Tis the Season (for the Slip Twixt The Cup and The Lip)


Amidst the continuing wikileaks saga, we Indians have had a bit of a foobar here in the media with a corporate lobbyist and a corporate titan airing (a bit more clearly) the various metaphorically-incestuous relations that abound between media, business and the government. it’s like an art-imitates-life version of paddy chayefsky’s network, summed up best by my favourite english language journalist, P. Sainath

Whether it is gas, spectrum, or mining, luxury private townships or other dubious land deals, the last 20 years have seen the consolidation of corporate power on a scale unknown in independent India. It would be wrong to disconnect the Radia tapes from this background. From pitching for licences, mines and spectrum using money and media power to pitching for ministerial candidates and portfolios by the same methods is not a huge leap. The same period has also seen the emergence of media themselves as major corporate entities. Today, we often have seamless movement between the personnel of some economic or financial newspapers and non-media corporations. An assistant editor goes off to Company ‘A’ as a PRO, returns in a more senior post to the same newspaper. Next, goes on as chief PRO, or maybe even as chief analyst or a business manager to a bigger corporate. But the newspaper’s door is open for his or her return, perhaps as resident editor.

The dominant media are not pro-corporate or pro-big business. They are corporates. They are big business. Some have margins of profit that non-media outfits might envy. Media corporations are into hundreds of businesses beyond their own realm. From real estate, hotels, mining, steel, chemicals, rubber and banks to power and sugar. Even into private treaties with other corporations in whom they acquire a stake. On the boards of India’s biggest media companies are also top corporate leaders. Some who find places on the Governor’s Forums of the World Economic Forum. Others heading private banks. And then there are top political leaders who directly own vast media empires. Who can hold ministerial portfolios (affecting these domains) while running their media fiefdoms. The dominant media are not pro-establishment. They are the establishment.

emphasis mine, though there is a bit in the article that my tinkering overshadowed.

to add a bit of context, these tapes have come out in the investigation into the sleazy actions of a recently excommunicated member of the Cabinet of Ministers, who handed out favours in charge of the telecom portfolio.

It’s a rather unhealthy time for our politicians, seeing as the Chief Minister of the state I live in also quit after a year of doing nothing, and members of the recently sworn-in state cabinet providing additional drama by quitting a bit later. and one of the richest and most corrupt politicians in the state has split off from the government to form his own party. And later on towards the end of the month is awaited a report that has kept this place uncomfortable for a year – the decision to carve out two states out of what now exists as a single one.

Happy December, everyone! If I’m alive, I will see you on the other side (and maybe make a few posts along the way!)

on the arundhati roy thing^

is it not obvious that this is purely a media spectacle, and it’s sudden appearance should ask people to look closer at why such spectacle is being promoted at this time suddenly, when there have been political engagements going on at all levels of society in the much-affected kashmir valley? it certainly gets my spidey-sense tingling. there’s a glitch in the matrix. if there is anything i have learned over my exposure to news lo these 10 years, it is that if the corporate (and govt. run) media is deliberately focussing on one particular issue, one can be sure that the actual issue is somewhere else. you do not have to be noam chomsky to figure that out.

anyways. regardless of the content or tone of her words, and discounting the fact that she is a minor celebrity since she a) won a booker prize a while back and b) articulates a radical left-of-center view in good prose, this sudden attention seems to me an obvious ploy to pre-emptively discredit any and all leftist thought and action on the issues faced by kashmiris by equating, rather falsely, any demands for justice(which are definitely warranted) as an act of sedition* and thus ending the possibility of any real dialogue by drowning the concerned populace in a sea of parochial nationalism branded as patriotism.

(^ = if you are wondering what the arundhati roy thing is, google news is your friend)
(* = as someone tending towards anarchism[in the language of calculus] , the concept of sedition does not fempute )

What you can do


Jumping headfirst into some stereotype of social activity — whether it is soup kitchens or civil disobedience — is rarely a prescription for long-term engagement. Often this ignores possibilities already present in our lives, and attempts to supplement what we are already doing with “something meaningful.” But adding another all-consuming activity to the menagerie of obligations attending work and home life is unlikely to be sustained in the longer term — with that which earns one’s livelihood prevailing in the end.

Crossroads suck

Why then, must we face so many of them?

Apart from the fact that I am prone to the odd anxious moment when faced with mundane choices, i have never felt as anxious as this moment – facing an imminent end to the structured life of college and classes and curricula and the start of a new life filled with the chaos and uncertainty expected in an entrepreneurial venture. even though it’s in a field i love, and have trained for lo these 3 years, i guess i still have not reconciled myself to the fact that i am taking up a rather serious responsibility. Not to get too emu, but i will really miss the fun-filled and (more importantly) relatively irresponsible life i have led so far.

here’s hoping it all turns out well, and i am glad i have the family and friends i do to help me along the way :)

all i want for christmas…

is a Nikon D3, but that’s not what this post is about. I spent a substantial part of the day shooting a Canon 1D MkIII. it’s what news and particularly sports photographers generally tote around, hidden behind their monster lenses. one of my classmates happens to own one. i had a damn near religious experience. shooting was a joy (not that it isn’t with my D200, but even more so than usual) and there were no niggles whatsoever.

it’s almost instant focussing(it helped that he owned 2 dead sexy lenses) and that big fat vertical grip make it a joy to use… and the image quality is expectedly awesome(better be at those prices). oh, and you should hear it fire away at 10frames-a-sec.

while the 1D MkIII is many kinds of amazing, i dont get the canon interface paradigm at all. the ferris-wheel took some getting used to and for some reason it was setup so that you had to change both aperture and shutter values with the same dial and a button-press. why is this even possible? also the custom function menu interface is so 2001. please canon, implement a nice little ‘help’ button like nikon does on all it’s cameras so that there is a decent explanation of what exactly the function is supposed to do.

oh, my point is that if i can have so much damn fun with a canon, i can only imagine what it would feel like if it was actually a nikon :-D

help a photographer out, buy me a D3! or at least a battery grip so i can pretend to roll with the big boys:-p


in the spirit of thanksgiving, i would like to thank the gems of R&D at Kodak in Rochester for developing the Endura Pro Metallic Paper. I just had a couple of prints made at 8×12″ size to test it out(as it costs twice what a regular print does) but I am FLOORED! the two images (from the still life series) were very beautifully rendered and have a distinctly 3D feel to them that was lacking in previous glossy and matte-finish prints on either Fuji or Kodak paper. I was considering custom – i.e, digital inkjet – printing my final collection, but Endura has lured me back into the optical fold.

if you dont get what this is about, run out and get your favourite photo printed at a minimum of 11×14″ size and ask for a ‘metallic’ print. gorgeosity should emanate from the print.

commentator FAIL!

And where, again, did you say you got your Ph.D. in economics, the Chicago School or the London School of Economics? Why do liberal hacks like you pretend to know anything whatsoever about the economy when you have no background in, say, economics? Being an op-ed columnist simply means someone is employing you to write opinions. There is no requirement that your opinions be grounded in fact or sound theory. A disclaimer to that effect would be helpful.

Moderator’s Note: Mr. Krugman received his B.A. from Yale University in 1974 and his Ph.D. from MIT in 1977. He has taught at Yale, MIT and Stanford. At MIT he became the Ford International Professor of Economics. For more, click here.

Posted by O.D. Stinson