Wednesday, November 09, 2016

On The Extreme Lack Of Self-Awareness

I usually have never written about politics much less US politics on this blog. However, the egregious lack of self-awareness by the "holier than thou" set of people made me want to write something after a long time. Today, the people who associate with Democratic party of the US and who are self-proclaimed liberals are putting a level of oppari that is unheard of even in kannamapettai circles. They are mourning as if someone died, as if someone *else* they were dependent on to do the 'right thing' failed. As if they are staring at a future that is so terrifying that they have to be 'afraid' of it. Of course none of it is true. We are looking at a bright and prosperous future. The country has elected a great leader who will surpass the existing one and there is absolutely nothing to worry or be scared of. What is really happening is that - these so called democrats were just wrong. Their exam results just came out and declared that they were completely and utterly wrong. They don't know how to deal with being wrong because their self-awareness is, well, non-existent. So instead of looking inwards they are blaming someone else who is not them. Here is a list of reasons why they (a) were wrong and (b) have only themselves to blame.

Desensitizing the Undecided: Democrats weren't fair on what issues to outrage on. They outraged on everything republican. For 5 years they were 'crying wolf' on trivial issues, first with Mitt Romney (he was a honest man with impeccable personal integrity vilified for just being financially successful) and for constantly hyping trivial flaws by Trump. This caused a neutral audience to believe that Dem-bhakts will cry wolf for everything. The 'undecided' became deaf and blind to the outrage machine. So they didn't notice it when the outrage was for genuine reasons (Trump and the women thing). I frankly stopped believing anything about trump in the last 6 months.

Alienating Undecided/Republicans: Have you seen in your Facebook feed, someone who is openly republican? I am willing to bet none of the readers of this blog have a republican friend or even a republican FB friend. Do you think you or I can make a FB post that is overtly republican in nature? We'd get burnt alive for it. By dehumanizing republican supporters by calling them bigots, xeonphobhes, islamaphobes etc - Dems eliminated a forum where open dialog was possible. There was one lady (Tamil origin, big shot types) in my FB circle and twitter feed who used her children in a FB post to campaign for democrats. Apparently, the situation is so grave that her children are worried it seems. She asks people who are her FB friends to unfriend her if they were Republican leaning. That is the level of arrogance these democrats have. She is actually saying that a person with an alternate political view cannot even be her Facebook friend. This is the reality with most democrats. This basically meant that undecided/republicans who are already desensitized now are making their decisions without ground level debate.

Assumption of intellect: The worst offense by Democrats was this 'Assumption of Intellect' fallacy. This fallacy means that person A knows what is best for person B's life much better than person B. Thats not true. But the dems kept saying "How could you be so stupid and vote for trump?". As if they were the sole guardians of intellect in the world and they defined whats stupid and what wasn't. The right argument would have been to point out the flaws of the candidate and then allowed person B to arrive at his own conclusion. What dems did was simply order person B to vote for dems or be called stupid. Is that a way to convince an undecided voter?  Show. Dont tell.

Women Abuse & Personal Ethics of Hilary: Apparently Trump is bad towards women and so deserves condemnation. This is my personal ethic. I think in Mahabharatha 'Karnan' was a bad person. There is no way to justify or glorify him. He was jealous of arjuna, plotted and attempted to kill the pandavas, humiliated Draupadi in front a large crowd by disrobing her. He was on the side of evil when he had a choice to be on the side of good people. Senjotru kadan is not such a great virtue to trump it all. Hillary by enabling and associating with Bill after it was well known that he was a serial abuser, lost any sort of moral high ground. period. If she had divorced Bill instead of sticking with him for political mileage, its different. She sold herself to the devil.

None of the Democrats have a high moral ground. They don't represent greater good or absolute righteousness by any stretch of imagination. Yet they act if their defeat is equivalent to dharma dying. Hubris.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kabali

I liked Kabali. First, a disclaimer on my biases to help readers quickly decide whether to abandon this post after reading the first para. I fundamentally dislike glorification of cinema actors. My theory is the movie's story should organically bring out whatever coolness an actor supposedly has and not be made with the express purpose of showcasing some perceived coolness. It is one thing to party and have fun on FDFS of Rajini movies but it is also one of the least desirable human behaviors to consider someone 'thalaiva' and then go watch his movies just to see him move his body parts in slow-mo.  In the last 10 years upper caste/class douches (especially women) have suddenly discovered the coolness of being a Rajini fan and have tried to get on the bandwagon like an unwanted nerdy kid trying to get into a swimsuit party. Most upper class/caste Rajini "fans" remind me of Kumudha's IT colleague nerd boss in 'Idharku Dhaan aasai pattai Balakumara'. Given all these - I have mostly disliked Rajini movies that moves away from his traditional 'convey a simple comeback from behind story' platform and descends too much into hero worship (with Baasha ranking as his stupidest movie and worse than Naattukku Oru Nallavan, Pandian etc). However, this general disdain towards his movies hasn't stopped me from (a) watching all his movies and (b) liking him more than Kamalahasan in the recent past.

Now to Kabali. I wasn't planning on seeing the movie any time soon. But the fact that Rajini fans didn't like the movie gave me confidence that the movie might actually be good. I liked that the movie took its time to say things. I actually wished that it took more time to say the story fully well. Once Ranjith decided to make a slowish mood piece, I wish he'd done full justice to that choice. The class of the movie is evident in the way it makes Rajini search for his wife in a semi-prolonged way. It primes the situation up and builds pressure for a nice emotional release. Very similar to the build up to the Viswaroopam scene where Kamal reveals himself as a 'fighter'. This was the best part of the movie for me.  If they had abandoned the non-linear way of story telling it would have helped me appreciate the movie much better. This movie didn't need the slices of flashback to tell us about Kabali's rise and his love for Kumudha. It needed to start with it and spend a good 45 minutes on just that. In the first 30 minutes I didn't understand the extent of animosity between Rajini and the half dozen characters that are introduced in quick succession. There were so many of them that I stopped caring after a point. I also wasn't aware of how much Kabali loved Kumudha. I can't help but think that a powerful and detailed flashback (similar to the one in Ghajini) may have helped a lot. This movie is basically Nayagan and should've simply played out in a similar linear format. If a bunch of time is spent on establishing a character *before* an event then a whole lot of time does not need to be spent to explain the character's emotions *after* the event. I felt a trick was missed there.

The dalit undercurrent was as fascinating in Kabali as it was in Madras.  The dialog in the beginning where Kabali says (in the context of caged birds but obviously referring to boxed in humans) "Saava vida un karunai kodumaiyanadhu" was mind blowing. The reference to clothes, Ambedkar etc all provides a fascinating set up. Its just that Ranjith fails to cash in on this set up because (a) he hasn't spent time telling what made Kabali who he was and (b) he spend inordinate amount of time doing some stupid 'rajini style' scenes in the climax (the sequence at the top of tower where Rajini does a come back on the Chinese guy was plain nonsense). In the rest of the movie - the powerful dialogs were there but the situation wasn't there because Ranjith had not spent time setting it up. This actually significantly diminishes the impact of the dalit subtext Ranjith wanted to say. And this was a recurring theme of the movie for me - it would have worked much better had more screen time been spent on the rise and falling in love of Kabali as opposed to a retrospective look at his life in slices. At the end of every Rajini movie, I imagine if I would've liked the story had it been acted by a unknown actor. Most Rajini movies fail the test. This one sort of ended as a just pass.