Friday, December 29, 2006

Damn these Hucksters!!!!

Dorks. That big, fat and irritating coca-cola advertisement is still doing the rounds. Do people even stop to think? Oh. Stupid question. Just goes on to show the pervasiveness and the power of the media in general and advertising in particular. To influence “people” and societies in all the wrongs ways, most of the time. If there are two professions that need regulation, it is these. Especially that whore of capitalism, consumerism, whatever, called advertising. Scratch that, even the media in equal portions. Speaking of which, yours truly has just – after years of scouring shelves and streets – laid hands on Pohl and Kornbluth’s The Space Merchants. A harsh critique-cum-parody-cum-satire on advertising. About a world that is run (for all practical purposes) by ad agencies. Where your standing is defined by your ability to own. About a world divided into two: the haves and the have-nots. About a consumer-driven society gone horribly wrong, which anyway is the fate of any such society. Anyway reading has just begin, full review later.

The copy of The Space Merchants i just got happens to an old 1981 edition (the book was written in 1952, which makes its prescience even more so prophetic), prominently stamped “DISCARD” by The Harrisburg Union High School’s Instructional Media Center (hmmm… instructional media center).

And this is what precedes the book in the ‘raving reviews’ pages. The St. Louis Dispatch gets it down pat – “…a bitter satire on the conscienceless activities of the ad men…” Kingsley Amis, “The Space Merchants, clearly, is an admonitory satire on certain aspects of our own society, mainly economic…” “In The Space Merchants, we have some of the best satire of our times; it has The Hucksters beat us all hollow.” That was the Denver Post. This is what The New York Times had to say “…a civilisation built on the code of the huckster, where the account executive is king, and the captive audience is just that—a mass of helpless, hapless serfs, living by the law of the singing commercial.” See what advertising can reduce us to? And I stress, this book was written in ’52. A classic I’m sure it will turn out to be. Huck! I guess it already is one.

“Give me the airtime, and I will sell the Earth.”

Thursday, December 28, 2006

my land, my peoples

A picture's worth a thousand words. These are worth billions to me. They tell me the story of how almost ten lakh people can crowd into a 3-kilometre stretch, driven there by nothing more than faith.
The sweltering heat. The suffocating humidity. Fainting is common. Stampedes more so. All to see the Siblings on their journey once. To see the gods who take sick leave. To see a king turn into a sweeper. To get a hand on the ropes that pull the chariots. Just once is enough. It's the dream of a lifetime for many people. Driven by nothing more than faith.

Once a part of them, you lose your Self in the flow. Carried away by the fervour that each one emanates. It's a time to celebrate. A time to worship. A time to wish. A time to pray. A time that i hope never passes.


Indians make up one of the major human ancestry groups, with relatively little genetic differentiation among people from different parts of the country, according to a new study conducted in the US. "We were struck both by the low lewel of diversity amongst people spanning such a large geographical region, and that by the fact that people from the Indian sub-continent constituted a distinct group when compared to populations from other parts of the world" says Pragna Patel, who led the study.
And this is from the synopsis of the report
"....The authors performed an extensive investigation of Indian genetic diversity and population relationships, sampling 15 groups of India-born immigrants to the United States and genotyping each individual at 1,200 genetic markers genome-wide. Populations from India, and groups from South Asia more generally, form a genetic cluster, so that individuals placed within this cluster are more genetically similar to each other than to individuals outside the cluster. However, the amount of genetic differentiation among Indian populations is relatively small. The authors conclude that genetic variation in India is distinctive with respect to the rest of the world, but that the level of genetic divergence is smaller in Indians than might be expected for such a geographically and linguistically diverse group.
Ha! More ammo. You can read the full PSoS Genetics report here

Saturday, December 23, 2006

here by "unbelievable" demand

This post could also, alternatively, have been titled... And yes, that's the Page. Y'know, Jimmy of the dirigible band. Notice chai in hand. cheerio. pix off. purpose served. Full story still available. In person only. No credit cards acepted.