Saturday, February 26, 2005

the second wave speaks

You're only young once, but you can be immature forever.
- Germaine Greer.

We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.

A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.
- Gloria Steinem

Idealists foolish enough to throw caution to the winds have advanced mankind and have enriched the world.
-Emma Goldman

Friday, February 25, 2005

on english.

ive a question. how do you refer to a hijra? to simply call (oh dear... already getting tangled!) them "them" is convenient but what if youre saying this person said such and such? in tamil or hindi, you could use the respectful neutral avanga or unne....what dyou do in english?!

using "he" may insult those hijras who may consider themselves not male. but saying "she" insults women, cos its like saying merely anything non-male is female. calling them "it" is so sad. shouldnt be done.

english is such a narrow rigid language, everything is polarised as male or female. i really like the indian languages that way : sanskrit, hindi, tamil all have this napumsakaling concept which opens up a a nice spectrum in gender... (its not surprising actually, seeing how cool our culture used to be about gender roles, identity and sex.)

i dont know how many of you read asimov... im reading the foundation series again, and in foundation and earth, theres the same problem with i/we/gaia. to briefly explain the context, "Gaia" is a planet of the future where there is a phenomenally developed planetary consciousness which is shared amongst all the creatures. so each unit (plant/ microbe/ animal/ human) is "aware" of what other units of gaia are experiencing. its a really fascinating concept : vasudhaiva kutumbakam kind of thing. the point is, each time a unit of gaia speaks, the character ends up having to say "i/we/gaia think". (for those who are grammar conscious, you tell me! should we lump it as i/we thinks, or gaia think?!).

asimovs writing has a brilliant collection of ideas, specially in terms of the general direction of science and its priority areas, role in politics, people attitude towards science and superstition... some of what hes written about is already happening, so what if this planetary consciousness (as in, to that degree) also happens? english as we know it would be a really unwieldy kind of language!

ok, or if that sounded far fetched and conspiracy theory-ish, why go that far into the future, look at the present : its really irritating when youre writing something formally. i feel very impatient when i have to qualify everything with "he/she" because i dont want to ignore a half of society...! makes sentences really long and involved and complicated. i wonder how one modifies the grammatical structure of a language.... any ideas anyone?!


Monday, February 21, 2005

arbit blah 2

saw a kickass t-shirt....

"Life is an STD."


Thursday, February 17, 2005

my patis.

this is an article by an outsider - may i add, also a feminist! :-)

"The other day, some of us were discussing about how hip and progressive we were as compared to our mothers (smirk, smirk).

But later I realized that I was just bull-shitting myself. For one thing, my mother never felt ‘ugly’ if she didn’t get time to wax her legs every month. She certainly didn’t feel illiterate if she didn’t know beta carotenes and vitamin enriched forest berry mumbo-jumbo was what every woman needed for whatever. And she didn’t spend a fortune based on the advice of condescending salesgirls who were beauty market victims themselves.

Never mind my mother. Let’s take a look at my grandmother. Where my mother squirmed to tell me about periods, some of my grandmother’s bedtime tales had to do with the womb! I remember her telling me that I was born from a lovely warm bag in my mom’s tummy. Ok, so it’s not factual sex-ed and she didn’t differentiate stomach from uterus or abdomen. But at least she made the attempt to tell a fascinated 5 year old about her biological origin, until her daughter sternly told her not to. And she did sneakily complete the story - when I was ready to be born, the doctor did an operation and took me out and then they stitched up my mum, and she had to tie a plastic sheet over her tum every time she bathed till the stitches dried up – in one long whisper. I think it was the detail of the plastic sheet that really made her sound so convincing. And I listened to it with morbid fascination, whereas my mother’s explanations of we-asked-god-and-got-you seemed positively insultingly boring.

But the best was my grandmother’s mother, my kollu-pati. That lady discussed menstruation and sex with her daughters, apart from home remedies for gynaec and child-related problems – something that my grandmother didn’t do for my mother. So when it comes to body consciousness, I can’t hold a candle to my kollu-pati. She was the ‘hippest’ of us all. "


Monday, February 14, 2005

preserving traditions.

this is what my pickle bottle says :

Discover the Taste of Tradition
(Store in a cool dry place)



Wednesday, February 09, 2005

arbit blah

if fasting alone were enough to make us spiritual, all somalians would be saints.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

a definition of sorts.

im still only learning about technocracy through random events. its difficult to pin it down to one thing and say “there! theres a definition of whats happening”, because it seems to be such a huge sprawling mess! but since its something that seems really important for us to discuss and keep being aware of, im going to try to put down what i understand about the technocracy. here goes...

first, it works on the principle that all life can be reduced to mere technology, until life without technology seems impossible. from being the creators of tools, we seem to have become their slaves. according to the system, we have it all figured out. our lives are programmed to a t. if youre unhappy, thats because youre a misfit - theres something wrong with you, its not the system that doesnt work. quietly, we are learning through various studies that technology isnt all its cranked out to be. growing up with machines is dehumanising. the current lifestyle where you pledge your soul to a corporate for your livelihood really doesnt work.

second, the key to the system is in communication. all conditioning is through constant bombardment with tailored messages. but communication is also the key to fighting the system. to avoid mass media, yet to be able to communicate with enough people is the challenge we face - mass media is controlled by and its priorities dictated by the system again.

third. the system recruits you to be blind. dont ask questions - only an expert will understand these matters. so whos an expert. someone whos certified. who gives the certification. authorised bodies. who authorises the institutions. the system. so whos the certified expert who can speak with authority against the system? nobody.

fourth. for some reason, for all the problems we face with our lives under this technocractic system, sex seems to be touted as the solution. look at media culture. i dont understand it at all .... life is about more and more orgiastic sex? life is about how much sex you can buy and how obscenely you can get it? maybe this guy has found something – it seems a start of sorts.

"America does not know the difference between money and sex. It treats sex like money because it treats sex as a medium of exchange, and it treats money like sex because it expects its money to get pregnant and reproduce." Peter Kreeft, "How to Win the Culture War".

especially where women are concerned, the system has just manipulated them. with this orgiastic approach to sex, and the concept that sex can be bought and the person objectified, the sexual revolution just hasnt happened. from being unable to say yes, we are now unable to refuse to have sex. that too combined with the kind of hegemony that technocracy supports, equality seems a distant dream. for example, when i spoke to some prostitutes some time back for an intervention program they were saying that fair people in prostitution get paid much better because customers want people who look like "those phoren stars on tv". one of the oldest forms of discrimination being ably sold and kept alive by different media. the boom in the porn industry, and its increasing absorption into diverse media to reach younger audiences is really worrying....

in fact these women were saying that affluent school kids pose serious competition though they take up prostitution for just more pocket money. again, technology manipulates and creates a pecking order even in this – these kids operate more freely because they use cell phones and the net to set up liaisons with prospective clients. with a totally warped start like this, do you see any of them ever growing up to recognise and question the worth of a system which hurts so many for the whims of a few? will they ever reject its dictate that you can succeed only by displacing others and marginalising those who dont “fit in”? because the way things are, it looks like there will be two classes - those who can afford technologys offerings and those who cannot. the latter will simply cease to exist in the world of the former.

you already see that attitude of contemptuous dismissal now towards the urban poor. do rich people honestly think that others enjoy living in slums or do so because they have chosen to? a common objection to the slum dwellers is that theyre dirty. oh really? what do we expect when water is such an expensive commodity? with the piddly amount that they are slotted (6 buckets for each family last summer), they simply do not have enough left over to bathe or wash their clothes. under the technocracy, water would typically be privatised for more “efficiency”, and the cost would further increase, creating a greater rift between those who live in comfort and those who do not. how could you ever quantify the value of something like water? and ironically, who would appreciate its worth more? a person who will has bathtubs in his house in the city because he can afford to, or another who will walk miles to a well to get one bucketful for the family? the consumer is the only being recognised by the technocracy.

for now at least, this is as coherently as i can describe the system! but you can see it working around you everyday in everything. even if we cannot do something immediately to change things, its important that we keep being aware and thinking so that when we get the opportunity, we are able to act.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

tech and the media - 2.

(a reply to vitalstatistix )

you know, im not against the media presenting opinions – but professionalism (if not some kind of integrity) would require that a diversity of views sensitive to different issues be presented. Simply thrusting one collection of views on the public would be pushing propaganda. Just look at the perspective that p sainath brings to different issues. – that’s professional investigative journalism. So much of the stuff presented in mainstream media is simply shoddy reporting because its not analytical or investigative.

yes, youre right : of course its all about the money. media pretty much prostitutes itself for the revenue – especially by means of accepting advertisement. If you can, check out p sainath’s essay called “shrinking spaces, new places”. He does a brilliant analysis : the estimated cost of producing large dailes is around 6 rupees. revenue from advertising covers 5.57 rs. Therefore, the worth given to actual reporting, editorials, news gathering ability etc. is the princely sum of 43 paise. (Now what quality of reporting are we going to see with that? ouch.) this happens to be for newpapers. apply it across the different media : the principle is unfortunately the same.

So the rich guys are the ones with the advertisements. The ones who also print what theyre told to. and so they in turn dictate what we as the public get to hear about. i wouldn’t entirely blame the public for lapping that up obediently. how will you ask for a certain kind of information if you didn’t even know the subject existed in the first place? would you think of asking for soup if youre not told that there is soup in the first place?

now all that’s despite the source trying to provide actual news of sorts. look at bush's previous elections. he actually bought a news channel to announce fiction as fact - doing things like getting announced as the new president of usa when youre actually not, takes a hell of a lot of money and clout!! predictably, I ra-ther like michael moores farenheit 9/11, so im giving you this link to check out if youre interested.

because of one channel giving that information, all the others also got muddled, several revised their earlier bulletins and the whole country was misinformed. So within a media group, where one entity may own upto 10 newspapers, a couple of magazines and a few channels, you bet you can distort information. This link is slightly outdated, but it gives a good idea of how things are organised.


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