Friday, July 22, 2011

A New Nursery Rhyme

Murdoch and Brooks went up the hill,
to make a bunch of readers.
Brooks fell down and broke her crown,
and Murdoch came tumbling after.

These are the lines ringing in my mind ever since I saw the latest Murdoch hearings. I had always been a big fan of all such hearings and c-span provides me enough fodder for my entertainment appetite. Be it Tony Hayward from the BP oil spill hearing or those big Bank CEOs lined up before the US Congress committee or even Bernanke answering the US Senators. I have always found it amusing to see the attitude of these honchos at such hearings. They sit like 5 years old sit in front of their parents trying to answer the tough questions asked by their parents after they mess up. They mumble, they fumble replying to the committees but never ever accept the fact that things are going wrong, they messed up or they take responsibility for anything. In fact they pretend everything is fine, all is being taken care of, and tomorrow everything will be just about perfect. I chuckle each time they do that.

So, this time it was like a mega event in the UK. The multi-billionaire media king along with his son appeared before a bunch of local UK MPs. It was theatrical, all live and I was truly entertained. I think I have not enjoyed any recent Hollywood blockbuster this year as much I enjoyed these hearings. All of them, with the two freshly resigned top cops, media mogul and his son, and my personal favorite the ex chief editor of a now defunct tabloid. The innocently sitting editor took a complete U turn during the hearing, hardly even acknowledging the players of the scandal. The occasional smirk on her face now and then was priceless. But what stole the show for me was the four-decades younger wife of the media king. The way she pounced on the man trying to mess up with her husband was out of this world. The pativrata wife of the year award goes undoubtedly to her, all hands down. She could be every man’s dream wife. Who needs a life insurance policy against accidents such as those?

These hearings are definitely entertaining but I personally feel that they hardly lead to anywhere. Take for example the recent UK hearings. I find it tough to understand how will there be any honest and decent ending to this drama. It is like a game of three kids running after each other in circles without the motivation to actually catch the one in front of him because the game will stop once one catches the other. The three kids in this case being the politicians, the media and the cops. All these three parts of our modern “democratic” society have become so intermingled with one another that it is now like a labyrinth for anyone to find the right path. Of course it is a scary situation. The police needs the media to solve some cases and the occasional extra money under the table. The media needs the police to provide inside information to sell their news. The politicians need both media and police for portraying its clean image to the society and for maintaining order in the same society respectively. In such an interdependent scenario it is quite natural that the boundary lines are ought to get blurred.

At the same time, I feel a little guilty and shamed of the audience in all this. I can not completely blame the news or tabloids for serving the voyeuristic demands of the modern society. There cannot be any supply when there is no demand. As simple as that. How else can one explain the record breaking circulations of such papers? So, as a society we need to pause a little and think where are we actually going. Do we really need to know whether Beckham had a boy or a girl before anyone else knows? Do we need to know on which beach Katy Perry is going on vacations or what is going on in a footballer’s personal life? It is quite ironic to me that first we make people celebrities based on only one of their talents and later we want to know each and every aspect of their lives and then criticize on any move they make in their personal life as per our standards. Is it not bigotry on the part of the society? Why don’t we put in more efforts on thinking and concentrating on more important aspects of the current state of our world? And I think I know the answer to that. Because talking about it is so boring and clich├ęd !

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