August 11, 2007

Attention Please !!

August 11, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
As I spend more time in the U.S it increasingly becomes clear, that people live here in a world of hype. That is not to say, that back in India we don't. What is surprising though, is the amount of attention and national focus a bridge collapse in Minnesota gets. As a sight of disaster, it is indeed tragic. But in terms of lives lost, not even a percentage close to the lives being lost everyday in Iraq. What is worse ? An unfortunate event which brings about the killing of 7 innocent lives under a bridge ? Or the horrifying sight of dead bodies strewed on roads every single day in Iraq.

Much like in India, the media in U.S catches on to anything even remotely controversial. Blowing up the collapse of the bridge all over the 3rd largest country in the world, is quite surprising for a person from India. In India, there probably are much more tragic sights of death and accidents every other day. But they barely get a mention on news channels. It's all about hype, I say. Though, I share the sorrow of all the deceased, I can't believe this news was covered for nearly a week ! I guess, killings in Iraq have become routine news, and the media wants something spicier.

Spicier leads to stories ranging from Lindsay Lohan struggling to move on with her career to Britney Spears fighting a court case, to gain custody of her kids. Even the missing underwear of Britney's wasn't spared and the media started to search for the place where she could have dropped it. In an open society, pictures which are obscene can easily come out in the wide open, and so, Britney's picture of the aforesaid miss-adventure was flashed across the nation. The news continued to flash off her bald head, as soon as she went into rehabilitation. I say, the media should also start posting ads for - "Missing - Brand New P$$ties. If found return to Britney". Or was it all a sting operation ? Maybe Britney had auctioned it of that night !

In any case, day in and day out, it is all a matter of highlighting news of the trivial nature, and not the more important ones. A country which dreads the smaller beings compared to the larger ones. The front desk representative at my hotel confessed that it is a place where you hear people or organizations getting sued left right and center. An accident which happened a mile away from our hotel, where a car driver apparently wanted to beat the VTA rail system and jumped the signal and met with an accident. Guess what he did ? He sued VTA for damages. And when someones sues in the U.S it runs into millions of dollars. So, everytime I drive my car and see pedestrians, I am extra cautious not to scare them and get into trouble !

Any news gets widely covered and garners lot of attention. If you are a sportsperson and you are getting your dogs into dog fighting, you get lot of publicity. This is precisely what happened to Michael Vick. Similarly not a day passes without bizarre stories of a mother being careless about her children and leaving them in the hot confines of her luxurious car, only to see them die 17 hours later. Or this case of a teenage mother microwaving her own infant. Quite astonishing and impossible to believe. But these are like everyday stories in the U.S.

And who can digest the way pets die because of harmful pet food. And that too gets so much publicity. Pray, when can I watch pets in Indian society getting so much of media attention ? The root cause of this problem though has been figured out. The blame squarely lies on China ! Funnier is the fact that a 40 year old man was killed by his own dogs, while it is only stray dogs in India which get all the attention.

So, if you need to get attention in the U.S, you must either display some act of violence or get involved in some obscene behaviour in the public. But for us Indians, there are so many possibilities. Since minutest of things are being covered, my suggestion to aspiring U.S travellers from India would be the following :

1. Drive a bullock cart on the Freeways in U.S
2. Drive an auto rickshaw on the freeways and get a ticket for speeding.
3. Have a tea shop set up in Times Square

If you have done all these, you can go and have a plate of idly for 5$(Rs. 100, taxes extra) from Dasprakash in Sunnyvale.


Anonymous said...

As I would agree with you on the attention that the "Teen" movie/music star trash is getting. It is a waste of air/time and in the end no one really cares about Britney or Lindsey. I definitely don't care about who's undergarments are missing!...

But I do not consider the bridge collapse trivial to the war in iraq. Death is death not matter where it takes place. Families suffer, friends grieve, peoples lives are misplaced. Keep in mind suffering socrates... Death is death no matter how, when, who, what, where... it hurts the same and one death isn't more imporant than another. We can only hope to not come back as a fly....