Saturday, June 30, 2007

We Are The Champions

I am sick of Indians being divided. Religion, caste, genetics, people have tried to divide us based on some criteria ever since we saw Invaders. I must admit the social evil that is the caste system, was predominantly of Indian origin, and we have no one but ourselves to blame. However those are evils within our community and do no give a third person sufficient right to attempt to internally set things straight. The western “developed” world has always attempted to show how primitive we Indians are, and any signs of original and indigenous thought was of course thanks to cultural invasion from Europe, via the Aryan race.

Ever since I was taught in school, of how Aryans came down from Turkey and settled in India, the suspicion has raged in my mind. How authentic are these “facts”? They seem prejudiced in their attempt to search for the truth, and the british desire to colonize India is sufficient motive. Ever since independence, Indians have had the “fact” thrust upon them that we are the product of a far greater civilization. A civilization that thinks the earth was created a few millennia ago, a civilization that did not know of the decimal number system until AD, one whose greatest thinkers, Pythagoras, Aristotle were pre-dated in thought by the far more ancient Vedas.

I could go on, for something so fallacious will obviously provide enough proof to indicate the truth. However, it suffices to say, it is easier to post some youtube video, where much of the hard work has already been done. In conclusion, all you Aryan supremists and british and western civilization mother fuckers can rot in hell. We were always better than you in our ability to think and that is something that you have not the courage to accept. Not then, not now. Grow the fuck up. Anything you guys did, we did before you’ll. We discovered Pi, irrational numbers, infinity, zero before you’ll. Bow to your gods, because the gods that you seek, was just a far more intellectually superior “invader” in the form of Indians.

And to the Indians, stop the nonsensical North vs. South debate. The seed of doubt was planted by those racially inferior bastards with a superiority complex that only an inferior man can have. So in conclusion, what Indian archaeologists are trying to do, is try to irradicate the Aryan/Dravidian divide that exists in India. The next time someone calls you Dravidian or Aryan, have the fucking balls to tell them off.

I realise with all the "busy" people these days, they won't have enough time to watch the following videos. But if you do, you'll know I am right.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Wonder Blunder

The Seven Wonders of the World, ancient or middle-age, I can’t name one. Actually I can do pretty well on the ancient wonders (I remembered 5 out of 7 correctly), but not so well the middle-age wonders. So I wiki’d it. But what the fuck, there is no middle age list that can comprehensively clear my query.

But that isn’t the point of this. I seriously doubt too many people know all the seven wonders, whichever age. Sure, historians will know. I doubt even a fraction of the world population has visited them all. So the New Seven wonders Project, where we imbeciles are allowed to vote from a list of 20 (formerly 21, before Egypt made a big deal of it) for the 7 we deem fit.

And how does this voting occur. Well the internet and Cellular Phones of course. No way to reach the masses than the internet right? Wrong. Under 1 billion people have an internet connection from the top 20 countries. And the disparity is large. USA has 2 times more internet users than the next, China. And chances are these 1 billion people that get to decide which are the greatest wonders of our time, probably have no authority, not to mention the skewed demographics. How the fuck does Russia’s Kremlin stand a chance when it has not even 10 percent of internet users. The whole exercise is absurd. Yet, it has gained so much popularity that it might just be regarded as the new list.

So, if I wasn’t as lazy as I am, who would I vote for? Well the Taj for sure. Not because I love the monument so much or am in total awe of it but because people visit it. It brings in money, other people’s money. And for that reason alone, I would love for it to be in Social Studies textbooks around the world. I’d vote for the Kremlin. No need to guess why there.

The rest would have to be:

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Petra, Jordan

The Pyramid at Chichén Itzá, Mexico

The Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Angkor, Cambodia

The list is far from popular, and I am sure most of them won’t make it into the Top 7. But who the fuck cares? It is bound to be fucked up if it is left to the people. Take your cue from democracy.

Oh, and thank you Air India for a free dinner and stay! Perfect way to start off a perfectly useless weekend, whose highlight was The Fountain, which I highly recommend. Which is more than I can say for the other “seven wonders” that I watched before it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sadistic Youtube

Think twice before giving him your car keys.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Superscar - Sivaji

Sunday morning, 15 minutes before noon, I hear a faint knock followed by a familiar voice. It has just been 3 hours since I fell asleep. I groggily lift my head as I enquire to the reason of this blasphemy. Coming from a family that regards the Sabbath to be a holy day, I was obviously annoyed at the brazen intrusion. Turns out I am being asked if I want to join my roommate to a Tamil movie (for the record, I don’t speak the language and my understanding of it is just sufficient to hire an auto rickshaw). He just got ditched by another friend of ours and wants to avoid going alone. After some calls (trying to avoid having to say ok) I seem to have worked myself into a corner and agree to accompany him. The car is rented, made some ham and cheese sandwiches with bologna (we ran out of different types of salami as you can see) and we hit the road.

