Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Last Great Indian Hero

… is Fabio. :mrgreen:

Salman Khan in leather pants fighting off ermine cape-wearing Englishmen led by that noted angrez Jackie Shroff by using his “dadda ki talwar“? Mithun Chakraborty in ill-fitting ornate Viking gear? Romancing an English miss in Victorian England (where everybody dresses like they’re Amish) dressed like a 19th century American cowboy with Mr. T‘s taste in bling?

Oh, happy Monday! Are we looking at this generation’s Mard? Going by Neena Gupta’s WTF expression: probably! And well, it is directed by the man who made that other historical epic of our times i.e. Gadar. But the final test as always will be whether the evil English run a blood distillery or make Sohail Khan grind wheat for all of India by himself.

A Cunning Disguise! London was full of men dressed like this in 1875

Englishman One: “My deah, sherry is so passe. Try some of this Rajasthani khoon as the natives call it. 1875 – a vintage yeah.”

Englishman Two: “Thank you, old chap! It goes remahkably well with these biscuits made with native flouh.”

Englishman One: “Haw haw haw. Native flour! Because we ground down the native as well as the wheat. Jolly well said, sir, jolly well said!”

Englishman Two: “Haw haw haw.”

This is going to be epic.

[Watch the Veer trailer here because Eros in its corporate wisdom has apparently decided that the correct way to publicize their movies is to hoard the trailer.]

Fabio this, bitches!


Posted by on November 30, 2009 in Entertainment, Movies, News, Video


Chewing on Good Hair

I’ve never had my head tonsured, even as a baby when religious custom demanded it – firstly because my mother adored my baby ringlets (I’m lucky to find simple waves these days), and secondly because I screamed bloody murder when the barber came home for the pooja after my mother had sufficiently steeled herself and my grandfather immediately put a stop to the whole thing. Tantrum skillz – I has it.

So curly hair in my extremely straight-haired family was never seen as a shortcoming, obviously. We’ve heard that kind of hair is very difficult to maintain but we’re much inclined to cast envious sideways glances at other women’s glorious curls. It’s probably not to my credit that it took me till college to observe that curly-haired people will often do anything to have straighter hair.

It was my friend Suzy who brought it home to me. He wasn’t anything remotely like a meterosexual (more like a Neanderthal most days – if you’re reading, Suze, you know what you did! And you probably did it just to freak us out too!) but he still dropped some serious money to have his hair chemically straightened. His curly hair was thick and unmanageable, he said, and it just never looked as nice as his friends’, especially his roommate with the silky, shampoo-ad hair. It didn’t look as good, it didn’t feel as good, it just wasn’t as good.

A few thousand rupees worth of stinky chemicals and much angst later, he emerged with his long-desired straight hair. Things were good for a couple of weeks… until it began to resemble hay. Not the good kind either. And then the roots began to come in and since he wasn’t happy with the eventual texture of his hair (brittle and raspy), he didn’t touch them up. So for the next several months, until his hair finally grew back, he walked around with what looked like tufts of dried, blackened hay sticking up and to either side of his head.

That thing was like a rattlesnake’s stare – you really wanted to look elsewhere but everytime you laid eyes on him, the only thing you could see was the tumbleweed forest on his head. You don’t even want to know what he called the stuff.

Oh, vanity.

Chris Rock’s Good Hair is about a nation full of Suzies. You can’t really call a phenomenon that affects an entire population a “subculture” but given the degree of silence, born out of sheer ignorance and disinterest, on the subject of what black people call “nappy” hair in mainstream circles, it seems an appropriate term for the regimen of chemical relaxants, wigs and intricate weaves that rule the lives of black women (and some men)*.

By now you’ve probably heard the story: Rock has two adorable little baby girls and one of them came up to him one day and asked him why she didn’t have “good hair”. It’s probably apocryphal but it makes as good an impetus for a documentary narrative as any other. Probably better, in fact – there’s nothing like a good daddy to warm up an audience. And it probably goes double in the African American community where the theme is powerful enough to affect Presidential campaigns.

