25 Dec 2013

Things, People and Stuff I can do without…2013 edition

As 2013 draws to a close, here is my perspective on various things, people, stuff I can do without (with a tip of the hat to George Carlin (RIP).

Products endorsed by celebrities
Are there people who actually think Kareena Kapoor uses an “iBall Andy” as her phone? And that Dhoni writes with some cheap ballpoint pen or rides a TVS bike?
These are like weight loss ads or late night infomercials – you never get the same results. In fact, most of the time, you won’t be even remotely close to what you saw in the ad. I think the “truth in advertising” needs to be enforced for all ads – either the celebrity in question should actually be seen using the product or they shouldn’t endorse it. Oh, and that includes not air brushing models to make them look even more unrealistically gorgeous (not that I am complaining!).

Breaking news
Seriously, what would happen if I am told about Hrithik Roshan’s separation from his wife after a few days? What will happen if I am not told what politicians utter? Do I really need to update my Linked In profile or Facebook wall (I don’t use Facebook) every time I go to the loo? Seriously, as a society, we need to ask how & when did we end up elevating the status of these things. On the flip side, if this is the most important news right now, then we should be grateful.

Latest & greatest technology
I am one of those odd people who still uses a BlackBerry. And I use it only for communicating with people via email, SMS, BBM or an old fashioned phone call (oh, the horror!). I think 4 different ways of communicating is quite enough, but looks like I am in a minority. Every time I think of buying the latest “smart” phone, I look at the price and wonder what I will do with all the other so called “features'’. I am told that I will discover new uses once I actually start using one; I am not so sure. I think the “smart” word used to describe all these phones is more because manufacturers have very smartly made us think these are necessities. Buying a phone that costs a bomb is definitely not smart spending, but I am known as a cheap ass anyway, so... Despite all this, I am quite sure I will end up getting one of these in the coming year given that my BlackBerry will soon be 4 years old – I only have to figure out how to get one cheaply or better still, get somebody else to pay for it. I also need a new laptop given that the current one I use at home is 5 1/2 yrs old, but the new one will probably be a low end one and / or refurbished – just right to check emails, surf the internet and watch stuff on YouTube.

News anchors who think they are more important than the news…
I avoid watching Times Now, CNN IBN and NDTV 24x7 most evenings. Mainly because these news channels, instead of focusing on the news (isn’t that their main purpose in life anyway?), are fixated on their celebrity news anchors. I am afraid that if I get a prolonged dose of Arnab Goswami’s pompous, condescending, arrogant, holier than thou, self righteous pontification, I may just pick up the nearest object I find and throw it at the television screen. Same goes for Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt, perhaps to some lesser degree (I mean, is it really possible for Arnab to have serious competition?).

… and news channels who make it impossible to actually follow the news
The other reason I try to avoid watching any news channel is because I am afraid I will suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD. Seriously, can you really keep a track of the 9 things that news channels have on the TV screen at any point in time? There is the ad ticker on the bottom of the screen, then the news ticker above it, the headline ticker above that followed by the picture descriptor, the stock market ticker in the lower right corner, the weather update in the lower left, the “coming up next” blurb in the top left corner, the news anchor / visual in the middle of the screen and finally, some other blurb in the top right corner. Plus there is the news channel logo and TV service provider logo obfuscating portions of the screen. If you can actually stay on top of all this, then you are a candidate for popping Adderall or Ritalin for the rest of your life and scrambling your brain in the process.

People who think Government intervention is the solution to anything
Kids can’t get admission to college – blame the government for not setting up enough colleges. Too much violence and sex on TV? Let the government deal with it. And in case you didn’t know smoking was bad for your health, the government will do that as well – in fact, it will do it at every opportunity it gets when you are watching a TV program full of sex, violence and of course, people smoking cigarettes. As a people, we seem to have forgotten the concept of personal responsibility. Your kids didn’t get admission to a good college? You should have ensured they studied hard. Don’t like what you see on the TV? Change channels or switch it off. And in a perverse “where there is a law, there is a loophole” joke, any scene on TV or in movies depicting smoking requires a warning but its perfectly alright to show somebody drinking booze all through the show (see Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani).

I can think of some more stuff but enough of a rant at this time. Have a wonderful 2014.