Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Television can be such a veritable fount of new learning if you care to watch it closely. Whoever thought of calling it The Idiot Box must be a cretin surely. Take the example of this new commercial for an online employment agency. It gave me in mere thirty seconds razor-sharp insight into The New Pecking Order in Today’s Urban India. At the apex of the pyramid is what the country’s current Super Star – and all-round darling – insists on calling “hum artiste log”. This includes – once you decode the subtext – film actors, directors, music directors, classical dancers, singers, chefs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, fashion designers, jewellery designers, tarot readers, numerologists, astrologers, hair stylists and cricketers. At the base are the lower denizens such as barbers, washer men, air traffic controllers, etc. – in short, ‘non-creative’ workers. The New Order ordains the “hum artiste log” to the higher rungs of the social ladder – the priestly caste, as it were – and requires that they be rewarded in inverse proportion of what they contribute to the old-fashioned idea of the greatest common good. The media engine, including Page Three and the gossip rags, goes into an overdrive to whip up the hype to sustain this state of affairs. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, boys and girls.

No comments: