Stay ahead of the Times

Apparently, Times of India launched an attack on ‘The Hindu’ with it’s ‘Put’s you to sleep’ campaign. I am not currently in India (I am just stating that matter-of-factly. No ‘Peter’ there.), and hence hadn’t seen the campaign. I don’t know how popular of an ad(vert)(isement) it was, considering, I did not see it do any rounds on Facebook. See, these days, if something is mainstream, and worth sharing, more often than not, it ends up being shared on Facebook.

So, then apparently, in something uncharacteristic of it’s own self, and to the surprise of many, shock of some, and dismay of quite a few (‘The Hindu’ loyalists specifically.), ‘The Hindu’ launched a counter-offensive. Now, if sharing on Facebook is anything to go by, this campaign has been hugely successful. Only after this came out, did i even have the curiosity to find out how TOI had wronged ‘The Hindu’.

This is the ad that I found on YouTube,

Times of India readers may skip the following discussions, and head straight to the videos, and are advised to look at related videos on YouTube instead of reading the ensuing discussion. That should keep you occupied for a while.

Maybe, we should take a closer look at what the ad is trying to convey,

  • Someone is declaring a building open.
  • A local sports team (no points for guessing Cricket), is posing for a photo with a Shield.
  • Random wrestlers are shown.
  • There is some sort of a rally. (I am assuming)
  • Free TV’s are being given away.
  • There is a police/RSS morning drill.
  • Somebody declares open a factory.
  • Water problem is shown, with people waiting near a water lorry.

(*Not an exhaustive list, I am afraid)

And then they say, ‘Stuck with News that puts you to sleep‘ ?, followed by brisk music, followed by ‘Wake up to the Times of India

In all these a person wearing a half-shirt, and dhoti is shown sleeping. Now, I am not sure if it is supposed to be the reporter, or the reader that’s shown sleeping. First things first, are they claiming that ‘The Hindu’ is reporting on dead and boring issues like the ones mentioned above ? If yes, then how on earth could the reporter be sleeping ? If it’s the reader they are talking about, it takes some imagination I tell you – which makes one wonder – ‘Will TOI readers even get the implied meaning ?’

Secondly, if TOI claims that these are boring things to be reading about, then they have clearly made a gross mistake with that kind of a portrayal. Why would a local team winning a shield be unimportant ? Have you seen the crowds ‘Manchester United’ or ‘FC Barcelona’ attract when they play local club games ? Here in the US, the university I attend, (or for that matter any University) is crazy about the university team. So, why would it be so wrong to publish news about the community you live in ? Why would political rallies, and giving away of free TV’s be unimportant ? After all, India is going to the dogs because of it’s poor state of politics, and as a tax payer, I was very much concerned and worried even, when freebies were being given away as part of the election campaign. Are these issues unimportant ? While declaring open of factories and buildings might not be the most interesting pieces of articles, think about the employment that the factory might generate in the local community, and it certainly becomes news worthy.

Keeping the above in mind, I think it is only fair that, ‘The Hindu’ launched a counter offensive. And, did they launch a good one at that. The first advertisement that I saw, was quite remarkable, and as I was telling a friend of mine, the only question to which I did not know the answer was the last one. Not surprising, I think. ūüôā Anyway, here are the links,

This one was by far the best (IMHO), and looked very natural,

A couple of chinks in the armor though,

  • By explicitly stating that so many people read a competing news-paper, ‘The Hindu’ is kinda shooting itself in its own foot. Especially considering, it is mostly the younger generation almost seems like they are admitting to being boring. Well, I am young, and I don’t think it’s boring, but still,….
  • Couple of other things struck me, as odd – some of the answers definitely did not seem natural – especially in one of the later ad’s. Where someone is asked which band Paul McCartney was associated with – believe me, if someone knows of ‘The Doors’, they in all likelihood know about ‘The Beatles’
  • I couldn’t help but notice that girls, were portrayed slightly dumber than the guys. Well, they are all being portrayed as lacking vital knowledge, but still, I felt that it was a tad against the lassies.

Couple of other videos,

Also, read about it, and see the print ad’s here.

