Monday, July 18, 2016

Land of the oppressed, home of the cowardly

It shot to prominence with Rodney king and a burning Los Angeles in the 90s.  Now, we have New Orleans closely following Dallas, and we have black men with military credentials shooting dead white police officers with a very clear motive of fighting back, a not one bit ambiguous reason being how inadequate the USA is in terms of racial equality as far as ground reality is concerned.

The argument against the easy availability of guns has gone deep and long, and those that want the freedom to own guns continue to vouch for how sacred that freedom is, no matter how many die for whatever cause.

But now that black people have started shooting white people, I wonder if some laws may come up for revision.  If a door has to open to limit the use of certain types of firearms, automatic weapons and sniper rifles, it may very well be that the weapons of choice of these black warriors will be the first target of anything close to a ban.  It's the way not the USA, but inequality rolls.

I saw "Ocean's Eleven" somewhat breezily recently.  It dawned on me that in so many cases in the Hollywood projection of the USA, white people committing crime, especially large, sexy looking crime like robbing a fort of gold, a bank, a casino, or blackmailing the government is painted as maverick, rebellious, fun, and even heroic ability!  Taking the law into his own hands, one man stands up against the 'system' for justice!  He is not a bloody criminal!  We want him to win, even when he breaks all laws!  We've seen and heard umpteen stories of this nature - as long as the man is white!

Now we have black people fighting back for justice well outside the purview of most movie stories, well outside anything lawful, but well entrenched deep in the culture of the USA.  It's a moment of deep embarrassment for the USA, because for all the advice on harmony it dishes out to other nations, it has shown up pretty hollow at home!  It cannot stop simple, easily executed terrorism, accessible to any adult.

White people by and large love politically correct terminology, and the powers that be, by whatever measure of sincerity have implemented norms that have by and large influenced pop culture to the point where it is considered extremely rude to call a black man a 'nigger', even though in redneck country that would be considered fairly normal in many conversations.

But now, all that pretending, all that political correctness, all that avoidance of the real issue, that a considerable number of white people are indeed racist and carry open dislike of black people and those of other races, is wearing thin.  If we can constantly ask moderate Islam to voice discontent over the actions of its extreme elements involved in acts like terrorism, I don't see how we should in any measure of honesty, not ask for moderate white people to tell their racists to tone it down, and put up with equality, especially after it is enshrined in the (damn) law.

White people in the USA have privileges.  They should know this.  The people they may choose to be racist against are usually in a position of comparative weakness.  There is no reason for white American cops, who have a black man down on the ground and in no position or disposition to be a threat in any way, to put a bullet into that person.  This is no different from terrorists that walk into a school and spray bullets on children.  

The USA has its own brand of uniquely dumb terrorists, like the idiots who got kicked out of a party in Bakersfield, California, coming back with guns to kill others who were still partying.  The number of incidents in schools is quite staggering and by now, should be quite infamous.  The only differences are that these terrorists aren't organized and that they don't have any religious compulsions to do what they do.

For a person of non-white race, racism isn't hard to spot in the USA.  Maybe most white people feel they have done enough if they don't commit any crime like discriminating on the basis of race, don't use politically incorrect terms, or don't openly avoid people of other denominations.

But in the USA's incredible love of insulation, especially that of white people who live in gated communities, refuse to even once enter the areas of their towns and cities where 'other' people live, don't ever take public transportation, and keep on reinforcing that bubble they live in, in every way, shape or form, and keep on passing that to their children, they will be inviting trouble in some accumulated form.  They don't need to get this.  That's one of their privileges, simply because they can afford it.

If they live in denial that there are many unhealed wounds, that their own people have both inflicted and exacerbated, and simply give only lip service with meaningless nonsense like, "We're all Americans", their extremists will keep on perpetrating those crimes, and negating all the genuine good in many people's hearts, because the collective at some point becomes answerable.

