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Monday, July 17, 2006

Of Newspapers

It still makes me feel slightly guilty to admit that I rarely read newspapers anymore. A small part of it has to do with the quality of writing; another small part with my disinterest in what the President and the Prime Minister have been inaugurating. Or in the latest lies of the Bush administration. Or in gory pictures of bodies strewn across the globe. But the major reason is that the news, delivered via a newspaper, is about as fast as a slug on crutches. The TV is quick enough, if it's just breaking news you need. And the Internet even better.

The old objection of "Aah, but there's no analysis ..." loses its strength once you see the quality of the analysis and the 24-hour wait for it, by which time something else has taken centre-stage. However, I still get a couple of weekend newspapers and throw away most pages to focus on some specific parts.

This Sunday I was awarded with a couple of really good pieces that I'd recommend to those who missed them:
1. Anatomy of blasphemy laws - a fairly concise and accurate account of some of the issues by UMass Profesor Emeritus Anwar Syed (whose personal bias is only very slightly discernible and does not detract in any way from the piece).
2.We need to know, General - with all the bite and delight we have come to expect of Ardeshir Cowasjee
3. Monstrosities Inc. is a treat - Thank you, Aamna Haider Isani! The issue raised by the article needs the active support of all Karachiites. The powers that allow such stuff should be forced into setting up an Aesthetics Committee, with members from IVSAA, KSA and others, to approve the designs. Protection of these installations should also be considered a serious responsibility and maintenance money sanctioned for the occasional repair. Programs on the TV and articles in the popular press about the particular pieces and the artists would make them more appreciated and give citizens a greater sense of linkage to them.

The above articles helped, too, by filling in for the missing dose of my favourite weekly, The Friday Times. Oh, it didn't go missing this week --- it's just that I was totally shattered by its prominent featuring of (and wasting 3 whole pages on) Mushahid Husain. Yes. In TFT! So I just put the issue into the trash-can. I never thought I'd live to see him give space there - other than as part of news, or even an interview! And - aaaargh! - it's the first of a whole effing series. So I have asked Jugnu & Najam Sethi to tell me how long this will go on ... and have decided to suspend my reading TFT for the period.

It's going to be painful, I know, but there are principles involved here.

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Anonymous Ghazala said...

Zakintosh, in "Of Newspapers" you have chosen to talk about various issues ( in the same vein -so to speak - Of Newspapers themselves). Of course, in your own succinct style of writing. Brilliantly written as always.
The real reason I must guiltily confess - I get the newspapers is to indulge my daily craving for crosswords and for some cartoon strips - most notably "the wizard of Id'. The Sunday Newspapers though have some interesting reads - Ardeshir's column as well as the extremely bad writing of some of our better known "expert opinion" columists - more for their humour value than anything else.
Anwar Syed's Anatomy of Blasphemy Laws says it all -but -WHO'S LISTENING!
as for ' Monstrosities Inc.' the less said the better-
Many years ago -a similar beautification drive for Karachi was initiated by the then Mayor of Karachi and a committee comprising several beaurocrats as well as artists and aesthetes were appointed to a committee that whetted all design proposals submitted - what ensued was a huge load of c---!! Whereby the roundabout on Jail Road got converted to Murgha Chowk and - may be this one should be looked into as to whether it qualifies for Blasphemy or not was the roundabout at the junction of Tariq Road and Shahrah-e-Quaideen - A calligraphic 3 dimensional "Allah" in urdu was set up over a sewage Nallah that passes under that junction. However, the really mind blowing piece of sculpture stands outside the Punjab Institute of Cardiology - a large heart with all the veins and arteries proudly shown in anatomic detail and precision.
Come on, why can't we accept the fact that we are not an artistic nation. We have taken it upon ourselves to wilfully destroy all that was beautiful in form of verbal, artistic as in music and dance and any other form of artistic expression that has or will ever exist.

17 July, 2006 21:59

Blogger cheesoo said...

the friday times has become something of a hoity toity weekly- sure they still have the occasional investigative piece that will chop your head off but on the whole, the eliteness of it (for want of a better word) puts me off.. and ofcourse the recent nauseating editorials in the daily times with regards to our friendly dictator put the lid on this particular tin

enjoy your blog... is raagni better now?

18 July, 2006 20:15

Blogger Zakintosh said...

thanks, cheesoo, for dropping by. and i am glad my blog informed you of shamim's operation. yes, ragni is doing fine and takig care of me!

i have sent your comments re tft/dt on to najam sethi.

18 July, 2006 23:21

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19 July, 2006 06:02


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