All said and done, I consider ‘The Hindu‘ to be a much better newspaper than. ‘The Times of India’. So much so, that I did not even want to use the names of the two newspapers in the same sentence there. (If you noticed. ;)) While, I was back in India, we always bought ‘The Hindu’ in our house. Occasionally, ‘The Indian Express’ as well. On Sundays, sometimes my dad would also get the ‘Sunday Times’, and that had pages and pages of celebrity gossip and all the other ‘light’ news items – enough to last us a week. ūüėÄ I can’t imagine reading that daily.

P.S: The writer (yes, that would be me) has always taken a strong stand on good and serious journalism. If someone’s purpose is to entertain, rather than inform, then maybe they should try out being a VJ or a reality show host. (no dearth of those things these days) By insisting that you are a serious journalist, you are kidding yourself, and putting other journalists to shame.

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India vs Pakistan Semi Final:Get Used To The Tension

Well, it’s all set. Everybody is talking about it. Every news channel you tune into, every random blog on the internet, including your’s truly’s. It’s everywhere. There is talk that a number of offices are airing the match live at their premises. Great news. I still think most people will be anxiously looking at their wrist-watches, wall-clocks, cell-phones and what not, for the time to strike 2:30 tomorrow. Of course, there is the toss before that.

Well, I am sure people are already making detailed predictions, which will later translate to I-Told-You-So. There are still others who believe the entire thing is fixed anyway (psst.. conspiracy theorists.). When people ask me, I tell them, to their chagrin, that wait till the game is over tomorrow and I will tell you the result. ūüôā Well, there is no point in really trying to device an algorithm to predict who will win. If there ever was an ICC ranking for ‘Most Unpredictable Team’, I am sure Pakistan would top the table, with India not that far behind. So, there.

I don’t know about what each team has to fear in its opponent, but here’s a list of what each team should be worried off inside their own camps,

Pakistan should hope that,

  • Shoiab Akhtar doesn’t play. Sure, he makes a good football goalkeeper, and runs in like a SUV without brakes, but will he be able to make early inroads ? Doubt it.
  • No one spots Afridi chucking. Well, yes, I said it. How can a Pakistani spinner, who can also spin the ball, bowl 130+ Kmph, when India’s own Anil Kumble couldn’t manage so much. Heck, Munaf Patel can’t bowl as fast.
  • That the players use Soda Moodis (read, soda caps), Zippers in trousers (I heard they discontinued that), for intended purposes only, and not to remove a good amount of the Cricket balls surface. They should also really hope that Afridi stays away from the Ball during the drinks break. Here’s why.

India should hope that,

  • Sachin plays well, but doesn’t make a century.
  • Yuvaraj Singh is awake on the pitch. And is not in a foul mood.
  • That Gambhir will ground his bat when he runs between wickets, and will run between wickets only when there is a run. Well, you need to have seen the ‘Quarter Final vs Australia’ to understand this. See this anyway.
  • That the Indian middle order does not behave like a Cycle stand. (to quote Sidhu)
  • That Ashish Nehra doesn’t play. What good could ever come of that ?

In any case, let there be a good match, and may the best team win. [cliche]

Oh, and here’s a video I found on my friend’s wall (on Facebook of course), which is nicely made.

About PaD: In an endeavour to well, make some of my transient thoughts more permanent, I thought I’d write a post-a-day. Well, generally short. But occasionally, well, longer.

BIGFlix Advertisement

This advertisement is really funny. First we have this guy making fun of Ranbir Kapoor in Saawariya (which is a movie one should never watch in his/her lifetime. Hence it deserves all the ridicule one can manage to make of it) The matrix impersonation with a stuffed toy is lame. However the end Dard-E-Disco is again funny. This time over, they poke fun at Shah Rukh Khan and his movie Om Shanti Om. Worth a watch.

BIGFlix is owned by Anil Ambani. So yet another Reliance product. Big Bucks or Big flicks ? Who cares, we have p2p. ūüôā

Umpires under the scanner again

Some News Channels were flashing the Sachin Tendulkar dismissal again and again and again today. I will have to say it was NOT OUT and even Ian Chappel agreed to it. Asad Rauf did make a mistake. But having said that, cut the umpires some slack. They are humans too and you just sacked the two umpires from the previous match. (Steve Bucknor and that other bloke who asked Ricky Ponting for his take on a dismissal-Marc Benson.)

