Memsahib’s Diary: It’s Silly Season in the media


Do I really need to know, indeed do I really care, what Mr Sreesanth ate on his first day in custody?

If only a fraction of this zeal and collective outrage could be channeled into the real issues facing us, then we could all go about our daily lives in a more rational frame of mind.

By Christine Pemberton on May 26, 2013

http://www.niticentral.com/2013/05/26/memsahibs-diary-its-silly-season-in-the-media-81814.html#comment-89482

I used to think that India and the Indian media never indulged in anything as low-brow and frivolous as The Silly Season.

You are all familiar with The Silly Season, right?

In the West, during the summer holidays, when the weather is hot, when schools are closed, and when many people travel, when Parliament is in recess, and the courts are on holiday, there is something of a natural slowing down in the news. And the tenor of the news that is reported also changes, simply because so much of our global news emanates from politics. So stories that might otherwise have got spiked make their appearance. Daft, funny, off-beat bits of news are reported and generally the whole tone is one of relaxed frivolity. There’s also a fair amount of making mountains out of molehills.

As I said, I never used to think that India had a Silly Season.

And yet…

Right now in India it is beyond blisteringly hot, the schools are closed, many people are travelling or are about to head off to cooler climes, and as for the front page news…

Do I really need to know, indeed do I really care, what Mr Sreesanth ate on his first day in custody? I was even told what time he ate and what time he went to sleep. I now know the make of the two expensive phones he gave to two girlfriends, though the non-sleuth in me is mighty puzzled by this news.

How can the purchase of expensive trinkets in cash by a super-rich uber-lad be proof positive that he was on the take? Doesn’t he already earn enough to buy his two girlfriends phones in the normal course of events?

I have been told about Mr Srinivasan’s “sprawling” holiday home (and, by the way, and completely off topic, when did you ever hear of a celebrity/politician/Bollywood star who had anything but a sprawling house?). So, as I was saying, we know about Mr Srinivasan’s sprawling house, his golfing habits, what car his son-in-law used, what colour shirt his son-in-law wore when he left said sprawling holiday home at 5:25 pm … For crying out loud, we even had screenshots of the Twitter handle of Mr Gurunath Meiyappan.

And I thought there was no Silly Season in India?

Just proved myself very publicly, very wrong.

Yes, yes, I know that all this spot-fixing is wicked. Yes, I am well aware that cricket is almost a religion in my adopted country. Yes, agreed, it is all rather morbidly fascinating, trying to predict who will be the next bigwig (or even littlewig) to be caught in this messy, greedy, unseemly web.

But in the end, dear reader, it is just sport. It is not war. It is not a matter of life and death. It is just sport. People having a flutter on sport goes on the world over, but at the moment, reading the papers, watching the news, you could be forgiven for thinking anything else was happening here in India, let alone the world.

Page after page after (tedious) page telling us what we all instinctively know. Ban something and people will want to do it. Ban betting, and people won’t stop betting. Of course they won’t. They will just do it in a different way.

Throw indecent sums of money at brash young men — actually, that is very judgmental of me. I have no idea whether they are brash at all … so, throw obscene amounts of money at young men, and then you are surprised that they want even more? Mix Bollywood and gyrating cheerleaders with tinsel-y pompoms (least said on that score the better) and throw big parties that you then splash all over the gossip pages, and then you act all surprised that there is a seamy side to it all?

Oh please, let’s all stop being so sanctimonious.

Sport, sex, alcohol, lashings of money, wall-to-wall TV coverage, national adulation. And then we act all shocked at the money angle?

Sorry.

I just cannot get outraged at the fact that cricket games have been fixed. IPL is so far removed from the much-quoted, over-clichéd “gentlemen’s game” that it might as well be a new species altogether. Yes, OK, fair enough, people have paid good money to watch a game and then they discover that the result might have been fixed. But they still had a good night out, I imagine? Still enjoyed the noise, the buzz, the heat, the pompoms, the chance to wave into the TV cameras?

I am grudgingly impressed by the ardour and passion and sheer breathlessness of the 24/7 wall-to-wall reporting about the spot-fixing. It’s as though our corrupt politicians and inefficient bureaucracy, our sexual abuse of women and our poor service delivery, our power outages and insufficient drinking water have all been forgotten.

If only a fraction of this zeal and collective outrage could be channeled into the real issues facing us, then we could all go about our daily lives in a more rational frame of mind.

But, of course, I am forgetting.

This is The Silly Season.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s