Any Price !
I want to be a Man again
says El Hadji, the protagonist, polygamist, corrupt businessman who forms the central character of Xala, a film by Ousmane Sembene. Xala is a vivid portrayal of the contradiction of Senegalese life post independence from their French colionolists. As the drums die out, the celebration of freedom and independence is replaced by a muted resignation; for nothing has changed. The white man ruled the black man before the independence, now it is the turn of the higher black man to rule the lower black man with the white man’s money. The opening sequence of the film brilliantly captures this- As the traditional costumes are replaced by sharp business suits and by empty speeches of socialism, the white man comes with money in hand to buy out the black ‘buisnessmen’.
El Hadji, a corrupt businessmen uses bribed money to buy himself a third wife. With the purchase follows the big night after the wedding. And, what do you think happend ? Impotence or Xala struck. The movie is at once a critique of polygamy, of the influence of european culture on the traditional but most of all it is a critique of the black man’s dream to become white. This dream is not limited to Senegal or Africa. Instances of it can be seen across the colonized world- in India with the adoption of westernized beliefs, in Pakistan, in Trinidad, in Latin America… It seems as if the colonized suffer from an all pervading Stockholm syndrome. As the urban or rich section of the population transform into “Europeans” the country expectedly goes through a cultural crisis. It is the crisis of a country without a past and without a history to claim as its own. What follows is an inevitable rift between the newly westernized and the nationalists, not unlike fundamentalism in Middle East. Ousmane shows us delicate glimpses of this in the confrontations between the French speaking El Hadji and his nationalist daughter Rama.
Read More »
It’s a strange book, unconventional perhaps, charming at points boringly dull at others. The narrative is dense, an unseemly mixture of sarcasm, destruction, sexual desire and comic humor. It is a brilliant portrayal of the upheavals in Ireland during the 1920s and the ensuing disintegration of the British Empire. Inspite of all its qualities, the booker prize seems unwarranted. The narrative is inconsistent and lacks the vision necessary for the work to be categorized as a great historic novel; at best it is not the best work of a wonderfully talented writer.
In those days the Majestic was still standing in Kilnalough at the very end of a slim peninsula covered with dead pines leaning here and there at odd angles. At that time there were probably yachts there too during the summer since the hotel held a regatta every July. As for the regatta, for some reason it was discontinued years ago, before the Spencers took over the management of the place. And a few years later still the Majestic itself followed the boats and preceded the pines into oblivion by burning to the ground — but by that time, of course, the place was in such a state of disrepair that it hardly mattered. Read More »
Travelling back to pre-revolutionary Lyons, France it would be a customary sight to see the city dominated by weaving studios- large rooms full of even larger looms operated by expert master weavers not much different from the sight opera conductor. For since roman times Lyons was famous for its fine quality of silk weaves – intricate and complicated patterns beautifully represented in fine knit silk. In the late seventeen hundreds Lyons suffered from a peculiar conundrum – It had more orders than its weavers could possibly deliver. A radical new invention was needed to cope with this demand. It was here that Jacquard came up with his design for a programmable loom thus bringing a paradigm shift in the way humans thought of as machines. Just as William Shakespeare might never have become a great poet and playwright without the wonderful simulation and energy of Renaissance London all around him, Jacquard would most likely never have blossomed as an inventor had he not lived in Lyons, the silk-weaving capital of the world.
The standard silk weaving loom of the day called the drawloom was a pitiable machine or rather not a machine at all. It only facilitated the manual weaving of patterns or images in fabric thus requiring expert weavers. At the maximum rate of two woven rows a minute, a mere inch of brocade fabric still required a full working day to complete, each warp thread requiring manual lifting and placement. What was required was a method of ordering, with complete precision, the lifting of warp threads that formed the shed in a better way than having a draw-boy doing the whole thing by hand. Programming Cards was the answer.
Read More »
After everything as good as xkcd, abstrusegoose, questionablecontent, dilbert etc.(if you haven’t gone to any of them please do go.) I have come across two news websites which should be told about.These are
1. Incidental comics
2. Dear Blank Please Blank
I am not saying these are as good as the above mentioned epic ones but they are pretty good.
Seriously this is all I could come up for a post. Looks like I am out of ideas.
College started and the all I could do in the very first week was to be unable to fully decide what courses I am going to take in the sem.
@anurag : thnx for telling me about the second site.
In Life it is not your abilities that decide who you are, it is your choices.
— Albus Dumbledore