The Recaptured Blog

Amit Sharma: Photography, Travel, Design, Technology, Business, Cinema

Tag: news

Dress control

UP colleges to ban jeans, set dress code. The people behind this think this will help ‘strengthen discipline’ and check display of ‘indecent clothes’ worn by some of the college students.

If some students are wearing indecent clothes, you can outlaw indecent clothing. Why target jeans – which covers legs? How does jeans become ‘indecent clothing’? Is it because men get dirty thoughts when they see a girl wearing jeans? Some people get more turned on by seeing a woman dressed in saree. So would they demand that women not be allowed to wear sarees?

The other argument is that this will prevent rapes from happening. So this puts the blame for rape on the women themselves – dress stylishly and we will rape you. Oh wait, we won‘t rape you, but somebody else will, and I would not bother with controlling that other person. We would rather control the women and how they dress.

Not much different from the approach religious authorities take towards women – dress modestly, and you will be saved from being raped.

On the other hand, Nicholas Sarkozy’s stand of banning burkhas in France is also a similar decision, though in the other direction. When will the people in power give up the illusion that they can and need to dictate what choices people can make in their own personal space? Why can’t the principals of UP understand that the problems of eve-teasing and rapes etc is a product of a sick mentality arising out of too much control and why can’t Sarkozy treat the burkha as another piece of clothing, and respect the choice of women who want to wear it without coercion?

Plural of criminal = Guardian of culture

People who beat up other people without provocation react to some other people sending them underwear with “This is not the way. They could have discussed this with us peacefully across a table”.

People who beat up people based on their state of origin, their religion and caste, file a defamation case against someone who expressed their opinion on this. And the judiciary does not help our young victim.

If Veerappan was alive today, maybe he would’ve sued the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka police for chasing him around and causing him mental trouble – the police should’ve done a round-table meeting with him trying to “sort out” the differences they had with him.

Maybe Charles Shobhraj can sue the Interpol for being insensitive to his freedom needs, and demand that they discuss things out with him in an amicable setting.

But do you know why that will not work? Because in Amit Varma’s words “Mobs are above the law”. Groups involved in criminal activities today are not criminal in themselves – they are guardians of culture and representatives of aam junta.

Maybe Gabbar Singh would have stood a chance of going free, joining politics and putting Thakur behind bars (for having caused him irreconcilable trauma) if his gang would have protested for his release in front of our Supreme Court, stating that the gang was a social activity group which was protecting the Ramgadhwasis from a big calamity: Gabbar Singh’s rage.

That could be the plot for a new Sholay.

All views expressed in this blogpost are not related to anyone, and no person living or dead is implied. Please let me blog in peace, don’t sue/arrest/beat me up.

Smart Web – How Smart?

While reading this Rediff.com story about Maruti Madhavrao Phad, a Maharashtra government employee who got injured during the recent terrorist attack on Bombay, I noticed something.

It is not related to the story as such. If you scroll down to the end of the story you’ll see the credits for is particular story. It reads “Image: Maruti [Get Quote] Madhavrao Phad at his home. Text: A Ganesh [Images] Nadar. Photograph: Uttam Ghosh


See the screenshot of the line. Notice the yellow areas? These are smart tags which apparently the engine parsing the code of the pages inserts to “enrich” the user’s browsing experience, by providing additional information related to the content the user is browsing through at the moment.

Note the word “related”? Now see what the yellow highlights in the image show. “Get Quote” for Maruti. Here Maruti is the first name of the hero of the story, not the name of a car-making company. Yet, the Rediff engine treats it as the company’s name, and is offering you stock quotes for it. And for Ganesh, the link is a Rediff search link with the string “Ganesh” – marked “Images”. Which means that it would return images of the Lord Ganesha, and other celebrities called “Ganesh”. Not images of the author of the article in this case, A Ganesh Nadar.

And both these tags are intrusive, they not only break the text they are placed in, they break proper names of people. Intrusive and irreverent. Considering the tone of the article, even more so.

Were they really necessary?

Religion vs Consumerism

Came across this news item today.

Excerpts:

Christopher Jamison, the Abbot of Worth in West Sussex, has accused the corporation of “exploiting spirituality” to sell its products and of turning Disneyland into a modern day pilgrimage site.

Further

While he acknowledges that Disney stories carry messages showing good triumphing over evil, he argues this is part of a ploy to persuade people that they should buy Disney products in order to be “a good and happy family”.

He cites films such as Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians that feature moral battles, but get into children’s imaginations and make them greedy for the merchandise that goes with them.

“The message behind every movie and book, behind every theme park and T-shirt is that our children’s world needs Disney,” he says.

“So they absolutely must go to see the next Disney movie, which we’ll also want to give them on DVD as a birthday present.

“They will be happier if they live the full Disney experience; and thousands of families around the world buy into this deeper message as they flock to Disneyland.”

And

“Celebrity news magazines do no apparent external harm, but are a complete waste of interior time and space.

“Envy tells us to stop facing the challenges of the present life and to live in some future fantasy. Such envy drives a large part of our consumer culture.”

So religion is not happy that consumerism is taking its place. It’s like an open PR exercise where you criticise your competition of doing exactly what you have been doing.

If you see the irony of the whole episode, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this strip.

Blah blah?

You’ve seen the Headlines Today ‘blah’ ad, right? The one where they imitate other news channel shows with the people saying “blah blah…” ad inifinitum, implying that other ‘typical’ news channels of the day are doing nothing but blabbering on about nothing in particular, and then that Headlines Today is the refreshing channel which does not give you blah but substance?

Now can you tell me the number one blah news item of the season? Ofcourse it’s the mighty WWE warrior Khali! World’s envy India’s pride, if I may borrow the line from Onida.

So what was the self-proclaimed blah-free channel doing, showing us a story about how Khali gave some Indian gifts to his opponent The Big Show, had dancers doing Bhangra in the ring and all that jazz to become friends with his opponent, and then how The Big Show hit him instead of being friendly, and then how Khali fell down senseless after just one blow?

Now what was the poor white man supposed to do in a wrestling ring? Hug his opponent and call off the fight, because they have become best buddies?

But I’m digressing. The real question is, if you want your target audience to believe your claim that you are a non-blah channel, then why is a blah item featuring on your waves?

Proof, courtesy Indian television

Read the headline on the next frame. Can you believe it? Yes, India TV has found that the legendary Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu is not a myth but is a reality.

6 crore saal pahle aaya dharti par: came on the earth 60 million years ago

How does the channel get to this conclusion? By getting a piece of news that paleontologists have found a head of a crocodile which lived around 60 million years ago, and was killed by a sharp object which severed the head from the body. Ofcourse this could not have happened other than the mighty Vishnu killing it himself, according to a fable (The one where the said crocodile catches hold of an elephant, who happens to be Vishnu’s devotee. The elephant, seeing inevitable death, cries out his Lord’s name, and Vishnu comes running barefoot to save his devotee, and to achieve this end, uses his Sudarshan Chakra to cut off the crocodile’s head).

The deeply religious folks at India TV saw this as proof that the fable actually happened.

sach hai sudarshan chakra! brazil me mile avsheshh: the Sudarshan Chakra is a reality! the fossils were found in Brazil
Even though the head was found in Brazil, while Vishnu is an Indian deity.

pandit Ajay Gautam, vedon ke jaankar: expert on Vedas
Who is the expert they are consulting here? A certain Pandit Ajay Gautam, who is apparently an expert on the Vedas.

No, they don’t feel the need to consult, interview or publish words of the team who is supposed to have been involved in this excavation and is responsible for this discovery. Not their opinions, not their clarifications, not what they derive from this, not what impact this discovery could have on their field. And no, they did not flash or tell us the names, identities or even nationalities of the scientists involved in this.
ab mile saboot, Proof found now
The story carried no identifiers using which we could search for more information on this excavation. Only low quality video footage of some people holding a crocodile head’s bone structure. And repeat “flashing news” snippets that the mighty Sudarshan Chakra has been now proven to exist. All with ‘expert comments’ from Panditji who is an expert on Vedas, not paleontology, carbon dating or archeology.

sach hai sudarshan chakra!: the sudarshan chakra is a reality!
So dear friends, if you are an atheist, start repenting now, and if you are an agnostic, don’t be one – here’s proof. Courtesy Indian news television 🙂

Please provide a what???

A Calcuttan missing his hometown opens up the website belonging to the most read newspaper in that town. Pleased with what he saw, he clicked on one of the sections of the e-paper. The site tells him that he needs to be registered in order to go deeper into the contents. No problem. He is ready to register. So he clicks on register and fills up a form. Presses Submit. And see what he gets:

Email ID? The form does not mention email ID anywhere, let alone ask for it. Oh, the error page tells him that the “Username” field should have been populated with his email ID.

Who would have thought? 🙂

If you were that person, would you fill up that form again and continue to use the website? I didn’t. Who knows what other ‘mistake’ I would be chided for next? Is the phone number field actually supposed to contain my height?

Is it so difficult for web designers and companies that hire them to make websites that are free of inconsistencies and are helpful instead of carrying the old ’80-90s attitude of “I made this thing and it works at my end. You need to learn how to make it work for you if you want to use it.”?

It is all adding up to the user experience and thus the brand in the end.

BPO Apartheid

In a move that seems ill-timed given Raj Thakre’s Neo-Nazi-esque actions in Maharashtra, Netambit in Noida invited applications for positions in its BPO business, but candidates belonging to UP, Bihar and Islamic backgrounds need not apply. The reason cited for this is diction and other language problems candidates with these backgrounds generally have.

Why don’t you take a look at the email that sparked this controversy over ‘language’?

The picture is taken on a low-end phonecam. The highlighted line reads: “Those candidate belong to Bihar & U.P. & Muslim are not eligible. Required English/Hindi/Punjabi profiles.” The words within the quotes are verbatim as they appear in the email / the news item.

(The main story and photograph courtesy evening Delhi paper MetroNow 4th March edition.)

Long Live Indian Journalism!

How does it go? “The King is dead, long live the King!”

Around a week back, the Pointy-Haired Dilbert aka Chandoo wrote a blog entry about the “must read” section of a famous Indian news channel’s website. That just corroborated the general sentiment prevalent among people who care about journalism and news and its present state in the country.

News channels have been serving us items about ‘ghosts’, supernatural ‘incidents’, television soaps news, page 3 type parties, kissing scandals, timeslots dedicated to comedy shows, while keeping journalistic professionalism at bay. A ghost story or a faith story is covered with sensationalism, but without any coverage on the rational angle as is done by any self-respecting news agency. Page 3 scandals are covered with juicy gossip intact. And half the time when you switch to these channels they are either discussing cricket with a has-been cricketer, or showing a comedy gig featuring one of the new crop of Indian stand-up comics.

And ofcourse the love affair of these news channels with India’s first family – no, I’m not talking about Mrs. Pratibha Patil & family – the famous Bachchan family of Allahabad to Juhu fame is there for all to see. But they took it too far today with this:
Breaking News: Amitabh Bachchan ko thand lagiThe “Breaking News” ticker reads: “Amitabh Bachchan ko thand lagi” (Amitabh Bachchan catches cold).

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: