Sunday, September 27, 2009

My rock stars are different than yours

Here's a recent advert by Intel:



It shows people crooning for a scientist who's the co-inventor of the USB drive, treating him like a rock star.
It got me thinking: Someone like me must have made this ad! Man, i so identify with that feeling -- the world has a seriously stupid-inside idea about superstars, idols, heroes and all the like.

"Our rock stars aren't like your rock stars" - right on!

Now, at this point we're at danger.. of ignorance. You can just have a laugh, and switch back to whatever was entertaining you. Or, start thinking about it. Are we crediting the people today who should be credited?

When things like better cars, roads, medical care, housing for all, state-of-the-art airports, railway stations, stadiums, malls, educational institutions etc are introduced, we praise the politicians who come late and cut a red tape. But they didn't do anything. We praise Amitabh Bachhan for Kaun Banega Crorepati, and for ushering in a new wave where so many common people got a chance to make it big.

But you've been wrong all along.

Indian Railways showed a huge turn-around; Lalu came in for praise. Did you notice that for years the engineers had been diligently upgrading everything possible - most importantly digitizing the system controls and logistics, that they introduced such an amazing online reservation system at no extra cost, that they turned around the sorry reputation of food and hygene? Do you think Lalu did all that? Then you're plain stupid.

No, of course you don't think Lalu did All that.. "maybe just a little..." Yet you acquiesce when media showers praise, you "go with the flow". That is where you lose your ethics. When you support mediocrity, you automatically become part of it.

I don't have anything personal against Lalu here.. let me explain by panning other people...

KBC. Khatron ke Khiladi. Other reality shows. Awesome event management, sms voting.. interactive digital systems, stunts... all credit goes to Amitabh Bachhan, Farah Khan, Akshay Kumar.... really? They didn't do anything. They're reading a script again, acting on cue. Do you think AB made all those questions? No? Then why do I see you raving so much about him? What actually has He done? Yes, he's an excellent actor. But what has he done for you?

SRK marketing mobiles and DishTV. Thoda aur wish karo. The products are amazing. Mobile telephony makes India truly shine. Western nations' jaws drop at our low rates, our vast coverage. Satellite TV has gotten personal and interactive. Breakthroughs in telecommunications - all those complex Laplace, Fourier and other signal conversions that scared me so in college - have given us excellent technological leaps. But do you know who's done the slog-work here? Do you know the countless engineers, scientists who spent all their waking hours finding those solutions that have made your high-tech lifetstyle possible?

No. You know SRK. So smart you are.

The politicians didn't do anything for us. The engineers and scientists devised new ways to do the same old things in a better way, and brought in new things so fast, so smooth that we just forgot about the old.. like landlines, like uncomfortable shopping and cinemas, like standing hours in queue to withdraw money or book a ticket.

The engineers gave Delhi-ites the metro. And it wasn't just Sreedharan (Thank God at least he got due credit!). Several sharp minds across the countries have done it, together. And we won't pause to thank them.

Already we're seeing the consequences of mistaken credit. The corporation chiefs (politicos again) claim to get us better roads each year and fail again and again. Every year more money is spent on the same thing. And when potholes return, our media are at it again.. barking up the wrong tree. Blame the leaders for bad roads.

Wake up, you potheads! Singapore, KL have torrential rain everyday. How are their roads so good? Their leaders don't go around claiming credit. They handed the job to the right engineers to devise an efficient drainage system, and the roads made once stay good for over 10 years. Back home, a good-looking road is laid, all credit given to polticos. A few months on, or one shower later, it's all washed away. Then the blame game. And then the exact same type of road is laid again by the politicos.

We are not learning anything from our mistakes. We're supposed to have switched to better road technology, but do not because every leader wants to take credit for good roadwork done during their tenure. Naturally they need to ensure the roads will go bad at some point so they can keep milking the cow. All the while it's our money being spent again and again on the same problem.

The combined might of human engineering and science has advanced sufficiently now to fix all our old problems on a permanent basis. But the result of not giving the real heroes the due credit, has caught up. Our mediocrity has trapped us in loops, and when the smart people come forward with the solutions, we don't trust them.

"Really? No, I don't think like that!" Yeah, right. since 30 years we've had all the pointers of man-induced warming. Till a few years back, every politico, every TV news network's "expert" worth his salt opposed the fact, dismissed it. And how did they support their stand? "There is not enough evidence to prove this!" Did they have any evidence to prove it was NOT the fossil fuels emissions? No. Where did all that extra CO2 being generated go then, up their behinds?? They didn't know.

Ok, here is some scientific mumbo-jumbo for you, I hope you can understand it:
Things don't Vanish.
So, even if they didn't think the evidence was "conclusive enough", did the leaders of the world ever pause to check what was all that extra CO2 doing? Since class 7th we know that burning something doesn't make it vanish - that gases like CO2 are produced when you burn a carbon based substance. We're burning many tons of fossil fuels today that had previously sequestered the excess CO2 from the atmosphere. That was when mammals could start evolving in the cooler climes instead of reptiles. They refuted global warming without bothering to investigate anything. "Don't trust the scientists, they're crazy. Trust me. My job depends on you thinking that I'm not slowly killing all life as we know it."

You think you're above all this? Here's a test: 1000 of the smartest scientists in the world, come and write to you in a huge document laden with facts, that global warming is real, you're going to DIE if you don't stop what you're doing.
Then, the hottest actors and actresses you've fantasized about, the best movie stars and sportspersons you know, and the most charming leaders you respect, come and tell you not to worry about it, everything's fine.

You will blindly support the latter. How do I know? Because that's what you've been doing all this time.

Scientific mumbo jumbo #2:
Things don't just come out of nothing.
You believe MSD endorsing a coke. He has NO idea where it came from, what's in it, how many hundreds of square miles of land the bottling plants across the country have parched dry by sucking the water out to fill those bottles/cans and he's helping sell them to you at 100 times the initial cost, so he can get a cut of the loot. Then you sit and wail about the dropping water table levels, and that you have to buy bottled water. They are using the same purification you can use at home, and multiplying your costs, idiot!

You do not need to hear the opinions of entertainers. What you need right now is to listen to facts and opinions of people who are smarter than you are. You need to listen to, respect and heed the scientists, the doctors, the engineers, the artistes, the thinkers. It is they who rescued you from the Dark Ages, they who made your life better and your children safer from disease, they who enabled you to break out of the clutches of autocratic self-serving leaders by injecting free ideas and even music and culture. The politicos are pre-programmed to NOT do anything that benefits you. They need bad conditions to thrive so the few fixes they do authorize earn them their power. The good policies introduced in the past decades are simply a "yes" on their part after an eternity of "no" to progress, and that too when they saw it fit or couldn't delay the inevitable any longer. Grow up, grow out of your pitiful and pathetic ignorance, or you will lose what little faith I still have in you.

I will not go with the flow. I will not respect your stars, or your leaders unless they have a real, verifiable qualification to back up their opinions. They are all dumber than I am, and that's a fact. I will not try to be politically correct. I cannot accept their authority as the truth, because I only see truth as the ultimate authority. Because my rock stars, are different than yours.

1 comment:

Madhulika said...

Thank you for this relevant (albeit a little angry) post.
I'm glad Intel resisted using a "celebrity" or an entertainer for their ad.
But most companies cannot. It makes more sense to get your product endorsed by a celebrity or a movie star, because of the following they have. What they say has wider reach and greater impact on people.
Sad but true.

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