Author of Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger dies at 91

This blog records the death of American author J D Salinger with grief. He died of natural causes at his home no Wednesday. Salinger was the author of Catcher In The Rye, which went on to symbolize teenage angst and transform American literature.

Published in 1951, the book became one of the most influential novels in modern American literature for its disaffected tale of teenage angst, seen through the eyes of protagonist Holden Caulfield, the anti-hero who despised “phonies” in an adult world and subsequently became an icon of teen rebellion.

One of the stories, “Slight Rebellion Off Madison,” published by The New Yorker in 1946, introduced the restless and skeptic Holden Caulfield, and became the basis for Catcher. The novel quickly became a bestseller, spending 30 weeks on The New York Times’ bestseller list.

Read more here

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Kabul disco

Just started reading a graphic novel Kabul Disco by Nicolas Wild. Finished about 40 pages and I’m loving it. You can pick one up at Blossoms/ Bookworm/ Goobe’s etc for about Rs 250.
UPDATE: I finished the book. There’s nothing new in it. It’s funny at times but not hilarious all the way. Its a wee bit educational (i.e. you get to learn some dates, and names). Its a lovely portrayal of the author’s life in Afghanistan. May not appeal to you if you are not a graphic novel buff. May appeal to you if you like your books (and humor) simple.

Remembering Safdar Hashmi

Safdar Hashmi (April 12, 1954 – January 2, 1989) was a Communist playwright, actor, director, lyricist, and theorist, chiefly associated with Street theatre in India, and is still considered an important voice in political theatre in India

He was a founding member of Jana Natya Manch (People’s Theatre Front; Janam for short) in 1973, which grew out of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA).

Safdar became a symbol of cultural resistance against authoritarianism for the Indian left. Janam continues its theatre work in Delhi. The writer Bhisham Sahni, along with many other artists, founded the ‘Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust’ (SAHMAT) in February 1989, as an open platform for politically and socially conscious artistes.

In 1998, ‘Safdar Hashmi Natyasangham’ was formed in Kozhikode, Kerala, which provides free training to economically backward students.

Master painter M F Husain joined the million-dollar club with his painting on Safdar Hashmi going under the hammer for about Rs 4.4 crore. This was the first painting of an Indian artist to cross the Rs ten lakh mark in 1989.

(Photo and Text from Wikipedia)

Facebook: where souls go to die

Stacie Adams has an interesting take on Facebook on The Smirking Chimp.

Excerpts:

For all the talk about connecting to people around the world, social utilities really only serve to foster the increasing sense of isolation and narcissism already rampant among humanity.

Nothing of merit is shared, just a cleaned up version of a person free of common flaws and idiosyncrasies that tend to be the most interesting facets of one’s personality.

So this cluster fuck of terminal ignorance and chicanery should be a huge story, right? Wrong. The big story regarding Facebook this week was the further alteration of their security rules, because apparently your gam-gams and peepaw in Idaho can’t figure out how to keep their personal details off their profile page. Because that’s what really matters.

Read the full article here.

But then, Woods is not Sinatra

Sorry folks,

The telephone line at my house went dead day before yesterday, so no internet and no blogging :(. However, in the little time that I have, sitting at the office computer, I’m going to squeeze this one in.

Hope you have read my last post. And also, I hope you have read a whole lot more about Tiger woods over the last week than you have read about him in his entire sports career. There is this very irritating question of ethics and privacy most journalists try to scuttle.

Tim McGuire, the Frank Russell Chair for the business of journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, rightly argues in his post:

I argue knowing about Tiger Woods’ sex life is not bettering the common good. There is no legitimate journalistic purpose to publishing unsubstantiated rumors. I am not out on a limb when I contend that few journalists I know could stand this sort of scrutiny themselves.  And finally, it is as clear to me as it is Burwell and Haber that this story is about a “want to know,” and not a “need to know.”

McGuire writes about three different levels of information:

When I teach ethics, which I will do again this spring, I hammer home to students the distinction  between three levels of information: right to know, need to know and want to know.  A right to know is legally mandated by statute. Public records are right to know information. The need to know covers information that is necessary to inform citizen readers of things important to society, business and government. A lot of folks think need to know information only involves government, but that’s not true. Many important social issues have evolved over the years because someone decided there was a need for readers to better understand those issues.

Then there is the want to know.  People want to know some really kinky stuff so reputable news organizations have traditionally developed some standards that say ” hey that stuff is none of our business.  it is prurient. There is no need for us to know that stuff.” That quaint concept may have died this week because of an unrestrained media’s desire to cover Tiger Woods, his car accident and perhaps every single sexual misadventure in his life.

Read the whole post here.

The response of Tiger Woods to the whole affair (Not McGuire’s post) is interesting:

“Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means.” Continuing, Tiger writes: “But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don’t share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.”

But then woods was really polite in his reply. But then, Tiger Woods is not Frank Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra Vs Mike Royko: I will allow you to pull my “hairpiece”

(In pic: Frank Sinatra)

It was through a link forwarded by Sriram, I first read about Frank Sinatra. The essay “Frank Sinatra has a Cold” by Gay Talese, which is described as one of the most famous pieces of magazine jounralism, as one of the greatest celebrity profiles ever written and as one of the seminal works of New Journalism told me a lot about the man. Here’s a letter from the man himself, uploaded by the folks at lettersofnote.com which tells me a lot more.

One day in April of 1976, Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko decided to focus on Frank Sinatra‘s arrival in the city ahead of a live show. In his column, Royko described the constant placement of Chicago cops outside Sinatra’s hotel as ‘wasteful’, derided his supposed ‘entourage of flunkies’, and remarked on what appeared to be – to Royko at least – a wig on the singer’s head. Luckily for us, Sinatra saw the column and wrote this fantastically unrestrained letter to Royko in response. Royko declined the challenge.

