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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Chevy Chase quits Community and other stories

Chevy Chase quits Community and other stories

More bad news for Community. First, Dan Harmon getting fired, then season four pushed to February; Now it seems Chevy Chase has quit the show. It isn’t a surprise of course, Chase was already disgruntled and in trouble. But Community definitely won’t be the same without the racist, sexist and creepy Peirce Hawthorn.

The nominations for this year’s Bad sex awards are out and The Guardian has some excerpts here. Some of them made me cringe and some of them, well, I didn’t really know it was about people having sex. I’m not even kidding.

The folks over at McSweeney’s did a great job of explaining the meaning and uses of punctuation marks. I love that they say the semi-colon “is actually a very masculine mark, due to its origins in the business of truck driving, erections and firearms.”

In the wake of news about the two girls from Palghar who were arrested for putting up a facebook status about the bandh following Bal Thackrey’s death, here’s another story that brings social media and responsibility into sharp focus. Allister Alpine is seeking libel damages over incorrect and defamatory insinuations that he was linked with child sex abuse from 20 ‘tweeters’. The opinions are completely split over this issue. Most people believe it threatens freedom of speech and some believe that people must be responsible and held accountable for what they say on a public platform.

– Sharanya

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks for all the fish

This past week, everything on the internet was about turkeys and thanksgiving. And though we don’t do thanksgiving here in India (except for a few people on Twitter), it IS November and that signals the end of year. The  Guardian already has a list of the best books of 2012, so this is my list of things I’m thankful for this year.

The writers of Community, The Newsroom, Mad Men and Homeland:

Personally, I haven’t had the best year. But as always I find distraction and solace in television and books. And I have to thank Community, The Newsroom, Mad Men and Homeland for getting me through it without going batshit insane, growing dreadlocks and living in a tree. It’s probably not the healthiest thing to do; being so invested in fictional characters but it just makes me feel so…so alive and so…you know, I’m just going to give my hard drive a big hug right now.

Books that find you:

As you might have gathered, my life decisions don’t always lend itself to a well-fed bank account. But that’s what second hand bookstores, sales and friends are for. This year I have read borrowed books, books I picked up for Rs 50 at a sale, and books that I abandoned or never got around to reading. And I have been consistently surprised and happy. They have been books I have picked up grudgingly because I was too broke to buy what I wanted. But the good ones just found me. In many ways, I’m an old lady who is afraid of new things. I like finding my comfort zone and sticking to it and sometimes have a closed mind. I don’t want to listen to your new favourite band; I don’t want to read an author I’ve never heard of before. But almost every time I have done it, I have been rewarded. I’ve read a great deal of books this year, even signed up for a post graduation course in literature (not made a dent in that list yet though) and I do hope the next pay cheque is big enough to do some splurging. But till then, there is always my Flipkart wishlist to check and sigh everyday.

Amy Pohler:

Amy Pohler is not only television’s funniest woman, she is also the personification of woman power and an example for girls all over the world. Along with being the super ambitious and funny Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec; she also has her own youtube channel. Called, Smart girls at the party, it encourages young talented girls to be themselves and be proud of it (the last episode had a Sikh girl explain her religion and what her culture entails).  I imagine Pohler in real life to be something of a superwoman. Incredibly talented, funny, confident and amazing. Even if she isn’t, I’m just glad she’s on one of the best sitcoms I’ve seen this year.

The interwebz:

On a regular day, I spend about nine to ten hours on my laptop. I can find and read this on Wednesday, laugh till my ribs hurt at this the next day and watch this on the weekend. And I can sit here in Mumbai and read the New Yorker and The Slate and The Guardian and Flavorwire. I can spend hours looking at cat videos and I can also spend hours talking to a friend in San Francisco. We talk about dependence, we talk about how the internet has us by the balls (metaphoric ones) but I don’t see the problem. The good things outweigh the bad, a million times over. The internet is filled with vile and disgusting things offset by art. Beautiful art in the form of music, videos, literature and so much more.

2012

What a great time to live, I think sometimes when I’m standing inside a matchbox sized room and listening to the Bombay Bicycle club or when I feel gooseflesh on my arm from watching The manganiyar seduction on stage. I think about the lives my parents must have led when they were my age and I can’t believe my luck. International artists aren’t just those mythical creatures forever stuck on records (or iTunes library) any more. India isn’t just a far, exotic land of elephants and snake charmers anymore and every month we hear announcements of international artists performing here, international films being screened, international brands setting shop and we are here to witness this. It fills me with such a rush to realise that we are part of a turning point of sorts, for this country in the cultural field.

Yes, the world is still listening to Justin Beiber and One Direction, but you know what, fuck that. Every small singer, songwriter and trumpet player now has opportunity. Opportunity to reach out and make themselves heard (whether they’re good or not decides how far they go) and that’s as good as it gets. A million music, art, theatre and literature festivals have sprung up. Can’t find an audience there? Put your work online and somebody in a tiny town in Brazil may just become your fan.

