[Reader-list] Re: Indian print media: critique

aasim khan aasim27 at yahoo.co.in
Mon Dec 12 23:17:02 IST 2005


I sense asort of nervousness....well here is a
response by novelist/junk daddy Will Self talking
about media...all sorts of it.i mean dont take two
minute maggi noodles too seriously.you know thats the
thing about braking news...it is so delicious that you
always want a double pack with NEW tastemaker.also
availbale in chicken and tomato flavours.you can read
the wrapper to work your way with the noodles....

So read on...this guy is honest like hell..i mean most
of it is british centric but it is universally honest
anyways...And this guy is also a journalist.i like
what he says about NEW media.
cheers AASIM>

Newspapers: I scan all the newspapers but not with any
great regularity. I only regularly read the
Independent because my wife and I write for it. The
Saturday papers are really now the Sunday papers so
why bring yourself down on a Sunday by reading one? 
Magazines: The New Statesman and nothing else. All the
men's glossies are fanny-rags aimed at men younger
than me with a taste in smelly water and expensive
schmutter - neither of which I have the time or
inclination for. I used to get the New Yorker, which
they sent me free but I'm rather grateful they

Article continues


Books: I'm an ominivore. Like all serious writers, I
read everything that I can lay my hands on but it's
mostly factual, historical or philosophical. I'm
reading Paul Theroux's Hotel Honolulu which is jolly
good and before that, Francis Wheen's Karl Marx, which
was hilarious and timely. 
Television: I am the only TV critic who has to be
reminded how to turn it on. I watch Newsnight but
that's just radio with pictures. 

Radio: That's just television without pictures -
equally distressing. I like radio because we didn't
have a television when I was a kid. I'll listen to
anything in the car - Radio 4, News Direct and a bit
of Radio 2. 

Films: I love them but sadly I don't get the
opportunity to go to the cinema. 

Adverts: I don't know what they are really. The very
idea that they are considered some kind of cultural
artefact is synonomous with the fact that the Labour
party has now become a centre right party. As Bill
Hicks said, "If any artist ever is involved in an
advert, then he ceases to be an artist." 

New media: Never has the future seemed so dated. To
actually look at it is like television without the
definition, radio without the artistry and text
without the purity and simplicity. It's my age - it
just doesn't appeal. 


