The Recaptured Blog

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

Tag: wtf (Page 1 of 3)

Savita Bhabhi banned

The Indian government has banned Savita Bhabhi. When you read through the article, look at the following lines:

One of them, Bangalore-based N. Vijayashankar, who describes himself as a “techno-legal information security consultant”, waged a sustained campaign against Savitabhabhi, complaining to the government’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) as well as the Director General of Police in Karnataka in October last year.

And then

“Cartoons are a more participative medium. Videos don’t do as much damage. When a child is watching a cartoon, he imagines himself as the character. This has a deeply corrupting influence on our youngsters. This, apart from the fact that an Indian name was being used in such an obscene cartoon, is what led me to make the complaint,” Vijayashankar said. “A child will see a Savitabhabhi among his relatives.”

So apparently, videos don’t do as much damage as cartoons would do. Which is why kids watching pianos falling on cats in cartoon strips go around dropping pianos on cats, while kids jumping off tall buildings because their (non-cartoon) superhero does that on television is a problem that does not exist.

I don’t understand how anyone would imagine himself to be a character in a still cartoon frame, but will not in a live video containing real human beings.

But the best part is that Vijayashankar is upset because Savita Bhabhi has an Indian name. What if her name was Susan Bhabhi, or Cindy Bhabhi? I guess that would have been okay. I shudder to think what the reactions would be if her name was Shakeela Bhabhi.

And then the icing on the cake is the argument that the child will see a Savita Bhabhi amongst his relatives!

Funny part:

When asked if there was any scientific basis to his thesis that pornographic cartoons did more damage to young people than pornographic videos, he said that was his own psychological interpretation. (Vijayashankar has no training in psychology.)

Don’t you think Vijayashankar should also wage a sustained campaign against Kamasutra and getting it banned in India. How could they show lewd graphical sexual content and package it with an Indian sounding name? He should travel back in time and sue the creators of Kamasutra for corrupting the minds of Indian children.

Even more hilarious is the observation I read elsewhere, that the “concerned parents” who have complained against Savita Bhabhi, would rather go to all these government bodies and get the site banned, but are not aware or are too lazy to use cybernanny software on their computers so that their children are not able to access any kind of porn, not just Savita Bhabhi. Such faith on the system! And the administration, which otherwise is superslow in matters like providing us with roads, water and electricity, takes instant action on such complaints.

Any chance that these are the same kind of people who would advocate banning jeans in colleges to prevent rapes? See the double standards?

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?

Why copy (and why lie about it)?

Read this (courtesy afaqs!).

Right. The creative director of an agency working for Honda Siel is not aware of arguably the most popular words of arguably the most impactful movie of last year (one that displaced even The Godfather from IMDB’s alltime #1 for a few days!) spoken by one of the most appreciated characters of popular fiction played by arguably the most admired actor last year. If we are to believe Mr. Hola, there was no one around him to remind him that ‘Why so serious?’ would invariably be connected to the Joker – not the people at Meridian (creative people I presume – that don’t watch blockbuster movies), not the people at Honda Siel.

Yes we believe you. The ‘similarity’ between your tagline and the Joker’s refrain is “totally coincidental”.

Funny thing is that the line ‘why so serious?’ does not have any connection with the alleged brief (that the article mentions) of breaking down the hierarchy in the car segment (of SUVs and hatchbacks), or of positioning the Jazz as a car in a ‘league of its own’. Why would you use the line then if it doesn‘t connect with your brief? There can only be one reason then – to cash in on the buzz that line generated very recently.

Of course the Honda Siel and Meridian people have never read, watched or heard of the Joker or maybe even Batman 🙂

Fantasies can crash?

If Microsoft made cars, goes the story. And it’s been ringing true for so long.

I was reminded of this story, because I saw a web ad for MS’s masterpiece browser Internet Explorer 8 today. The storyline of the ad goes thus: a lissome damsel in a frock is busy eating a sandwich in such an engrossed manner that would remind you of good ol’ Liv Tyler, while our hero is busy watching her from a distance. In the midst of this, we see the worried hero trying to look around an insurmountable obstacle, followed by the text “Fantasies can crash”. And then we see a rather rotund gentleman just standing between the two, while all we and our hero can see is his posterior. Then the hero starts making faces, from which I can only guess that the rotund gentleman has just performed an act with his posterior which causes considerable noise & air pollution.

