[Reader-list] weather-war reports

Ravikant ravikant at sarai.net
Sat Oct 20 15:56:53 IST 2001

Yes, the reporting from the so-called 'battle-rooms' is extremely irritating. 
And it has become a genre - of naturalised aesthetics - as Jeebesh rightly 
points out. There is a choice made here in terms of selections made from the 
received mapping traditions.  You don't choose the more busy 'Political' maps 
because 'Natural landscapes' present reality in broad brushstokes, are 
vaguely three-dimensional, and completely de-humanized. The graphics(or 
pictures taken by  bomber planes themselves) on bombings make it appear even 
more lifeless, by converting the greens into gray, depopulated locales. Its 
as if these places suddenly spring up from nowhere, whose sole reason for 
existence is their 'target-ness'. They do not have a history, sociology or 
even futures. It is an ironical reversal of the trend started by Hindi News 
Channel "Aj Tak', which brought in human interest into weather reporting by 
collapsing headlines with the weather news from diffrent cities.  

The Satellite Reporter of the Mahabharata, Sanjay, did his commentator's job 
with more empathy than our jouralists, I must say. Is it because he was 
reporting a war among relatives, including his own? The philosophical 
rationale/counterpoint to sentimentalism, of course,  was provided by 
Krishna, who had a lot of realpolitik convincing to do before Arjuna decided 
to kill his own kith and kin. The Lord had to propound the theory of the 
futility of life, relationships, etc. to wean Arjuna away from his natural 
human frailties. 

Jeebesh also talks about the on-screen gestures of the presenters. Their body 
language and  tone betrays a sense of glee. Thus what we get as reporting on 
this one-sided war is a peculiarly sanitized partisanship. 



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