Satire


I have been meaning to write about Andy Borowitz and his The Borowitz Report for a while, and an article from last week had me LOL that I felt I should post this now. I visit his website regularly to get my laughter fix, and he almost always delivers a good chuckle or two. Even if the main “news item” is not that funny, his “Elsewhere” bit at the very end usually makes up for it.

His style of humor is satire (i.e. made-up “news”), mostly “over-the-top” political satire. I am a huge, huge fan of satire, and an even bigger fan of political satire. Borowitz of course is not the first one to do it – the long running The Onion was perhaps the early one and still quite good. However, in my mind, he is in a separate league.

If political satire is your cup of tea – he is a must read. If you like when someone makes fun of George Bush and his gang – he is a must read as they are usually (perhaps understandably 😉 ) the targets. You can check out the Borowitz Report at http://borowitzreport.com. The older articles are under the Archives. Here are a few of the many many that I liked:

  • Craig: I Will Not Blow This Job : That funny post from last week. Makes fun of the recently “caught” Idaho Senator Larry Craig – particularly his flip-flopping once caught.
  • NBC launches ‘To Catch a Senator’ : NBC’s To Catch a Predator is a powerful show where they catch child predators. This post again makes fun of Senator Larry Craig in that context.
  • Guiliani Challenges Himself to Debate – This is of course about Guiliani’s shifty positions on issues. Some highlights:
    • “I know exactly what to expect from me, and I will be prepared,” he said. “May the best Giuliani win.”
    • … Mr. Kerry himself, who memorably told reporters, “I was for the idea of debating myself before I was against it.”
  • Bush Postpones Thinking about Iraq Until 2009 – Some highlights:
    • “Thinking about the war in Iraq is exactly what the insurgents want us to do,” Mr. Bush told reporters. “By saying that we are giving the war in Iraq a thoughtful assessment, we would be playing directly into the evildoers’ hands.” .. “The best thing we can do to support the troops is to not think about them,” the president said.
    • “For one thing, by 2009 he’ll be out of office,” Rep. Pelosi said … the president rebuffed the Speaker’s request, telling reporters, “There she goes – thinking again.”
  • Supreme Court Gives Gore’s Oscar to Bush – “It is true that Al Gore has done a lot of talking about global warming,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority. “But President Bush has actually helped create global warming.”
  • Cheney Invites Libby on Hunting Trip – For his part, Mr. Cheney said that Mr. Libby’s lawyers were being “worry warts,” adding that his former aide had his “full support.” … “I’m behind Scooter,” Mr. Cheney said, loading his rifle. “Right behind him.”
  • Lou Dobbs Warns Santa Not to Cross U.S. Border – “To our knowledge, Santa Claus is a resident of the North Pole and therefore is doing business in the United States as an undocumented worker,” Mr. Dobbs told his television audience. “In short, he is taking jobs away from hard-working American toy-delivery personnel while the government looks the other way.” (Lou Dobbs, on CNN, is a very vocal, outspoken critic of illegal immigration)
  • An old article during the 2004 elections following the controversy with Janet Jackson’s infamous “slip” during that year’s Super Bowl.
    • The fall campaign, still in its early months, got even uglier today as the Kerry campaign unleashed its latest attack ad, in which entertainer Janet Jackson’s right breast “morphs” into the smiling face of President Bush. … Over a freeze-frame image of the President, a narrator intones, “Isn’t it time to expose THIS boob?”

Check out the archives and let me know if there are others that made you chuckle and laugh.

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It was supposedly a landmark trial. The first one of its kind. A legendary carnatic musician, and teacher par-excellence stood accused for the crime of mutilating the Sahitya (lyrics of a song) of a particularly famous carnatic composition kODu rEDu (కోడు రేడు/कोडु रेडु/கோடு ரேடு), literally meaning Line King in Telugu. The song of course has no relation to Lion King.

The musician was the legendary Curnool Nadhamuni Jessappa Bhagavatar. Although born in Curnool, he was not a Teluguite, and had moved from Curnool to Chennai when he was very young. This actually caused furor after the trial, when a rasika organization from Curnool wanted him to remove Curnool from his name as he no longer deserved it given the nature of his offense. Surviving details about the Bhagavatar are sketchy. It is clear that he was an enigmatic figure in the carnatic world. Before this trial, he commanded respect from all his peers, and had won admiration and adoration from rasikas all over. It was also claimed that he bore a slight resemblance to the acclaimed Hollywood star Jack Nicholson. Whether that was really true or nor is not we do not know for sure, but we know that it did enhance his enigma.

The plaintiffs bringing the charge were some Canatic Music fans (rasikas ), who were particularly fed up with the constant mutilation of Sahitya by many carnatic musicians and finally decided to put an end to it. The prosecution was led by the ace-lawyer Tenali Kasi.

Jessappa Bhagavatar’s prime disciple was Laya Tarangini Chandrika, a lady of solid reputation herself. For numerological reasons, she decided to initialize her titles, and drop the last “a” in her name, and hence went as L.T. Chandrik.

Detailed records of the trial are somehow lost to us except for a small chapter in a book written by a part-English part-Indian reporter Arun. S. Orkin whose family apparently also owned a pest control company in the USA. He is supposed to have witnessed the trial and provides a riveting account of the last day of the trial in his book.
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