Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In Google we trust(ed)?

This is a tentative post. I have been caught up in something important and haven't been able to update my blog. This piece is a compilation of two comments I made on this issue and will be rewritten properly as soon as I get time. They are haphazard and may be repetitive in parts and incoherent too. My apologies to those of you who regularly visited the blog checking for new posts. Updates should be regular henceforth.

In my book Google is not worthy of scorn being heaped on it. The same media which is criticising Google has no qualms when it compromises with the Chinese government to curry favour. I think more than the action itself, it is the company which did that has outraged people. Somehow Google itself had built this holier than thou halo about it which has now shattered. People are finding it hard to shed their image of Google and find it hard to digest their favourite benevolent geeky boys next door suddenly treading into a moral muddle.

Besides Google is particularly having it hard from both sides of the aisle. The conservatives are worked up because of perceived help to communism(How can anyone in his 'right' mind can call China communist is another issue) As Gawkar in his blogpost said the same conservatives who are crying hoarse about Google aiding commies have no qualms going gaga over Fox news without a trace of irony. Given Murdoch's deals with China which are more acomodative or in fact supportive of the Chinese regime, they have no right to take a high moral ground at all. From my discussions with Suyog it seems the Liberals are outraged because of another issue. They are linking this issue to the fact that our blue eyed boys would never have done anything like this were it not for the evil market forces prevailing on them ever since they have gone public with their IPO. They think somehow the shareholders are holding Page and Brin by the scruff and forcing them to deal with China.

In real world terms whether Google enters Chinese market or not is a non-issue given the fact that whether it entered or not would hardly have made any difference to freedom in China. It was not as if Chinese government was going to wake up one day and lament, 'Oh look! We have deprived our population of so much information through Google because of our repressive policies. Its time we change.' In a globalised economy it is impossible to be consistent and morally right about corporations dealings with countries which how shall we say are currently out of favour. If you really are that outraged by the lack of freedom in China choke their economy till they acquiesce. But that would bring down an economic slowdown everywhere. As a company expands this is bound to happen and earlier we get used to this the better.

Check this essay. It dwells on the topic of companies and moral responsibility beautifully and in an even handed manner. It deals with corporate philanthropical initiatives and tainted money, particularly about Harward University accepting grants from Exxon whose interests in South Africa were construed as abetting the aparthied regime. I think the same logic that the author explains applies to Google's case.

It is the same argument that the payton paper which Suchi pointed out during the Tsunami discussion on my blog. I believe his logic applies more to the Google/China controversy than apartheid which was pre-globalisation. Then there could have been a difference. Now whether google goes in or not is not going to change the Chinese regime's heart. Besides if you want to take a moral high ground about freedom then stop dealing economically with China altogether and be willing to bear the global economic downturn that may occur. After all that is the best way to twist Chinese govt. arm and submit them to accepting democracy.

Why was there no hue and cry when Google agreed to censor Nazi related sites in France and Germany? Also paedophilia is censored in many countries. If one takes a 'there should either be complete freedom or no freedom at all' sort of a moral stance then there should be no double standards and the same yardstick should be applied elsewhere. That is the problem with moral stances always. In a globalised economy you can never get away without being a hypocrite. There will always be one small component that will be tainted. Besides I agree with Brin when he says that little freedom is better than no freedom. And you are discounting the ingenuity of the Chinese citizens altogether. Do you think that they aren't smart enough to coin new terms in place of democracy and human rights and falun gong to talk about the same things secretly? Also Google is not starting blogger and gmail so there is no question of the govt. arm twisting it to extract personal info about a user who has accessed some unwanted data. Also Google is going to have a note whenever the results are censored. Currently google results are censored by the Chinese and the readers may not even realise that they are missing out on something because it is being censored. Whereas once they know that they are being censored at least there is a chance of outrage being kept simmering everytime this happens. Only thing where you can fault Google is that they are going agaisnt their moto of 'do no evil.' But as you yourself have said in your post on terrorism evil is a subjective term. Once even dealing with a communist regime would have been considered evil. But we have seen the benefits reaped by the ordinary Chinese because of this so called 'evil.' And besides a company evolves. It is foolish to expect google to have the same policies as it had when it was a small start-up. That is not hypocrisy, that is maturity and much needed change owing to its adaptation to economies of scale. There will be newer geeks who will form the next Google through a technological invention. Google has now moved in a different league and it has earned its place through fair means without breaking any laws.. Another thing is if and when China becomes a democracy what is Google going to get in return if it stays out. a big zero. Because Yahoo and MSN would have a significant market share by then. Why should Google a corporation lose out to competitors through no fault of its own. It is the responsibility of the govt. and not Google to define the interactions permitted with such regimes. So long as it is breaking no law I dont see a problem.