The Raging Technology Debate:

This is one debate I wouldn’t like to take a stand on. Whether to use technology for umpiring decisions is a big decision.

The things that go in favour of implementing technology to a greater extent are:

  • More and more bad decisions are coming to the fore because of the technology that the commentators use.
  • Software like Hawk-eye use sophisticated missile ballistics to make decisions.
  • When you have it, you might as well use it.
  • Sometimes one bad decision can turn a game around completely. (Which is why people were incensed the last match.)

Things that go against implementing technology completely include:

  • Umpires will be mere on-field spectators then as they would not have any role to play.
  • The tradition of the game will take a hit. ūüėČ (Some people are very touchy about such things.)
  • The new technology no matter how good is not always 100 % correct.

It’s hard to say. But the way it’s all going and what with good umpires becoming too old (Bucknor, take my advice and retire.) and not many good umpires coming up the ranks, technology is going to butt in.

Arnab Goswami-Other views

I first wrote about Arnab Goswami here:

 Contender #1 for worst Indian journalist РArnab Goswami

Some people feel strongly that I am overtly polarised and am not being fair to this bloke here. Further, as I am no accomplished writer myself, there is some doubt about the credibility¬†I lend to opinions on others. So I thought I’d quote someone else who thought on similar lines atleast.

Excerpts from ‘The Insufferable Shouting Brigade’¬†by Amita Malik, featured in Sight & Sound in The Tribune:

 

SOME years ago, there was a political group in Parliament which went by the rather unflattering title of The Shouting Brigade. Ironically, some of them have since become political spokespersons on television and continue to shout, not allowing others to speak, mostly when they are losing an argument which is one of the specialities of the BJP.

But it is not about them that I use the title this week but, also ironically, about some of the best-known anchors on Indian television.

I have by coincidence met a number of discriminating, sophisticated viewers (one of them a distinguished author) who take their viewing seriously. They expressed their views quite independently at different small gatherings in private homes and they all had a similar complaint which they wanted me to convey in this column. They felt that some established anchors make themselves intolerable by first shouting and then interrupting participants in their programmes. They voice more opinions of their own than give enough time to the participants to develop their arguments.

On top of the list were Rajdeep Sardesai and Arnab Goswamiof NDTV 24/7, Times Now respectively. And I was not altogether surprised as I had recently often felt uncomfortable about their new aggressiveness, where plain emphasis (a speciality of Tim Sebastian), which is legitimate, is replaced by perpetually raised voices (mostly Rajdeep‚Äôs) and rude interruptions(Arnab‚Äôs) which seem contrived. This is a new style of aggressive anchoring which is not half as effective as the more balanced and quietly effective style of Vikram Chandra or, of course, the relaxed authoritative style of Prannoy Roy. In this context I find embarrassing, and positively childish, the publicity gimmick of Sardesai throwing a dart to emphasise the belligerent attitude of his weekly programme, The Big Fight. Watching this programme with extra care last week, I found that the raised decibels are initiated at the start by Sardesai himself, who shouts more like a neta addressing an open-air political meeting than a sophisticated anchor who knows the use of the microphone. With the tone set, most of his panellists start shouting too, and, incidentally, Sardesai often chips in with more views of his own than those of the participants. That it is possible to be a panellist in this programme without shouting loudly was proved by both Alyque Padamsee (a theatre person he knows the use of his voice) and the editor of Loksatta. Both spoke emphatically but without shouting like Sardesai and the Shiv Sena participant who, however, was much more amiable than some of his party colleagues and even smiled occasionally. As for Arnab Goswami, he seldom lets a participant complete a sentence before arbitrarily butting in. One feels at times that the anchors have been given a directive to be aggressive and shout, no matter what. But I cannot believe that because the majority of anchors and reporters on NDTV 24/7 manage to keep their cool, and their voices under control”


 

Enough said!!