Starting time, 4:30 PM; that’s what the ticket reads. 4:05 and we make it into the parking lot. There seems to be a huge queue of Indians. We join it right at the back. But it isn’t until 5 that we are allowed into the theater. The show is delayed, apparently because “cleaning the theater will take longer”, sugar-coated for you cultureless motherfucking excuses for civilized humans since the previous crowd had thrown bits of paper into the air as a symbolic gesture for happiness. Hence the delay. As I hear the news, the grumblings begin. Not to mention the 90 degree weather that has me sweating like a hippo (got sick of pigs, except one ;) ) So I’m watching the bemused passersby as they wonder why the fuck there is a 100 man queue outside a theatre. Some pause, to enquire, all the time adding to my hysterical laughter and terrorist jokes.

5 past 5, lights dim before finally going off and before the movie even begins, a series of roars and whistles and god knows what else overtakes the theatre. The movie lasts a little shy of three and half hours. Luckily I’m not paying for this movie. I have some free sodas and my handy bag of cream and onion chips. One hour into the movie, and its not started. Though I have seen more skin in this movie than in Original sin or Embrace of the vampire, the censor boards continue to find breasts and vaginas too sensitive for the Indian paying public, who continue to objectify women in their movies and in their lives. Can’t blame them, for the main female role is just for the sake of titillation and to render the depth in the stereotypical patriarchal male lead character. On a different note, I enjoyed it. She was hot and almost naked most of the time, except when she had to step into the role of the “perfect woman”.

After the intermission the movie finally picks up. The second half of the movie had the lead popping gum on rebounds and flashily changing his sunglasses and stupidly retarded dialogues. Though, some were funny, I wish I was emo enough to slit my throat. There was no real story to carry the movie for half a good nights sleep except the “superstar” status of the lead. Actually it is not too late. I can slit my throat even now. Crap. I don’t have it in me. And now the semi-naked female interest barely shows herself either. Fuck. Maybe I should start making out with the woman next to me!? Oh… crap, wall to one side, roommate to the other. Maybe hitting my head on the wall will save me from the toothache of a movie and just in case my roommate can read minds. So it’s 8:30 PM now. Movie just got done. And we have to be home by 10. I was hoping to get 15 minutes of parking lot driving experience before heading back. I should have stayed home and finished the third season of family guy. Damn you 4 hour movie making slime balls to hell.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Poochie Poo

Yet another four-legged-menace-to-society invites my loathing.

Dogs, cats and pretty much any other two, four, six or eight legged creature brings about pretty much the same feeling of annoyance as does an ill-mannered baby. They all have one thing in common though. They don’t know where the fuck to excrete. They purge themselves anywhere they deem fit. Thankfully, I don’t own one of those little rascals, the animal kind or the human kind and hence I am saved of the everyday battle with feces, puke and urinal discharge.

But that doesn’t save me from those mongrels roaming the streets. “Oh he doesn’t bite!” What good natured people, reassuring me and alleviating my fears. That is, until their damn mutt takes a nice piece of me. And then am I allowed to retaliate? An eye for an eye?

You might say that it is a rare occurrence. True. But one thing that isn’t rare is those damn stupid pooches sniffing my genitals. It’s the most annoying feeling… having to stop in your tracks to be “searched” by a Britney spears think-alike. I guess there is no true revenge as long as dog lovers exist. Or is there? I am considering chemical warfare.

This was a rant I had typed out on "one of those days"; dog poop all over the place (yes, in Chicago) and an over-enthusiastic doggy and its barking-sniffing extravaganza. But that was then, and though I didn't post it, it seems ironically funny to me and hence I made the decision to post it.

Mediocre Criticism

I keep feeling that we as a species are mediocre, satisfied by it, if we aren’t too busy glorifying it. I too, suffer from the same ailment; mediocre at best at the things that I do. But this isn’t about doing, this is about critics.

What is a critic’s job? Is he supposed to judge an action or performance based on the mediocre standards we set for ourselves or with the elite few that surpass our standards many fold? I guess that would depend on many factors. Perhaps the level of interest would be one. I would not judge an amateur act against a professional act, simply because of the amount of time they invest in learning their specific skill sets. I am sure I could come up with a bunch of other “guidelines” I implicitly use to gauge an action.