I am going to make a logically well-argued post. But feel free to point any holes in this one till then.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Mahablogartha: Contemporary Contextualisation of Blogosphere Rants or CCBR Part 4

Disclaimer: This post is a work of fiction. However, resemblance to any person living or dead is not coincidental. They are real people some of them are my friends. I have merrily caricatured them. My apologies to the lay reader. This post is not for everyone and can only be understood and contextually appreciated by those who had followed the unfortunate exchange between two prominent bloggers Hawkeye and Gaurav and the resulting vitriol in the comments section reagarding Crystal Blur's Mahabharat spoof.
continued from Episode 3: Meet the spoofer

Episode 4: Tu tu, main main

Narrator: In the blogosphere, Hawkeye whose real name is Bharath has his own little kingdom with a dedicated band of loyal readers. He claims to worship logic and hate hypocrisy. Once writing a post arguing against support for Ganguly getting a decent exit he went as far as saying, “Anything that focuses on emotion and not logic is stupidity.”

(Hawkeye notices Crytal Blur, Vyasa and Ganpati and eavesdrops on their conversation)

Crystal: I am really worried about this Chetan. He is probably the only guy on earth who writes 2000 word posts and 5000 word comments without a single reference to sex in it! I don’t friggin believe this. And to top it all he titles his post Mahablogartha. Try as I do I cannot find any reference to sex and violence? I am getting worried about our future generations here. He is sending them the wrong message about our heritage.

Vyasa: From what I gather even his love letters must have been filled with essays on political economy. No wonder his girlfriend left him. Poor child. I don’t blame her. Tsk tsk.

Ganpati: Vyasa, we all know you are still a virgin. So stop trying to use Chetan’s example to validate your own status as a single.

Vyasa: For the last time Ganpati, main virgin nahi hoon nahi hoon nahi hoon.

Crystal: Chetan missed so many chances to infuse some much-needed testosterone in the writing. He could have inserted a rain dance sequence when he spoke about water cannons, he could have published the lurid details of a private diary of a feminist, described in detail those nude protestors who fight against fir. Huh! I think I am expecting too much. I mean what kind of a man refers to Pamela without uttering a word about her boob-job! What a pathetic loser! Is he gay?

Vyasa: We don’t have to worry, our version rocks. This sort of writing will only appeal to 35+ demographic. No moolah there.

(Crystal goes ahead and starts typing a comment on the computer)

Crystal Blur says… comment posted on December 28, 2005 6:06AM
Contemporary Contextualisation, my foot. This is a bloody systematic attempt at Contemporary Sterilisation of our sacred lore. In the land of Kamasutra and Khajuraho you are perpetuating rabid ignorance. It is because of stuff like this that Indians think a child was dropped in Kunti’s lap when she was praying. I hope you do realise that you are promoting the Western/Christian concept of stork delivering babies. You are being anti-Hindu and pro-Christian. You offend devout Hindu’s like me. Ugh! Such backdoor Christian apologists.

Narrator: Hawkeye listening to this talk has his knickers in a tight twist by now.

Hawkeye: (addressing the audience) Look at Crystal. Introducing our innocent Ganpati, omniscient God of knowledge, to such blasphemous carnal things like sex. And to top it all she calls herself a devout Hindu! If she was really a Hindu wouldn’t she have known how chaste our Gods are? Take Lord Krishna for instance. I am certain she will twist his sacred platonic relationship with Gopis as some kind of an orgy. Why do people find it so hard to believe that Krishna was being benevolent and merely helping the Gopis carry pots over their heads? Such twisted minds I tell you. And what if Indra did sleep with Kunti and danced with Apsaras and flirted with other Gods' wives once in a while? What is the big deal? It is strictly his private matter. Did she give a thought to how westerners might perceive this? Why do we have to corrupt the innocent and pure westerner’s mind talking about such filthy things like sex. I sense a huge conspiracy here. She is out to denigrate Hindusim.

(Hawkeye goes to type the comment)

Hawkeye says…comment posted on December 28, 2005 6:50AM
To Everyone: As an MBA student I came here to defend free markets but this stupid little blogger called Crystal has raised my hackles. I am not a prude to give a lecture on sanctity and all. But I will give it anyways. Contemporary contextualisation eh? Show me one thing that is contemporary here? Is her series about software or BPO? Is it about moral policing? Is it about Laloo? Is it about IIPM? No. It is about sex! This is made-for-porn-channel material. Since when did sex and porn become contemporary? Does she know we are living in the 21st century?

This is the problem with us forward thinking Hindus who make fun of ourselves. We never level the playing field by making fun of other religions. Therefore on behalf of all Hindus I hereby call for reservations on the basis of religion in the creative writing sector. After all our minorities should not feel left out. So henceforth if an author starts spoofing a book of Hinduism, s/he can only spoof 80.5% of it. 13.4 % of the remaining material should be from an Islamic scriptures, 2.3% from Christianity, 1.9% from Sikhism, 0.8% from Jainism and 1.1% drawn from atheist/agnostic and other sources. Within 80.4% Hinduism there should be internal reservation. None of the Shaivite, Vaishnavite or Shakti sect followers should feel that their Gods are being unfairly targeted more than the others. And while we are at it, the author should ensure that the six Vedic schools are also spoofed equally. Additionally, the number of sexual references while spoofing, should also be proportionate to the demographic mix amongst the Hindus. The same applies to Protestants and Catholics / Sunnis and Shias etc. A committee called NRKD committee comprising of prominent Non-Resident-Knicker Dhari’s will be strictly monitoring the content. And mind you wannabe authors, it’s in your best interest not to get their knickers in a twist.

