Controversial Advertisements

I was just browsing the BBC Feed and came upon this article about a controversial RyanAir ad. It’s pretty obvious what they’re trying to pull here, but frankly, it’s not all that offensive or anything. I’ve always wondered about people who get offended by stuff like this – what are they thinking? Perhaps, Oh my god, teenage girls will think they’ll get low fares if they dress like that! or maybe They’re insulting the dignity of the young women of the country. They are against British culture.. I can just imagine what would happen if those ads were displayed here. Actually, I don’t have to, I just know there’ll be more car accidents.

We have a strange dichotomy, there’ll be women in wet saris running around trees and wrapping themselves provocatively around the male leads of the movies but the slightest word about anything and cultures will suddenly become offended, women will become insulted and the world will go wrong. What a pathetic bunch of desperate people, here’s a point for you sociologists – this is what happens to people who can’t get any and really really want some. Face it, sex sells, and you like it that way. It’s like those little kids who do something and then act all sanctimonious about the whole thing in the hope that they’ll be the last person suspected.

Of course no one’s falling for RyanAir’s hilarious story explaining just why they aren’t going to be withdrawing the ad. If anyone goes out into the London streets dressed like that they’ll get frostbite, and pneumonia, and just die of exposure.

Here’s the offending ad.

Justice comes albeit delayed

They got them in the Bilkis Bano case. Finally. I know it takes time, but 6 years is long and if we think it isn’t then there’s something wrong with the system. I hope those psychopaths get put behind bars for ever. Sadly the guys who incited them will probably get away. Such is life, we must feed on the small fish sometimes.

Fancy Vehicles

LexusLately they’ve been a lot of expensive cars going around Madras. The other day I saw a Lexus turning at the Cancer Institute signal, and today I saw a Suzuki Hayabusa today in front of my college. Man that thing looks beautiful!

A long while ago I saw a BMW parked outside the Audits office near DMS, it’s obvious what auditing is going on, eh? Okay okay, it was a really old vehicle. Then there’s Shray’s convertible, damn it, it’s enough to make you cry, looks freaking awesome. Lots of people with very expensive cars around here. Its funny, where’s all the money coming from? Give me some too!

And a UN High Commissioner for Refugees Land Cruiser in Gandhinagar? He must’ve been driving cross-country across the Gandhinagar club grounds or something or there’s no way they would use something as wasteful as that to drive across the cities. It’s the UN! It cares!

Are we really so sensible?

A few days ago, when Bhutto was assassinated, I mentioned how there were countries worse off than us. The conversation veered to how Indians in general consider their culture rather great and illustrious. Adithya said,
Only the politicians and the press claim that we are upcoming super powers. Ordinary citizens like you and me know that it is not so.

Maybe, though I doubt it, but there’s more to it than just that. The majority of Indians I have met have an abnormal sense of pride in their country, and in its so-called ‘culture’. It’s almost unhealthy, the way people go around talking about how the Vedas contain so much information, or about how Indian culture is so much superior to other culture. I always suspected that this is not normal behaviour, and is endemic to India, and now the statistics seem to support that claim. The Pew Research Centre’s Pew Global Attitudes Project did a nice big survey over some 47 nations asking, among other questions, whether the respondents thought that their culture was superior to others. It’s hardly surprising that the people who you’d expect to be insecure score highest (click for all the results, the values are percentages, going left to right from completely agree to completely disagree)

Pew - Is your culture superior - survey - thumbnail

Such self-importance is unbecoming of ‘one of the oldest civilisations in the world’. It’s not surprising that there is so much fundamentalism in this country, such belief in superiority reinforces any nationalist tendencies these people may have. Really now, the only reason one should wish to support one’s country is the desire to defend the way of life that one wishes to have; emotional attachment to an arbitrarily demarcated piece of land and the people there is a throwback to tribal ways. One would hope that civilised society has passed that stage, but then, are we civilised at all?

It’s no surprise that the poorest of countries are also the ones who chose to believe that their ‘culture’ is superior to other countries’, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Nationalistic spirit seems to be a substitute for real development, the soul of soulless circumstances, to borrow a nice phrase. Unsurprisingly, these superior cultures are also the ones that seem to be in most danger of being overrun by unwashed philistines. The smart people at Pew wanted to know how many believed that their way of life needed to be protected, and guess what?

I’m not very surprised, though I am rather disappointed in those 2000 odd people who answered for us.

Update: Should’ve linked to the study straight. Here you go.

Funny, I thought this was a safe neighbourhood

Well, apparently it wasn’t. Some chain-snatchers style guys grabbed her phone from her hand as she was walking on the road. They were on a motorbike and managed to get away. Typically, we don’t have the serial code for that phone so tracking it is impossible. I don’t know though, I thought Gandhinagar was a reasonably safe place, the occasional murder notwithstanding, so this is a bit disturbing.

However, this just reminded me of how a couple of days ago I was walking down the street and it was dark (there are few streetlights here) and there was this schoolkid walking behind me. Except I, being the paranoid[1] nutcase that I am, I did all the classic tricks to confront the fellow. Of course he turned out to be just a schoolkid, but better safe than sorry, eh?

What I don’t understand is why the mobile phone companies don’t simply triangulate the signal and locate the phone (It’s still on, one of my aunts was trying to reach my mom). Surely it’ll be remarkably trivial, I can see a whole industry around triangulation though, location-sensitive advertisements, faux-GPS,… Ah, if only I had a couple of millions.

[1] No really, paranoid like mad. I treat everyone as guilty until proved innocent, always place my phone in my front pocket, under my handkerchief and the papers I carry, do checks on my wallet, watch my luggage out of the corner of my eyes on long trains, see a robber in every man who doesn’t look well off.