Monthly Archives: June 2009

How NOT to pay a tribute to Michael Jackson

This post is my tribute to Michael Jackson and in this, I shall describe in full detail exactly how NOT to pay a tribute. This post is essentially a response to an editorial piece that appeared in The New Indian Express the day after MJ’s death which can be found here. The piece was written by the Editor-in-chief Mr. Aditya Sinha himself and is titled “POP GOES THE KING.” I would suggest the reader to first read the editorial piece and then read my response to that.

First, let us set the context right. This editorial appears the day after the entire world is shocked to learn about MJ’s death. I for one, having been a long time admirer of his works, was particularly disappointed. The entire world flooded the internet with messages paying tribute to the king of pop. Practically every news channel was running the same story. Now this being the case, I open the editorial the next day and I found an article titled “Pop goes the King” which essentially described why One person (Mr. Sinha) considered Michael Jackson as someone “who lacked dignity at his core.”

The article can very easily be classified as the point of view of one single individual as most of the comments that he has made inevitably involve “I never really liked…”, “My objection to…”, “I could not understand…”, “I was ready to believe….”, “I almost feel sorry for….” etc.  In fact the article itself begins with “I never really liked Michael Jackson…”. The article thus begins with such a self-centered approach and the same tone is carried on throughout without giving the slightest explanation as to why the writer’s personal preference and opinion should necessarily constitute the real image of the person in question. There is absolutely no basis provided for any of the conclusions that are drawn apart from the writer’s own preferences and very clearly biased points of view. Let me elaborate with some quotes.

In the very beginning, Mr. Sinha statesMy objection to Michael Jackson’s songs was that they were too stupid for me and appealed to the lowest common denominator.” Apart from the very obvious reference to HIS OWN tastes, it should be noted that he terms that MJ’s songs were “too stupid”  for him. Not caring to elaborate on what exactly constituted the “stupid” part in all of the celebrated Michael Jackson catalog, he goes on to state that the songs appealed to the “Lowest common Denominator.” And in the next sentence he goes on to state who or what he considered as the Lowest Common Denominator. He says After all, which college intellectual wants to share his musical tastes with grandmothers and 13-year-old girls?” Now apart from the very obvious point that so many high profile people in various capacities around the world are big fans of MJ, I am curious about one thing. If it can be considered that, say, Pink Floyd songs are not stupid (if you disagree, kindly leave this blog), and assuming that Mr. Sinha likes Pink Floyd (or if it is Kishore Kumar, feel free to substitute), then on what basis can he say that there is no 13 year old girl or grandmothers who listen to them? Because, as he himself has put it, he wouldn’t want to share his musical taste with them. I sense a generous dose of hypocrisy in here. He goes on to rationalize his way of thinking by quoting what Socrates might have said “If something was popular then it probably wasn’t good.” At this point, I would like to state that one has to understand that there is a difference between something being “popular” and something being “contemporary”. Michael Jackson was (and will always remain) popular, but he was in no way contemporary.

Other aspects dealt with in the article include his plastic surgery from black to white. And in response to this, Mr. Sinha starts “Perhaps he felt shame in being black…” Again, without making any effort in providing any information/incident that might form the basis for this personal opinion, a statement suggesting Jackson suffering from shame about his color is made. His new appearance is then broken apart and criticised for each part in the following lines and is compared to The Joker from Batman comics. But the real striking remark is made in the next line when he says : “It is arguable whether he looked HUMAN.” Criticising a person’s look is one thing. Calling for a debate whether he looked human or not is something totally different. I am not even going to respond to this horrifying and baseless personal opinion. But alas, the criticisms don’t stop there. Further personal opinion is doled out with his change in looks being termed “..a pathological attempt at self-improvement” and he then contrasts Jackson’s “self disgust” (again, this is the writer’s own inference) to America electing an African American for President. He then suddenly, out of nowhere and having offered no reason, states that “Michael Jackson really had lost touch with reality.”

And while dealing with MJ’s child molestation case, Mr. Sinha says, “.. by the time that news of Michael Jackson’s troubles with little boys came, I was ready to believe the worst about him.” Somehow I am not surprised at all. But what really put me off, was the suggestion that MJ got acquitted just because “nothing could be proved against him” and the comparison of MJ’s trial to that of the infamous OJ Simpson case when it is written ..or perhaps, like O J Simpson (who killed his wife and her lover but was acquitted), he had a sympathetic jury.” This particular paragraph, I have to say, contains as much suggestion and speculation as it lacks solid facts. He further makes an inference, again based solely on what it all meant personally to him, as to how MJ could have possibly committed the crimes by stating : the fact that he tried to change his skin colour meant to me that he lacked dignity at his core, and if he lacked that, then anything was possible.”