To Crystal: Jao pahile us religion ka spoof likhake lao jisne poojniya Modi aur Thackeray ko pareshaan kiya… Jao pahile us religion ka spoof likhake lao jisne Dara Singh jaise pyare insaan ke character ko hamesha ke liye Staine kar diya… Jao pahile us religion ka spoof karke lao jispe kiye gaye PJs ne mujhe bore kiya… aur fir.. aur fir Crys main tumhare Mahabharat ko endorse karoonga.

(Hawkeye leaves. Writes a post on his blog calling Crystal stupid, idiot.)

(Gaurav enters the scene and reads Chetan’s blog entry utters a single word Dude! and proceeds to read the comments. He spots Hawkeye’s comment and his face turns ashen. He goes over to Hawkeye’s blog. There 50 of the 53 commenters have already approved of Hawkeye’s reservation idea and denounced Crystal. Gaurav returns all charged up to type a comment on Chetan’s blog)

Narrator: Gaurav was already feeling gheraoed by the socialist revolutionary forces. All this talk about revolution had really rankled him. After Chetan’s long comment bravado any naya-navela blogger would get his 15 minutes of blogosphere flame oops… I meant fame, by attacking the Libertarians. The constant chipping away at Libertarian economic agenda had already got Gaurav’s goat. And Hawkeye’s comment portended that Libertarian social agenda too was being hijacked. All this was too much to handle for Gaurav. In a brash act he decided to take Hawkeye head on.

Gaurav says…comment posted on December 28, 2005 7:33AM
Some people!
A spy from the PMK-Sena-Taliban combine has infiltrated the Indian blogosphere! Don’t be misled by his concern for leveling the playing field and his use of playing field lingo such as ‘stupid little blogger.’ Make no mistake; Hawkeye is here to disrupt our playing field. He is a neo-prude. The difference between prudes and neo-prudes is that while prudes wear parachute-like ‘hava ane de’ style khaki half pants, the neo-prudes’ pants are longer. While prudes are nut-cases, neo-prudes are pesky. How dare he attack Crystal personally! Doesn't he know that only the Cartelians reserve the right to attack others that way? And lastly, who is he to get offended about Mahabharat? It is Crystal's heritage as much it is his. Hasn’t he watched Jaane bhi do Yaaron? (Suddenly becoming nostalgic) Waah! What a film.... In the spirit of the Mahabharat sequence in Om Puri’s voice I say to Hawkeye: Oye! Mahabharat tere akele ki nahi hai, hum sab shareholder hai! (In the original it was Arjun, played by a goggle sporting Om Puri, who says, "Draupadi tere akele ki nahi, hum sab shareholder hai!")And regarding the names you called Crystal I say to thee in Pankaj Kapoor’s voice, “Nalayak, adharmi, durachari, vamachari, bhrasthachari, bol sorry!”

(Gaurav leaves the stage shouting “Jai ho! Crystal jaisi Sati nari ki jai ho!”)

Narrator: Hmm. I wish somebody had said “Shaant blogadhari Gaurav. Shaant!” before he typed that comment. This comment turned out to be the start of a flame war, which reinforced my belief about the concept of kaliyug. Those Jaane bhi do yaaron fans need not sulk. The dialogs did not end here. What followed next had 90% of the bloggers chanting a la Dhritarashtra, “Ye sab kya ho raha hai!”

By usurping the role of blogosphere superhero, Shaktiman and trying to safeguard freedom of speech, Gaurav had taken a serious panga not with Hawkeye alone but with all the self-professed blogosphere ‘Bhakti-maans.’

Narrator: Now before our blogosphere pychoanalysts come and prejudice your view regarding both our protagonists through their comments, let me give you the true story behind their motivations. Hawkeye is not the neo-prude at all. I know, I know what you are thinking about contradicting his own statement about emotion and stupidity. But, hear me out. What if I tell you he was merely posturing… that he was had a strong self-interest/stake preventing Crystal’s series from getting famous. I have read his other posts and I can vouch that Hawkeye is quite an intelligent chap and not your stereotypical NRKD. He knew that if Crystal's popularity continued to grow, the next book under Crystal’s scanner would be Ramayan. And Crystal would need to pick on someone in Ramayan and stereotype the character as gay. Now think of a character in Ramayan who is sensitive, is not afraid to shed his tears, who is caring, is exact opposite of a MCP, in short a gay/metrosexual stereotype. Bingo! Bharath, Ram’s illustrious cousin. Being the smart guy, Hawkeye a.k.a. Bharath had figured out that he would be the butt of gay jokes following Crys' carticature of his namesake. Plus Bharath planned to come up with a Vishishtha Avavaitik take on Mahabharata. Crys’ take from tantric sexual perspective was giving him nightmares thinking about shrinking sales. That why the vicious attack.