> This can be taken as a response to Ayaz Amir's
> perceptive piece (Dawn, 
> Dec 02, 2005):
> Ananya Vajpeyi
> If it’s not in the news, my editor says every single
> morning, then 
> don’t write about it. Or, if I’m writing something
> anyway, he wants to 
> know what the “news-peg” is, on which I will hang my
> piece. But this 
> article is not about elections. It’s not about the
> economy. It’s not 
> about cricket. It’s not about the Left parties. It’s
> not about 
> international affairs. I guess you could conclude,
> then, that it’s not 
> about what’s in the news. It is about the news.
> Note, editor of mine: 
> this article is about the news.
> There are three fields about which I know a little
> bit, from my 
> admittedly limited life-experiences: academia, the
> arts, journalism. I 
> can tell you something about the way these spheres
> of activity function 
> in this and a couple of other countries. I can tell
> you, after 
> struggling for the past few years to find a way to
> contribute to these 
> arenas of public life while making ends meet, in big
> cities and small 
> towns all over India, that at the bottom of my heart
> I am beginning to 
> lose the faith. Just like I was told I would, when I
> was younger. It’s 
> only a matter of time, young people are told, before
> the dying of the 
> light. One doesn’t believe it. Until one day the
> darkness is upon one.
> And the news, again? What does the news have to do
> with this sense one 
> gets, of fighting a losing battle, of being aboard a
> sinking ship, of – 
> choose your own metaphor – not being able to discern
> a ray of light by 
> which to find one's way? This is my hypothesis: the
> news enacts, 
> performs, dramatizes, and exemplifies everything
> about our society that 
> reeks of cynicism. News takes the darkness that
> lurks on the edges of 
> our sight, like an impending loss of consciousness,
> and writes it 
> bright across our television screens, or black on
> the white of 
> newsprint. If news is an index of our collective
> life as a nation, a 
> symptom of what ails us, then our sickness is clear,
> we suffer from 
> that terminal disease of the soul: cynicism. I think
> I’m in the early 
> stages of infection myself, truth be told. Nothing
> else explains the 
> dead weight in my heart every morning. It became
> considerably heavier 
> when I started working for a newspaper.
> Here’s the landscape: A war zone gets hit by an
> earthquake. A clutch of 
> cats, the last of their kind, is shot, skinned,
> sold. A young man doing 
> his job is murdered in the back of his own car.
> People go shopping 
> before Diwali, and come home without fathers,
> children, wives, limbs. 
> Liars seize power. Villages are crushed under the
> slow-turning wheels 
> of the perpetual revolution. A man from Kerala is
> kidnapped and killed 
> in the badlands of Afghanistan. Sportsmen perform
> miserably, unable to 
> master either game or ego. Girls are raped, gays
> treated like lepers, 
> and no one has time for the poor and their
> never-ending poverty. 
> Tribals face extinction. Cities rot, inundated with
> water from the sky, 
> flooded with water from the rivers. Forests are a
> fading memory. Yet 
> another Muslim woman takes the consequences of
> double minority. A 
> deadly mafia don proves photogenic, his moll even
> more so. Workers are 
> beaten within an inch of their lives.
> Alright, so there’s no appeal against natural
> disasters, and terrorism 
> is practically a force of nature nowadays. Armies
> will do what they’re 
> supposed to do: make war. Human beings are destined
> to suffer, and in 
> such calamitous times, when there is little
> protection for human life, 
> who will save trees and animals? Surely it’s not the
> fault of news that 
> all news these days seems to be bad news?
> But no, what ails us is not that there is, as the
> Buddha stated in his 
> very first axiom, suffering in the world. Dukha is
> old news. What makes 
> it all so unpalatable is the shameless voyeurism,
> the mindless 
> reiteration, the immorality, the unscrupulousness,
> the insensitivity 
> and the downright dishonesty which characterise the
> workings of the 
> media, of politics, and of their unholy nexus, news.
> If it scares you 
> to watch this dance of death from afar, then it
> would turn your 
> stomach, trust me, no, worse – it would wipe out
> your faith, gentle 
> reader – to inhabit belly of the beast.
> For hundreds of years in our part of the world,
> people wrote of things 
> real and fantastic in the genre of the Purana. Many
> of these texts 
> contained descriptions of the chaos and corruption
> that would mark the 
> world in the Kali Yuga, the last of the four great
> ages of humankind. 
> Teachers will lead their students away from
> knowledge, rulers will 
> drive their subjects to perdition, truth will
> vanish, beauty perish, 
> and righteousness meet an inglorious end. The bull
> that is Dharma, they 
> claimed, will be left standing on its last leg. The
> ancients got it 
> right, apparently. Somewhere in their incoherent
> prescience of 
> apocalypse, in their alarm about the
> fast-attenuating moral center of 
> their society, they threw us a map with which to
> navigate our own 
> nightmarish times.
> Kali Yuga: the society of the spectacle. Life on TV.
> For a civilization 
> that has produced some of the truest, most beautiful
> texts, artefacts, 
> theories, ways of life and modes of being, we have
> arrived at a sorry 
> pass indeed, the nadir of ignorance, inanity and
> unethical consumption, 
> an infernal mish-mash of breaking news-page 
> three-advertising-globalisation in our faces day and
> night, killing us, 
> killing us, killing us. We rob the poor, we rape the
> weak, we cheat the 
> helpless, we steal from the blind. And then we
> broadcast it, live, 
> 24X7.
> As though this can go on much longer. It is not
> possible to have a 
> political life without ethics. It is not possible to
> do work when its 
> only object is destruction rather than creation. It
> is not possible to 
> use language without respect for the truth, to
> editorialize without 
> commitment, to preach when your real objective is to
> obfuscate, to lead 
> when you are headed straight to hell.
> At the heart of darkness, incessantly generating its
> meaningless 
> commotion, a television set.
> ----------------------------------------
> On Dec 3, 2005, at 3:13 AM, Monica Narula wrote:
> > In the way things are, this was forwarded to me.
> Good comparative 
> > media reading.
> >
> > best
> > M
> >
> > Begin forwarded message:
> >
> >> It's dressing-down of Indian print media. I
> mostly 
=== message truncated ===>
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