I can tell my very tambhram family that I want to be a writer and they don’t automatically assume that all is lost. Just that much is great. I live in a time when I don’t have to mind my manners, wear corsets that cause asphyxia or be ‘married off’ when I turn 18. I don’t have to rebel. I know, most people don’t see the appeal in that and find rebelling against society and their parents very cool but really it’s not. We have been born in a time when it’s not rebellious to cut your hair real short and come home at 5am. It’s normal. It’s great that we don’t have to fight these tiny battles because the previous generation already paved the way for us. They fought to break out and now it’s up to us to take that chance and go as high and as far as we can. We owe it to so many, many people.

Old school forever

Old school forever

Hey, remember when Reader’s Digest used to be good? Remember when there used to be fights about who got to read it first, till things got ugly and there were time slots allotted to each family member? Remember when the joke page used to actually make you laugh? Remember when there were bleeding heart stories about how a mother helped her five year old son fight cancer, or adventure stories about how someone fought off a grizzly bear? That slim, notebook sized volume had such a great exhaustive tank of good reading, that I remember certain stories even to this day. Ooh, remember the one where…ah never mind. I don’t recall exactly when it was that the magazine just straight up stopped being as entertaining as it used to be. I’ll wager it was around the time Brooke married her 700th Forrester husband on The bold and the beautiful.

But the magazine had some glory years, I’ll tell you that much. Reader’s Digest and the National Geographic were the only two magazines that my household didn’t give away to the raddi waala. You just didn’t do that kind of stuff. For years, a falling down bookcase in my grandmother’s house held editions from the early eighties. Tattered things that held great big-hearted true life stories. And we even had a separate shelf that held those special edition RD Volumes- you know the ones that were denser than the Bible. Yeah, we were purists all right.

Sundays were spent at my grandparent’s little cottage back then and there were three main events in the day. Lunch, which was always amazing. A 3 o’clock, kids movie on Star Movies. And then going to the bookshelf and choosing a dusty, hard cover volume of Readers Digest, special edition. The dust would stick to my fingers and mix with the sweat on my palm and form a kind of grimy paste, but I would read lovely illustrated stories like Good Morning Miss Dove, My son Goggle, Old Yeller and Mr Hobbs Holiday. There was no greater joy than a Sunday and reading.

I was reminded of this exhilarating joy when I read this argument recently. Its heavy stuff, but let me sum up the essence of what Piper is saying. A real book, a paper and jacket cover and ink book, actually stands for something larger that what it is. It’s how your body acts when it’s reading. How you lie down on your back, holding your book up on your stomach, or on your stomach with your ankles crossed in the air, or propped up on your elbow, or sitting up at a table or whatever. When you’re reading a book, your whole damn body is reading with you. Your fingers feel the paper, the paper yellows over time and the heavy weight of a book in your hands can never ever be replaced by some cold, chrome thing. In any case, I’m fighting a lost cause. Technology will be technology after all and it will go on ahead and change lifestyles and values. But it gets me upset, because when it comes to certain things, nothing beats old school. Reading and literature is one of those things. A grandiose Forrester wedding is another.

Television’s best sex scenes

Emily and Naomi from Skins

It’s really hard to say what the plot of Skins is but it’s mostly about a bunch of angsty and troubled teenagers having a lot of sex. Lots of great scenes, really wild sex in the principal’s office (Effy and Cook) and random naked chick who’s we feel like we know quite intimately since we’ve seen her butt way too much (Tony and random chick) but our pick is Emily and Naomi on a picnic. For great music, for really pretty girls, and for Naomi finally dropping her I-like-boys-and-I-don’t-care-what-you-think act.

Zajac and Kitty from Boss

Season one, episode one. When you’ve just started understanding this web of politics and lies, boom! A sex scene to throw you off. In slow-motion too. Standing up. Lace panties. Kitty is Tom Kane’s personal aide and Zajac is a potential candidate for the post of Governor in Illinois.

Fiona Galleghar and Jimmy/Steve from Shameless

Finally someone has convinced the overworked eldest Gallaghar sibling to take a day off. Her boyfriend Steve who is actually Jimmy, takes her to a fancy hotel and they have some pretty cool pool sexy time. Of course, they come back home to her father in a coffin, but hey, we never said post coital was pretty.

Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones

She’s all big, earnest eyes and blonde hair, he’s all huge and manly. Shes just passed How to seduce a khal 101. There’s a fireplace (of course). It’s a recipe for awesome adult fun.

Some vampires from True blood

True Blood is a show about vampires so there is no way in hell we’d watch it. But we have seen this scene. And a few others. Maybe.

Alice and Rose from The L Word

“Something something US Army policies” “Something something, you think I want to kill people? “Then why are you there?” “I think the question is why the fuck am I here” “Because we want to fuck each other.” Followed by good music and a “shut the fuck up.”

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