Now about Gaurav: Apart from the frustrations mentioned earlier regarding sinking fortunes of Libertarianism, there was a selfish reason behind Gaurav’s outburst. Ever since the IIPM fracas Gaurav had to project a Yudhistira like image of upholder of principles. He was feeling severely constrained as his readers expected him to write just about serious stuff. He saw in Blur’s writings a chance to reclaim the naughty Gaurav. He knew sooner or later the character of Yudhistira would appear in Blur’s writing. Gaurav was smart enough to know that Blur was capable enough to sexy him up a little bit. He knew that by linking from his blog Crys would be beholden to him and would go a little easy on Yudhishtira. Gaurav thought he might even be able to convince Crystal to spruce-up the drab image of Yudhishtira and in the process giving him an image makeover. And therefore his defense.

(Garry a.k.a Hannibal Lecter enters the stage)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Mahablogartha: Contemporary Contextualisation of Blogosphere Rants or CCBR Part 3

Disclaimer: This post is a work of fiction. However, resemblance to any person living or dead is not coincidental. They are real people some of them are my friends. I have merrily caricatured them. My apologies to the lay reader. This post is not for everyone and can only be understood and contextually appreciated by those who have been following Libertarian bloggers Crystal Blur's blog and Desipundit controversy over deleting comments.

continued from Episode 2: Coments comments everywhere, not a sensible one to read

Episode 3: Meet the spoofer

(Crystal Blur takes Ganpati and Vyasa in a corner. They do not want to attract undue attention to themselves. The three start reading the blog.)

Narrator: Presenting Crystal Blur, the latest sensation on the blogosphere circuit. Her experiments with Contexual Sexualisation of Sacred Lore… ooops! I meant Contextual Contemporarization of Sacred Lore and her interpretation/spoof/remix of parts of Mahabharat has had readers weeping with laughter. It is rumoured that she is currently in talks with the producers of Sex and the city for a proposed Indian spin off titled Sex and the city of Hastinapur. Indian girlfriends began feeling the heat because of Ms. Blur. Their dewy-eyed boyfriends kept gushing aloud how Ms. Blur thought exactly like them. The girlfriends were smart enough to read this as subtle exhortation towards being more Blur-like. It was one such jealous girlfriend who started the rumour that Ms. Blur is actually a man. However, she did not just stop there. She went ahead and said that not only was Blur a man, but horrors of horrors, was also gay! Rumours flew around that Blur was taking aashraya under a female pseudonym just to promote a gay lifestyle amongst Indians. “She is even calling our Bheeshma pitamaha gay!” was the damning irrefutable proof our jealous girlfriend provided to her grapevine circuit. But as you can clearly see that was just a load of asuri buckwaas.

Ganpati: You should take some inspiration from this blog Vyasa. Look at the names here - Dilip, Gaurav, Shivam, Nilu etc. How short and simple! Don’t you have any shame in making me write those fit-for-spelling-bee-finals 20 character tongue twisters as names? An elephant’s tongue is not as flexible as a human's you know.

Vyasa: Ganpati, for someone who styles himself as God of wisdom I must say you have a terrible memory. You seem to have forgotten our conversation in the beginning of chapter 1. I could not have been clearer on this point. As far I am concerned, size does matter and therefore the long name policy stays.

Crystal Blur: Shhh! You two. Let me read.

(Meanwhile Gautam Bastian enters the stage. Chants of "Hayekum sharanam gacchami!" reverberate in the background)

Narrator: Gautam is an aspiring Buddha. He saw humanity’s suffering owing to failed attempts at achieving nirvana through meditation techniques prescribed by socialist Keynesian school of meditation. He therefore has pinned his hopes on the Libertarian Austrian school. This pancham lama of the Cartel loves studying arcane scriptures. He is known for his vast collection of essays on economics scoured from all over the Internet. At any given instance he can bewilder you with 4-5 links to 20-page essay, which you are better off not reading. He knows that and uses this trick to silence our leftists when he no longer wishes to indulge them in further discussion. Had our blogosphere leftists' been a little more Wikipedia savvy, they would have written a wiki post labelling this bombarding of links with a creative name and terming it a logical fallacy. And the next time any Libertarian even linked to a 200 word article, they could have pointed them to this page immediately. But as you all know by experience socialists are slow learners.

(Gautam moves towards the computer to type his comment)

Gautam Bastian says... comment posted on December 28, 2005 3:06AM
I don’t see how this post undermines any Libertarian arguments. In fact, this proves that when Bleeding Heart Liberals (BHLs) do their job of protesting faithfully while the airlines, media, mobile companies, shopkeepers, carpenters do their jobs simultaneously, the economy runs smoothly. This is like division of labour in action. Read this essay on I, Pencil about the complexity involved in the making of a single pencil. Aah! The beauty and joys of the wheels of the economy turning without anyone actually turning the wheel are a necessary and sufficient condition to achieve nirvana. I dread to imagine a world without I, Pencil where Mridula might have had to lodge anti-capitalistic protests, knit woolens, update blogs, teach economics and also clean toilets. Would you enjoy cleaning toilets instead of spending time reading the essays I provide you on economics Mridula?

Narrator: If I were Mridula I would have chosen the cleaning toilets option. It's quicker and less despicable than reading those dull essays containing such words like network externalities and eminent domain etc.

