Our species will go extinct because we didn't understand or value the concept of a Republic (where public is above the rulers) as much as the concept of a Democracy (where elections choose rulers).
India is still a Democracy. I don't think it's a Republic anymore.
Being a functioning democracy does not ensure individual freedom or rights. Being a functioning republic at least aspires to.
A Republic says the public is the main thing and yes we have a government, but the government better not cross these these these these lines. You can't just arrest someone without explaining why. You can't just kill someone! Etc.
2021 has been a great year overall except that I had to quit a group of very lovely nice people because of one persistently abusive dude. That hurt. Literally, one guy ruined it for everyone else. Despite several gentle Shishupal type reminders that you're being a Shishupal.
Context. A few days ago, I tweeted about how IIM Lucknow alumni whatsapp groups are mostly run and dominated by bigots and sanghis. Obviously, it led to my batchmates closing ranks, acting ultra outraged etc. Typical of the geedad gang that hunts in packs.
Said dude, fellow puneri and fellow manhattan resident who claims to be liberal but seems to always be picking fights with feminists over "political correctness" and never actually arguing with right wingers.
He sends me this. From an anonymous account that goes by "deep state"
So much #FactCheckBait being put out by IT Cell today and so many people biting.
What is #FactCheckBait? Fascists putting out tweets or messages with very obvious rebuttal properties. So non-fascists are distracted by rebutting or fact checking them. And the fascists get more name recognition. What have the top sanghi twitter accounts done other than provoke?
Why are so many sanghi bigot handles famous & well followed on Twitter despite having no notable quality other than getting called out by liberals? Cos that's all it takes. If they can fool liberals into QTing or even screenshot-ing them, they become heroes and then are like
I've done this before and I'll keep doing it every time a #MunawarFaruqui type case happens. Because other than just being blatantly bigoted and fascist, it also seems bizarrely self-destructive. So here's a paraphrasing of one of Shakespeare's best. /1
He is a Muslim. Hath not a Muslim eyes? Hath not a Muslim hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Hindu is?
If we prick them, do they not bleed? If we tickle them, do they not laugh? If we poison them, do they not die? And if we wrong them, shall they not revenge? If they are like us in the rest, they will resemble us in that.
He gets headlines. That's how Trump & Cruz went 1-2 in the 2016 GOP primaries despite being non factors in 2012. Get attention through easily demonstrable hypocrisy and easily debunkable lies. Name recognition is the biggest hurdle for a a politician with national ambitions.
It's the global right wing playbook. Social media and 24 hr news have made it more effective than ever before. It was easier to bash Trump's outright fascist bigotry than Scott Walker's old school conservative policies that gutted Wisconsin. Who even remembers Walker?
Even now, CNN etc are regularly having on random insurrectionist members of congress and the anchors grill them looking very indignant and then people indignantly make clips of it viral. Like Trump and birtherism. Win win for them. Lose lose for us and the country.
Most elite Indians (primarily savarna white collar urban english medium educated folks like me) land on Western shores convinced that we are just as advanced and developed as these countries as a people. It's just "corruption" in India holding us back. Then reality hits. /1
We see that the West works better on a daily level, but not because of some mythical genetic or societal immunity to this mythical "corruption" villain. Cos there is corruption in Western politics too. They seem to have institutions and systems built over ages to minimize it.
But most Indians who reach these shores are engineer/mba/doctor types. Trained in secondary vocational type disciplines. So our default approach is to find a quick engineering type solution. We have almost zero exposure to sociology, psychology, economics, anthropology, etc.
Every week I get a demonstration of what a hazardous influence Whatsapp is for public health in india. This time, it was in a relatively benign context. A relative who is almost 70, went to a doctor because his family told him, your hearing seems to be getting really bad. /1
The doctor, an actual FRCS doctor, not a homeopathy or alternative medicine type quack, ran a bunch of tests and said, it's just age. Can't fix this with surgery. You have to wear hearing aids. They are very small and inconspicuous now. Hardly anyone will notice, I promise.
