Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Choice vs. Chance II - The Return of Choice

When I wrote my last blog entry on Monday (with several references to TV channels and choices), little did I know that later, the same evening, we would be left with just 2 channels to watch. What were the chances of such a thing happening?

That was also the day the shehnai maestro Bismallah Khan passed away, and both channels were broadcasting content on him, around the time I hit the box. I had a choice, of course, which was one of the two channels or no TV at all. As a tribute to the great musician, I watched the documentary on his life, being aired on one of them. And I couldn't help thinking about the fact that I was watching an NFDC documentary. On DD. And my choice was no TV at all. Gosh this was like going back to the future!

Then yesterday on one of the two channels there was this heated debate on the Cable TV censorship issue, and I was a mute witness to the emergence of the moral police that is one day going to control all entertainment and related content created, distributed and consumed in this country. Their approach is simple - instead of regulating consumption of so-called adult content at the user end (which is what is done in the more mature markets), they want to regulate its dissemination. And maybe even its creation. They seem to take the view that content which, to their minds, is of a lascivious and prurient nature, should not exist at all. That way, it can neither be distributed nor consumed. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. The evil here, of course, is sex. I am not going to devote this blog entry to the issue of "Licensing the Licentious". I could rave, rant and vent on this subject but I don't even know where to start. I'm quite sure other, more ardent bloggers are at it while I write this. But I have given up, till further notice. I just hope that the focus of public interest litigation shifts to some REAL issues which have some REAL impact on the economy and the quality of life. Such as Corruption. Such as Crime. Such as Education. Such as Healthcare.

A small side-bar comment - the good people who were participating in this debate were doing so in at least 3 different languages. There were times when I heard them use English words that sounded like composites of two or three other words, such as conversion and convergence (in the context of technology, media and communications coming together), conscious(-ness) and conscience (in the context of "our" morality, "our" culture and "our" sense of social propriety), liberalisation and liberalism and liberation (in the context of governance and regulation). This last one was a gem and got me thinking about the etymology of these words. Of course, most of it is attributed to wrong pronunciation by folks who are more articulate in some other language. But I found it interesting to consider the possibility that some new concepts could be spawned by the serendipitious fusion of like-sounding and similar-yet-different-meaning words.

Anyway, it was nice to wake up this morning and learn that Cable was back! Apparently it was back last night, and my kids were able to catch a few snatches of their cartoon shows before they went back to bed. Hurray! Choices at last!


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