India Uncut

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Advertising, drawing, Mozart, sadness and Kim Sharma

A busy day lies ahead, so I'll leave you with some links to pieces to mull over, and get to other work for a few hours. (Note that my post on the block on Blogspot sites in India constinues to be updated whenever developments take place.)

First up, check out this essay by Ryan Bigge in Toronto Star in which he bemoans, "Advertising has forgotten how to be subtle. Worst of all, it requires no cultural competencies to decode."

On perhaps a related note, Michael Kimmelman writes in the New York Times about the decline of drawing, saying, "We’re addicted to convenience today." He elaborates:
Before box cameras became universal a century or so ago, people drew for pleasure but also because it was the best way to preserve a cherished sight, a memory, just as people played an instrument or sang if they wanted to hear music at home because there were no record players or radios. Amateurism was a virtue, and the time and effort entailed in learning to draw, as with playing the piano, enhanced its desirability.
Quite. It's the age of the short-attention span, as I'd written about in an old essay, "Beautiful scatty minds."

And while we're getting nostalgic about the past, let me direct you to Alex Ross's marvellous essay on Wolfgang Amadè Mozart, as the composer "usually spelled his name." It's an excellent profile of the man, one I enjoyed quite as much as the ones in Javier Marias's "Written Lives", which Chandrahas had blogged about here. "All these wonderful writers seem to have such sad lives," I thought while reading that book, "I can manage the 'sad', but can I manage the 'wonderful'?"

But, of course, sadness is not the sole preserve of writers, as this story indicates, about a former Indian football captain who killed himself recently. Pundits will no doubt blame the state of sport in our country for the man's death, but I'm not so sure that's fair. Sorrow often has its own trajectory, and little can get in the way. Even the rich and successful sometimes lose their battles with personal demons.

In non-sad news, I am pleased to inform all those of you who may be planning to go in for an operation at some point in your lives that your chances of waking up to find that the doctor left his sponge (or visiting card, or whatever) inside you has decreased.

And in news from India, model Kim Sharma and photographer Vikram Bawa have had a fight. Things apparently went wrong at a photoshoot recently, when the lady allegedly refused to expose, and announced that she was allergic to baby oil. The shoot was for Maxim, whose readers can do without the exposure, but absolutely must, must have the baby oil. Pity.
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