Archive for December, 2007

December 28, 2007


Some months ago, I’d posted about some of the delicious male tennis players to be seen at Wimbledon. One of those mentioned was Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. Sadly, at that point in time (July) there were very few pictures of Qureshi available online, and none that I felt did him justice.

But this is the internet, and things change quickly, and there are now multiple pages of pictures of him. Some of them are very flattering. And so, finally, here he is.

December 25, 2007

Oscar Peterson is also dead

From here:

Oscar Peterson, who sat atop the world of jazz piano for decades with his driving two-handed swing, technical wizardry and rapid-fire solos, has died, a friend of the musician said on Monday. He was 82.

I only discovered him a couple of years ago, when D made me a wonderful jazz piano mix CD. The man was brilliant, and I’m sorry he’s gone. 2007 continues to be a bad year for the arts… I’m glad there’s very little of it left.

December 14, 2007

Competitive Assholery

This guy

Helen later said in her autobiography “even more humiliating [than this] was the fact that I did not have the balls to overturn his desk and tell him to bugger off”. And there was I just doing her and her agent a good turn!

This guy

As with many societal ills, I blame the parents. British mothers do not instruct their daughters the way American mothers do. In the US, beauty treatments appear to be a large part of their growing-up experience. A trip to the beauty salon is a group event for girls, an opportunity for a gossip and a catchup.

So, who would win in an awesome misogynist showdown? My money is on the second guy, even though Winner’s “butbutbut! saggy boobs!” defense of sexual harrassment is really very impressive.

December 13, 2007

Free advertising

December 13, 2007

Has this been lolcatted yet?

South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a
florescent protein gene, a procedure which could help treatments for human
genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday.
In a side-effect, the cloned
cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.

Edit: yep.

(from here)
December 9, 2007

6. Stuart Broad

I have very little to say about the boy – he’s English, he bowls, he’s young. Does any of this matter? Look!

(And yes, Project:Objectify is indeed back. Rejoice!)

December 3, 2007

The Aaja Nachle lyrics and Privilege

My first reaction to Aaja Nachle being banned because of offensive lyrics was an eyeroll . Because censorship is bad, but we’re all so used to it that it’s hard to work up righteous anger when I’m writing against it. But people who come here regularly know where I stand on this (link, if you’re new) so this post really isn’t about free speech and censorship.

What it is about is my increasing discomfort with the accounts of the banning that I’d read, and until today I wasn’t sure why this was. But then my friend (and possibly soon-to-be-flatmate) SupriyaWhoHoldsMyHeart posted this, and I think I’ve partly figured it out.

See, what bothers me is that if someone had written down the lyrics of that song and given them to me to read, I would never have known they could possibly be offensive. Nor would most of the people writing indignant articles and blog posts about freedom of expression. Because I (we, I suspect) get to go through life not having casteism thrust upon us – I can be reasonably sure that I will never be looked down upon, treated as inferior or held in contempt based on my class or caste (I might meet with resentment I suppose, but that’s another area entirely). I can afford to be ignorant of what is offensive within a caste based system in ways that people who are constantly having their ‘inferior’ status within that system thrust upon them (in various ways, some more subtle than others) cannot. [Remember during the reservation debates when upper class students honestly declared that the caste system was irrelevant because they had never felt its presence? Yeah]. In fact, the whole thing reminds me rather of this incident, discussed at PunkAssBlog, where someone did something stupid and racist without knowing it was stupid and racist because, yes, he was in a position not to know. Ignorance is a privelege. (As an aside, I’m amazed anyone living in the US could not get the noose thing. I’m in India, and even I know this much.)

And so when posts like this one try to figure out what’s wrong with the lyrics in question and decide that hey, they’re not really that offensive, it really annoys me. Because do people who are unlikely to face racism or casteism really get to sit there and tell the people who are affected by it what they do and do not have a right to be offended by, what is racist enough to be important and what isn’t? And I’ve seen this happen on this blog and on other blogs where gender is concerned as well (I’m sure it happens just as much with race and class and the like, gender is just a greater proportion of what I read) – where people are constantly coming in and telling one that something isn’t really a big deal, that we’re making too much of something, allowing ourselves to be too affected by something that is really trivial, and I’ve even seen this come from men who are generally lovely people and who identify with feminist positions on ‘larger’ issues. As Sups said, “all these enormously clever, influential people don’t seem to understand that racism isn’t what a dominant class decides it is. ”

And like her, I wonder what would have happened if no one had banned this movie. If the studio, had it received a polite letter, would have apologised and removed the lines, maybe even done so publicly. If those of us who get to ignore casteism usually would ever have found out those lines could be offensive. I doubt it.

But banning movies? Still bad.