Art is the proper task of life

{April 29, 2008}   This is what he is

I have wondered what he is? how is he?
He aspired to be a disciple of Rumi
A hundred thousand flaws restrained him
The broken sage fell in love with Galatea



{September 13, 2007}   Pomo in Simpsons

So I have a long history of making fun of pomos. If you don’t know what pomo is then here is a funny example from another blog. Enjoy.

Moe: Welcome to “m,” hah? Heh, heh. So, what do you think of the new joint?
Lenny: Wow, this place looks like it’s from the not-too-distant future.
Moe: Yeah. You like it, Homer?
Homer: [looking at live rabbits wiggling in harnesses suspended from the ceiling] Um, the rabbits are cute.
Lenny: Eh, that one ain’t moving. [points to a still rabbit]
Moe: [snaps, summoning an aide] Uh, change number 7.
Carl: I don’t get all this eyeball stuff. Uh, what are they supposed to represent? Uh, eyeballs?Moe: It’s po-mo! [blank stares from all] Post-modern! [more staring] Yeah, all right — weird for the sake of weird.
Guys: Oooh!

{September 10, 2007}   Spears, Spears, Dis-spears

Little miss Aliana goes to Yahoo News to find out what’s new in the world i.e., things of importance, things that matter to humanity but what is the top news? Scantly Clad, not really clad Britney Spears. Its gets even “better”, most people were concerned that she looked fat and un-hot (I know that’s not a work, Ok!). First of all why should one be concerned with Britney’s next move or how fat or how thin she looks and secondly can we please get a break from raunchville on television. Consider the following excerpt from a news story.

Stripping down to just her smalls, Britney performed a raunchy dance routine and lip-synched to her new song with a team of back-up dancers that ended in a mock-orgy.

A mock what? Did I read that correctly? There you have it people, apparently this is the most important story in the world these days, a mock orgy. It says something about the media doesn’t it. Or may be it also says something about ourselves, as a people!

Just read another example of pomo (Postmodernism) gone wrong. There is a limit to the use of euphemisms after which it starts to sound absurd. Yes one can analyze everything in terms of power structures but after a certain limit it starts to sound redundant, detrimental and even counter productive. Criticism for the sake of criticism and for sounding erudite is detrimental. I do not think that this is what Foucault had in mind when he was talking about power structures. Reading this article was like reading 1984. Consider the following excerpts.

At the beginning of his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell made clear that he thought the language had become disheveled and decadent. Intending shock, Orwell offered five examples of subliterate prose by known writers. But these selections don’t look as ghastly to us as they did to Orwell, because language is so much worse today. Consider some recent usages.

In plain English, what does it mean when students “achieve a deficiency” or reach a “suboptimal outcome?” It means they failed. A “suboptimal outcome” is even worse in a hospital. It means the patient died. The airline industry sometimes speaks of a “hull loss.” What it means is that a plane just crashed. Here’s more twisted language: your doorman is now known as an “access controller,” and a receptionist is a “director of first impressions.” Hospital bills can be filled with such language. How about a “thermal therapy unit”—an ice bag—or a “disposable mucus recovery unit,” also known as a box of Kleenex?

But the institution that wins the coveted convoluted-language award is the government—any government, in any country. A U.S. document speaks of “ground-mounted confirmatory route markers.” Translation: road signs. In Oxford, England, city officials decided to “examine the feasibility of creating a structure in Hinksey Park from indigenous vegetation.” They were talking about planting a tree to get some shade. Joyce Kilmer’s famously awful non-poem reads: “Poems are made by fools like me/But only God can make a tree.” Today, Kilmer might have to write: “Versified and rhythmic non-prose verbal arrangements are fashioned by people of alternative intelligence such as myself, but only the divine entity, should he or she actually exist, can create a solar-shielding park structure from low-rise indigenous vegetative material.”

I would recommend reading the whole article. It offers a good short primer on the abuse of language. Since language is the primary construct through which we create our worlds, manipulating language may be the best way to manipulate people. Imagine if people that out. Wait, they already have!

This gave me an idea, from now onwards I will be doing a postmodern analysis of some of my blogging friends. Lets see if you people can figure out what I am trying to say. 🙂

{April 30, 2007}   Orange’d

Gently peeling the skin of the citrine fruit, the anticipation melts away.

Spring is always near.

But am I afraid?

Life can be ironic but irony can also be life. This is Aliana’s predicament and not just her predicament but the predicament of her friends. Lets start with A. A is for Aliana. I have not been praying lately, I know that I should and I desperately need to but can’t seem to bring myself to do so. G got played and guess what it was a desi guy, a Pakistani to be exact thus proving me right – again. At least she knows what she is looking for, as for me I gave up long time ago. L has stopped writing to me but I am going to be equally stubborn and not write her back. Well what can I do? This is the way I am. J thinks that’s she can out stubborn me, guess what sister, I am the best when it comes to stubbornness. I hope there was more certainty in life. But life doesn’t work like that does it? I don’t like finding out my dependencies and when I do I have to make sure that I have to make sure that I am no longer dependent upon them. In the process I always get hurt, sometimes even severely. And with Z, well I wish for once Zeb could try to be herself.

{March 24, 2007}   Multiculturalism gone wild

This is what I call multiculturalism gone wild -legitimizing the oppression of women under the ruberic of multiculturalism.  Here is an excerpt, read the whole damn thing if you want and go figure.

Politicians and Muslim leaders denounced a German judge for citing the Quran in her rejection of a Muslim woman’s request for a quick divorce on grounds she was abused by her husband.

