Millennium Post

Only parody and bit of sing-song

Let me begin by putting across some facts clearer than ever.The epitome of arrogance is Arnab Goswami and as the Urban Dictionary puts it- he may well be the Hollister of Indian television news. Subramanian Swamy is a maverick but the BJP does not mind ‘the independence of his thoughts’ and neither will it ever disapprove of Sambit Patra’s rhetoric, no matter how rancorous it may sound.

Mani Shanker Aiyar is a Stephanian, is a known braggart and can go about calling his own party-men as insignificant somebodies. Digvijay Singh has lost the plot and is no longer the revered Congress diatribe he used to be at a point of time. His only aim in life is now to safeguard the Gandhi family from falling into a pit of existential crises especially with Rahul Baba and the very nefarious Mr Vadra. Arvind Kejriwal is neither modest nor sedate and no he does not fit the modest-are-the- hottest bill either, but he too may have a heir apparent in Ashish Khetan, who when it comes to calling out names, can go to any extent in proving his point. Ram Jethmalani and Markandey Katju know age is catching up and that is the reason why television debates have suddenly become so sullen and serious and news presenters have stopped gesticulating at them and then we are around.

There is a reason why I have made these differentiations clear at the onset of what may or may not be a long piece. These gentlemen make NEWS and we as viewers do everything to make them sound rational and that their usual hum dinging or the venerable hara-kiri of words that they might use as expletives against each other is Mozart’s symphonies for us. But wait a while gentlemen, you are not the only one who matters in this over populated country.

These news-makers have a fair amount of haughtiness attached to them. Prudence, as they may think comes only from ranting in English. And let me reiterate that when they open their mouths, they are like Alfred Lord Tennyson’s- Light Brigade charging not together but at each other. Now this tug of war is omnipotent. And why is it omnipotent? It is because, each of them are such brilliant articulators, that they themselves forget what the meaning of articulation per se is? Now just to clarify and clear matters- the Urban Dictionary puts it as- ‘The way in which someone speaks. If they have bad articulation, it is generally thought that this person is an imbecile. If they articulate themselves well, you may continue to converse with them.’

Imbecile? I think I may have very advertently used some profanity here but Mr Swamy wouldn’t disagree by my choice of words. The retrogression with which the non-conformist BJP leader talks to journalists may be scathing and insulting for Arnab Goswami but for politically-hungry and situationally warranting men like me, it is FODDER. Now imagine the kind of consternation the Times Now editor-in-chief may have had to face, when on his show, on his personal fiefdom, the former Janata Party president shouts You Liar… You Liar… and ignorant sheep (how can we ever demand an answer but anyway) like us just wistfully listen. Now, we cannot be invited to Arnab’s public indulgence of political trolling every night and certainly not raise voice.

No, I know you want to, but haven’t you read Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs? What if Arnab suddenly becomes Dr Hannibal Lecter and decides otherwise for you? I doubt if then the Aam Aadmi in Arvind Kejriwal would ever become the FBI Special Agent Clarice Stirling for you? Or even if Ram Jethmalani decides to trudge all the way to the Supreme Court, I bet you will not be able to offer him his ‘two whiskies and a little bit of ice cream.’ Now, I may be wrong, but I am assuming that a person of Jethmalani’s stature will only have a Macallan or a Glenfiddich Reserve edition for his two whiskies and Haagen Dzas or Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream. I bet you won’t be able to afford any of them so why to put yourself in a place of bother at first?

But not everyone wants to sit back and yes… ‘break chairs’ like you do. These people too function in the domain of media and instead of castigating these men of worth directly by issuing diktats like Mr Goswami does, they decide to poke some serious fun with the intended pun. I bet you missed the pun right? Now political analysis cannot only be subjected to journalistic depravity a la Times Now where in six panelists are gathered, given a situation and asked to spite at each other: left, right and centre? I mean, I used to do some very serious writing when the NewsHour used to broadcast and being in a media company you cannot just switch off the television and still pretend that you did it in the best interest of everybody. Imagine my veering levels of concentration and the recurring thoughts of using the choicest expletives- internally of course, whenever the incitement was given fuel.

But anyway, this time around ParodyNoise,a bunch of three politically incorrect music enthusiasts decided that they had heard enough of the MEN whose repartee will always go down in historical pages as a concerted attempt to beat behind the bush and not reveal their identities ever to a hungry nation.

Borrowing music from Hans Zimmer’s composition for the Leonardo Di Caprio starrer Inception, these men came out with Interrupception. Now to listen to Swamy calling Arnab, you liar… you liar… every ten seconds is like brandishing a hot iron cast as a weapon in a civilised world. Arnab of course fuming at his wit’s end looking distraught and poker faced has nowhere to go. Maybe he may have realised Mikhail Gorbachev’s dilemma when he very famously said, ‘Sometimes it’s difficult to accept, to recognise one’s own mistakes, but one must do it. I was guilty of overconfidence and arrogance, and I was punished for that.’ But Arnab being Arnab I doubt if that would have ever happened? He instead would have resigned to be a Chris Lowe or a Richard Hammond, both English and both too proud of their roots and the egotistic gratification attached with being everything English.

Attempts like this have been made in the past and the Madhu Trehan led News Laundry as also TheViralFeverVideos have done a commendable job in making these spoofs. Spoofs are a reflection of what the society thinks about you, what is their perspective and how denigrated they feel, when instead of news and some constructive discussion they are dished out an overtly dissonant battery of puerile thoughts and fancies.

Long long ago, when Arnab Goswami must have been a kid himself and when television was in all certainty an unaffordable piece of luxury in India there used to appear Walter Cronkite everyday for 19 years on the CBS Evening News. He was known as ‘America’s most trusted man’ in the 1960’s and 1970’s and had a catchphrase just like Mr Goswami does. The catchphrase, ‘And that’s the way it is,’ used to reverberate in every American ear and his voice was soothing and devoid of any ulterior effect. How I wish Cronkite could have still been alive and would have instead appeared on broadcast news in India and made the presenters as also the opinion makers understand that news and debate is not just trying to pull each other by the scruff of each other’s neck.

News instead should be the rightful presentation of facts and views but that would have mattered in the era that has passed. Unfortunately in India it’ll continue to remain the way it is and in a way it bodes well too. Because mainstream is passé, and switching to the alternative has a silver light. How soon will our newsmakers understand that television is not the shepherd and the people not the sheep is case in point. But that is not going to happen and  Jess C. Scott will continue to hold ground with thespians of the newsroom.
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