Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog
Monday, July 28, 2003
This article in Outlook magazine seems very interesting. We�ve all known and dreaded the �Americanisation� of our lives through the �evil influence� of satellite TV and the �western pollutants�. But the undeniable fact that our influence too is spreading west, and to our advantage would make not only the zealous, neo-colonialet, right-winger proud, but also makes the average Indian feel important.
Friday, July 25, 2003
Interestingly, the concepts behind Psychoanalysis, themselves having evolved from the human mind, can be put through �analysis�. I have noticed two things. The first is the idea that Psychoanalysis is in one way a rationalisation of �interesting� human behaviour. Psychoanalysis, being a subject of academic study, also is validation for what could otherwise be impermissible �dirty talk� in a classroom.
These of course are simplistic ideas, yet there is something to think about.
Stanley Kubrick & the Googlebot
Thanks to Google and this post, I have been getting a lot of visitors to my site looking for something presumably about John Malkovich�s next movie. Unfortunately I have no info about it here. Sorry guys!
Saturday, July 19, 2003
The other story
Today, after days of research, rumination and plain laziness, I finally bought myself a scanner. This has been due for quite some time: apologies Anita.
A Fairy Story
I had first read George Orwell�s Animal Farm: A Fairy Story as a primary school boy. As I read it now, it means a whole lot different. This time, I also read the original preface Orwell had prepared for this book called �Freedom of the Press�. It sounds eerily valid in today�s circumstances.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
I tried translating my blog page into various languages through google. It is fascinating considering the possibilities. Some person who may not even know English could understand what I write about. Of course, as I hardly know any of these languages, I cannot be certain if the translations are perfect, but the mere possibility makes for interesting speculation. The fact is that while one can cross geographical boundaries on the Internet, we can now cross linguistic barriers as well.
Monday, July 14, 2003
Go to University, become stupid
In the same vein, I�ll have to comment at the appallingly low levels of academic pursuit at colleges and universities in the country. It is disconcerting to find student enrolling in courses in order to pass exams and get degrees. Even more disgusting is the fact that professors with lots of alphabets attached to their names hardly value academic excellence. Post-graduate teachers hardly promote study, instead they dictate exam-oriented �notes� in class: it cannot get worse than this.
I would prefer to be called a nerd than pointlessly pursue nothing. I find people who pursue higher studies do so on compulsion and not out of any genuine interest or talent in their respective fields. Determined research is almost absent. There are, of course those who claim academics to be useless theorists and social vestiges, but believing in such things in universities? Ridiculous!
I�m sad to say that I have not found a conducive academic environment to carry out any meaningful study. Hardly any one is interested or able to recognise, let alone tolerate specialized academic research. Wonder how PhD�s are awarded in our country. Of course there are a few very good and inspiring teachers, but there are not enough of these people.
Academic theses or works of art, anything creative has to be inspired. You cannot masturbate an innovation.
Stay at home, learn more
I�d always looked at awe at some of my friends from school when they used to skip classes to prepare for JEE. Sometimes I thought that they were being foolish. Today I did something like that myself. I skipped classes today to prepare my preliminary research paper. Maybe I am too proud to claim that the classes I missed are of no use to me, but I am not totally wrong.
Saturday, July 12, 2003
I finally finished reading the book. As I wrote before, in verse, it was not very difficult to read or comprehend. The Iliad is an epic and a story in its own right, but what really impresses me is the fact that it is a treasure-trove of ideas, plots and narratives. This fertile nature: the ability to father a lot many stories makes it truly a world-class epic. The set piece combats, competitions, deaths, sacrifices, funerals and what not, make for amazing reading and adaptation. Another significant fact is that it is very well layered.
Just as any story, The Iliad reflects the nature of the times, places and people contained in it. Though to me, now and here, the values that come with the story may not be entirely agreeable, The Iliad does offer a lot of timeless insights into the human drama.
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Media Economics II
By studying the way money works, I am getting a look into the �other side� but I sure will not stop believing in the �fuzzy�. Until now, I had always learnt about the dynamics of media being in creativity, artistry, social connectivity, human psychology etc.
If everything is in terms of money, then anything can be bought or explained. In our last class we discussed the aggressive business practices of the Times of India. The prediction was that the newspaper, once it enters the Chennai market, would completely kill The Hindu. At face value, it feels correct. C�mon, a conservative paper like The Hindu now has a page two (its version of a page three) allegedly because it is insecure.
When I was in Bombay, I read the TOI and for me, what it gives is not news: I found the newspaper unsubstantial and slightly frivolous. I would stick to the Hindu any day. I might initially appear to be a statistical anomaly, a freak maybe, but in the perfect world of numbers, there are meant to be no �unexplainable anomalies�. The �loaded� Hindu finds readership in Chennai while the Delhi market considers it �solidly South-Indian�. So what�s true in Delhi might not hold good in Chennai. As I said in my previous post, a main problem with the money theorists is their belief that the fuzzy area scholars are na�ve. I am nobody to predict a TOI failure in Chennai, but I can certainly say that this is a more conservative town and if the TOI is to make any inroads into this market, it surely is not only through the pricing route that made them successful in the north.
Being abhorrent of formulae, I hate to put it this way, but: Know how money works, it takes care of all the big things, but when you need to tackle the finer problems, understand �fuzzy�.
Our very educated professor has me looking at the other side of the media world: a world of definite things, calculations and cutthroats. I guess making money alone matters for the owners of big business and media is big business. Of course there are two schools of thought on this and both are right: news is information but news is also money. The problem is that the people on both sides of this ideological divide think that the others are being na�ve.