Rock’s quest to find out what “good hair” means to (primarily) black women takes him through beauty salons, barber shops, a hair show featuring an insane hair-cutting competition (think Shear Genius on steroids) where a contestant basically dresses up in Chris Tucker’s costume from The Fifth Element (minus the crazy forehead overhang), the offices of Al Sharpton and Maya Angelou, Beverley Hills and India with many a stop in between.

A couple of things strike you fairly quickly – the first is that Rock is a pretty shaky interviewer. He seems a little lost or at least a little awkward about this whole “asking questions” business. He’s much more comfortable reacting off people, turning their answers into quick quips. But he’s Chris freaking Rock, so it doesn’t get old super fast the way it would have with anybody else. The second thing that strikes you is that this is serious business for his subjects.

The stories might sound incredible and are frequently hilarious, but underlying the laughter is a very real obsession that’s easily relatable to most anybody.

I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, black, white, Indian, Chinese, zebra-striped, Christian, Wiccan or whatnot… you could be paying $400 every two weeks for a shampoo and cut or plonking down Rs. 15 at your neighborhood barber’s for the Shahrukh Khan special, but your hair, as Maya Angelou puts it, “is your glory”. Hell, my brother keeps his head shaven and even then he wants it buzzed at his particular shop, by “his guy”, who knows what he likes. First thing he does when he lands in a new city is ask around and then prowl restlessly until he finds a barber to his liking. And that’s a habit he shares with my father of all people.

So when the woman from Colorado confesses to Rock that she flies up to her native NYC to get her hair done, it made sense to me. Not sense in a “oh, yeah – that’s perfectly logical” kind of way, but in a “well, given her circumstances, I see where she’s coming from” kind of way. If I was paying $1000-3500 for hair that needed to be professionally maintained (including shampoo – if you’re planning on getting a weave done any time soon, I hope you realize you can’t get it wet) once every week or two weeks, I’d be super particular about who touches my head too.

And of course, with African American hair, it turns out you can’t just walk into any old salon and ask them to handle it. Since Good Hair‘s initial release, the kind and number of horror stories that have spilled out across the internet about black women who found themselves with a white hair-stylist who seriously had no clue whatsoever that all hair is not the same, was remarkable. Hair got burnt, broken off; stylists got snippy and asked them why they didn’t take better care of themselves while lecturing them on proper hair…

As someone who once wandered into a Hispanic salon and walked out minutes later with chola eyebrows (worst. day. of. my. life! It took some fancy work with my tweezer and a kohl pencil, not to mention a month of just refusing to look at myself in the mirror, before my face got halfway back to normal), I can appreciate the agony of being stuck with a stylist who doesn’t speak your style language. It’s a funny story now, the same as it is for Salt ‘n’ Pepa when discussing the necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention genesis of their iconic asymmetrical haircut, but at the time? It was traumatic. There’s nothing worse than a bad cosmetic experience.

Take, for instance, everybody’s favorite white hairstylist Jason. “I do not feel as beautiful as I thought I would,” he grimaces in pain, recovering from his first brush with botox in preparation for the insane hairstyle-off that caps the Bronner Bros. hair show in Atlanta (an annual event along the lines of the World Shoe Association show in Las Vegas), a massive convention at which a mostly non-black corporate bloc targets a black audience worth billions.

Good Hair does have a point to make, of course, about the exploitation of poor people through the sale of false beauty standards (Al Sharpton’s rant about waking up in the morning and putting on your subjugation was both powerful and hilarious), and Rock arrives at the Good Parent’s Point as expected by the end of the movie when he declares he’s going to tell his kids they don’t have to risk death by poison just to think they’re pretty.

And in keeping with the narrative that this is a father’s journey to understand the world his daughters are going to live in, the brief glimpses we see of children are the most affecting. When the toddler who hates getting her hair relaxed nevertheless advises his kids to get their hair done (a process involving chemicals that we earlier see melting soda cans, that even Ice-T describes as exquisitely painful), there might be a lump or two that needs to be swallowed. It’s one thing to see grown women reflect certain attitudes about what is the permitted norm for beauty, it’s entirely another when you see little children barely able to speak parrot the same lines.

That’s what really stayed with me at the end of the documentary – the universality of the feelings that drive the women (and some men) featured in this documentary. In Asia, land of the hair that black people see as the epitome of beauty, we have our own dirty little cosmetic secret – the skin lightening industry. Be it China, India, Malaysia, the Middle East… we buy face washes, moisturizers, sunscreens, whatever it’s possible to purchase and then some, in the hopes that it’ll give us lighter skin. And we teach our kids that.

For white people, it’s tanners – perfectly sane people, walking around painted a shade of diarrhea orange because they’d rather that than look “pasty” or, as we call it in Asia, “marriageable”. For those who can afford it, it’s the bee-stung lips of Angelina Jolie that’s the must have – thousands of well-to-do women who look like they traded lips with a duck.

We’ve all got an inner Suzy. Now all we need to do is talk him down.

*I’m not being sexist by delegating the men to parentheses – that’s how Rock presents them throughout the documentary and I don’t know enough about the subject to disagree.


Posted by on November 28, 2009 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Life, Movies, Review, Video


She Like a Song Played Again

Did Gursharan Kaur wear the same saree to her two State Dinners at the White House? And is it wrong that this makes me love her a tiny bit? :mrgreen:

I can’t see the pallu properly so I can’t make a definitive call but it looks amazingly alike.

The more I look at them, the more hilarious I find it. There you have Michelle Obama, towering over the two of them like a goddess, in a Naeem Khan hand-made (in India! the exoticism comes gratis!) original that’d probably retail anywhere between $5000 and $15,000 and there you have the adorable Ms. Kaur in her basic black Kancheepuram saree that I’d be shocked to purchase for more than two thousand rupees. Fine, I might pay an extra thousand if it’s an especially tony shop and yell “Thief!” while I’m at it, but don’t tell me it sells for more than that.

Yin and yang at the White House.

But for reals, Dr. S – buy your wife a nice saree or two. Ladies like that sort of thing. You’re the Prime Minister, I’m sure someone in your office can figure out where to get ’em.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=President+Bush+Indian+Prime+Minister+White+House&iid=1249172″ src=”8/5/6/a/President_Bush_Greets_71cb.jpg?adImageId=7858763&imageId=1249172″ width=”500″ height=”449″ /]

Source: The fabulous Mrs. O


Posted by on November 26, 2009 in Celebrity, News, Newsmakers, Politics


Plain Rice with Complaint Curry

I don’t like rice.

Yeah, I know – sacrilege! Bring out the pitchforks! As a South Indian I should be consuming it by the handful, disguised as dosa and puttu for breakfast, drowned in curd and sambar for lunch, and soup-style kanji for dinner. It is the holy food of our sainted ancestors. It is the green in our wallet and the brown in our toilet.

Thing is, I think it sucks. I don’t mind it so much when it’s pounded into another form – although! Yo, puttu! Why must you settle in my stomach like lead? Really tasty, sawdusty, good-for-bowel-movement-I’m-sure lead – but rice on its own tastes kind of cold and sour. Maybe it’s psychological but that’s always how it hits my taste buds. Bleh, I say.

This means I’m that fifth-columnist of Onam, the Benedict Arnold of the Cauvery, the traitor of Madurai, the Brutus of Kuchipudi that the true believers have always warned against. Whatever. You’re still not making me eat that stuff.

Unless I’m offered some, that is. What? I’m not going to march into someone’s house and sniff at their food. If they cooked rice and want me to eat it, I’ll bloody well eat it. If I can drink lassi to be polite (it came at the end of a very nice Jain meal and took me within two. seconds. of projectile vomiting. And there was an end to my dairy-related nobility for all time), I can choke down some rice.

