good product, Good product, Good product. Impressions, Impressions, Impressions.
The sounds of music
A heavy metal band that I used to enjoy listening to back in the day, (you are allowed to presume I’m old) was heading closer to home. The International Herald Tribune (IHT) called them the ‘Gods of Rock’ other publications bestowed heavier titles. My knowledge of them is limited to a few songs which are nowhere near my current playlist anymore. But yes I do commend them for fighting Napster when they did. Does that make me qualified to say I know a little bit about their outspoken drummer. I think it does. Presumptions, assumptions.
Though the arrival of the said band to my home country didn't quite give me the goose bumps, there were others who were ecstatic. To rephrase a familiar cliché, one man’s Metallica is another girl’s Eric Clapton.
My loving brother and teenage nephew were waiting with baited breath to catch the concert many months in advance. I loved the idea that uncle and nephew took buses and planes to get there and stood in line for hours together just like I would have done and have done in the past. Nothing wrong with it.
Unfortunately for a few fans, roughly 25,000 of them, the Metallica concert was postponed in Delhi barely three hours before the show and (as expected) pat came the immediate reports of vandalism. ‘Breaking news’ which we’ve all gotten so accustomed to and sick of, was quickly broadcast throwing judgement on why such a big band was forced to first postpone and then cancel its first appearance in India. No facts, no evidence, just heaps of speculation and sing it with me, Breaking News, Breaking News, Breaking News. Postponed, Postponed, Postponed.
A reporter on (New Delhi Television) NDTV's International Channel went so far as to say that those listening to songs (and he named a few) with colourful titles, what would you expect! Made me wonder, do the songs one listens to determine the kind of people we are?
But hey, this is being discussed on an international channel, so surely they must have their facts straight, right? I appreciate the fact the channel told us that the concert was not postponed, it was indeed cancelled. Oops. Sorry fans. It may have taken you months to get here and book tickets but hey don’t blame us it was the fault of the organisers. It’s in our blood. Lets get one sound byte from here and there. Sing it with me if you like: Unforgiven, Unforgiven, Unforgiven. DNA, DNA, DNA. Gaga, Gaga, Gaga. Grand Prix, Grand Prix, Grand Prix.
In the midst of all this confusion (and I don’t blame you for getting confused, I did too) a second concert by the same heavy metal band took place in Bangalore. A chance for the Gods (of Rock), the organisers, the fans, indeed the whole universe -- to redeem themselves. But wait a minute, this concert also received scathing reviews because of a lack of security and mismanagement. So surely it can’t be angst-ridden teenage fans at fault, or wait a minute were the organisers to blame and should we just have waited before pointing the blame at each other?
Finally the heart wrenching real life tragedy of two lives lost in the city of Mumbai in an insane manner. It is frustrating to know that justice seems a far cry away. Sure the websites are all a flutter. We are all quick to point the finger and look for loopholes.
Were the boys drunk, were those girls meant to be out at 10.30 at night? Blah, Blah, Blah. Lets try to broaden the picture, shall we? Two boys have died. They were trying to defend their friends. In fact they were murdered in the streets of a city known to tirelessly defend its citizens from supposed terrorist threats. I would call killing unarmed citizens pretty terrorising too.
Forget the race, gender, religion or ethnic background of either victim or perpetrator. The victims, young men in the prime of their youth, were killed because a killer is on the loose. Someone who has not one, but two cases against him and who could be looking for more reasons to attack. I’m pretty sure they call them murderers but let me not give you the wrong impression.
Bring it on
As a member of the media, I’m getting increasingly annoyed with the misrepresentation of facts that often comes with the job profile. Most of my journalism teachers have strived and practised the ethical way to run their careers. We could all take a page from their books. However the grudge that the same media that is used to make a difference, is all evil is somewhat immature as well. The sooner we stop pointing fingers and start taking action collectively, the better. Lets get off our high horses and start taking a stand and be counted.
It is time to ask some tough questions. Don't leave it to Burkha Dutt. She's got her fair share of work to do and has received a fair amount of flak already. Is anyone allowed to take the law into their own hands? Hide murder weapons. Confiscate evidence? Kill one victim while some of us wait for the second victim to loose their lives before even getting upset? Is putting our names on a pledge enough to ruffle up the establishment to take some action?
By all means lets sign petitions, lets burn candles in protest and let our voices be heard but lets not turn spend the next second forgetting who we are fighting for. Ourselves, Ourselves, Ourselves. Keenan, Keenan, Keenan, Rueben, Rueben, Rueben. Valerian, Valerian, Valerian. Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Human.
This image was taken in Mumbai, the city I grew up in and whose cosmopolitan legacy I would like to share with my children. pic credit S. Mathias, Manori Beach, Mumbai: June 2011.