The main reason why I sat down to take the pains to write this long post was not just because I have always been a die-hard MJ fan. But it is mainly because of the way in which a complete editorial was dedicated to air the opinion of one man about how his preferences and opinions went against popular belief. I do understand that Mr. Sinha is a highly qualified individual who holds an extremely high post in the Indian print media. I also recognize his right to personal opinion, and being in that high position, I also recognize his authority to write an editorial to his liking. My objections to this editorial are not as much about the content of the article, as it is about it’s timing. There is always a place and time to air certain views about certain people. And writing an article such as this when the whole world is mourning the death of a star who defined a generation is definitely incongruous and wrongly timed. If anything, it is only demeaning to all the millions of fans around the world.

I now wonder. The author of the article has made comments terming Michael Jackson as a person who “lacked dignity” offering no basis whatsoever apart from his own personal opinion. And this statement is made the very next day  after Michael Jackson passed away, in the editorial of a leading national daily in India. Something doesn’t seem right. Something seems out of place. Come to think of it, I now wonder as to who it is exactly that “lacks dignity”.

Thank you M S Dhoni….

Oh man! Even before I write anything, I know this is going to be my most satisfying post ever! The way I have got it all planned out to belt the shit out of something I detest so passionately has got me licking my lips! Ah! I can almost taste the bliss! So here goes….

Yesterday, at around 9 PM, my dad came home from work and thanks to the extra-ordinarily large number of banal choices available to watch on TV, my dad chose the most banal one-NEWS. He started shifting through a few news channels, suddenly getting confused whether he was hearing echoes or just some daily repetitive news. After he realized that it didn’t really make any difference (hehe….or so he thought!), he finally settled on this particular Indian news channel that has a close relationship to a certain Print media product which I particularly detest with all my heart and soul. (Oh common! Don’t we all???) The newsreader dude was looking like he had come fully prepared to tell the entire country some earth shattering news that was supposed to leave everyone spellbound! Or in other words, this dude just looked PLAIN STONED! Stoned not as in

Stoned Indian Kid (Courtesy Vishal Patel)
Stoned Indian Kid (Courtesy Vishal Patel)

but as in

Truly Stoned (Courtesy Arctic Monkeys)
Truly Stoned (Courtesy Arctic Monkeys)

But the STONED part shouldn’t really matter now should it?

Then suddenly there is this one moment when you know Stoned News Reader is going to shift to “DRAMATIZE” gear. And thus began the tantrums…about how MSD “lost his cool” and how Viru should have been “more transparent” about his injury and how, eventually (and inevitably I may add) the BCCI is to be blamed for all of this! Stoned (and Excited…Woah! Now how is that going to look like?) News Reader was doing his best to make the (lack of ) news sound so important and necessary for all the public to know about why a Professional Cricket player playing all year round all over the world should get injured. Ok. Didn’t they realize that the answer is in the question itself? Oh I am sorry. I forgot Stoned Newsreader has an IQ less than Doley (which further implies that his IQ is lesser than that of Timmy too!).  My Bad. And so we hear Stoned Newsreader stressing (literally) and pausing (literally) at practically every syllable of every word in a practiced  and moronic attempt to let the news sink in the minds of the news watcher. And the poor newswatchers! I mean common… For a majority of them,  at the end of the day, all they need for a Delta increment in Self Esteem is to be part of a world where “important” stuff seems to be happening around them-“important” being defined by  Stoned Newsreaders Inc.!

And so as the diatribes built up, Stoned Newsreader decided it was time to take the opinion of “experts” in this matter. Here “experts” take the meaning of 3 Guest Speculators who actually make a living out of Guest Speculating. Usually these Guest Speculators are out of favor/out of talent/retired or simply forgotten cricketers. But these 3 didn’t fall under any of the above 4 categories. Instead they fell under the Professional Guest Speculator category wherein one’s main profession is to Guest Speculate on TV shows such as the one I was watching. All Professional Guest Speculators usually adhere to a script, prepared much in advance by Stoned Newsreaders Inc. And so the “discussion” went on without a hitch, with all 3 GSs strictly adhering to the script by denouncing every possible thing and person related to Indian Cricket- including Indian Cricket itself! All this while Stoned Newsreader’s face bore the Stoned & Successful expression and continued to stick to his own script as the Guest Speculators stuck to theirs. There was even a still picture on the screen which showed a prominent Red Rectangular Box on Sehwag’s pic identifying that part of the body to be a shoulder. Beside that there was a fully labelled picture of a human shoulder and its various parts! The pictures seemed to be  serving their sole purpose of helping the Stoned NewsReaders Inc to know what their script deals with.  And so everything was going on fine. But then suddenly, out of nowhere and with no warning, GS3 decided to deviate from the script and began to talk sense! And so you could here GS3 make statements like “One cannot blame MSD for his actions. It was the media that provoked him. The media should have acted more maturely by not blowing this whole thing out of proportion. His reaction is completely justified!!” Stoned Newsreader suddenly found himself in this extremely rare situation of being in front of a camera on National News Channel WITHOUT a script! He panicked and just began to shake his head in total disbelief, trying to interrupt GS3 hoping to remind him to just stick to his script and not make irrelevant statements. But alas, much to the embarrassment of Stoned Newsreader and Stoned Newsreaders Inc., GS3 continued his tirade against the media for irresponsible handling of the affairs! So much so, Stoned Newsreader almost woke up from his stoned state with a “WTF am I doing in front of a National News Channel camera when I could be  more stoned at home?” expression on his face and so he continued to shake his head-this time in complete resignation. But then suddenly, he underwent a spike in the activity (and UNstoned) part of his brain and quickly wound up the “discussion” and thanked the Guest Speculators for sticking to their scripts-well mostly. My guess is that fellow members of  Stoned Newsreaders Inc. realized that he was not so high and so infused some invisible Marijuana smoke or Meth Vapors through strategically placed smoke inlets in order to give him the temporary power to wind up the  discussion which was threatening to go out of control. Then they immediately went into a break-during which time Not-so-Stoned Newsreader had a couple of joints so that he can turn back to Stoned Newsreader and also so that he doesn’t feel the pain of his job. (Hey don’t these shit scavengers and funeral procession dudes also get high just before their job? Hmm….I am sensing a pattern here..)