It’s not that bad. Just, you know, not my favorite thing. It’s like fish – kittens of the sea have nothing to fear from me at all, but if one were to end up on my plate, it’s going to win a one-way ticket to my tummy all the same because that would be the polite thing to do.

In my family, my freakish refusal to chow down on this beloved bounty of our janma-bhoomi when offered a choice is seen variously as an eccentricity, uppity nonsense and an outrage. Especially when it is seen that I will eat our ancestral food only if it is untouched by curry.

That’s right, people of the world. I like virgin rice. For those of you not in the know, this means I’m a pervert.

My aunt, a much more indulgent version of my mother with plenty of freakish dietary habits of her own, is probably the most sympathetic. Instead of spending hours railing against the tastes of a toddler with a princess complex and a stubborn chin, she figured out a solution early on – she cooked the rice till it was almost glue, poured the leftover broth on top of it and served it with either chicken or shrimp, both fried to the consistency of rubber. Tasty, burnt, caramelized, beyond-hope-of-reanimation or reincarnation rubber.


I have no idea why I love it so much. Maybe it’s because she fed me herself – an indulgence my own mother would have laughed to bits – or maybe it’s just that good. The closest I can recommend to you sad people without access to my auntie and her delicious kitchen is eating sticky rice with Hibachi Yakitori. Kinda unusual and not really the same but I think of it as a second cousin.

To my mother this is all nonsense. And that’s easy for her to say because she doesn’t give a damn. After nearly forty years of life with three very picky eaters, she couldn’t care less who was eating what in which way as long as everybody was eating something without chewing her ear off. I believe most mothers come to this position sooner or later in their lives. The rest can be found sedated in their rooms.

It is my father who is most offended by my tastebuds. It’s as though he sees it as a judgment on his parenting. Like I grew up into a wheat-chewing foreigner while he was busy at the office.

“We are South Indians,” he tells me patiently. “We eat rice. Look at your mother. Look at me. Look at your grandparents. Your uncles and aunts. We eat rice.”

“That’s nice,” I reply, struggling for the same tone of “Listen Retard” that he achieves without even trying. “But I don’t want it. Thanks.”

Because it never hurts to be polite. Eventually, after days of his inspecting my plate and passing occasionally silent yet potent judgment on it, I finally bow down and load my plate with rice. You’d think that’d make him happy. That would be a “no”.

“What are you eating with that? Let me pour this fish curry over it,” he says helpfully.

“Thanks,” I say politely as the fish stare smugly back at me from the curry (speaking of, whatchu staring at sea-kitty? I’m not the one chewing your bones. Fish are unjust). “But I don’t want any.”

He blinks at me. “But we live on the coast. We eat fish. I eat fish. When your mother isn’t being a religious fanatic, she eats fish. Your grandparents ate fish…”

Oh lord. Take me now. Finally, because I do not feel strongly enough about fish to stage a satyagraha against it, I give in and spoon some of it dutifully onto my plate where it stares at me with its cold fishy eyes some more. STFU, fish.

“What is this?” comes my father’s voice on cue.

WHAT, GODDAMMIT? “Yes?” I ask politely.

“Why aren’t you eating more rice?”

I look at my plate which has the exact same amount of rice my mother eats for lunch. I look at my father’s plate which has roughly triple the amount. “I’m fine, thank you,” I tell him.

“For such a big body, you must eat more,” he informs me kindly.

Sure, Daddy, calling me a giant tub of lard is going to make me head right for that big bowl of carbohydrates on the table. I glare at him.

He looks at me with complete innocence. By a complicated set of elimination and deduction (okay fine, Ma told me) I realize he’s been leafing through my mother’s magazines and is now worried I might have an eating disorder.

Oh, for the love of…!! No. I just don’t like rice.


Posted by on November 25, 2009 in Personal


Kurbaan: A Sacrifice of My Time

Renzil D’Silva’s directorial debut, a Karan Johar production, has an identity crisis. Every so often, Kurbaan stops to ask itself, “am I fish or am I fowl?” and leaves the audience to think, “nope, just foul.”

