Saturday, August 28, 2010

M.I.A Ruins Everything

What makes M.I.A so interesting? Is it because she is, according to Wikipedia, a "songwriter, record producer, singer, rapper, fashion designer, visual artist, and political activist"? Is it because her real name is Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, a name we don't usually associate with international songwriter-record producer-singer-rapper-fashion designer-visual artist-political activists? No! The most interesting thing about M.I.A is that she often has a ruinous effect on people who have no idea what she does. I can totally relate to this because I was ruined by integral calculus and I have no idea what that does either. Is it absurd to be ruined by something you know nothing about? Of course not. What matters is that M.I.A just ruins everything. These are some of the most compelling arguments I have heard regarding the ruinous power of M.I.A.

M.I.A Ruins Everything Because She Shamelessly Sells Exotica So White People Will Like Her

There is a long-standing rule which states that if a colored person gets famous among white people, it's because they are shamelessly selling exotica. White people can never be accused of this because they apparently have no shame. A number of factors make M.I.A's brand of exotica-selling flabbergastingly shameless. For one thing, she has a bizarre English accent, which apparently is a 'put-on' to anger and confuse non-white people, particularly Indians who are unsure whether they should claim her as one of their Legion-of-Brown-People-Who-Do-Awesome-Things-In-Other-Countries-Which-Means-They-Are-Indian-Even-If-They-Say-They-Aren't. M.I.A also dresses like the Eighties and Nineties collectively vomited all over her. But perhaps worst of all, M.I.A is a woman and women in general ruin everything because they have uteruses and uteruses ruin everything.

It's only fair to point out that this kind of M.I.A ruination is not that exotic when you consider that pretty much everyone gets accused of selling exotica in this shamelessly shameless fashion. For instance, Indians who write in English apparently sell exotica even when they aren't writing anything. Their very existence is an ongoing exercise in exotica-selling shamelessness. So in this case, it's not just M.I.A. Almost everyone is ruining everything by shamelessly selling exotica. Everyone except white people.

M.I.A Ruins Everything Because She's Not Exotic Enough Despite Being So Exotic

Many people will agree that there is nothing more disappointing than a black person who does not do anything 'black', especially on TV. This is precisely how M.I.A ruins everything for people who desperately want her to do something exotic. For these people, no one else has more potential to be the Discovery Channel with a supercatchy beat than M.I.A. They have no qualms about using the words 'exotic princess' to describe her appearance. They were thrilled when she said something in her foreignnative languages at the beginning of her song 'Ten Dollar'. When describing the way she dresses, they like to mention 'African prints' as often as possible.

It is interesting to note that like the previously-mentioned ruined people, these people are also not happy that M.I.A talks like one of the chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins. I believe it would be in everyone's best interests if M.I.A started speaking Swedish, which is also exotic but in a very non-threatening way.

M.I.A Ruins Everything Because We Can't Tell If She's A Terrorist Or Just Pretending To Be One

It's important to remember that many people outside our corner of the world can't find Sri Lanka on a map and don't know what a Tamil is. So learning that those kitschy tigers on M.I.A's art and in her videos are like the ones used by some terrorist organization from way over there is a bit like looking at a conflict diamond. It's shiny but more importantly, it's dangerous, which is the best kind of shiny. In other words, it's really haut.

But after this initial hautness fades, we find that rather than take the time to explore and understand the actual conflict or issue behind the 'terrorist imagery' that M.I.A uses, it's usually a lot easier to just react to the word 'terrorist'. Which like the word 'racist' is one of those things that many people don't really understand but are scared of anyway. So you get two kinds of ruination here.

PC Ruination- M.I.A is a terrorist and terrorism ruins everything.

Non-PC or 'Edgy' Ruination- M.I.A is just pretending to be a terrorist and pretend terrorists ruin everything.

M.I.A Ruins Everything by Living in Brentwood When She Should Be Living In a Hole in the Ground in a Third World Country

You know how some people buy "African" wooden elephants from some store because they want to tell everyone they got these wooden elephants from Africa when they actually got them from some store? This is sort of what happens when you buy an artist's product not because you're interested in what they're selling, but because you want to appropriate whatever street cred you think that artist has. The risk factor here is that when you believe that street cred has disappeared, the African wooden elephants will suddenly cease to be African and you will feel cheated. Who is to blame? The store? The elephants? Africa? There are no clear answers. All we can say is that it's a real bummer to buy M.I.A paraphernalia as an investment in Third World street cred and then watch her do the most unThirdWorldly thing ever by moving to Brentwood, which is apparently where rich celebrity people like to live in the country of L.A. For some reason, M.I.A would rather live there than in a hole in the ground, which is where all rich and famous Third World people are supposed to live. In this instance, M.I.A ruins everything by being a Third World cheatercock who should be riding on crowded buses and hanging out with scruffy, native 'rebel' factions who like to street dance in their spare time while engaging in harmlessly anti-American behavior. She should not be living in Brentwood.

