Friday, June 11, 2004

On a lighter note

Alright, I'm working on an 'essay' (as my posts have been dubbed - when they're not being called 'fiskings') that you can all get your teeth into. These things take time, reflection, inspiration and ... well ... time, really.

How about you enjoy some palette cleansers before the next dish?


Something slithered into my mailbox yesterday. When I finished my second (incredulous) reading, I realised that the leftist world was missing out on one hell of a politician. This man was one plain-talking miracle worker. Just like the left, he promises absolutely everything that one's heart desires. Just like the left, he doesn't mention where these things will be coming from or how, exactly, he plans to attain them for you.

To wit:


International Healer and Spiritualist

"Born from a strong family of religion with over a hundred years of helping and guiding people for all kinds of problems, its solutions and how to help you solve it."
Problem: Overabundance of liquid funds.
Solution: Mr Karang and his hoovering personality, no doubt.

"For example, suffering evil influences, unknown diseases, illness, bad luck, black magic, job employment or interviews, success in exams or business."
Yep, yep, that 'job employment' problem can be a right bummer, especially in a socialist paradise where folks sun themselves whilst food and goods rain down from the sky.

"Also he can help you to bring back your loved ones who left or create new ones which didn't happen before..."
Whoa. Now THAT's a skill. Creating new loved ones which didn't happen before. Would come in rather handy at the ballot box, wouldn't it? Just conjuring up whole villages of people with one goal in life - tick the little box next to Kerang's name.

"...breaking of impotency and infertility, solving immigration problems, court cases and so on."
Now here we get to the usual policy promises - health care, keeping all the strange looking people out an prosecuting the hell out of companies, citizens who question tax legislation and anyone who looks at the government sideways.

"No matter what your problem is just contact Mr Karang in order to receive immediate results. The result is 100% guaranteed."
Just replace 'contact' with 'vote for' and you have yourself a seasoned campaigner.


Next time you find yourself on the express from Delhi to Mumbai, you'll be able to drink your contaminated water from a hand-made cup guaranteed to smash into a thousand bits when necessary.

I have more than a few problems with this article. Obviously the first is that any politician could force a railway to change what they served water in. In this case, though, I suspect that the railway might be publicly owned, so it's just one beaurorat holding the knife to another beaurorat's throat.

My second grievance lies with the fact that someone's encouraging people to throw CERAMIC CUPS out of fast-moving trains. Sure they biodegrade, meld with nature, become one with gaia and all that - but is that before or after they carve out a passerby's left eyeball?

My third grievance is more of an observation on the value of human life in this country. It is actually cheaper to have a man hand mould a ceramic cup than to have a machine press out a plastic one. What's completely disheartening is the fact that the politician ordering this horror actually wants to keep it this way, let's encourage people to do the kind of work a Plac-o-matic 2000 does elsewhere in the world.

At this rate of stagnation, the third world will become a 'back to nature' theme park for guilt-laden rich kids who paid a villager's annual salary to have their hair dreadlocked.

My last issue is the kind of thing that just leaves me making gasping, gagging noises. The kind you make when something's so obvious that you don't actually have the language to explain it, you just have to point and ... ah ... gasp and gag, really.

It centres around the fact that this move is supposed to be environmentally friendly. We're getting rid of the plastic. Bad, bad plastic. We're putting in ceramic. Good, smashy, melt-into-earth ceramic.

We're getting rid of the plastic because PEOPLE WERE PICKING THE CUPS UP, WASHING THEM AND RECYCLING THEM. I think the issue was not so much in the cups, but in votes. The 'organised gangs' who did this impromptu recycling of cups they would pick up from the carriages probably made a tidy little profit from the rewash and resale. I doubt whether there are that many (if any) votes amongst these people.

The men who produce the little ceramic cups are an entire industry. A visible, upstanding, completely-frigging-useless-in-this-day-and-age-of-plastic industry. An industry with votes.

I don't want to become cynical, I really don't, but reading the news really does make me wonder about the intelligence of a lot of the populace.

Nick has also posted something interesting about the difference between the term 'reporter' and the term 'journalist'. I like his piece but would say that I come to slightly different conclusions, namely that there's room in a newspaper for both reporters and journalists. Both fact-deliverers and opinion-deliverers. It's when we have fact-deliverers trying to taint the facts with a hidden slant or opinion-deliverers being told they must be 'balanced' that we run into problems. Stop me now before this becomes a big post all of it's own, although I have a feeling it will one of these days.


I see that this 'time saver' of a post is about as long as an essay post. Brilliant strategy Monica, brilliant.

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