Rahul Dravid in the Gillette Advertisement

I was recently browsing TV channels (It’s becoming something of a hobby now) when I saw Rahul Dravid in the Gillette¬†advertisement. While it is not at all surprising that cricketers come in advertisements (actually they tend to¬†consider their cricketing career as side jobs focussing more on advertisements.), what was surprising were the other people in the advertisement:

Thierry Henry

Tiger Woods

Roger Federer

Whoa!! While Thiery Henry might not be the Roger Federer of soccer, Roger Federer and Tiger¬†Woods are a class apart when it comes to Tennis and Golf. So I was wondering how¬†Dravid even featurd in the advertisement along with these gentlemen.¬†¬†I mean Dravid is a good cricketer no doubt, but you cannot draw parallels between this¬† chap and federer now can you ? Even if it was Sachin Tendulkar, I’d have my own doubts. But Dravid isn’t even India’s best batsman let alone the world’s.

I searched the internet for pictures of the same and here’s what I found:

Gillette

Photo sans Dravid. Ah, so that’s the deal. They just showed Rahul Dravid between overs in television when cricket matches were being telecasted. Otherwise, he is absent from the campaign in other countries I guess.

Here is a YouTube videos (again Dravid is missing):

Gillette Champions

Apparently its called ‘Gillette Champions’¬†and Dravid is featured in Cricket. Here’s the photo I found in their site.

Gillette Champions 

¬†Also, the ‘Fusion Power’ razor is not yet in India. (It’s got 5 blades!! Whoa)

Doctor No ??

So I was having my exams and as always, I switched on the TV while I was having my food to browse through channels to find out whats going on in the world around me. (Normally I am oblivious to the happenings around me. I sleep a lot and when I wake up, things have changed!! I hate that.) So I am flipping through channels, click click….click, and I heard a voice I have come to know as the falsely heightened voice of none other than the famous Arnab Goswami. A false sense of excitement in his voice to woo viewers.

Red Cross

 

Whats the issue about ? Some Medical college students striking for some reason…. (Hey I was flipping through channels. So don’t blame me if I don’t know what exactly was going on.) Excerpts from the interview:

 

MSR:We dont think this is right……(About¬†the doctors being forced¬†to do one yer compulsory rural service.)

A  G:  Mr. MSR You are saying that you are against this one year rural service. If the Government decides to give you a job in AIMS instead of the rural job with twenty thousand rupees a month, guaranteed, then would you still strike ?

MSK: ???? (Doesn’t know what to say.)

All I want to ask Arnab is How many years of rural reporting have you done ?.¬†¬†How many villages have you been to in India addressing the issues of the people. All you fagots care about is masala news. Who kissed who in Bollywood and what its implications are on the country!! If the Government was to say that no journalist can become a TV reporter without five years in rural reporting, would you agree to it ? Jackass!! If every television channel was told, that they have to have one reporter in every village, in order to be invited to press conferences, would you agree to that as Editor-in-Brief TIMES NOW ? Do you know how difficult it is to do a medical course you dumb ass? Why didn’t you try ? All you wanted to talk of was which celebrity got a boob job on TV didn’t you ? These guys sweat it out for 5 years and they have every right to earn more than you do. So buzz off and seriously, get a job man!! You clearly suck at this.

Mujhse Shadi Karoge, Dr Ramadoss!

Whats the issue ? “One year‚Äôs¬† compulsory rural service based on the recommendation of the Planning Commission, who recommended public service mandatory for all graduates from government medical colleges. ” You crazy old freaks. You take our fees and run colleges. You bloody swindle money in the process. Capitation fees, dues. Bloody hell, you buy contraceptives with our fees. And you say we have to compulsorily serve in rural areas ?? Guys on the planning commission, seriously, you too buzz off!!

Why isn’t the same imposed on IIT and IIM graduates ? How many IIT guys go into research anyway ? Why don’t¬†you introduce a clause saying every IIT graduate will have to do R&D for an year in Govt. centres or better still work in rural areas to sort out problems¬†there. I am sure they will accept your proposal. ¬†Evereyone wants to make a quick buck in today’s world. Thats all. Why should doctors alone be punished ?

 Legends:

MSR: Medical Students Rpresentative

A  G: Arnab Goswami