There is a very ancient proverb in my country that says street cred is like AmericanCallCenter accent. Once people get over the novelty of it, they will start making fun of it. That's not really a proverb in my country but the point is that the move to Brentwood has spawned some fine M.I.A parodies, my favorite so far being M.I.A-Paper Planes Brentwood Redux featuring Lindy Jamil Gomez. But seriously, does M.I.A's music suddenly sound really bad now that she lives in Brentwood? Did it sound 'edgier' when everyone thought it came out of a hole in the ground in Sri Lanka?

If I said I lived in a hole in the ground in a Third World country, would more people buy my book?

An edited version of this article appeared in Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 35, Dated September 04, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

for somebody who don’t drive i’ve been all around the world, some people say i’ve done alright for a girl

The title of this blog post is something that I often feel applies very well to myself but I think very many people, even the gents, are probably feeling the same except maybe some gents haven’t had the pleasure of hearing someone tell them that they’ve done alright for a girl. The title of this blog post also comes from this song and was covered awesomely by The Dollyrots, Rasputina and The Wurzels who get extra points for making the song about combine harvesters. Speaking of combine harvesters, how cool is the Munni Badnaam remix from Dabangg! That has nothing to do with combine harvesters but whatever, how cool, no? It just makes you want to shake that uterus. If you don’t have a uterus, it makes you wish you had a uterus so you could just shake it to this song. And how slightly somewhat was it to see Sallu dancing in that slightly somewhat manner? I feel I am not alone in thinking this because there were these other guys in the song who were looking at him like ‘Dude, that’s not cool’ but of course in a very North Indian staged villagey kind of way. Sallu does this one step when they sing ‘Yeh Hindustan hui’ that made me go Oh My God, what is he doing? He does rawk the tight police uniform but then again, so do Surya and Vikram and they can dance without making you suddenly say Oh My God, what is he doing? Also, it is hard to have haut feelings for someone who shoots endangered animals and allegedly runs over poor people allegedly. Anyway, this song will probably cease to be uterus-shaking and start to be annoying by next week. Oh whale.

I like UbuWeb because it has lots of things to read and listen to and it's FREE! Canst thou deny the beauty of a free thing? No, thou canst not. Anyway, one of the neat things they have is a neat list of neat things that are 'Unpublishable' for whatever neat reasons. This doesn't necessarily mean they are 'bad', which I think is an important thing to remember along with its corollary that publishable things aren't necessarily 'good'. If I had my own publication station or something, I would have totally totally published this.

I also want to mention the site that an esteemed commenting person called G recommended a while back and which I am louing with my heart, lungs, liver and kidney. This is one of my favorites but there’s lots there to love and enjai like anything.

Disturbing Things In Our Daily Lives

A very personable person I know is currently in residence in one of those things we like to call ‘ancestral houses’. And like most ancestral homes, it has weird things in it that make you say where did this come from? Why is it here? Why am I looking at this? This is a photograph of one of those things.

When I phust saw this I thought, oh my God, kill it with fire. Then I thought this is the most Indian thing ever. There is no cow, no woman in sari carrying pot on head, no arranged marriage and no slumdawg children. And yet this is so endearingly Indian that it tugs at our heart parts and makes us say wow, that’s the most awesomely Indian thing ever. What makes it awesomely Indian? Nay, we cannot speak of it for it cannot be contained by mere words. For can we speak of the love we sometimes have for posters of Chinese babies although we don’t generally like the Chinese? No. I mean Nay. It is like that Chinese baby poster love only. There are no words for it and even if there were, it would be so embarrassing also. I now list the four great Awesomes which make Awesome Notebook cover Awesome.

Awesome # 1- The girl is holding a rose. Not jasmine flower. Not sidey Indian country rose which many of us have eaten in our youth. She is holding what is known as ‘costly English rose’. Granted that in this picture, said rose looks like some kind of cannibalistic plant that is hoping to feed on both these children in the near future but it’s supposed to be a costly English rose and we all know that. Not only that, the whole cover is ‘rose color’.

Awesome # 2- Both boy and girl are wearing shoes. The girl proves she is more awesomer by wearing socks AND shoes. AT THE SAME TIME!! Why this is awesome means just like it is not easy to scale Mt Everest, it is not easy to wear fullsocksandshoes in a tropical country. In fact, in my current corner of the country, where it is often hot and humid and dusty and hot and hot, you generally want to steer clear of people who wear socks and shoes because they are a) crazy, b), their feet smell reallyreallyreally bad and c) in cognizance of point b), the rest of the body has probably staged a coup against the feet because said smelliness just makes all body parts look bad and this coup will cause said feet to fall off suddenly and without one ahead warning also. This may be fun to watch but you should not be around when that happens because it will smell reallyreallyreally bad. Anyway. Awesome.

