Issues posts

The Last Na’vi

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Dileep Rao shows up briefly in this clip from Avatar, James Cameron’s high-tech yet Luddite tale of a soldier going native. The story evokes some obvious parallels like the European colonization of the New World. Cameron reportedly paid close attention to fashioning a bow-and-arrow culture which rides steeds bareback going up against white men with [...]

Clipping ‘Hair’

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

In this entertaining snip from the documentary Good Hair, Chris Rock returns from Chennai to meet an Indian-American hair merchant. Vijay Gupta carries $15K of weaves in a rolling suitcase, selling to Beverly Hills salons:

The real juice of the doc is a barbershop discussion when a black man says the last time he was allowed [...]

Rivers of hate

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Under legal duress, the UK’s openly racist British National Party may welcome its first non-white member. He’s a Sikh:

An elderly Sikh who describes Islam as a “beast” and once provided a character reference for Nick Griffin during his racial hatred trial is set to become the British National Party’s first non-white member. … the BNP’s [...]

Skip to my loo (updated)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Many of the comments here on Henry Louis Gates-gate surprised me with their reflexive obeisance to a man with a badge. Among the he-said-she-said, weepy 911 callers and Bud Light Summit lies one simple question: can a cop legally arrest you if he doesn’t like your attitude?
There is no middle ground here. You either do [...]

The invisible woman’s burden

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Stephen Colbert had a hard-hitting segment last night over Republicans’ questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and the omphaloskepsis of white men in America. It’s Okay If You’re the Majority is a blind spot for every majority group, no less middle-class northie Hindus in India.
Colbert drew a prosaic analogy to light skin-colored band-aids and [...]

She can see Aasif from her house

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Aasif Mandvi’s role in The Proposal is a step up for desis in Hollywood. He plays book editor Bob Spaulding, an antique aficionado whom Bullock turfs out of a top publishing job. Mandvi goes bug-eyed and calls Bullock a frigid, friendless bitch in the middle of a cubicle warren while Bullock threatens to have him [...]

‘Up’ after ‘The Hangover’

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Kudos to Pixar’s Up for featuring an Asian-American lead, adorable and suitably annoying young Jordan Nagai. His character’s ethnicity is subtle in the visual design and never referred to in the script. The rare bird in the movie is based on the brilliantly-covered Himalayan monal pheasant, though afflicted with gigantism. Its cry sounds like [...]

‘The Loudest Firecracker’ (updated)

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Adman and blogger Arun Krishnan released his opus The Loudest Firecracker earlier this year and kindly sent me a copy. The novel is a deceptively simple coming-of-age story about a boy growing up in Pune during the rise of Hindutva. On the home front, Siddharth’s art filmmaker father toils away on his masterpiece after storming [...]

Port authority

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

The Atlantic’s May issue tackles the subjugation of Baluchistan and the Gwadar deep-water port:
Gwadar was the ultimate prize denied [the Russians] during their decade-long occupation… the fabled warm-water outlet to the sea that formed the strategic raison d’être for their Afghan adventure… the Soviet Union could have exported the hydrocarbon wealth of Central Asia…
In [...]

Poorly shod

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Journalist Jarnail Singh of the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran threw a blue-and-white sneaker at Indian home minister P. Chidambaram, but his aim faltered. From the rash of copycat shoe tossers, I can only conclude that few of the world’s scribes would make the cut in major league baseball.

Before throwing the shoe, Mr. Singh asked Mr. [...]

The wimp factor

Monday, March 30th, 2009

From beneath his blurred-out rock emerged ex-President of Vice Richard Cheney, saying recently that our new president is making America less safe:

“… [Obama] is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.” [AP]
First of all, for an outgoing administration figure to pop off [...]

Mickey mouse socialization

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

In the lovingly animated The Tale of Despereaux, the princess and prince are tall, blond and Nordic while the bad guys, the rats, are introduced with a snake charmer and a swell of Middle Eastern music. I had to check the credits to make sure it wasn’t Disney.
The movie turns children’s book drawings into 3D [...]

Hamid Gul’s war

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Only one organization came off looking competent during the 11/26 attack: the LeT. This was a classic asymmetrical guerrilla attack pitting a small, highly trained team with the advantage of surprise against a big, dumb, slow one which eventually prevailed by sheer brawn over time. They formulated a fantastically elaborate plan which innovated much like [...]

Expired MiLK

Monday, December 15th, 2008

It’s not entirely fair to compare a mainstream Bollywood release like Fashion with an arthouse American one like Milk, or a brain-dead one with a winner. But since Milk has crossover hopes, I’m going to do it on this basis: these are the two gayest potentially mainstream movies ever released by their respective industries.
Fashion is [...]