Kurbaan‘s fundamental problem is that it’s a decent thriller groaning under the burden of its Relevant Issue tag. It wants to be a movie about a woman who discovers her marriage is a terrible sham and has to work through her feelings for the stranger with her husband’s face even as she struggles to contain its painful consequences, but it’s often compelled to stop and Say Something Meaningful. With its legs running in two different directions, small wonder it falls on its face.

I generally try not to play Monday morning quarterback with movie scripts but the impulse is strong with this one, reminding me as it does of one of my favorite thrillers of all time – A History of Violence. I’ll apologize in advance to those of you who’re irritated, as I frequently am, by questions like, “But why isn’t X like Y? I like Y so much better!”

X isn’t like Y, because it just isn’t. I get that. Unfortunately, this is what I got out of the movie, so here goes:

The Thriller That Was. There is, of course, very little in common between Kurbaan and AHoV in terms of plot or characters. But with a little bit of finesse, Avantika’s (Kareena Kapoor) realization that there was something wildly wrong with her world could have been just as devastating a denouement as it was for Edie.

Although we meet Edie and Tom years into their marriage, there is a passion between these characters, a sense of rhythm to their lives, that is distinctly lacking between Avantika and Ehsaan (Saif Ali Khan). This is a shame because there are a few short moments (that easily fizzle out) between Kapoor and Khan that make you think they could possibly have explosive chemistry in the right hands. Certainly, they do a fantastic job of it with other people – why not each other?

There is a scene in A History of Violence where Edie just can’t take Tom’s lies anymore or what it’s doing to their marriage. What follows is not a screaming match but an incredibly violent, terribly passionate lovemaking scene on the stairs of their home that leaves the viewer half-aroused with its sheer heat as well as half-ashamed because you’re seeing more on the screen than two people having sex, you’re seeing two people laying their marriage bare.

In Kurbaan, when Avantika and Ehsaan come together in the scene leading up to the climax, after he has violated every trust a person could possibly invest in another, the result is a beautiful piece of well-lit choreography. Avantika’s feelings, her desire, her decision to accept this stranger into her body – there isn’t the slightest suggestion of anything deeper than a manipulative piece of showpiece filmmaking unless it’s “lie back and think of England“.

This is deeply odd because if there’s one thing a Bollywood movie, especially with a pedigree like this one, ought to be able to do, it’s make you connect to the feelings between the lead pair, even when the male lead is a thoroughly detestable human being (Shahrukh Khan in Darr and Aamir Khan in Fanaa are just two of many examples). Perhaps especially if the lead male character is a total write-off.

Like I mentioned before, I really want to take this movie as it stands, but the sheer disinterest it exhibits towards the love story that it chooses as its propeller is what makes me wonder if D’Silva wouldn’t have done better with the standard thriller format of a movie like AHoV. Choosing to go with the linear narrative, in which Avantika and Ehsaan meet cute and fall in love, brings up an inevitable question: what the devil was so amazing about Ehsaan that Avantika, a character that the film is careful to embody with the Vestal Virgin Complex of all proper Bollywood heroines, absolutely couldn’t do without him?

Yes, it’s nice to be wanted and wooed, perhaps even in the empty staffrooms of dusty colleges, but if cocksure Ehsaan with his annoying theories of love is the most ardent lover a gori chitti item like Avantika could find in Delhi of all testosterone-laden places… well, things must have changed is all I can say.

The movie might have been better served if we’d been introduced to the happy young couple as they move into their Stepford Muslim Neighborhood because that’s where things get mildly interesting. Avantika’s slow realization that things around her are sort of weird, followed by her abrupt descent into traumatic discovery, culminating in the event that introduces Riyaaz (Vivek Oberoi) as the new player of significance in what up till then had been her personal drama, actually hold your interest unlike the second half, post Ehsaan’s big reveal that he isn’t actually a refugee from the Lost Land of Bad Romance.

