Daily Archives: December 2, 2010

Stage managed events

Usman Ahmad

Stage managed events, speeches, ceremonies and the like have always been a part and parcel of political life – designed to thwart investigation and comment and present an extremely filtered and polished image of the political classes. They are the arena in which masterful politicians and spin doctors contrive to manipulate the media and thereby the general public. In the Regan era, he and his media guru, Michael Deaver, were consistently brilliant in their capacity to present Regan against a flattering backdrop and seldom did a poor picture of the president or a weak sound bite enter the consciousness of the American people. In the era of ‘Spin’ in the UK, Tony Blair and his now ubiquitously labeled ‘New Labour cronies’ were so manipulative that many remember their time in government more for its public relations and rhetoric than policy and substance.  One of the most memorable instances of this was in Tony Blair’s very first day in office, when images of him entering Downing Street mobbed  by massive crowds were flashed across the globe. Later the whole event turned out to be a contrived spectacle  in which party members were mechanically transported en masse to greet and ‘cheer for’ the victorious Prime Minister.  As Machievelli put it, ‘one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.’ Continue reading

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The Radia Tapes and our patterns of media consumption

by Pritha Kejriwal

After the expose of the Radia Tapes by Open and Outlook magazines, a lot of debate has followed…many allegations, many defenses, counter-allegations and counter defenses, followed by critiques of all and however much one may keep on dissecting the entire situation, its important to understand, the lessons that the viewer or the reader should learn from all of this? What should be their real debate? And how should this influence their patterns of media consumption?

It should be of minor significance whether, Barkha Dutt’s conversations with Nira Radia, technically amount to lobbying or what Manu Joseph and Vinod Mehta did was a breach of privacy and an unethical, slandering piece of journalism. Let them keep arguing as much as they want to. The audience as media consumers should understand that each one of them acted according to their own politics, their particular brand of journalism, their social consciousness, their concerns as journalists and their particular stance and space as opinion makers. And in doing what they are doing, each one of them becomes a metaphor for what they represent and the audience needs to interpret these metaphors and choose the ones that feel right to them. Continue reading

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Impossible histories —Edward Said

These excerpts from Said’s articles are being posted due to the torrent of comments posted here by some of our visitors. They tend to take a simplistic view of Islam and Muslims and repeat the same mantra over and over again. Therefore, we hope that Edward Said’s exceptionally nuanced comment will add value to the ill-informed rants posted on PTH. Raza Rumi

As a religious idea, Islam goes back to seventh-century Arabia and to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), God’s Messenger, whose book of divine revelations is collected in the prose-poetic surahs of the Quran. Having said that, however, one is only at the very beginning, and even primitive, level of what Islam is.

Islam is a world of many histories, many peoples, many languages, traditions, schools of interpretation, proliferating developments, disputations, cultures, and countries. A vast world of more than 1.2 billion people stretched out over every continent, north and south, including now the Americas, it cannot adequately be apprehended or understood simply as “Islam”. Continue reading

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