(Mridula returns to check whether anyone has responded to her call for Guerrilla attack on fort Desipundit where Vulturo has been holed up since he deleted Mridula’s comments)

Narrator: I wonder if it is only me who finds it ironic that Libertarians derive support from a collectively owned entity like Desipundit. Hmm.

(Mridula sees that no one has responded to her call. And adding insult to injury was Gautam hijacking leftist agenda and projecting his Libertarian philosophy on Chetan’s post.)

Mridula says... comment posted on December 28, 2005 3:30AM
@ Comrades: That was the worst ad-hominem attack. Gautam is calling us toilet cleaners. These pampered bourgeois Libertarians kids! What are you waiting for? Attack Desipundit. Let us take down their last bastian… oops! I meant bastion.

@Gautam Bastian: Tu mujhe bahar mil! Have ‘Indian blog classical liberals’ read anything more after Adam Smith on division of labor? Looking at your crass uncouth norms of behaviour with a lady, I am certain you have never read about the visible hand of norms and also not felt the visible hand of Mridula on your cheeks. Remember, just studying Econ 101 not an economist make!

(Mridula leaves. Vyasa has followed this entire episode)

Vyasa: Look Ganpati this Mahablogartha has already reached Kurukshetra battlefield. Your habit of procrastination will ruin my chances at making it to the Hastinapur Times bestseller list. And you Crystal Blur... Let me be frank with you. I am not comfortable with this idea of launching a remix version written by you immediately after my novel is published. I was never into remixes. I am a fan of Lata Mangeshkar who belongs to my generation and I share her views about remixes It's just that the publishers managed to glibly convince me about market pressures and by telling me that a sexied up version would draw 18-35 age group of yuppy readers. This is why I hate the markets! That a remixed sexied up spoof is required to incite their curiosity to read mythology. Sigh!

Crystal: Oh do stop whining. Haven’t you seen how it is the markets that have created buzz around your novel and my remix? Had we not paid the PR agency a fat sum, do you think prominent bloggers like Desipundit, Shivam and Gaurav would have ever linked to us using superlatives, driving so much traffic our way? Don't be naive. You are new to the blogosphere you don't know how it runs via old boy's network. Be realistic. And Vyasa c’mon for someone who claims not to be a virgin you sound unbelievably prude. What is it with you and Lata anyways? I will introduce you to Sunidhi Chauhan at the next book launch, I promise.

(Vyasa seems placated. Hawkeye enters the stage)

Update: Read Episode 4: Tu tu main main

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Mahablogartha: Contemporary Contextualisation of Blogosphere Rants or CCBR Part 2

Disclaimer: This post is a work of fiction. However, resemblance to any person living or dead is not coincidental. They are real people some of them are my friends. I have merrily caricatured them. My apologies to the lay reader. This post is not for everyone and can only be understood and contextually appreciated by those who followed the controversy over my long comment against Libertarians and those who have a vague idea about contents of Amit, Gaurav and Ravikiran along with Shivam, Mridula Dilip D'Souza Great bong and Nilu's blogs.

continued from Episode I: Liberterminator 2

Episode II:Comments comments everywhere not a sensible one to read.

(A blog reader who goes by the name Indian or North Indian and who is the star commenter on Greatbong's blog enters the stage)

Narrator: This character has problems understanding meaning of the words such as satire, sarcasm, irony etc. It is a serious mental condition that afflicts a tiny minority who can be easily found in the comment section of Great Bong.

(Indian proceeds to sit on the computer and types his comment)

Indian says... posted on December 27, 2005 9:03 PM
Chetan thinks he knows economy? Economy my foot you should be sent to 3rd grade you oxymoron! Notice how he licks Laloo’s boots there. I bet that is because he is seeking a ticket from RJD. Only Indian politicians must be reading this blog. It caters only to their intellectual level. I bet he is that dickhead Ganguly’s ardent supporter. Some Chetan Chatterjee or something I am sure. A Bengali, Laloo supporter, commie sympathizer and a Ganguly lover to boot! Lord save India.

(TTG enters. @#^#@c &#% %@*# he keep uttering unintelligeble expletives while reading)

TTG says... comment posted on December 27, 2005 9:35PM
What the f***! On some other day I would have ranted but after reading this piece my throat has gone dry out of expletives.

(Seven Times Six enters the blog takes a quick glance at the article, reads skipping 10 lines at a time and then goes on to bang his comment)

Narrator: Chetan is finished now. Seven Times Six has read Atlas Shrugged 42 times and daily recites John Galt’s speech as morning prayer. Looks like this is going to be a lot of fun.

Seven_Times_Six says... comment posted on December 27, 2005 10:13 PM
Ugh. And what exactly is Chetan trying to say? Such backdoor statist apologists with uber ethical conceit! You make my blood boil!!!!! You are out to ruin our nation. Perhaps somebody (Ravikiran/Sauvik?) could start a discussion on some of the implementation aspects of an incentivized NGOisation of India?