It’s the Terrorism, Stupid. So then the focus shifts to the plot point that allows the filmmakers to sell this as a “movie about terrorism”. As all the Hollywood filmmakers who’ve tried their hand at an Iraq-themed movie in the recent past can tell you, shooting a movie about contemporary issues is a crapshoot. You never know whether your movie is going to capture the zeitgeist or suffer under audience fatigue.

In either case, the way to build your “movie about terrorism” is not to lazily pick up arguments from anti-Bush screeds circa 2004 like “X thousands died on 9/11, but X+Y thousands died in Afghanistan”. Is it true? Sure, absolutely. But if you’re going to sell your movie as one centered on a current issue of grave importance to the general public, in India as much as anywhere else in the world, then the onus is upon you to deal with it in a way that doesn’t insult the intelligence of the watching public. Having chosen its pulpit, Kurbaan not only has nothing new to say, it doesn’t even make an interesting case for the few points it halfheartedly mumbles.

Not very smart when your movie is about to release a week prior to the first anniversary of one of the most horrific terrorist attacks to ever take place on Indian soil. In fact I’d have happily taken my money and spent it on Terror in Mumbai, a truly shattering HBO documentary narrated by Fareed Zakaria, had it been playing in theaters.

It’s not fortunate in its timing either given America is struggling to come to terms with the Ft. Hood shooting, and reading the associated commentary just serves to remind you that life in neighborhoods like the one Ehsaan tricks Avantika into must be one hell of a lot more complicated than Kurbaan makes it seem.

Altogether, D’Silva seems more confused than anything else about this Super Important Thing he’s attached to his film. Is this is a Bollywood movie about bad guys and good guys and the hot chick in the middle? Or is this New Age Hindi Cinema about the Meaning of Terrible Things?

In the end he makes the worst possible choice and made a Bollywood movie about bad guys and good guys and the hot chick in the middle that pauses to reflect upon the Meaning of Terrible Things.

As Avantika and Riyaaz go to work to foil Ehsaan’s plans and the focus shifts from their personal tragedy to the possible tragedy that awaits thousands of unknown, faceless Americans, Kurbaan finally crumbles under the conflicting demands upon its nature. Suddenly Avantika remembers she’s a wronged wife as well as a terrified citizen, Ehsaan remembers that he’s a husband as well as a jihadi robot and Riyaaz remembers that he’s not Rambo. Maybe you can find it in you to care by then, but I couldn’t.

That said, I’m sure I ought to give props to all involved for tackling a subject that doesn’t exactly scream “Bollywood property”. And sure, I appreciate the thought. But when I walk into that theater, I’m not paying for the nobility of your purpose.

Give me fish or give me fowl. Just hold the baloney.


Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Entertainment, Movies, Review, Video


Is it Hot in Here?


If they were in prison, what Life just did to People Magazine and its much vaunted “Sexiest Man Alive” issue would be called a shanking.

Do. Not. Want.

I love Johnny Depp just as much as the next person but I’ve noticed that for some reason People consistently uses the worst possible, airbrushed to hell and back, photoshopped into alienhood, unflattering photos for their SMA covers. And the Depp cover this year is no different. I don’t know what the hell was going on when he took that pic or what the editors were thinking when they chose it, but if I crawled into bed one night and discovered that waiting under the covers for me, “sex” is the last thing I’d be thinking about.

More like “911”, “serial killer”, “M. Night Shyamalan was a prophet”, and the Hanuman Chalisa (which would be truly amazing because I never bothered to learn).

And then there’s the Life series about the sexiest men who used to be, built around all those amazing photographs from back in the day.

