26.12.08

The Media.



























The Media is very powerful. They shape our perceptions of everything, and most of us without a critical self reflective attitude absorb everything they throw at us. It is most dangerous when "simple minded" people become absorbed by them. Most dangerous indeed.


There was a comedy on British television, called "Mind Your Language" which ran from 1977-1979. It was a comedy which indulged in the British pastime time of ridiculing foreigners, in their stereo-typical mannerisms of two dimensional characters. It was comedy meant for the working class native British masses in the UK as it dealt with simple comforting stereo typical views of foreigners, and at one level one can dismiss such comedy as harmless fun, where several nation are also made fun of (The native English characters are reasonably respectable---a slightly frigid female principle, but nothing else) . At another level real life can sometimes imitate art, and a lot of simpletons can and do take such shows seriously, as representing the reality, which was probably the reason the show was later canceled by the producing British channel, even though it was very popular with the British public.

I focused on the South Asian characters. They of course are caricatures of South Asians, since South Asians, especially amongst the immigrants in the UK don't behave like that. Most are very hard working, with many now very successful, and most certainly wouldn't have the time and energy to attend evening classes, learning "Hinglish" and arguing with each other openly in front of the whole class. And because most good South Asians in the UK are too busy trying to be successful.

Most Indian immigrants to the UK already had basic working knowledge of English to get by in most work environments.

One can take such characters seriously, or not seriously depending on ones point of view. The program was of course very racist, and subsequently stopped after two years.......and the South Asian characters come across very badly, constantly arguing with each other in a effeminate childish way, which in reality is not the case with South Asians in Britain.

I remember the show specifically because the lines on the show was constantly reminded to me at school over 30 years ago: "A thousand apologies"----the Indian Ranjit Singh (Sri Lankan actor), and "Oh dearie me" the Pakistani (Bangladeshi actor!).....and of course the very old favorite, "Goodness Gracious me"...............so a comedy? Ahem...not for me. The lines from that show were used to ridicule me, and I hated it, as I am sure any self respecting South Asian would growing up in Britain at that time would have.


Incidentally most of my associates at university in the UK were clean shaven Jat Sikhs, and I wasn't aware that Asians overtly clubbed together on the basis of nationality, at least at university.

I watched a few episodes to pass the time last Wednesday on a British online website? What was I thinking? Christmas, nostalgia maybe, after 30 years of the passage of time and because of the memories of British secondary school, the 1970's generally, and the curiosity of youth trying to fit into an alien society. But now this is all no longer relevant, and without a care from those self conscious and impressionable teenage years.

If RAW and the ISI are monitoring my computer, perhaps they can pass on copies of the episode of the program to their respective governments, and point out the utter comedy, indignity and absurdity of the Indian and Pakistani characters, and in the case of the two countries where life sometimes imitates art, the utter stupidity of it all now, after the events of Mumbai.

You need more than 30 days to sort out 30 years of mess in Pakistan Mr. Singh, even after providing the full evidence to the other party, about Mumbai terrorism. If India has endured this for the better part of 18 years from Kashmir first, then there should not be a rush to rattle the saber. Threats do not constitute serious diplomacy.

*****
(Pakistani mess= The decision by General Zia ul-Haq to Islamise Pakistan under Sharia law; back, arm and train Islamic fundamentalist groups in Afghanistan at the urgings of the Americans/British---Brzezinski, General Robert Walker UK army, etc)

So in my case another good reason not to watch ANY TV or cinema, since who knows what 'simpletons' might be watching.

New years resolution.