(Shivam enters. Reads the comments goes towards the computer for commenting)

Shivam says... comment posted on December 27, 2005 10:13 PM
I am kicked about this Chetan. You have kicked my Libertarian friends real hard there. Now lets see what magical logical fallacy they conjure up to save their skin. And by the way I disagree on one point. Globalisations’ most celebrated baby is those horrid sweatshop call centres. The BHLs may come next. And Chetan I suggest you delete the comment by Indian and TTG. You ought to tell them that D***head and F*** are words fit to be in a urinal not on your blog.

(Wannabe Cartelian makes an entry. Reads the post twice. Occupies the Computer for a long time. Keeps reading all the wikipedia posts on Logical fallacies and after about an hours starts dancing while shouting Eureka! at the top of his lungs.)

Wannabe Cartelian: says... comment posted on December 27, 2005 10:43 PM
It is simple really! You are using the Broken Window fallacy. Just because the BHLs disrupt something and help the economy temporarily does not mean anything. The same money could have been productively used elsewhere. Have you ever come across something called opportunity costs? Ugh! And he thinks he is such a know all!

Wannabe Cartelian: (Singing aloud while dancing as he leaves the stage) I think this is it! I have scored it this time round. I am sure Ravikiran, Yazad or Madman will notice this absolute brilliance of mine in penetrating Chetan’s arguments. I better mug up all those fallacies before I sleep. They may call me anytime now for the interview to enter the cartel. I rock!

(Ravikiran enters with a solemn expression. Takes down a few notes and thinks hard. Then proceeds to the computer to type the comment.)

Ravikiran says... comment posted on December 27, 2005 11:23 PM
@Chetan What recursive caricaturing! Even me, the condescendingest cartelian, don’t tread this far out in my war against the non-cartelians. This is just too much.
@Wannabe Cartelians: At first I thought that Chetan was committing the good old Broken Window fallacy. But a closer reading will make it clearer that he is in fact pointing out the Broken Window fallacy. To be precise, he is pointing out that the GDP calculation fails to correct for the broken window problem. Is Chetan right? No. But which part is wrong and why?
Narrator: Ravikiran goes home and poses this same question on his blog. But three days and four trackbacks later the comment section is still blank. Ravikiran then went ahead and posted the answer and wondered aloud whether his blog traffic had dropped because none of the Cartelians could solve the question or whether one of the Cartelians had transmitted his selective amnesia to others. The Cartelians maintained their stoic silence even when the answer was posted and the comment section there too remained blank.

(Desipundit links to the post. Vulturo does not call this post brilliant rather links it without using a adjective. Titles the post Liberterminator Part 2. A trackback can be seen on the blog)

(Nilu enter the stage sneering)

Narrator: Here comes the maanga. He fancies himself as Karna who lost out his rightful place in the cartel to Yudhistira aka Gaurav. Gaurav earned his nicknameYudhistira because of his insistence on following the Dharma of right to freedom of speech during the IIPM fracas. Not many were happy about his assuming the name of a character from Mahabharat.

Nilu says...comment posted on December 28, 2005 1:23 AM
@Ravikiran: Why did you bother to state the obvious? Why are you beating to death these settled issues?
@Chetan I think I have found a replacement for Raapi finally. Chetan you replace Raapi and will be linked as Puke Fest #1 on my blog.

(Mridula enters, reads the comment and rushes to Desipundit)

Narrator: Mridula loved the post and wondered why Vulturo linking to it via Desipundit did not call it brilliant. She goes ahead and poses this question on Desipundit’s comments. Anirudh arrives there at the same moment and thinks that only Libertarian posts are getting tagged as brilliant. He too posts a comment there complaining about double standards. Vulturo sees the two comments and decides he has had enough of hearing backdoor statist positions for the day and goes ahead to delete the two comments. I think this is getting interesting by the minute.

(Mridula enters again, she looks mighty irritated and quickly types in the comment)

Mridula says... comment posted on December 28, 2005 1:23 AM
Sorry for the diversion everyone. But something has happened at Desipundit. Vulturo has deleted our comments. Here we are reclaiming our legacy and ushering in the revolution and all and this chap has the nerve to go on deleting our comments. Comrades it time to attack!

Dilip D’Souza says...comment posted on December 28, 2005 1:53 AM
@Chetan That post was so Heller like. Reminded me of Yossarian. I think what you said needed to be said. I hope this sensitises the city bred yuppies to think about the downtrodden. I just wish you had also spoken about the economic benefits of preventing slum demolition.

Narrator: There are a few anonymous commenters who have nothing better to do so they keep on entering Dilip’s name on technorati throughout the day and follow him wherever he goes.

(Immediately after Dilip leaves, Anonymous enters, the actor playing the part is wearing a saffron hood)

Anonymous says... comment posted on December 28, 2005 2:15 AM
Look at Dilip. Speaking about Hell and all. Peddling all these Christian concepts at the drop of a hat! And why I ask does he need to talk about the slum demolition. Just because all his favourite Muslims stay there!

(Shivam reenters)

Shivam says... comment posted on December 28, 2005 2:15 AM
@Mridula: Vulturo is my friend and therefore Chetan’s friend too. So it shouldn’t bother if he titles it Liberterminator or This post sucks. About deleting your comments, there ought to be a reasonable explanation and Vulturo is a good boy. Let us not jump to conclusions here shall we?

