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Archive for March, 2009

A Cartoonist Remembers (OV Vijayan)

March 16, 2009 Leave a comment

“Between historical pessimism and imbecile revolution, there is a stretch of arid territory that the cartoonist retires to. It all begins in a lot of violence, and subsides as ingloriously as it had come. That is history. The cartoonist views it from his arid space and catches its absurdities and contradictions.

This is how I’ve conceived of the peasant and his disturbed son – and their irrepressible questions”

–OV Vijayan in his introduction to the book

Some of the most sarcastic cartoons I’ve ever laid eyes on. Vijayan’s cartoons immediately evoke a smile, which slowly begins to morph into a sense of disgust and impotent outrage at everything that is wrong with this country. Political satire at its best. Another memorable paragraph:

“It is an unutterable sadness which punctuates the reality that I am called upon to portray, and yet the dominant superstition of my profession demands that I raise a laugh. If you are depressed and morbid, I am reminded, there is a custom-made laugh even there, for did not Thurber mourn his epoch with laughter? But I am what Thurber could never understand. I am a Third World cartoonist. In my world, there are children who are fed on grass, and whose eyes, as they peer out of an Oxfam ad, are full of an infantile senility that Thurber might never have encountered.

…..I think of this tryst with grass, and when I do that, I want, in one suicidal sweep, to repudiate all those who lied to me about the tryst with destiny. Now how do I make that into a political cartoon?”

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Categories: Books

On the Slumdog Millionaire debate

March 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Listening to Chris Abani’s talk at TED Africa 2007 brought to mind the recent furore kicked up by Slumdog Millionaire and its portrayal of India. This one line by Chris Abani settles the debate : ” Western narratives about Africa proliferate, I don’t care anymore”

I don’t think Western perceptions need to be paid so much attention: they can have their Slumdog and tales of filthy, jungle-raj Indian slums and other dangers from the Third World. The process works both ways. I’m sure many Indian men look at Western women and imagine them to be obsessed with the sort of non-stop sex portrayed in American porn movies. The litany of bad firang jokes in “comedy” shows re-inforce my point.

Music: Deja la Vida Volar (Victor Jara)

Currently Reading: A Cartoonist Remembers (O V Vijayan)

Categories: Cinema, India

Afghanistan supplies to travel through Russia.

March 3, 2009 Leave a comment

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7921659.stm

Pakistan is number 9 on the list of the world’s worst basket-cases. Preceded only by Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Chad, Iraq, DR Congo, Afghanistan and Ivory Coast.

Fucked up world.

Categories: Pakistan

Give me a stimulus package, I trade in stock markets

March 3, 2009 Leave a comment

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aeaBH8CUU9NY&refer=home

I need a new word. ” Absurd” isn’t strong enough.

Government mascot

March 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Click on the link above to view.

Categories: Arbit