Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Someone's been drowning...

“Man hopes for a lot of good, aims at the better, and dreams for the best.
Albeit, what he insists on is space – personal space, free and untrampled upon.”

Has this blogger become serious all of a sudden? Has the ‘humour element’ readers have been talking about, vanished? Is he looking for variety in writing, yearning for higher laurels? Or is he just whiling away time? No, definitely not, are you kidding me, and a partial ‘yes’ would be the answers, respectively. Which proves, at least in part, that the author has not chosen to send humour to the grave.

Now, if the above “couplet of wisdom” still looks frightening, it shalt aptly be modified thus:

“Man hopes for a lot of good, aims at the better, and dreams for the best.
Albeit, what he insists on is space – personal space, free and untrampled upon.
The swine may re-read this, and assimilate the facts (instead of the virus)”

If you talk about copyright issues, the first quote was mine and the second, more so! My cousin brother, elder to me by three long years, still expresses his dissatisfaction at having accepted, without a round of rhetoric renaissance, “fairy tales” with loose plots. There were instances when he wanted the story to go on and on, when his mom uttered the ultimatum that went “...happily ever after”. Thoughts oriented so, he blames the wolf for having spread swine flu, for its having failed to eat up the three little pugs (oops, pigs I mean. Apologies to Vodafone – This is between “You and I”!!!)

He went on to reflect on much more, linking ‘fairy tales’ with Darwin’s theories of evolution, in statements like “Had the witch in the ginger bread house eaten Hansel and Gretel, we would have had lesser kids.” I had to stop him there. That was a word of admiration for someone who is buried neck-deep in SAP, but still has the time to wring Aesop’s neck and scream at him for not getting his work reviewed prior to getting it published!

But my concerns lie elsewhere.

My worry is about the fact that someone would soon disappear. Disappear from sight. He/she would still be alive and audible, nevertheless - which is why I am voicing my concern only on my blog. Else, I would have done a clothed-Archimedes version - the “HELP!!!!!!!!” equivalent of a “EUREKA”.

The character that would soon disappear is the news-reader. I call them the
news-(d)readers, for all they bring in are “facts of dread, from around the world”. The job of an average newsreader has been to rattle off news starting right at the Centre, moving on to the states, followed by the States (repetition intended - note the 'S' in uppercase!), through the rest of the globe to a bit of markets, commodities and business, sports, a weather report that almost always predicts the diametrical opposite of what’s to happen and a final monotonous recap which makes it sound like the newsreaders themselves are sick, tired and in dire need of a better tomorrow! The radio, due to lack of a visual medium, makes it sound even more sinister.

As the concept of news evolved, (degenerated, if you ask me), all TV channels chose to be on their toes. The only way to retain comprehensiveness in news is to remain up-to-date, and keep repeating the headlines once in as-close-to-a-millisecond. Now the only way to do this is to maintain a scroll-bar at the bottom of the screen. Great idea, yes. Next, somebody wanted to display the date and time on the right-hand bottom of the screen. This had to be placed above the scroll-bar, for time and date may not interrupt the flow of news.

Further, no coverage was comprehensive, unless the markets were tracked. That was another row added. Sensationalism added yet another level to this wall, for any bit of news, irrespective of how irritating it turned out to be, had to be flashed as “Flash News”, “Breaking News” or an “exclusive sting operation". And since this ought to be much more visible than the other scroll-bars, an extra row with the title appeared above it, calling for the viewer’s attention.

Then came the task of sharing screen-space with the reporters onsite. But the scrollbars had to stay, and the screen space had to further convey the geographical location of the 'place of concern'. This meant that on top of all space shared, a bit of ‘virtual estate’ had to be set aside for the outline of a map too! The reader was now sidelined to a corner, and occupied the space statistically equivalent to one-eighth of the screen!

Perspectives from a couple of persons were barely enough, and panel discussions were the solution. CEOs from all four metros remotely attended conferences. Now, the channels decided that they would take the reader off screen! Her voice remained.

Alas, readers. The newsreader has been drowning in the very news she has been reading out. Comprehensiveness and timeliness, as virtues, have been laying rows of bricks to cement out the reader. She has been losing out on her space nowadays – shrunk, thrown around the screen like a pinball, taken off the screen, squeezed between numbers, angry ministers, mountains, maps, markets, clouds(!), SWINES, etc, etc. But she manages to peep out, to keep afloat – either through an insert, or merely through her voice. She makes her presence felt, and the news stands conveyed. The article is, then, an appeal to all television channels that broadcast news (and other information that they claim to be news - like the minister's dog that went missing. This was one news item. Then he got it back. This became the sequel).