Times of Idiots

Yours was not, in the beginning, a criminal nature, but circumstances changed it. At the age of nine, you stole sugar. At the age of fifteen, you stole money. At twenty, you stole horses. At twenty-five, you committed arson. At thirty, hardened in crime, you became an editor.”.

— Mark Twain

I sincerely hope that you know whom I am talking about.  Well, It is known as Times of India and it claims itself to be India’s national newspaper.
   
Even if I do not like it, I daily browse its horribly designed website. They did not leave any stone unturned in making it non-readable. With all the advertisements popping out here and there, it is like being greeted with a prostitute when you visit a library to study. Honestly, I do not go there to read anything. Yes, not even its ‘ten places where girls want to be touched’ garbage. I go there to look at its ‘most shared‘ articles every day. While ‘most read’ articles also say a lot about its readers but the best way to interpret its readers, is by  most shared articles. Sharing a article means that the chances of reading and liking a article is much higher by the one who shared it, besides ‘sharing’ means that his/her social circles is also influenced.

The list is truly amazing. At any given day, week or month, sex related articles are about 50-70%, followed by celebrities 10-30% and then some other personal stuff. Rarely you see any articles of its editorial in the most shared list. Exams related articles are to be found but they are seasonal and mostly about some controversies.

Since it is the highly read newspaper among the English speaking elites of India, it can not be ignored. It also boasts its ‘bazaru‘ (market-oriented) approach. The argument is like, “My readers want it.” Just like a drug paddler who’d say, “Look I am nice guy, these assholes on the streets want it, what can I do?” If patriotism is the last refuse of a scoundrel, then this argument is the last refuge of a utmost morally corrupt, jug-head, bastard editors. Suddenly, Mark Twain start making sense to me.

Well, in case of this newspaper, there is hardly any editor. It is run by managers who thinks that editors are disposable. A hell lot of stenography is going on there. News? if they don’t understand it, they put it in science section. Editorials are simply to separate its advertisement.

Its not like that all is crap there (most of it is surely crap). It had done a nice job speaking for rape victim (that is other story that at the same time revealing their identities in public, Why? Its pervert readers wants it?); and for the RTI and on Health issue (most of them are sex related, but also when vaccine maker PSU was closed down by heath minister). Once is while you see a common man on its pages but mostly you see blond head, half-naked, fairer-than-Indian on its pages and sexuality oozes out of it from the very first page.

Front page of a newspaper is like its body and the editorial is its soul. It sells its body to anyone who can pay for it. It has not sold its soul but downgraded it to the very extent. The plagiarism in this newspaper is way too profound. It steals news reports from local newspaper and publish it, Ok, there is some translation. Besides, it was accused of paid news, remember know you candidate drama during elections.

Well, may be to a person who loves being successful at any cost; it may make sense to go TOI ways. Whenever the Times has emerged from its lair in Mumbai and stomped into a new city, its competitors wet their pants. The paper is known for its fiery marketing strategies, and has an uncanny knack of bulldozing its way to the top. “Soft porn journalism” is a weapon it has employed with stunning impact in this marketing war – primarily targeting young people, especially university students, who are discovering their sexuality.

Even if we consider, may be it want to educate people about sex with its sexperts. Consider what they know about sex. The writer who writes about sex have at most I.Q. of 10 year old. The data is possibly collected from Facebook links.

This paper was not started with the novel intentions. It has been vision-less at the time of its birth and remained blind. Writing in Outlook, Khushwant Singh had something to say about this newspaper,

So we have the ironic situation that while we can name editors of other dailies, no one knows the name of the editor of the most widely circulated paper in the country. Samir Jain (rightly?) concluded that editors were dispensable. From his great grandfather he has inherited the uncanny gift of making money: the Times has become a major money-spinner. The trinity who run it know what is and what is not dispensable. R.K. Laxman is not dispensable (he is worth three editors). God and religion are not dispensable: so we have articles on god, yoga, meditation and quotes from the scriptures. Scantily clad starlets are not dispensable: male readers need some titillation every morning. Books and book reviews are as dispensable as editors. That is the secret behind the longevity of the old lady of Bori Bunder. Also periodical injection of life-giving drugs by the Jain trinity. A reasonable way of discovering this secret is to compare its Sunday supplements with those of other national dailies. It has a string of contributors who command readerships of their own.

May be you’d love to look at this newspaper while rubbing your penis but would you like to see your children growing up seeing this newspaper every morning. There is hardly any values left in this paper. And the way it depicts women? Well…

TOI capitalize on sex as well as low trust among boys and girls. Sex is very much ‘me and myself‘ feeling. There are other such tendencies among Indians. ‘Me and myself‘ has seen a widespread reach following the globalisation.

E. P. Thompson once said that, “There is not a though which is ever thought in west is not active in some Indian mind.” But it is impossible to get any of those ideas in this newspaper. I really do not have high opinion about its readers. Most of them are just reactionaries. Their comments on its stories says it all. Hardly any new information is added. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is out there to make a comment and share it on the Facebook. Besides, there is not journalist to be found working for this paper. All are stenographers!!

Everything aside, I just can not stand a newspaper which boasts itself for not having a single book-review page despite of having 50+ pages of crap. But how daring? At the same time it has wonderful plan to teach India.

END NOTES :
——————–
[1] There’s no such thing as society,” British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once declared. “There are individual men and women and there are families.” Indian, generally considered a ‘survival society‘ worrying about themselves and their families at best. Few authoritative indologist has gone far to declare Indians as ‘Homo Hierarchicus'(See Appendix A). These days we are seeing a more acute emphasis on values in economics – strangely the field of economics which has been notorious in escaping social values has awarded Nobel prize to Sociologists. Partha Dasgupta – perhaps the next mother Teresa of economics after Amartya Sen – has done a nice job relating ‘Trust’ with economics development. His argument that where there is more trust, economy flourish seems all right in India. Northern states where ‘trust’ is lesser than their ‘southern counterparts’ are more ‘BIMARU‘. I do not have the data to back this argument, just experience. In Delhi it hard to get ‘lift’ than in ‘Chennai’, in fact people stop there if you look at them. :)

[2] Paid News :  http://www.indiatogether.org/2010/aug/psa-empire.htm
[3] Original story about paid news : http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article38482.ece

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Author: Dilawar

Graduate Student at National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.

One thought on “Times of Idiots”

  1. IF you have this much to say about times.then its better to leave reading that…! Its not i disagree with you but they have been in to the business since long and know the surrounding better.Better worry about situations which can trouble us and our society and how you can help to eradicate that not just pointing to others.If you think there are no news to publish than you b in news.

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