I myself am a self-proclaimed believer of all things �fuzzy�: an artist if you will; but I certainly understand the contention of those who say money matters. I guess big business owners do not care for the fuzzy stuff like responsibility, being the fourth estate, and the like. It is just the employees that are bothered; the journalists, the artists; and it is these people that keep the media house alive by connecting with the people and eventually bringing in the money.
It just like in politics. The opportunists know exactly what matters and it is always money or power. Issues, ideology, patriotism, honour etc are for the second rung leaders to mouth and exploit for the top guys. It is just like in Floyd�s Animals.
I admire Woody Allen. I can watch this movie over and over again and I could never get tired of it. Diane Keaton was very good. What is very remarkable about this film is the fact that it does not go overboard with its �alternativeness�. I saw the movie again today on TV.
Plus I share my birthday with Woody Allen.
Monday, July 07, 2003
Still sticking to things scientific, third semester demands from us a small researched project followed by a paper presentation. I have decided to study narratology, especially �The Diegesis�: this pending approval by my professor. Anybody with similar interests, or with something that could help, please write in.
Week of science
This week�s issue of Outlook magazine is dedicated to science. Once upon a time I was an avid science guy. For no apparent reason, my ability (not interest though) in academic science waned through my last years in school.
Now I seem to have shifted from purely being an ardent believer in laws and mathematics to a slight sceptic of anything proclaimed absolute. Alas! Science has an enchanting way about it that even relativity and uncertainty are defined mathematically.
I haven�t lost my scientific bent entirely. I do believe in relativity, uncertainty, entropy, chaos etcetera, though in a more social and behavioural sense. I still am prone to theorising about anything I have grown fond of or am familiar with. (I wonder if it is an asset at all?)
Maybe I shall remain a rationalist after all, despite my idiosyncrasies, leniencies and mild romanticisms. I know how the strict world of numbers gives the discipline and systematic precision I love to keep as an artist. Maybe for me, there are no differences between art and science after all!
Sunday, July 06, 2003
Getting back to (and completing) mildly strenuous academic work after a long summer break, makes me think...
...why do parts of Led Zeppelin�s �Dazed and Confused� sound like both Black Sabbath�s �Paranoid� and Pink Floyd�s �In The Flesh�.
Stats: LZ 1 (1969); Paranoid (1970); The Wall (1979)
Saturday, July 05, 2003
Cinema verit� techniques like handheld camera, low light, textured stock etc., that brought about authenticity, credibility and raw vitality to the subversive film have now been co-opted by the mainstream. Just look what the �embedded� war-cameraman brought in.
In today�s fascination for �reality TV�, we are increasingly moving away from the naturally real towards the constructed real, and the distinctions between the two are apparently nonexistent. I guess our methods of showing reality have to substantially change if the audience is to make out the difference between reality and fiction.
I guess the debate of manipulation vs. reality has been raging since the days of the Sergei Eisenstein and Andr� Bazin, but today manipulative filmmaking goes in the garb of reality filmmaking.
Friday, July 04, 2003
What do you do with a person who argues with me that he is more mature than I am?
Prof. Kalam and the Spanish Balcony
Right now, we have classes conducted in a very beautiful building: a very special building as well. This white, two-storied, European style place, I�ve heard, used to be the office of Prof. Kalam before he became The President of India. I�ve also heard that it is one of the oldest buildings in the Guindy Engineering College campus and was recently renovated and restored. Besides all the hearsay, I really like the place. Our classroom looks like a small chapel with rows of chairs and tables leading up the �aisle� to a sanctuary-like teacher�s area complete with an arch. The really good part is the light and ventilation. There is a huge balcony, running along the full side of the room with enormous columns and big doorways. Right now, the weather is fine with light drizzle and the trees at AU are lush.
I am not exactly a v�sthu type person, but Prof. Kalam is supposed to have spent some time at this place and then became President. We guys are gonna spend an entire semester there... what great things are we to look forward to?
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Third semester started today!
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
I got the
contact sheet index print for the first roll of my Bombay photographs and am reasonably pleased with all the pictures. Once I finish the second roll and check its pictures I shall order for prints. Then, I�d scan and put them up on the net.
In the good old days, (I sound like an old man) we used to get contact sheets for rolls. What was good about them was the fact that they (the individual pictures) were not exposure corrected. Usually the entire roll is given standard exposure for printing: therefore the photographer could check relative exposure, colour balance and contrast range with one standard. Yet, any lab assistant could screw up the photographer�s vision by imposing his own idea of what good exposure and contrast ranges were.
But now, with everything computerised, there are no contact prints. An index sheet merely acts as that: a picture index with each picture, auto levels adjusted by a machine, reduced in size and neatly lined up on a sheet of paper.
Machines, Adobe Photoshop, etc., have made lab processes faster and easier, I have no right to complain, but there is nothing like doing it yourself (in a lab?) and mind you, a computer too, is also a tool; makes sense to be operated only by a guy who knows what he�s doing: and not let the machine do auto-processes.
Anita: the prize-giving pictures are both good.
Music for The Godfather
A friend of mine recently bought the Times Music release of the Godfather Trilogy soundtrack. Though it has been impossible to pack all the music of the three movies into one disk, The CD has most of the important tracks.
Every time I listen to the music, especially Nino Rota�s Theme and The Waltz, there is magic. I can�t explain it in words: one has to listen to it to know that experience. Carmine Coppola�s Tarantella is another beautiful piece.
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