Mridula says... comment posted on December 28, 2005 2:56AM
@Shivam Yes, just because he is your friend does not give him the right to delete my opinions. And yea I will jump to whatever conclusions I deem fit. I don’t need you or your friend to tell me that. More power to your friendship, may it get you linked at DP for 'directly attacking' cartels again and again. I am going now to warn other comrades that we have a spy amidst us. Ugh! Such backdoor rightist Libertarians!

(Crystal Blur enters along with Vyasa and Ganpati )

to be continued...

Update: Read Episode 3: Meet the spoofer

Mahablogartha: Contemporary Contextualisation of Blogosphere Rants or CCBR Part 1

Disclaimer: This post is a work of fiction. However, resemblance to any person living or dead is not coincidental. They are real people some of them are my friends. I have merrily caricatured them. My apologies to the lay reader. This post is not for everyone and can only be understood and contextually appreciated by those who followed the longest comment in the blogosphere controversy and the subsequent discussions.

Episode 1: Liberterminator II

(Lights are dim. A computer is kept on a table at the corner facing the audience. The back of a relaxed chair can be seen behind the table. Another chair sits bang in the middle of the stage. Using a LCD projector, the contents on the screen of the monitor are projected on the back curtain. An idol of Ganpati can be seen kept in a showcase to the right of the room. A door is present on a wooden frame in another corner and the nameplate reads ‘Indian Blogosphere.’ Chetan enters through this door. Spotlight follows him as he sits on the computer and begins typing)

Narrator: This is Chetan, a newbie to the blog world. He has been sulking for long and suffers from severe inferiority complex ever since his girlfriend left him because of his Libertarian leanings. Yes, my friends this fierce Liberterminator of ours was once a Libertarian himself. His girlfriend however was an animal rights activist and had to be hospitalised as she fainted hearing Chetan’s passionate defense of the livelihood and economic freedom of those involved in fir and Shahtoosh trade. Since then Chetan’s misdirected anger at Libertarianism finds outlet on his blog. Shhh! None of his readers are aware of this background.

(While the narrator is recounting the juicy details of Chetan’s breakup, Chetan is furiously typing on his blog and the audience can see his words projected on the curtain)

Chetan: Ever wondered about the hypocrisy of those chest-thumping Libertarians? No na! How did you guys ever let those intellectual pretenders become so influential? I am quite certain you scrutinized the steps of their proof but couldn't find a chink in their armour. But did you bother to check their given conditions? Arre udhar hi to dhokha kha gaya na India! Their axioms only were incorrect. They chose only the ones that would help them reach the QED/hence-proved-that step fastest. It's another matter that you guys have nothing to show as your own set of axioms apart from your good intentions. But those are enough I tell you. Even simple axioms such as good intentions are enough to pierce through their intellectual armour. Tum log bhi na. They beat you black and blue with their stick of wikipedia posts on logical fallacies. Did it ever occur to you that they themselves might have created those posts? Proof, you ask me? Just look at how they react to any small criticisms of wikipedia and you will get your beloved proof. Humph!

(Chetan is now charged up and all and gets up from his seat and addresses the audience directly. What he speaks appears on the screen on his blog)

Chetan: Now come on all of you who are new to the blogosphere, Come ye all, who are upset that the Cartelians don’t link to your blogs. Join me my fellow bloggers, you, whom they unfairly target. Follow me guys, all of you who don’t understand what the Cartelians say but nevertheless are certain they are wrong. And last but not the least all those got-nothing-else-to-do-but-wait-for-the next-flame-throwing-contest-in-the-blogosphere-types, here is your niravana : -

Friends, Blogans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury the Cartel, not to praise them;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interréd with their bones,
So let it be with the Cartel….The noble Chetan
tells you that the Cartel is ambitious:
If it is indeed so, it is a grievous fault,
And grievously shall the Cartel answer it….
Let us together expose the emperor’s pretense of clothing.

Narrator: Thus began our pompous hero’s journey into the morass of duplicity, sophistry, double standards, crass generalizations and mischaracterizations in the name of arguing for some obscure concept like diversity of opinion.

(Chetan returns to the computer and begins typing a post)

Narrator: Unfortunately, our hero’s popularity fell as fast as it had risen. And this is story of the post and subsequent comments that killed his calls for blogosphere utopia through revolution against the bourgeois Cartel.

Chetan’s Post: The Cartelians always talk about hypocrisy. They love chomping Chomsy, mooring Michael Moore and kicking our Gods of small things. Today I shall expose their intellectual myopia and hypocrisy in the context of leftist intellectuals, environmentalists, human rights activist, animal rights activist, anti-market and anti-globalisation protestors. Henceforth this group will be referred to as BHL (Bleeding Heart Liberals for the uninitiated). Try pinning Cartelians down about who they think is globalisation's most celebrated baby and they will tell you orthogonal things like mobile phones and cable television. Actually, they are lying through their teeth! The coveted title of most celebrated baby should go to the BHLs.