Awesome # 3- The boy is touching the girl’s shoulder and the girl is…I don’t really know what she’s doing. She’s trying to pick his nose. This kind of touching, while flabbergasting in a creepy and confusing kind of way, is totes ok because they’re just kids and they’re at that age where we can’t really tell if it’s a boy or a girl anyway. But it must be noted that this touchingtouching would totally NOT be ok if these two were adults, particularly because they are wearing western dress, particularly the girl. This touchingtouching in adults may be ok if they were wearing traditional clothing (and by they I mean the woman only) and if they were married. Still, we cannot deny that manwoman touchingtouching is not a part of Indian culture. That’s interesting when you consider how often this country makes babies. So naturally some touchingtouching is happening somewhere.

Interestingly enough, two adult mans or two adult womens presented in this touchingtouching manner would be ok, not because we are cool with homosexuality but rather because two mans touching means that a man and a woman are NOT touching. So it’s a preventive kind of thing. Also homosexuality doesn’t exist here and is an American thing like Coca Cola. All very awesome.

Awesome #4- Some bewildered looking foreign dog is looking at both of them, possibly because it is bewildered at the fact that the girl seems to be trying to pick the boy’s nose. Or maybe it feels bad because it is the only entity not wearing any shoes. I was thinking how neat it would be if the packs of Indian street dogs were made up of little powderpuff doggehs like this. That would be neat but possibly also more dangerous and scary for all of us in the end.

And now, some musics.

Ice Cream Truck by Cazwell- Very haut men with no shirts, in very states of underwearness eating ice cream and shaking their bootay. This bootay shaking is of such serious proportions that Youtube asks that you prove you are 18 to watch this video because it will make you gay, especially if you like ice cream.

I Want to Take You To a Gay Bar by Electric Six- Men dressed as Abe Lincoln sometimes with no shirts and sometimes with no pants dancing with much feeling but perhaps not as much hautness as the Cazwell dudes. Awesome awesome song. Youtube asks that you prove you are 18 to watch this video because it too will make you gay, especially if you like Abe Lincoln.

Fuck Shit Stack by Reggie Watts- I love everything about this song and video but perhaps the best thing is the use of the word fickityfuck.

Drugs by RATATAT- This is how stock pictures are taken. Everything is awkward and terrible. We are all going to die and it is going to hurt when it happens. I bet you that some AmericanIndieLit writer out there has a short story collection called We are all going to die and it is going to hurt when it happens.

Drakes Remix of Get Out Of Your Mind by Lil Jon and LMFAO- Lil Jon scares some people. Is it because he is black or because he is Lil Jon? Maybe it's because he is both.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Conversations- The Green Volvo

S- Oh my God!

K- I know!

S- She totally hated your fracking guts!

K- I know!

S- She kept telling everyone in college you had AIDS. And everyone believed her because you had an accent so naturally that meant you probably had AIDS too!

K- I know!

S- Why she is calling you? What does it mean when people who hate you that much call you? Should you be scared? I think you should be scared.

K- Well as far as I can tell, she found out that I have no job and no husband and that made her so exceedingly happy she just HAD to get my number and call me up and tell me about how she heard I have no job and no husband.

S- Ah. Many people call me for the same reasons. It seems to make them very happy.

Anyway, I figured this was a good time to ask her why she hated me so much. Considering she didn't even know me.

What did she say?

She said, and I quote, "Well basically it was because you were so arrogant" So I asked her what I had done that was so arrogant. And she said well basically you walked with a very arrogant manner.


K- Then we had a very strange conversation because she started talking about her Volvo.

S- So?

Well she pronounced Volvo in a very…interesting way.

Did it sound like she was saying ‘chiropractor’?

K- No.

S- Arachnophobia?

It sounded like she was saying ‘vulva’.

S- Wow. And also, yes I can see that happening.

K- You can imagine my confusion when she informed me that it was a nice dark green and she was really excited about the upholstery and sound system.

S- Yes. That would definitely be confusing.

K- So I tried to clarify this, because I am stupid. And then we had this very tedious back and forth that went ‘I thought you said vulva!’ ‘Volvo only I said’. ‘Vulva. Not Volvo’. ‘Volvo only’. ‘Vulva! Vulva!’. ‘Yeah, Volvo. That’s what I said.’ So I decided to make things worse by spelling it out for her.

S- And?

K- And she said there was no need to say such obscene and arrogant words to her and I was obviously jealous of her Volvo.

S- Did she mean her car or-

K- I thought it better not to clarify that.