Will you just look at that man! Can you imagine a single person on People‘s list who could carry that off? And that’s leaving aside the fact that rounding out the top ten sexiest men this year according to them are:

02. Ryan Reynolds
03. Jake Gyllenhaal
04. Bradley Cooper
05. Robert Downey Jr.
06. David Beckham
07. Gilles Marini
08. The Glee Guys (Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison, Mark Salling)
09. Nick Cannon
10. Adam Lambert

Ha. Ha ha. Gilles Marini looks like he might have an outside chance but can you imagine the reaction if someone wrote of him:

“Here he comes, the most overwhelming Frenchman this side of Charles de Gaulle, riding into the U.S. to devastate feminine hearts…. His specialty is playing boudoir heels, and he intrigues women off-camera as well as on with a withering arrogance.”

as they once did for Alain Delon? And you can hear the howls of laughter if somebody decided to write:

“He is the patron saint of the cult of the body: the almost mystical belief that we have the power to overcome adversity if only we submit to the right combinations of exercise, diet, meditation and weight training; that by force of will, we can sculpt ourselves into demigods.”

of Ryan Reynolds’ admittedly ripped body unlike that beautiful, beautiful man, Bruce Lee.

Part of it is because we’re a much more cynical lot as an audience, less likely by the day to let such sweeping worship wash over us. But the kind of man meat on display sure has a hell of a lot to do with it too.


Posted by on November 20, 2009 in Celebrity, Entertainment


A Tale of Two Letters

[picapp src=”a/c/0/4/MoMAs_Second_Annual_1048.jpg?adImageId=7612621&imageId=7078374″ width=”500″ height=”360″ /]

If letter writing is a lost art, then given the state of the publishing industry these days, writing letters to the editors of newspapers must be doubly endangered. Which is why it’s always such a joy to see people still writing in – to The Economist, for example.

For as long as I can remember, it is the one letters page that I have always considered a must read. Sure, most of it is riddled with official responses from various governments outraged at the “newspaper’s” often critical reporting but there’s always at least one in every lot that is truly hilarious and spot on.

Sometimes, it even manages to be hilarious and spot on about the official responses from various governments outraged at the newspaper’s often critical reporting. Like so:

Metaphysical geography

SIR – I have a suggestion for your problem regarding Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and Russian diplomats berating The Economist about the labelling of territories in maps of north-east Asia (Banyan, October 17th). Since none of those countries’ representatives can agree on the names of bodies of water and islands in the region, you should just create your own based on a more accurate reflection of the locations in question.

For instance, how about Rocky Eyot of No Significant Value, Polluted Sea of Calm, Islands of Always Hammered by Typhoons and It Is Too Cold Here to Care Who Is In Charge.

Todd Allen
Rockville, Maryland

Hmmm. That sounds like a model that India needs to adopt immediately. No more wrangling about whether our cities sound authentic enough to suit the political tastes of this party or that faction, no worries about whether this new moniker offends that community or this one.

Delhi – Fat Cat Palace

Mumbai – Overcrowded Island for Movies, Mafia and Marathi Manoos Only

Kolkata – Yesterday’s Black Hole of Joy

Chennai – Frying Pan by the Sea

Bengalooru – Ruins of a Gracious Past

Sometimes, though, letters can be a joy for entirely different reasons. Like the reaction of Twihards to the news that their beloved vampire lover has not been handed the keys to the establishment by People Magazine. Instead, they declared some stupid pirate the Sexiest Man Alive. What is this, old people? 1948? It’s an outrage!

Lainey, I just don’t know what I’m going to tell my daughter when she comes home from school today. Lauren is in grade 10 and we both love RPattz. I have been online all morning trying to sort through this mess. How could this happen? How could People Mag make such a mistake? I am devastated and so will Lauren. We both expected to celebrate with Rob today and now it just feels like a death in the family. I can’t wait for the New Moon show on Friday. We have tickets for two shows back to back. Hopefully that will take the sting away. Thanks for listening. From Ashley R

I love that she’s been “online all morning trying to sort through this mess” like it’s some kind of bill that went awry and all she needs to do is bug the company about it long enough and it will turn out ok. :mrgreen:

I don’t even know what to do with the “We both expected to celebrate with Rob today” – I just realized I’ve never felt that way about any celebrity ever. Good God.


Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Entertainment, Life, Movies, News, Newsmakers