Narrator: (Sneers) I think Chetan is actually taking the blogosphere for a ride. The real purpose behind this post is altogether different. Me thinks he is writing this post in the hope that his former girlfriend comes across it watches him repudiate his Libertarian ideals and takes him back. Tut Tut.

Chetan’s Post: Don’t take my word for it dear readers. Imagine what the global economy would be without the BHLs.
Who do you think keeps afloat the airline industry tottering on the verge of bankruptcy from going bust? Why, the anti-globalisation brigade of course. How? By purchasing tickets to locations such as Cancun, Doha, Brussels, Kyoto and Geneva and that too off-season! Imagine the revenue the airlines generate as these lovers of water cannons come in droves to (enjoy rangpanchami?) err… protest. But have you ever heard these Cartelians acknowledge their contribution? Never. Next time remember that the low airline fare you pay is owing to the benevolence of these BHL’s who have managed to keep the competition intact in the airline industry.

Not convinced? Here’s more…
How do you think these protestors organise? They come from different places across the world/country. How do you think they communicate? Mobile phones and the Internet of course! Now imagine the jump in sales for the mobile companies. Were it not for the protests do you think our anti-market good-intentioned environment friendly BHLs would have ever bought into those unnecessary choices offered by the evil profiteers? And what about Internet advertising? How do you think Yahoo/Google/MSN get their email customers without these guys joining the debate on their groups. They also are forced to use computers thus boosting hardware sales. Self-righteous people that they are, the BHLs are the only ones who pay for their software. Ask the Cartelians whether they use licensed software and they will blame the government for not implementing laws. Shifting the goalposts, anyone?

Still Unconvinced?
Here is the damning proof of their candidature for being the most celebrated babies. The media industry. Arre do you think the industry could have survived one day without BHLs? Were it not for the BHL’s compulsive need to be on camera, how do you think reporters would have gotten their stories. The insensitive parading of the human right abuse victims’ tears by the BHLs is tailor made for the queasy dinnertime visuals during the 9O’clock news. All the sensational issues of the world, all the controversies, shouting in favour of aid for Africa, all the protests, tree-hugging, breast beating all for a good cause; keeping the media industry running. Would you have bought the foreign magazine you never read had it not featured Pamela Anderson wearing cabbage leaves plugging for vegan lifestyle on its cover? All the Rupert Murdochs and Ted Turners of the world have only the BHL to thank for their fortunes.

I am sure by now you are convinced. For those of you who are themselves BHL there is more:
The free market guys only worry about the profits of the big corporations. It is only our dear sensitive BHLs who cater to the small trader. Notice their contribution to the local economy. All the placards they need are built by the humble carpenter. The flags and the confetti are provided by the local storeowner. The local florist gives BHL flowers to plant in a handsome soldiers’ guns. The small shopkeeper in the neighbourhood provides them with Bisleri/Aquafina bottled water. After all, our city bred BHLs have to visit all sort of places and won’t they fall sick if they drink the tap water funded by the result of their lobbying for socialist programs. Mind you, this in no way deters them from supporting our Great Leader Laloo’s attempts at banning cold drink/mineral water sale in trains. Unlike the Cartelians the BHLs can live with contradictions. Ever wondered what courage and commitment to their cause must it take to live a life filled with such glaring contradictions? How can the Libertarians be blind to it I don’t understand? No they are not blind. They have kept us blind with their obscuratist control of the blogosphere. They never have and never will acknowledge the contribution to the GDP by the BHLs. Their mantra of GDP=development has no place for the GDP contributions by our BHLs. So yes, let us reclaim what rightfully belongs to the left of center. We run this economy and we shall regulate it!

Narrator: I bet his girlfriend will take this juvenile ignoramus attempt at finding a common ground as a vindication of her decision to dump him. On a serious note, this post proved to be the last of Chetan. The comment section killed him.

(After that valiant effort at penning the post Chetan leaves the stage with his chest pumped up)

(And now the readers start trickling in on the stage to read his blog. Most readers leave after taking a look at the length of the post. Those who do manage to read halfway are riled enough to comment immediately. They go to the computer table and start banging their comment on the computer as the audience watches it on screen)

(A blog reader who goes by the name Indian or North Indian and who is the star commenter on Greatbong's blog enters the stage)

Narrator: This character has problems understanding meaning of the words such as satire, sarcasm, irony etc. It is a serious mental condition that afflicts a tiny minority who can be easily found in the comment section of Great Bong.

(Indian proceeds to sit on the computer and types his comment)

Indian says... posted on December 27, 2005 9:03 PM
Chetan thinks he knows economy? Economy my foot you should be sent to 3rd grade you oxymoron! Notice how he licks Laloo’s boots there. I bet that is because he is seeking a ticket from RJD. Only Indian politicians must be reading this blog. It caters only to their intellectual level. I bet he is that dickhead Ganguly’s ardent supporter. Some Chetan Chatterjee or something I am sure. A Bengali, Laloo supporter, commie sympathizer and a Ganguly lover to boot! Lord save India.

to be continued..

Update: Read Episode 2: Comments comments everywhere, not a sensible one to read