And as if that wasn’t enough, the print sister of the news channel decided to go on a rampage of their own, what with they getting extra rights for having started this whole rumor in the first place!! So you had articles titled “Dhoni giving Viru a Cold Shoulder?” 😉 😉 and “Dhoni and Sehwag at Loggerheads??” or some In House Senior Dude Blog Speculator making retarded statements like “Dhoni’s Men in Blue are not in pink of health”. But what is even more incredible is the way the content is presented. Sample these:

“… reports about simmering tensions between Indian captain MS Dhoni and vice-captain Virender Sehwag are fast threatening to undermine India’s defence of the ICC World Twenty20”

“Rumour mills are abuzz that the two had an ugly faceoff during a team meeting”  –Excuse me… Doesnt RUMOR MILLS==MEDIA REPORTS==THE MORON WHO WROTE THIS ‘NEWS’ ARTICLE???

“Who is leaking the information about team fitness?” -some moron journo asks MSD.  — WTF? I mean if MSD knew who was leaking the info, would there have been any leaked info in the first place?

“MSD gave cryptic answers to questions about his awareness of Viru’s injury like “Yes I am”!” —-WTF? In all my experience of Cryptic and Direct Crosswords, I am pretty much sure there is nothing more DIRECT than a “Yes I am” as a reply to ” Are you aware of the injury?”

“The sudden announcement that Virender Sehwag is returning home due to a shoulder injury and skipper MS Dhoni’s  somewhat strange conduct at a press conference on Tuesday has generated strong speculation that the two players are at loggerheads.” — I mean common! With Professional Speculating replacing Journalism, these comments are bound to happen right??

Now this newspaper quoted Ravi Shastri as saying “It will be a miracle if India win this T20 World Cup” and then after Shastri clarified that he never said anything like that, the same newspaper puts up an article which says “Knowing how fiercely patriotic Shastri is, one could sense there was something wrong….His quotes make no mention of an miracle. Some people do have imagination!” —-Now correct me if I am wrong, but didnt the Newspaper mock itself???

And then as a spin-off in a related website, a discussion starts with the title “Is Dhoni becoming arrogant?” when the real discussion should have been “Should Guest Speculating be banned?” or “Should Stoned Newsreaders Inc. be banned as a terrorist organization?”

But what really got me laughing was a certain comment to the Blog retardedly titled “Dhoni’s Men in Blue are not in pink of health”. The article went on to portray every player in the Indian side to either be out of form or unfit to play in the T20 World Cup. Check out the following reply to that post:

After reading this article…I’m wondering if India should be playing at all? We should leave the author and his merrymen (Read Stoned Newsreaders Inc)  to carry the Indian flag – by the sounds of this article, they are the only fit 11 left.”

I would rather read FakeIPLplayer for more entertainment!

I am afraid I cannot give a link to that article or for that matter take up any names at all due to the fear of being sued. What with reading about a certain TV News Channel female journo, who specializes in Over-Dramatizations, suing an innocent blogger for his criticisms in the way she handled the 26/11 attacks. And also that time when a certain Indian Institute of Something and Something, which continues to occupy more space in newspapers than Manmohan Singh himself, suing another Blogger dude for stating some facts. And some other related nonsense.. And so I have not revealed any names. But that shouldn’t really matter now should it? All of you know exactly which newspaper and which News Channel I am referring to.

*** Sucks!!!

PS: By the way, the title of the post, thanking MSD is largely for inspiring me enough to get back to blogging after a brief hiatus. Thank you Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Good Luck.

The sudden announcement that Virender Sehwag is returning home due to a shoulder injury and skipper MS Dhoni’s

somewhat strange conduct at a press conference on Tuesday has generated strong speculation that the two players are at loggerheads.