Judge Christa Datz-Winter said in a recommendation earlier this year that both partners came from a “Moroccan cultural environment in which it is not uncommon for a man to exert a right of corporal punishment over his wife,” according to the court. The woman is a German of Moroccan descent married to a Moroccan citizen.

The judge argued that her case was not one of exceptional hardship in which fast-track divorce proceedings would be justified. When the woman protested, Datz-Winter cited a passage from the Quran that reads in part, “men are in charge of women.”

I do not have many comments but just that its a good thing that I do not have a television at home because I feel like smashing a $@#$ television screen right now! I think its not just the judges fault, we Muslims often present such a twisted image of Islam in our culture that other take it to be Islam.

This particular excerpt form an article in the NYT made me mad, I mean really really mad.

“Pussycat Dolls Present” is about female empowerment, the show’s producers explained to a group of television writers and critics here in January,

“Everything the Pussycat Dolls are is everything that I’ve developed myself into being,” said the rap star Lil’ Kim, who is a judge on the show and who served a prison sentence for lying to a federal grand jury about a shooting outside a radio station.

For the uninitiated, the Pussycat Dolls are a female singing group whose six members slither through their music videos dressed like Barbie’s nasty cousins.

Pussycat Dolls as role models for girls? Female Empowerment? WTF. They are not dolls, they are like witches. Yes, I said Witches, Witches and Witches! (I had to get this out of my system.). Here is another excerpt.

When another male writer asked what kind of women truly aspire to the Dolls’ aesthetic, McG responded: “You must understand the fundamental paradox of a gentleman of your age asking that very question.”

He added: “Being a step backwards for women suggests it’s in the service of men. Under no circumstances is this in the service of men.”

This is what I call twisted semantics and this is exactly what Ariel Levy talks about in her book. These $@#% people have hijacked feminism. Sexuality may be one form of power but making it is the only form of power that a woman has is absurd. This is the kind of mentality that leads young girls to display themselves on debased shows like Girls gone wild. Its not the girls that have gone wild but rather the %@#$ rampant consumerism.

Although this story comes from New Zealand, it is much relevant to our lives in America and increasingly in the rest of the world too. First of all let me say that even though I dress somewhat conservatively but I do not have any problem with women dressing in (almost) any manner that they want however I do have problem with behaving in a certain manner so as to turn themselves into objects. Many of my friends are not exactly prudes and really do dress like stars but they use the special thing about them is their brains and not their looseness. The most damaging thing is that many women themselves do not consider such acts deplorable and objectification of women is being passed as the right of a women to do whatever she wants. The following except about pole dancing is disturbing to say the least.

Young women, far from sternly rising up to form feminist action groups to throw Burger King and the bikini girls off campus, appear to be themselves enthusiastic players in the slapperisation of New Zealand. In bars, managers have found that if they provide poles they don’t even have to hire pole dancers, because female patrons will do it for free.

Advertisement seems to have been reduced to sex, sex and sex.

In an environment such as this, the twin objections of feminism and moralistic concerns have become muted, leaving advertisers with a free hand. Only the most ludicrous or awful displays of women’s bodies arouse complaints, such as a recent Auckland billboard for muesli featuring a pair of giant female breasts. The tagline was “need something real?”

Of course the advertisers use such tactics because they know how to exploit the hard-wired instincts of men and women.

Ads like these, says Starr, capitalise on what is known as the “involuntary attention” phenomenon. Like a train wreck, there are some sights you cannot not look at.

“Pretty much anything involving bodies of either sex is going to have some involuntary attention because it’s hard- wired in,” says Starr.

Ads that grab attention are particularly effective for products that people don’t much care about, called “low- interest” products, says Starr. For a “high-interest” product such as a computer, consumers will research their purchase, carefully weighing up competing products before making a decision.

But no one spends much energy deciding which burger or beer or muesli bar they will buy. For low-interest products such as these, advertisers have to attract attention and create a buzz by using colour, sound or imagery. Or bodies.

The following quote is telling since it says that girls LEARN such behavior. I was in a store the other day and came accross the Bratz dolls that the article mentions, I mean the dolls are ugly. Its not just what you are dress but how you are dressed makes a difference. I mean look at Princess Arial, she looks cute innocent but for Bratz, I hope they burn in hell.

Girls “learn to treat themselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated for their appearance”, said the report.

The cultural influences are everywhere – from highly sexual music videos, to Bratz dolls dressed like hookers, to girl mags with their focus on boys and “crushes”, to sexually exhibitionistic celebrities such as Britney Spears. In school playgrounds, eight-year-old girls can be heard singing The Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’tcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me”.

{January 30, 2007}   Sell Your Life on the Internet

I am not really sure what to make of this. Even the person who did this is not sure why he did it, so it won’t be right for me to deconstruct his motives for his actions.

A 24-year-old Australian surfer who sold his life, including baggage from a painful break-up, on eBay says he is still not quite sure why he did it.

Nicael Holt sold his name, phone number and all his possessions, including clothes, CDs, a surfboard, a laptop, a wonky pushbike, childhood photos and a “nice lamp” given to him by an ex-girlfriend, on the internet auction site.

It gets weirder here. Just the fact that his family and friends agreed to participate in this ‘experiment’ makes it all the more interesting (in a weird way of course).

In his sales pitch, Holt said the winner would be entitled to a four-week training course in how to be him — including lessons on how to surf, climb, skateboard, fire twirl and do handstands — as well as two months of on-call support afterward.

He also promised to introduce the winner to all his friends and potential lovers, including eight people he had been flirting with.

I must however say that his actions do raise important questions about the question of identity. None of this really makes sense except one fact which does makes sense i.e., Holt is a Philosophy student.  Don’t worry gals and guys, I won’t do such a thing unless ….. just kidding.

et cetera