But this brings me to my question, What if something is mediocre after compared to those that fall within its most comparable sub-sets? A professional football player would be judged with another player, of the same era and then decided if mediocre. But this takes the “discussion” to a totally different course. So I shall steer clear of the fine line of what that appropriate “sub-set” really is.

But having identified that sub-set, and having judged an action as mediocre compared to the other actions from within those most alike, is it fair to elevate the performance based on the fact that the critic is incapable of that level of performance? I have had this argument thrown in my face that I should reserve my comments unless I was capable of out-performing the person whose act I am criticizing. This argument actually amazes me, since it denies the very nature of a critic and the logic that governs it. Movie critics are not the cream of movie directors, actors, editors, writers etc. Some perhaps have no experience in the movie making industry and all knowledge is purely academic.

If you can't take a good kicking, you shouldn't parade how much luckier you are than other people.
Charles Saatchi

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dumb Americans

Are Americans dumb?

I can’t say for sure if they are. Most of the people I meet seem to have some semblance of intelligence and are capable of holding their own in a debate. However, having said that, some extremely eminent scholars (most of them either Americans or Europeans) seem to believe, with sufficient reason, that the “allegations” are not baseless or pointless.

1. Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and ethologist, born March 26th, 1941 in Nairobi, Kenya (a place that holds fond memories for me, personally), holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding Of Science at Oxford University. A champion of the modern atheist movement, he has managed to acquire the epithet, “Darwin’s Rottweiler”.

Richard Dawkins is the author of nine books (among a multitude of essays), some of which include The Selfish Gene (1976), The Blind Watchmaker (1986) and his most recent, The God Delusion (2006).

Richard Dawkins in his documentary “The Root of All Evil?” claims that over 40% of the American population believes in creationism and is averse to the idea of evolution. I have been unable to find the exact resources to prove those numbers (though I am sure I will find something on Dawkins’ site), it is interesting to note that in 1999, The Kansas State Board of Education deleted evolution from its science standards. There are American web-sites claiming that man and dinosaurs co-existed. Some of these sites claim dinosaur sightings.

2. Scott Ritter

Scott Ritter is famous for his stint as chief weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-’98 and also for his open statements denying Iraq’s WMD’s even prior to an Iraq attack. He is well known for his stand on the Iraq war as well as the US policy on Iran.

Scott Ritter has also served in the US military and Intelligence divisions and is now highly vocal on his views over Iran and a possible attack and is not only against attacking them (or N. Korea for that matter) but has stated more than once that both N. Korea and Iran are well within their legal rights to pursue their nuclear interests and places the blame squarely on the Clinton and following Bush administrations for the political unrest in the middle east and around the world. He has also stated that the US government is solely responsible for the mercury rising in the Middle East in spite of the Ayatollah’s (Supreme Leader of Iran) bids for peace and diplomatic discussion.

Scott Ritter believes that the American public is ignorant as to the ground realities in the Middle East and the regime-changing foreign policy of the US government. He further believes that the American public can be easily made to jump onto the Iran bashing band wagon (like Iraq before) by the media propaganda and chest beating uber-patriotic speeches as against their dissuasion against a possible attach by virtue of a more rational voice of reason

3. Youtube certainly has its own set of people that think Americans are dumb. Loads of videos suggesting the same have been found around the web. Now, it might be highly possible that these are just exaggerations, or perhaps even staged events (though I don’t know who the above mentioned uber-patriotic person would be willing to stage something like this), but all of it is really amusing nonetheless. This one probably doesn’t hold as much weight as the first two, but I am sure people will spend more time on this one than reading or researching on the first two. And that is because… people are stupid. Perhaps I should add a people=stupid tag on my sidebar too.

4. Creationism

Now these videos aren’t necessarily indicative of American stupidity, but rather religious bigotry. I humbly accept. However in a country where a majority of its people believe in the very same religion and practice the same bigotry, it can’t be shielded away from looking stupid. And if you care to watch the next video, you will notice it is a New Zealander questioning the “stupid” viewpoints of the clergy.

5. George Carlin

The 70 year old stand-up comedian is known for his critique of the US foreign policy, and often of religion. Carlin, in many of his stand-up routines, has poked fun at the “dumb” American.

I think Carlin’s humor is sufficient enough that I don’t need to elaborate anymore.

6. George Bush

This man needs no introduction. Most of you’ll are already thinking a) How does dubya being stupid make the rest of America stupid? and b) When did dubya call the american people dumb?

