Monday, July 27, 2009

Television reporters and anchors habitually adopt a breathless manner

TOP ARTICLE Lure Of The Small Screen-Editorial-Opinion-The Times of India By Andre Beteille, Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not all the information provided on television is of significant value. Much of it is trivial and ephemeral. The analysis provided is sometimes acute and incisive, but often it is empty and vacuous. There is a strain towards the presentation of information in a striking and dramatic form. Much of what takes place in our public life is ordinary and humdrum, but with some effort even the most banal happenings can be given a portentous air. Television reporters and anchors habitually adopt a breathless manner, which even the most seasoned newspaper columnist or radio broadcaster cannot easily simulate.

Like the other media, television provides both information and entertainment, but it combines the two in its own distinctive way. When Doordarshan held the field by itself, there was very little entertainment, and the information was bland and stereotyped. This has changed with the entry of private television channels into the field. Even Doordarshan is now less dull and stodgy than it used to be. Our newsreaders do not have to be grim faced as in China or Russia, and the women among them do not have to cover their heads as in Iran and Pakistan. It is good to see greater variety in dress and deportment although, personally, one regrets the passing of the sari.

While the media in general combine information with entertainment, private television channels make a special effort to present information and analysis in an entertaining way. The line between entertainment and information is in any case never clear and, where there is acute competition to hold the viewer's attention, it is easily crossed... What is worrying about private television is the cut-throat competition between rival channels. The competition affects the manner in which news is presented and, in the end, also its substance. The writer is professor emeritus of sociology, University of Delhi.

In constant pursuit of physical beauty-City City Bang Bang-Santosh Desai Times of India, 29 September 2008

The idea of a perfect body is culturally constructed and makes millions go through enormous amount of effort to try and achieve it. This is true, but no more true than notions of success, for instance, which are equally artificial and create benchmarks that are often impossible to live up to.

In the world we live in today, it is not in the nature of things to be happy with what we have. What we call progress is nothing but a relentless and driving impatience with the existing. We want more, we want better and we want it now. In the value system we have constructed, we have created a set of hierarchies in terms of what is legitimate and what is not. There is no natural reason why beauty will not be pursued as vigorously as the training of the mind is. Beauty like money and education, is on its way to being democratized. More and more people are likely to see it as a personal achievement rather than an inherited legacy.

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