My relative was like, cool. Hook me up. Said relative is awesomely rare in not really caring log kya kahenge. Ordered the best hearing aids for both ears. Him happy. Family happy.
This is when Whatsapp groups, neighbors, relatives etc kicked into high gear.
A book which had a way bigger impact on the way I thought about politics, economics, race, and democracy was Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson. I picked it up after loving the 1st season of the HBO show based on it. Then realized, the book was SO MUCH MORE than just Nucky.
The show is literally about just one chapter out of a story about this historic oddity named Atlantic City. From its late 1800s start as a wellness spa retreat (hilarious thought in 2021) to Trump coming and destroying the city as if practising for his presidential run, much more
And in tracing that century plus history of corrupt and evolving politics in that proto-Vegas New Jersey town, the book also offers great insights into how American politics evolved in the 20th century. How local party bosses and "bahubalis" were common in US politics till FDR.
I spent half the weekend ranting about that case to friends. Basically it was "A man is in jail for weeks for a joke he neither told nor was intending to tell and has been denied bail repeatedly by the judge, just because of his name. Kafka couldn't dream this up." On loop.
With an "of course, no one should be arrested for jokes but we crossed that line in India years ago."
The world call now stop citing Minority Report as the reference for arresting people for crimes before they happen. #MunawarFaruqui case is even more dystopian. He is ostensibly under arrest because the local police think he might tell "insulting" jokes and threaten public order
I remember the first couple of seasons of Hell's Kitchen, I was like who the hell is going to want to work for them after such displays. And as head chef? I have friends in the biz. It is not easy to run a restaurant.
Then I discovered that those were kinda honorary tiles. 😂😂
So the winners were technically head chefs or whatever at one of Gordon's restaurants. But kinda titular. And for a year. And they got that lavish salary also only for a year.
Obviously. The only thing the show tested was can they be entertaining whipping boys/girls for Gordon.
The original template for this TV chicanery was of course... And I just had a burst of happiness not mentioning the name in a political context after ages or in anger 😁.... Donald Trump. Winners of The Apprentice didn't get really get leadership roles even in that tiny business.
Kills me to say Tom Brady is unacceptably good. He's like the Bradman of the NFL.
Dude is headed to his 10th Super Bowl and possible 7th title. Until this season, I thought of course he's one of the greats but his record is inflated (😏) by being with the Pats & Belicheat.
This season he's become GOAT in my eyes. And I don't like the guy. But wow.
He is 43. Already the winningest American Football player of all time. First to need his second hand for the rings. He goes to a bottom ranked team here in the first season! Even if he doesn't go all the way, this is a GOAT confirmation season.
6 brave historic debutants from the Indian cricket team did so well in Australia that a carmaker worth only $1.6bn was moved enough to gift them an entire lavish unbelievable SUV each from his factory's existing stock! 😲😲 And he selflessly tweeted it too. Such generosity!
This sarcasm is entirely directed at Anand Mahindra. I teach my students about blatant "trendjacking" by corporates looking to get some free PR without any marginal cost. But seriously, just a piddly SUV you sell already for such historic brilliance? Nakedly blatant opportunism.
Trendjacking is exactly what it sounds like. Try to hijack a trend for your benefit, preferably at zero or minimal cost. If it works, it is practically infinite ROI.
Mahindra Thar market price (not cost price) - ₹10-15 lakh. Multiply by 6. That's amazing twitter PR for < 1 cr.
Yesterday, caught a repeat of this NPR story that blows the lid on plastic recycling. I've known about the futility of it for years thanks to an older longform. But had never thought of the plastic industry being THE champion of recycling. Machiavellian!
TLDR - while metals, glass, some paper can be and is recycled, plastic recycling is too expensive with current tech so doesn't really happen. All that separating and sorting of your plastic bottles is basically collective theater orchestrated by big plastic.
There's a similarly counter-intuitive truth behind the collective "don't print, save a tree" delusion. Most paper in developed countries comes from trees planted on private land specifically for paper. Reduction in paper use will just reduce the number of such trees planted.
