Monday, May 12, 2008

Umbilical Discord

Prologue: You are perfectly justified if you lambast this write-up as a childish rant or a sanctimonious piece of, forgive the following expletive and many more to follow, shit or, even better, yet another random blog on the blogosphere. This is supposed to be a sad commentary on the times we are living in.

Right at the outset I wish to confess that my J-School has to do as much with journalism as much as oral sex with talking. After failing in a number (a gigantic one) of engineering subjects and MBA not looking like my proverbial cup of tea; with much trepidation I took up this journalism course. Trepidation, because I had this notion that a chunk of the class will consist of English grads and for this junta journalism is analogous to fish and water. Three days into the course and I started palpitating.

Most people were not interested in reading newspapers or, you can gasp, watching the news channels. People were hardly concerned why M.J.Akbar was booted out by a mercenary. Instead, most of the class was in a collective orgasm watching Ishaan Trivedi enjoying his Che Guevara moment. That one single trait necessary to become a good journalist- curiosity- was missing in most of us. As budding journalists we are supposed to produce weekly, and subsequently daily, newspapers. To borrow a phrase from Gandhi, these newspapers are truly a drain inspector’s report. When the industry is undergoing a seismic shift in terms of quality what with quantity taking a backseat my J-School is still in that Karanjia personified time warp. Get stories every week. It doesn’t matter if they are really worth publishing. Amazon forests need to be raped and we should contribute to it in whatever way we could is the overruling dictum.

Ethics is as much an abused term as much as aam aadmi by the UPA government and different by Indian filmmakers. I don’t know how ethical it is for a hawker to fend for himself in a park where, surprise, surprise, hawkers are not allowed. I certainly don’t know how ethical it is if a bus conductor filches one rupee from right under the nose of the commuter when, in fact, he has to share space with “techies” who draw obscene salaries. A firangi once told that a city can be assessed by the quality of its newspaper. Touché.

Earlier people used to come to journalism with sheer commitment when in fact they can go anywhere. Praful Bidwai could have been in the Silicon Valley. T.N.Ninan could have been India’s version of Jeffrey Sachs. Buttressed by pumping of ridiculous amounts of moolah into the industry, newspapers and their richer cousins, websites, have indeed started paying well. No wonder then that you see young journalists taking up jobs with money being the sole differentiating factor which is not at all a deplorable fact. But one needs to be sure what they are getting into. The quality of journalism being churned out in the current times would make Sham Lal wake up from his coffin. I don’t see this changing unless the journalism students stop thinking that the sun shines from their ass.

P.S: I know I promised something else but I am nowhere near that eunuch who lifts his undergarments to show his smashed genitals. At the end of my first semester, ugly journalism looked like endemic but after passing out I feel its pandemic in this country. Thus, instead of personalizing it I have tried to keep it in a broader perspective. However, I have learnt one big big lesson at my J-School- importance of reading.

Some Recommendations:

REC: This is certainly a Blair Witch Project knock-off and comes nowhere near that cult feature but quite a few moments certainly make this movie watchable.

My Name is Joe: Yasujiro Ozu, Luis Bunuel and Ken Loach. This is the chronology of directors who have made “social” movies. Peter Mullan’s affecting performance actually made me say “My name is Joe Kavanagh and am an alcoholic.”


At 9:07 AM, Blogger snigdha said...

Superb. I couldn't agree more. Having studied in the same J school and done one much- lamentable anti-poor, inconsequential story(the blogger loves to mock the story), I relate to what you say. Totally.I cringed while people vacillated between taking a newspaper job and a PR job for a pittance of a slaray difference. I dont mean to sermonize, but cant all of grow up a little-know what we want to do?

At 2:45 AM, Blogger The invincible! said...

Frankly i hav'nt understood anythng...but i sensed sumthng common in most of ur blogs,u never end up without mentioning a lil related to sex..Ur a terrific writer but ur a connoiseur at Gynaecology n Andrology...y don u try in this field?!

At 9:40 AM, Blogger garcia kafka said...

@ the invincible: Thanks for your comment..I would like to know what you haven't understood..If possible read up on Maslow's hierarchy and then you will not accuse me of titillating my audience.. I am no Amarish Sathwik who can excel in writing on Gynaecology n Andrology

At 10:15 AM, Blogger sowmitra said...

Man... wen u know it don't try to follow it. Everybody finally does fall into that trap.
Waiting for ur first artcle...

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hii jagan. Its very startling to hear about your j-school but instead of lamenting at our own dirt, you could have looked at it in a different way. You dont stop doing what you want to do because of others right. So if you really wanted to change the society, it should start from you..dont think about the others. Since it is you who has the power to influence people with news articles. Most people in India do the same thing, they are concerned about what other people do and badmouth even at the slighest opportunity instead they could have done something useful of their own.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger garcia kafka said...

@anonymous: Am not under shots of heroin that I can believe that I can myself sewer the entire drain..

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

am not asking you to change it all by yourself but you could atleast do your part and let the others follow.

At 4:35 AM, Blogger Sohini said...

i shall from now on read your blog everyday.
i found a book recently on kafka's aphorisms. would you want it?
what have you been reading?
i picked up THE PRAGUE ORGY.
by philip roth. its...putting it simply; nice.

At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice one.. the problem of not being serious is not only in journalism, but in every field. And, that's mainly cos there r a very few people who really know what they want.


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