Thursday, December 11, 2014

hyperlinked minds

Here's a challenge for the digitally connected, compulsive media consumer you.

For a complete day, can you converse (with someone else or with yourself) without referencing any idea/ thought/ incidence/ information that has come from outside of your own head? so no use of cultural phrases, metaphors, tropes, news items, memes or previously narrated experiences.
The only exception is the use of language in its basic form. (commonly used words meant literally)

Experiment 2:
Spend a day conscious of thoughts that are not yours.

Experiment 3:
Spend a day conscious of the meaning of what we say during the day. how much of it actually makes sense? (How many people actually know what they are talking about anyways?)


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The puny ungli




The trailer doesn't do justice to the film. The film is much more entertaining... until the climax.
Well paced, right insights, right punches... and then the movie ends much before it should have. The movie has an 'adarsh baccha' climax. ( I can visualise 'the system' petting the film makers for towing the line.)
The movie makers took the insight and then stripped it off its ambition, its angst.At the end all that remains is a sense of disappointment.

The movie is about a few youngsters who show the middle finger to the system to protest against their powerlessness. Now,  I love stories of subversion -  V for Vendetta,  Fight Club or even the Dead Poets Society.  There is a certain ambition in subversion. Fight club destroys credit card companies. V blows up the symbols of power centres. Even the students in the dead poets society stand on the desk in defiance to the head master. These movies identify the power centre and subvert it.
 Ungli makers didn't even have the gumption to identify the power centres. They merely listed out petty corruption peddlers that the middle class encounters. And then merely punish a "bad apple" in the media gaze. The effect is for the benefit of upper middle class that feels a temporary sense of being avenged. (the petty vengefools) 
(Take for example the case of auto rikshaw drivers who refuse fairs that are not economically feasible to them. The movie portrayed the drivers as uni dimensional minor villains who need disciplining. why should a driver cart you around if it is not profitable for him? From the auto driver's perspective, I imagine, the middle class is a villain that collectively bargains down unfair rates for their services keeping in check their upward mobility.)

Essentially,  the ungli gang just gives up when a supposedly non-corrupt police office takes over one of the corrupt sub systems. (the police force) The movie ends there. 

They just give up. 
The system prevails.

Why do Indian film makers are such wussies? Movie after movie tells the sorry story of good apples versus bad apples.  This theory is not only wrong, it is also dangerous.  Is absolves the system. It never identifies the real source of power and corrupting forces.  The under class and a few individuals are made the scapegoat.  We are sterilised to the thoughts of revolution. 
How is it that a county so fucked up doesn't have a single decent and successful movie about true revolution?  At most we have tragedies where the first small act of subversion ends up killing the very afraid perpetrators. (Rang De Basanti) 

What does this say about us?  Our generation? 
Why are we so myopic in our ambition?  Do we have an utopia to fight for? Why are we so afraid that we can't even articulate a fantasy of change,  of a utopia to fight for?

The yes men do more audacious stunts in real life than the heroes in this movie did.  

Can we atleast be audacious in our imagination?