Saturday, December 23, 2006

Movie time

Saturday night was time for a movie- so I picked up Good night and good luck! Good movie rather short I must say but then its one of those movies of the perfect length which just left me asking for a little more. It’s about a team of reporters at CBS which decides to take up cudgels against Senator Joseph McCarthy and his tactics at maligning anyone he wanted to, a communist.

Completely enjoyed the movie and the concepts of freedom it discusses. Its set in the time when the reign of fear launched by McCarthy was at its peak. Senator McCarthy had made an accusation that 200 card carrying communists had infiltrated the US government and were working towards destabilising the country and its value system. He had been appointed to a committee that was in charge of identifying these communists and exposing them. In the process of doing so, he destroyed the lives of many loyal American citizens by false accusations and relying on hearsay and rumour. Most people were too wary to voice dissent against his ways lest they be denounced communists too.

Ed Murrow at the CBS along with his team of journalists decided that it was time to call a spade a spade and went about systematically informing the American citizens about the deviousness of the ways employed by the Senator from Wisconsin. The highlight of the movie is the broadcast by Ed Murrow where he launches a frontal attack on the Senator. He talks about a lot of things- the Senator’s tendency to terrorize, threaten, cajole and coerce people. He talks about the need to consider our freedom as a responsibility and to voice our opinions no matter which side of the spectrum they fall upon. What I find particularly interesting is how most of us take our freedoms such as the right to express opinions and to exercise our options, complacently. Yet if we had ever had this freedom threatened that is when we would recognize and acknowledge its importance. It’s no wonder that people who have lived behind the Iron curtain consider freedom that the western world sometimes so easily refers to, as hallowed.

In the end in response to a quote from Shakespeare by the Senator, Ed Murrow quotes Cassius- “The funny thing is Brutus, the fault lies not with our stars but within ourselves.”

Good night and good luck!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


An interesting set of coincidences- 19th December I rent a movie called Glory Road at the nearby video store. The movie is about a high school basketball coach, Don Haskins who scouts around the country for the best college basketball team and comes up with a team of 7 black players. This during the mid 60's when desegregation seemed like a punishment for the white folks and bussing was a demeaning exercise as far as these folks were concerned. It was during this time that Don Haskins put together a team of such prodigious black players at Texas Western College that they swept the NCAA championship that year. However the road to the championship was one filled with racial slurs, attacks and insults. But Don Haskins stood by them and told them to forget everything else and just go out there to play basketball, that's all. Interesting movie but horribly made, there were too many cliched performances and a lot of the material could have been dealth with much better.

20th December 2006- I am on my way home and take a bus at Newtown station. As I board the bus there is a Chinese man in front of me and when he tries to sit next to an Australian middle-aged man, the Aussie man vociferously protests and tells him to get lost and sit somewhere else and to not lay his coloured hands on him. He had finished saying that when I stepped onto the bus and suddenly everyone in the bus fell silent in anticipation of what would happen next. I just grabbed a seat elsewhere and got to reading my book. At the next stop the Aussie gentleman was getting off and as he stepped out, a black woman stepped upto him and said-"You are disgusting" for which he turned back stepped onto the bus and screamed-"You all get out of my country" to which my neighbour showed him his middle finger.

As the bus left, it felt funny to think about how much the times have changed and yet there are things that happen which make you wonder, have they really changed so much. The bus was almost full and there was hardly any protest from anybody else. It could be apathy or just plain indifference and yet weren't these that caused all the problems in the first place. It felt like a disconnect of sorts and I walked back home thinking - so this is what it feels like. Hmm...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Funny really...

Its funny how it happens to him. Almost always catches him off-guard and more often than not on a metro underground station. Life today alternates between work and home and dinner and a movie or a book and work and weekend and cleaning and laundry and cooking and calling home but there he is standing at the station and suddenly someone passes by and the faintest whiff of a perfume brings back a whole life that's lost. Brings back all her peculiarities, the strange habits that can take a life time to identify and the moments of absolute joy. Yet for some reason he feels no pain, it just seems like a rush of images zipping by, like one of those collages of images that an actor sees just before he dies, like the blitz of activity that National Geographic shows when it covers Bombay.

Funny really...