The biggest question is - why should a nation with so many resources and examples of world leading excellence, choose to put up with such lowly behaviour?  The answer may lie in the fact that the USA developed on some sides without entirely resolving issues in others.  Just like we implore muslims to come out of their denial, to accept that Islam does foster violence, we should also implore Americans, to come out of the delusion that they're not a racist society, and accept that white people with guns, whether in uniform or not, are a real danger to peace.

It should be bizarre but quite incredibly, the witness to this incident, found it fit to compare to an incident she could only have seen in a movie!

This is the USA today.  I'm not sure very many people living in it realize what is real in it anymore.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

தமிழ் சினிமாவில் கவனிகக் படாமல் போன நல்ல பல திரைப்படங்களின் தற்போதைய நிலை என்ன?

தமிழில் மட்டுமல்ல, எல்லா மொழிகளிலும் இன்று பல திரைப்படங்கள் வெளியீடு ஆகாமல் தவித்துக்கொண்டிருக்கின்றன.  இவை மட்டுமில்லாமல் பல படங்கள் வெளியீடு ஆனா பிறகும் குறுகிய நாட்களுக்குள் மறைந்து விடுகின்றன.

இந்த நிலைக்கு சில காரணங்கள் உண்டு.  இவற்றில் மிக முக்கியமானது படங்களின் தரம்.  கதை நன்றாகவே இருந்தாலும், திரைக்கதையில் உயிர் இல்லாமல் போகலாம்.  திரைக்கதை நன்றாக இருந்தாலும் இயக்குனர்களிடம் குறைவுகள் இருந்து படத்தை வழங்குவோர் அதாவது டிஸ்ட்ரிப்யூடர்கள் அதன் மீது நம்பிக்கை வைக்க முடியாமல் வாங்காமல் போய்விடலாம்.

அடுத்த காரணம் ஏராளமான படங்கள் தயார் ஆகுவது.  இது தமிழ்நாட்டைப்போல் ஏழு கோடி மக்கள் இருக்கும் மாநிலத்தில் ஒரு வருடத்தில் 450 படங்கள் வந்தால் எப்படி அவை மக்களிடம் கொண்டு சேர்க்கமுடியும்?

மற்றொரு காரணம் அதிக தியேட்டர்கள் இல்லாத நிலைமை. அந்த்ராவில் 1100 தியேட்டர்கள் உள்ளன.  தமிழ்நாட்டில் 800க்கும் குறைவான தியேட்டர்கள் உள்ளன.

தொலைக்காட்சியிலும் கேபுள் மூலமாகவும் ஓர் அளவு பிரபலமான அல்லது நன்றாக அடையாளம் தெரிந்த முகங்கள் இருந்தால் மட்டுமே படங்களை லாபகரமாக வாங்கி விற்பனை செய்ய முடியும் என்று ஒரு கருத்து உள்ளது.  புது முகங்கள் கொண்ட படங்கள் முதலில் வெளியீடு ஆகி தியேட்டர்களில் ஒரு வாரம் ஓடியிருந்தால், அப்படங்களுக்கு இந்த முறையில் மறுவாழ்வு கிடைக்க வாய்ப்பு உண்டு.

குறைவான முதலீடு போட்டு எடுக்கப்பட்ட படங்களின் தயாரிப்பாளர்கள் செய்யும் பெரிய தவறு, அவர்களிடம் விளம்பரத்திற்கும் மார்க்கெட்டிங் செய்வதற்கும் கையில் காசு இல்லாமல் படம் தயாரிப்பது.

தொடர்ந்து புது புது திரைப்படங்கள் வந்துகொண்டே இருக்கும் நிலையில், பழைய படங்களை மறப்பதே மனிதனில் இயல்பாகும்.

எல்லா விஷயங்களும் நன்றாக இருந்தும், ஓர் திரைப்படம் பிரபலம் ஆக ஓர் அளவு அதிர்ஷ்டமும் தேவை படவே செய்கின்றது!

இத்தனை கஷ்டங்களையும் எதிர்த்து பிரச்சனைகளையும் சமாளித்து, சில படங்கள் வெற்றி அடைகின்றன என்பது பாராட்டவேண்டிய விஷயம்.

சென்னையில் உள்ள பிரசாத் லேப்ஸ்ல் மட்டும் விற்காமல் அல்லது மறந்து போன நிலையில் 2500 க்கும் மேலான திரைப்படங்கள் கிடக்கின்றன.  இவைக்கு எந்த விதமான எதிர்காலமும் இல்லை என்பதுதான் என்னுடைய கணிப்பு.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Snowden Affair and the Superlies!

The world rejoiced when Barack Obama was made president of the USA!  This was a great moment in the history of the most powerful nation on the earth.  A black man was finally sworn in as president!  Only, he is not black, he is of mixed race, with two ethnically different parents, black and white.  But the lie was allowed to circulate and be celebrated - because it did the image of the USA no harm at  all!  No harm done, but he's not a black man, any more than he is a white man.

When he won the Nobel Peace Prize, it surprised a lot of people.   Ostensibly this was given to him, in the hope that he wouldn't spit on it and start another war like his predecessor had done.  I haven't seen any bloody reason why Barack Obama should have won the Nobel Peace Prize, and I actually love the guy, and I think he makes a cool president.  I don't really love Mahatma Gandhi, but I admire him, and I think he is a much more deserving recipient of such an award, but then, we live in duplicitous times, and I don't give a shit about these awards anyway.

It's the hypocrisy that's at high pitch here.

Now, this guy Edward Snowden is running from the law.  He is a criminal according to the laws of the USA, and he committed some sort of anti national act by exposing the secrets of his nation, and the Obama administration is bound to hound him.  It is their duty, and it is totally "legal" to go after him, bring him to "justice" and all that.

Except, in the noise about the man, and his actions that have caused so many ripples in international relations and media, one central question hasn't been asked loudly enough - "How could Snowden possibly have exposed the illegality of the activities of his government, without breaking the law himself?"

Make no mistake.  If his allegations of the widespread spying, snooping, wiretapping, and such activities are true, then the USA is in violation of Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to which it is a signatory!

The article clearly states - "The premises of a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy, are inviolate and must not be entered by the host country except by permission of the head of the mission. Furthermore, the host country must protect the mission from intrusion or damage. The host country must never search the premises, nor seize its documents or property."

The nature of the spying, with bugs on crypto-fax machines and on communications cables, clearly breaches the protections enshrined in the convention.

If Snowden had been from Venezuela, and wanted to expose some wrongdoings of the Chavez government, the USA would have welcomed him, set up not a refuge, but a sanctuary, and called him a hero!  All the focus would have been on the atrocities committed under a manic dictator who was plotting the downfall of the civilized world, no less!  This hypocrisy is so old, it should be boring now.

If a child escapes from a church where the pastor is raping underaged children, and tells his story to the world, nobody would want to punish him for ruining the reputation of the church.  An abused wife would totally be protected against her abusive husband, and "legally" helped to separate from him, even if she were to be breaking the vows she took in marrying him, wouldn't she?

A grave wrong has been done, not by Snowden, but by the government of the USA, in the first place, and only to expose the fact has Snowden been forced to do something "illegal".  Any conscientious people should be able to honor his actions.

Whistleblowing is nothing new to citizens of the USA.  Many corporations have been forced to accept their illegal deeds and pay the penalty, because of whistleblowers who were clearly violating company policies they signed on to.  Why should the government of the USA be subjected to any less stringent standards, especially when taxpayer dollars have been used to fund many of these programs?

If Snowden is punished in any way, before the law breaking criminals of the USA's intelligence and surveillance spy agencies are made answerable to their despicable actions, then the USA will have proved once again, that it is the indisputable king of hypocrisy, followed by its loyal subjects in the many nations of the world who refuse Snowden asylum!