Transcript of the letter follows

FRANK SINATRA

May 4, 1976

Mr. Mike Royko
“Chicago Daily News”
401 No. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Let me start this note by saying, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I believe if you knew me:

First, you would find immediately that I do not have an army of flunkies.

Secondly, neither myself, nor my secretary, nor my security man put in the request for police protection. It is something that’s far from necessary.

It’s quite obvious that your source of information stinks, but that never surprises me about people who write in newspapers for a living. They rarely get their facts straight. If the police decided that they wanted to be generous to me, I appreciate it. If you have any beefs with the Chicago Police Force, why not take it out on them instead of me, or is that too big a job for you?

And thirdly, who the hell gives you the right to decide how disliked I am if you know nothing about me. The only honest thing I read in your piece is the fact that you admitted you are disliked, and by the way you write I can understand it. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why people don’t spit in your eye three or four times a day.

Regarding my “tough reputation” you and no one else can prove that allegation. You and millions of other gullible Americans read that kind of crap written by the same female gossip columnists that you are so gallantly trying to protect; the garbage dealers I call hookers, and there’s no doubt that is exactly what they are, which makes you a pimp, because you are using people to make money just as they are.

Lastly, certainly not the least, if you are a gambling man:

a) You prove, without a doubt, that I have ever punched an elderly drunk or elderly anybody, you can pick up $100,000.

b) I will allow you to pull my “hairpiece”; if it moves, I will give you another $100,000; if it does not, I punch you in the mouth. How about it?

(Signed, ‘Sinatra’)

cc: The Honorable Richard J. Daley
Supt. James Rochford

Mr. Marshall Field, Publisher
Mr. Charles D. Fegert, Vice Pres.

FS:d

This material has been copyrighted may not be reproduced unless used in its entirety and sets forth the following copyright notice:

(c) Frank Sinatra 1976

IIM B learns a lesson- thanks to the dying tribe

In pic: Shamsheer Yousaf

Just when I was losing hope in journalism, Shamsheer Yousaf, (The bird as he is known among friends), a Bangalore based Journalist who mainly covers Education and Right to Information, sent me this mail:

 Well IIM Bangalore has learnt their lesson. They will not mess with Shamsheer Yousaf anymore 🙂

I just thought I should share my latest cheap thrill  — my victory against IIM Bangalore in an RTI case. To summarize, I had asked for some information about decisions taken by the Board of Governors of IIM Bangalore under the Right To Information(RTI) Act. When the information was denied to me, using rather dubious reasons, I appealed to the Central Information Commission at New Delhi– the apex regulatory body for RTI. The hearing was held yesterday, and I pretty much clinched the case in 5 mins.

I have attached the judgment. For those of you interested about the case, the information was denied to me citing an exemption clause for fidicuary relationship. This clause is applicable when the information sought is being held under ‘trust’ — for example information held by a doctor of a patients health record, or that by a lawyer of a litigant. As the judgment states, there is no case for fiduciary relationship here.Well, thats all. You may now get back to doing what you have been doing before this mail 🙂

“Legally beaten up”. Yeah, quite literally with law books!

In an unprecedented incident in Karnataka Judiciary, advocates on Monday held the ‘Judiciary’ hostage by locking up two judges of division bench inside the court hall nearly two hours and forced Chief Justice to cancel judicial sitting.

Legal correspondent of The New Indian Express Aravind Shetty jokes that people were “Legally beaten up”. Yeah,  quite literally with law books!

Judicial proceedings of the High Court has  resumed afternoon with police protection, City Police Commissioner met Chief Justice and provided additional security.

According to Chief Justice PD Dinakaran, who’s presently got his hands full with the allegations of land grabbing levelled against him, “There was no confrontation between bar and bench. We have given justice to both litigants and advocates by disposing the cases.”

After witnessing how two deeply anguished Judges ( Justice Gopalagowda and Justice BV Nagarathna) were locked inside the court hall Shetty has coined a new term. Advocates Custody. (The existing  terminology has Judicial Custody and Police Custody). This is a new addition to the lexicon.

Senior counsel Ravivarma Kumar who narrowly escaped by violent  attacks from the advocates said that rowdies are hijacking the advocates association of Bangalore and urged the High court should initiate contempt against the erring advocates.

CNN IBN Camera Man Venkatesh was however not so fortunate to escape the “Rowdy Elements” and  was badly beaten up.

To Copy or not to copy– sequel [Software Piracy]

Alok Kejriwal a digital entrepreneur based in Mumbai who is presently the CEO and co-founder of games2win.com,  inspite of ‘being robbed of most of the games his company creates’, has an interesting take on piracy at the website– contentSutra.

“What would have happened if the Music Labels—the Virgins, EMIs, etc., had gotten together and invested in Napster or just bought it outright and made it their industry ‘digital music’ distribution channel? A Sony (NYSE: SNE) ‘walkpod’—a la iPod—would have complemented the business: The music guys cranking out music, and the hardware guys making the stuff to play it on.

The moral here is that piracy needs to be understood before it is fought. Ask me about it: I run a casual-games company that produces 15 games a month and has a library of over 350 games. So far, I know of 8,900 websites that have stolen, or as they politely say, “scraped”, our games.

Honestly, after the initial shock, I am quite glad about the situation. It proves that what we create is valuable—since only valuable things get robbed.”

He also talks about how his company used piracy to its advantage. Read more here.