We then see the Vista-esque dialog box asking whether you want to restore your last session or go to your homepage. And then we are informed about the groundbreaking new innovation in the new IE8 – Automatic Crash Recovery (where is the ™ guys?)!!! Of course now you are dying to use the new & improved IE8 right? With this automatic crash recovery feature that was not present so far in the IE, IE is now complete and can take on the other browsers like Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome, which anyways used to restore crashed browsing sessions (they can even save sessions when you are closing the window, if you preferred). Heck, even MS’s Office software do a half-decent amount of crash recovery.

But the best part of the ad is the sort of self-aware admission that “Fantasies can crash”. Refreshing to see MS admitting in their promotion itself that their software crashes, and we have to just live with it. But look at the new shiny feature — Automatic Crash Recovery! Don’t you just love the IE, now that it can restore your session after crashing it? Make it more stable and reduce crashes you said? No sir, can’t do. We’d much rather advertise the most irritating thing we can show you — our crash screen telling you that your browser crashed last time you opened it.

Coming back to cars, wonder if cars advertised like this. “Your car can crash or break down, but look at this feature — it puts you back on the road you were going on (after 3 months in the hospital or garage maybe)”. Do you want to advertise that your product does not fail (or that you have made efforts to prevent it from failing), or do you advertise that your product can fail, there’s nothing wrong with it, just look what we have added — it remembers what you were doing when it failed.

And then there is the copy — “Let’s you start from where you had stopped”. Weren’t copywriters supposed to be good at language? But then maybe in the new age of freestyle apostrophe usage, I am a purist.

Seamless?

When an Idea customer dials 12345 from their phone, an exceptionally chirpy female voice tells them that they can “now stay connected while in roaming with Idea seamless coverage”. Of course you can. Ok, no sarcasm.

Problem began when I noticed that whenever I come to Bombay, I am unable to send text messages. In technical parlance, outgoing SMS is not working. Different days that I have come here. Different handsets. Different places in Bombay. No sir, can’t go. And lately, my GPRS connection also refuses to work when in Bombay.

How to solve it then? Call someone for help. Who else but Idea helpline? So I do. I dial 12345. I am greeted with the exceptionally chirpy female voice mentioned above, telling me about the alleged “seamless connectivity”, and then some human being talks to me. The moment I tell them my number and that I am coming from Pune, they respond as if I am a stepchild. How can Mumbai executives be expected to listen to Pune customers? Everytime I call, I am told that I need to call the Pune helpline at 9822012345. Other than that they cannot help me in any way, because procedures do not allow them to help me. These people hung up on me mid-sentence twice. Some customer “service”.

9822012345 is another story. The moment I dial it, select the language, tell the system that I am an Idea Maharashtra customer AND dial my phone number (in this day and age of CLI machines at homes!), I am presented a menu that is definitely a prepaid customer’s menu. Why would a postpaid customer be bothered with recharge options? The menu comprises of 4 options only, like PUK, value-added services, recharge options etc. but never did I hear a “to talk to a customer care executive…”. Once by fluke I got to talk to a human being on this number, and all he could help me with was “Sir please try again after some time, it will definitely go. If not, then try a different handset, it will definitely go.”, 5 times when I told him I did not think it would work. The second time I got to talk to someone, again by the rare coming together of five of the eight planets in one line, he politely tells me that he is a prepaid customer care executive and that I need to dial 9822012345 to reach a postpaid customer care executive! If you were not paying attention so far, that was the number where I reached this gentleman in the first place. He could not help me because he was a prepaid Pune executive, while I was a postpaid Pune customer. Wow!

Idea keeps telling us about “seamless connectivity”, while there are silos in their customer service setup. One area’s executive cannot help a customer from another area. One department’s executive cannot help a customer subscribing to another department. Let alone help me, they cannot transfer my line to the concerned persons!

Wonder when companies would really honour their marketing claims, and when customer care people would really care about customer’s problems and concerns.

Wasn’t just Gilchrist?

While millions of cricket lovers were rejoicing the Deccan Chargers’ win last Sunday, little did they know that their joy is not really due to Adam Gilchrist, or any of the other 10 Hyderabad players, but the “real reason” DC won is because of “water flowing in front of [Deccan Chronicle’s shops & offices]”.

Says who? Says Business Standard. Or someone who has just posted there. I can’t see any name (of a writer or a reader who might have posted this as an opinion). Just that it is under “Opinions & Analysis”. “[T]hose who know these things” they say…. Can anyone tell me what these “things” are? Is the writer of the piece so afraid to bring up names like “Vaastu” and “Feng Shui”, lest they be labelled as un-modern?

Feeling WTF? Of course I am. Last I checked, Business Standard was a business periodical, not an occult evangelist magazine.

Update:
Thank you Pallavi for enlightening me about the “Chinese Whispers” column in Business Standard, which is a satirical piece in the otherwise serious business daily. I’m sorry if anyone from BS or its readers/fans were upset with what I wrote. But then, there is one observation about the web version of the paper. The page’s contents do come across as genuine, and to read them as satire, one needs to be a Business Standard regular. Maybe something can be done there so people like me are not misled into believing that the paper actually endorses the views on the page.

Dry day?

Can someone explain to me what is the idea of enforcing a dry day?

And what is the idea of enforcing a dry day because election results are being announced? Are the government afraid that people would get drunk and change the results?

TLA anyone?

TLAs, for those of you unaware of that acronym (which suprisingly isn’t an acronym itself), stands for Three Letter Acronym.

After the initial WTFness has subsided, I would just like to raise one simple question for marketers with the big brands out there – is OBA taught at whatever business classes you’ve attended? Now OBA, for those unaware of that too, stands for Obfuscation by Acronymisation — with that, I have scored double points for not only inventing an acronym, but also inventing a new word. Thank you, thank you.

First we had seen the ever-so-reassuring safe-for-my-health All Out mosquito repellent, which kills more mosquitoes in my bedroom because it’s loaded with extra MMR. After a big sigh of reassurance, I take another look at what the MMR stands for. It stands for Mosquito Mortality Rate. So let me get this straight — the liquid will kill more mosquitoes because it has extra mortality rate? Talk about causes and effects getting mixed up.

The second case-in-point is our good ol’ Parachute. With its misspelt (but a smart branding tactic) Advansed. You ofcourse are aware of the Parachute therapie (another one, but smart) hair oil. And its advertisements. They said their scientists have done research and found out the reasons for hair fall. Do you know what those are? They are (gasp gasp!) RDF!! Wow, you think! They have finally found what destroys the roots of hair to make them fall! This is great news! Until you look carefully to see what RDF stands for. Root Destroying Factors. Had the brand owners not come out with that advertisement, would you have known that hair roots are destroyed because of Root Destroying Factors? I am bummed!

The business world apparently loves acronyms, and those of us who have lived a part of our lives in the SGAs, the RTMs and the CRISPs, even swear by them. But such OBA leaves even the likes of us gasping for air.

And ofcourse, when the consumer gets curious and looks for the real meaning of your TLA, like I (and many others) did, do you think the brand would come across as honest and trustworthy? To me it looks like, the people developing the product did not do much work in research, but they still want to tom-tom their “efforts” and want to sound important by using acronyms and smart-looking animation. Can your brand afford such an impression?

What do you think? And do you know of any other such examples of OBA?

Advertising meets Politics = WTF

WTF of the day comes from our dear ol’ Congress Party (the haath people, not to be confused with haathi people).

After claiming credit for Slumdog Millionaire’s Oscar success (did they also claim credit for the never before success of the Indian contingent in the Beijing Olympics?) and a jingle claiming credit for every technological advancement that ever happened in the world and came to India, in whichever way, there is another TVC, where a couple is talking between themselves, and are happy that inflation is reduced, and prices of things from commodities to properties have come down. Never mind that millions are losing their jobs and are getting their paychecks cut, so they won’t be that thrilled about this reduced inflation.

The whole world has been looking for who is behind the recession. Is the Congress willing to take credit for it now? (albeit while trying to package it in a positive way)?

Why do I need to lie about myself in my own country?

In my own country, I had to lie about myself. No I am not a fugitive. I am simply a person with Bihari roots.

Yesterday I went to see a flat (we’ve got to shift), and the landlady kept asking us, among other directives like “don’t bring girls here…”, “Is any of you Bihari? Because we don’t want to have Biharis in our house.”. Even though we kept telling her that one of us is a Marathi (to which she looked visible pleased) and I am a Bengali (owing to the “truth” that I come from Calcutta), it felt wrong, and I decided not to ever return to that place.

I never came across anyone in my 20 year long stay in Calcutta, or year long stay in various places in Jharkhand, who would tell me that they would not want a Marathi, Tamilian or Gujarati as a tenant.

Having said that, she has not done anything illegal. She owns the place and she has the right to have her reservations. But the underlying assumptions and intent behind that decision disturbs me.

Why do I need to lie about myself in my own country?

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