Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Extremism Moderatism ??????

Suddenly seeing that people are going crazy over cracking CAT, I too decided to do something productive. Now the only thing I could come up with was to read newspapers. Despite being served with Hindu, that has become as symbolic of my southie experience as idly/dosas., I grumbled a lot before accepting that I had no other choice. I have tried TOI but then two things prevent me from repeating the mistake.

I actually hate reading the print version after I have read it all on the website. It’s a serving that is as stale as maybe the apples they (ne phantom and company) serve in mess.

Secondly I have a grudge for NewsCorp. that is comparable to what Finnish geeks have for Redmond. Now what has that to do with TOI. Well just about everything. I hate that Rupert Murdoch organization for reducing the whole concept of newspapers to tabloids. And to me TOI represents the ultimate mainstream tabloid in India.

I actually do not mind giving the readers what they demand. But then why is everything in extremes these days. All people these days seem to have a very severe or strong view of whatever ideologies/beliefs they have. It’s like we have “extremist extremism” or “extremist moderatism” Now this sounds vague and frankly crap. Because extremism is perceived to be extremist and moderatism has to be moderate. But then world is not that simple a place. Let’s see this same example of TOI and Hindu. Rarely has TOI had an edition without some beauty gracing its top left corner on the cover page. And with all the useful information that it supposedly provides, it has ample amount of “Page 3” content. Alas a single page is too less for the times group. So virtually every page is coloured ( am an anti-Sam so an extra “u” ) and every story spiced up that leaves little space for serious journalism. And then a cursory glance at Hindu is sufficient to experience the exact opposite. It’s the blandest newspaper that I have come across. A glossy image is a far cry as most images are just B & W. The articles are really good and it has ample amount of content to satisfy a serious reader. But then the presentation is so pathetically boring that it even a Paul Krugman column can invite a yawn. Not because of the content but the sheer anatomy of the paper. This is what according to me represents the two views I stated early. TOI is what defines to me the extremist extremism and Hindu the extremist moderatism. Now let me make it clear I am not in any way commenting on the ideologies of these newspapers, political or otherwise, but the appearance, content-priority and like. TOI is extremely brash and outspoken, something like a spoilt brat who the “moral police” (I really like this term) will condemn as an unwanted influence of the so-called Western Culture (another term that I like). Hindu on the other hand represent the good old son of the land , immersed in “Indian Culture” (or whatever). Just to distance myself from this analogy that is actually as preposterous as Karmalkar Sir’s, I will present another one. Today as an actual demonstration of my new found love for reading dull drab newspapers, I encountered an article about “encroaching on individual freedom”. Now the author was piqued about the nuisance that some people create in the name of “moral policing”. Well most sane people are for that matter. But then the author deviates from the point and goes on demanding an all out freedom to do whatever an individual deems inappropriate. People should always keep in mind that “Common sense is not so common”. If left to itself, most of organized society will be reduced to anarchy (extreme moderatism). Agreed authoritarian regimes (extreme extremism) are certainly unwelcome, but then it does not mean we have to resort to the other extreme. Why are people so hopelessly obsessed with extremism? What has happened to the thing called just “moderatism”. The moral police represent the extremist extremism but then those who oppose them always want extremist moderatism. No one is preparing to budge. Just to impress upon the fact and to show how hopelessly extremist people’s thinking has been reduced to I will quote from the article itself.

“To say that Anna University dress code barring jeans and T-shirts in all its affiliated colleges applies to both men and women is to miss the point that the appearance of men does not change significantly whether they wear jeans or plain trousers. It is the appearance of women that dress codes aim to regulate”

Now to me this Anna University has always been “an extremist (adj.) moderate (n.)”. Banning cell phones, dress codes and banning cold drinks even before the parliament banned them. There seems to be a competition among one and all to be the best (read extremist) in whatever they do. So this university is always giving indications of being the numero uno in “extremist moderation”. I am glad IIT does not fall in that category. And to be fair IIT will (according to me) fall in some alien category. It’s just damn difficult to classify it here.

So where does all this leave us with. I beg to differ, but there is no such thing as moderatism today. That precisely explains to me the difference of opinion I share with almost all around me………………………….

P.S. Just to reconfirm myself as an Indian, I will open my closet a bit. Despite all my bashing of TOI , The only good source of information/news as far India is concerned is the TOI website. It has the usual mix of glam-sham crap, but I cannot stand the bland Hindu website. Now that’s an eternal hypocrite in general, but speaking truly just a short-of-resources lazy guy.


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