Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Gadha Haathi ek Samaan, Lekin Mera Amrika Mahaan

Scarlett Johansson called yesterday. I wouldn't have recognized, but she did say her name right at the outset. And today Stevie Wonder called. His voice is unmistakable, and besides he started off with the cheesiest cliche of all - "I just called to say...........".

Celebrities love my boyfriend. He's the most precious political commodity of all - the independent voter. His phone's been bombarded with recorded messages, mostly from the Obama campaign. If their organization and zeal in LA is anything to go by, Hillary should be very, very afraid.

Speaking of voting, all these inane propositions that they manage to insert into the ballot is such a perversion of democracy. As the boyfriend says, if you want me to make all the public policy decisions, why the hell did I elect you jokers in the first place? We spent all morning poring into the proposition list, trying to make sense of them and decide what he should vote on each.

Apart from the celebrity flavour (which is also bland and generic, Hollywood style), I find American elections rather boring. By the time politicians get churned through the PR and media minder mill, polished, tweaked, hammered into shape, they all start resembling each other, all standardized units of so much blah. The same sound bites, the same careful balancing of issues, the same inoffensive spiel.

And in any case, elections remind me always remind me of this incredible scene from the Pakistani stage play "Bakra Qishton Pay"

Umer Sharif is a professor who's also a politician on the side. He's rehearsing a political speech to be delivered in a gathering with his servant Sharfu.

Umer: "Bhaiyyo main agar jeet gaya to jo sadkein bani hain unko tudwa ke phir se banwa doonga"

(Friends, if I win, I will demolish the existing roads and get them rebuilt)

Sharfu (looking shocked): "Yeh kyon?" (Why?)

Umer: "Bas unke thekedaar ne to kama liya, ab hamara thekedaar kaise kamayega?"

(Well, the previous political party's contractors made money off the road contracts, now our guys have to make some dough too)

So m0ve over Halliburton, there's a new game in town!

The video deserves to be seen in full, so here it is, the political speech section:


Blogger IR said...

your description of the us elections is an eye opener
( recorded voice messages) , but then the us elections are very d/f from those in india
for ex. they are open about receiving funds from corporates and their foriegn policy reads more like 10 years targets of oil,ammo companies !

but i admire the us, i think they are capitalist in every sense, if you have brains and gumption , us has given people the opportunity to do well , irrespective of colour ex. sabeer bhatia, shaggy , bobby jindal ( though he had to change his religion )

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, i'm confused, aren't you an ordinary indian bengali chic?

you get calls from movie stars, sweet?

8:49 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Well, not quite so open. Every once in a while, there's an election funding scandal with politicians accepting contributions over limits, from dodgy sources, etc.

You're right, the US does have an incredible can do spirit.

Anon lumpkin, what did I say about not speed-reading through my posts :)?

I said recorded messages. As in automated calling with pre-recorded campaign messages by celebrities.

But ahem, why is it so unlikely for an Indian Bengali girl to know celebrities? I'm not all that ordinary and Hollywood's my veritable backyard.

1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not all that ordinary and Hollywood's my veritable backyard.
Yet another round of verbal diarrhea.....

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