Booked airbnb in the Catskills for a bubble weekend. A couple of folks couldn't make it. So it's just @k_rupal, me, my buddy in a house that was originally built as a Youth Hostel in the 60s and used to sleep 20! Feels like the start of a slasher movie. 😂😂
It's -11C here right now (RealFeel -20C) demonstrating why the airbnb host reminded us multiple times to keep a tiny stream on in the kitchen sink faucet all night. To prevent the old pipes of this very budget-built ex Youth Hostel from bursting.
Sitting in this living room, looking at old pictures from the 60s & 70s when this was a YH, imagining backpackers paying $7/night, warmed by this very fireplace after stepping through ankle deep snow off a tiny remote road. Feeling a bit like Jack Torrance.
Good but why not just kill it? You know the next Republican majority leader is going to like they did for justices after Reid did for judges after GOP started using it almost every week against Obama etc etc. The filibuster is not even in the constitution. It is archaic.
And neither party has the moral high ground here though obviously McConnell has a higher sleaziness score. You think young Republican senators who tried to overturn an election will keep the filibuster whenever they retake the Senate? Just end it and pass a bill a week.
After the ACB confirmation process, there should be absolutely no compunction from Schumer's side to nuke the filibuster and take our 18th century democracy into the 20th century at the very least.
People who get sauces all over both their hands and over around the mouth when eating ribs, wings, burgers are like lol/yuck mixing rice with hands? 🤷🏼♂️
One of my frequent clashes with my foodie indian friends is about how they don't realize how their views on food are sometimes Eurocentric. Like seriously, we are ridiculing her for that? Want an invite to Buck Palace or something?
Sadly there are bound to be more #MunawarFaruqui and UP conversion type cases. MoSha have kinda started a "So You Think You Can Fascist?" contest among regional BJP leaders to show who can showcase the most newsworthy anti-Muslim thing they can do. They're incentivized.
In the last 30 years, every single BJP leader who went all-in on hating or persecuting Muslims has had a thriving political career. Some went from obscurity to the parliament on the steam of their local anti muslim activities. With the media and courts complicit, don't see an end
On paper, Shivraj Chouhan did a better "development" job in once ramshackle MP than Modi in always-rich Gujarat. But he lost out to Modi internally for the PMship. This time around, Chouhan is way more focused on these kinds of anti muslim cases and stories and legislations.
On this early morning of my biggest cricket euphoria, I am gonna do a thread on Subash, the dude that personifies cricket for me. I know he will blush and curse me for this. But still. This is a @cricketcouch appreciation thread. Someone I'm privileged to call a friend. /1
I first heard from Subash in 2009 or 2010 randomly through the Penn State desi grad student group. He was like, dude, you seem truly into cricket. So am I. Let's meet. I said cool. And I meet this very sweet, smart, passionate guy who lives and breathes cricket!
He was and still is a career engineer. But his passion for the game seemed to match my own from our early interactions. When we met, I realized it wasn't even a contest. I can never love cricket as much as Subash does. I doubt anyone can, except career cricketers.
This era feels like the golden age of Day 5 4th innings cricket. Like tense 5th days go into the final session way more frequently than in my younger days (1985-2005). Makes sense because this is the least unequal test cricket has been ever. Almost every series is close.
For most of test cricket history, the favorite (usually also the home team) rolled over the underdog pretty easily. Because the objective differences in skills and resources were too vast. There were occasional fightbacks. But in bursts and spurts. Most tests were decided early.
We regret to inform you that you are no longer the most memorable story-filled emotion inducing series India has ever played.
Btw right after 2001, it wasn't instantly considered GOAT. Many of my uncles argued, justifiably, that 1986 England was still the best cos away. Only with passing years was 2001 was considered GOAT regardless of venue or even because of. Similarly this series will age well.
For me personally, nothing will ever match 2018 cos a series win in Australia was something I'd been hungry for since childhood. But I think just in terms of the legends and stories spawned over the years, this one, I think, will surpass 2001. It's overstuffed with drama.