He didn’t call the American people dumb (AFAIK) and is probably quite intelligent (perhaps not articulate and has some learning disorders), to be as successful as he is. Perhaps it is all due to his father’s power and fame, but then I have heard before that he too was “stupid”, perhaps to a lesser degree.

As for how him being “stupid” making the American people stupid, that’s not it. The fact that he has been re-elected makes them stupid. The fact that he has them believing that they are fighting a war on terror (rather than a war of terror, in the words of Borat), that they give a damn about democracy or people’s rights around the world. If anyone believes that these wars (I would as easily call them acts of terrorism, as any other) are for the good of anyone other than the United States (and just a select few at that), then this is certainly a good indicator of how much Americans think (rather than the lack of brains).

7. Borat

George walker was going to be the last entry in that list, until I quoted Borat’s speech. That movie certainly had the rest of the world believing that the Americans are really dumb and think they are know-it-alls.

In conclusion, do I think now, that Americans are dumb? Probably not. Actually, I am pretty sure they are not. If anything, they are ignorant and some Americans think they have the right to be.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Hot Cross Buns

Past impressions or Brand recall, call it what you want, but it certainly does influence choices. It did mine. The Good Shepherd vs. The Illusionist. Edward Norton (Primal Fear, Fight Club and Kingdom of Heaven) and Paul Giamatti (Lady in the Water, Cinderella Man, Sideways, Paycheck and Confidence) had a greater track record than Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Syriana, Bourne Identity, The Departed and School Ties) and so I went with The Illusionist for my daily entertainment.

Young love lost and found, seemed to be the story, with some voodoo backdrop that was just a mere prop in the plot. Jessica Biel and Edward Norton’s “forbidden” love propels the great illusionist to plot the downfall of the Vienna prince and his evil plans of world domination. Okay… exaggeration, but at least plans of ruling as emperor after over-throwing his own father and emperor. The plot was like an Indian road after the monsoons. Predictable to the point that each detail became clear when Eisenheim hypnotizes his former childhood lover. Had I known how bad the script was, I would perhaps have opted to watch The Good Shepherd. Even Giamatti, who usually seems to be uplifting (even though monotonous), seemed to have nothing to portray in excess of the stereotypical good cop who just seems not to get the picture.

And all goes dandy, as the illusionist tricks the over-zealous cop and having probably pulled of the greatest illusion of death retrieves his love from the crutches of an evil chauvinist and possible tyrant and saves the Austrian world. The flashback when Inspector Uhl finally “gets it” was as predictable as the script itself, as in every “Sherlock” movie, the director assumes the viewer to be too dumb to decipher for himself the sequence of events. All in all, unintelligent movie making. Can’t call a movie a mystery if you explain the whodunit or howdunit at the end of it!

I followed up my night of cinematic bliss with a recommendation. Bollywood at its finest with writer-director Sanjay Kanduri’s debut film Ek Chalis Ki Last Local. The Abhay Deol- Neha Dhupia “star studded bonanza” had nothing going for it. Abhay Deol is as good an actor as his more illustrious cousins and uncle. It certainly was a shoot-me-in-the-face performance. The script was BAD. I mean real bad. The dialogues were a bit decent (if you like no-brainer comedies) and tried their best to cover-up the pitfalls in the script and acting. The comedy, at best, was a scary movie styled parody of much better cinematic moments and hence provided as much laughter as getting shot in the toe!

The movies thrill and chill ability seemed to be restricted to The Departed’s and Lock Stock’s shoot-‘em-all style with the lone survivor going for glory. At a playtime of a little over 2 hours and 20 minutes, a time warp to say the least, it felt like trying to pull an ingrown out of your toe. The only shock came when the well mannered Dhupia turned out to be a mere hooker who seemed to get her customers after entrapment. But the way she looks, I doubt she needs to!

So at the end of 4 and a half hours ( I had a couple of much needed intervals put in there to avoid going crazy), its fair to say I’ve gotten a little dumber. Added with the beer and pizza, more grey cells drowned and some much needed calories added. Here is hoping for a better fare tomorrow with The Good Shepherd and another reco, Shootout in Lokhandwala. Until then, Biel and Dhupia will keep me company!

P.S. I have tried to avoid too many spoilers in the “reviews” but feel free to ask me when and how I figured out The Illusionist script.

AND WILL SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK VOLTAS IS DOING IN MY FUCKING RUCKUS MP3’S!!! Fuck those corporate advertising motherfuckers to fucking hell. If I hear one more fucking advertisement @#!*@^