S- And also, vulva is an obscene and arrogant word? Really?

K- She says it is. So it must be true.

What about ‘elbow’, is that obscene and arrogant too?

K- Not sure. It might be if it’s a woman’s elbow.

S- Uterus?

K- Oh definitely. That’s definitely obscene and arrogant.

S- Worse than fallopian tube?

K- Way worse.

S- This is very confusing. How are we supposed to know what words are obscene and arrogant? Is there a guidebook or something?

K- There should be, no? Anyway, so she got really pissed off at me for being obscene and arrogant to her, although she was very pleased at my Volvo- envy. And before she hung up on me she said I was a gay also.

S- What’s a gay also?

K- I don’t know. I think it's those hammocks that hip and wealthy Indians use in the summertime.

S- Oh how nice! I’ve seen gay alsos in ads for insurance and whitening creams!

K- Yeah. Not sure why she called me that though.

S- Maybe she called you something that just sounded like ‘gay also’. Like chiropractor.

K- Right.

S- Or arachnophobia.

K- Yes.

S- I’m never buying a Volvo. Ever. There’s just too much drama attached to the word now.

K- I’m never saying that word ever. I will just say foreign carcar like everyone else.

And now, an edited version of something that was originally about Gandhi Jayanthi but it works just as well for forthcoming Independence Day. Advance Vazhga Bharathams and Jai Hinds homibabaterroristpeepals.

Things We Can Do To Make the Occasion of Independence Day Moar Better

Refrain from making statements like ‘India was better off when the British were here’

I understand but am flabbergasted nonetheless that this is a popular school of thought with many people, particularly those who lament the loss of ‘clean roads, people who spoke proper English and Yardley’. And while you are of course free to believe this, why not keep it inside your head, just for one day. Also, if you are so nostalgic for those milk and honey days of English rule, you might look into moving to the UK. The BNP in particular will be oh so glad you came.

Refrain from pretending that you don’t know what Independence Day is because you totally don't live here, like really.

This is particularly mystifying behavior to see among people who have spent all their lives in India. Just fyi, blinking and saying ‘Oh! And what do you Indians do on Independence Day?’ will not make people turn to you and say, oh! You must be from America or London. This behavior is not only very weird, it is sad and it embarrasses everyone more than elevetyhundred PutOn accents. Stop hating yourself. You are fabulous. Indian Independence is fabulous. You and Indian Independence are fabulously fabulous.

Refrain from Using This Day to Launch Assorted Acts of Violence

Let’s avoid using August 15th as a day for sending rallying calls to bomb Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, America, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, homosexuals, heterosexuals, asexuals, rich people, poor people, educated people, illiterate people, upper caste people, low caste people, mixed caste people, no caste people, yes caste people, Westernized people, Easternized people, tourists, sex workers, people who visit sex workers, people who don’t visit sex workers, poets, people who hate poets, people who love poets, people who pretend to be poets, people who don't pretend to be poets, artists, con artists, street artists, nonartists, Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, communists, doctors, dentists, actors, lawyers, women, children, men. Seriously, I don’t think Indian Independence was ever supposed to be about bombing any of these peeps or any other kinds of peeps. Ever.

Also, you know how sometimes we do that thing where other people come to our country and tell us what a fuckup this country is and how we should listen to them because they are here on vaycay and obviously know exactly how to make everything in India moar better? And sometimes our own one number countrypeople will say we should listen to these othercountry people because they know everything and we just live here and don’t know anything? You know how we sometimes do that?

Let’s not do that. Just for one day. Let’s consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, Indians living in India might have a good idea of what’s going on here and how to make things moar better for us. So when someone says ‘your country is a fuckup and you should listen to me so you guys can make everything moar better’, let them do talkingtalking, then ask them for foreign fundage for funding these awesome India-improving steps. Then take the foreign fundage and go enjai like anything. I think that would be a fun way to spend Independence Day.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

i'll be your cryin' shoulder, i'll be love's suicide, i'll be do-do-do-do-do-do, i'll be the greatest man of your life

This blog title is stolen from the song My Rollercoaster by Kimya Dawson. When I first heard this line, I was like, oh my god that is such a womantic and dweamy thing to say. And then I thought, actually that is such a disturbing thing to say. Because it's one thing to tell a manperson, manperson you are the greatest man of my life. It's quite another thing if said manperson says I'll be the greatest man of your life, like you don't actually get any say in the matter and it is a threat or something. Moments like that make you think of movies where the hero will be so angry with the heroine for being a woman or wearing pants or something and it's clear he wants to kill her and rape her repeatedly at the same time but instead he says, I'm going To Marry The Fuck Out of You! Just Wait And See, You…Woman! And he says that like he wants to kill her and rape her repeatedly at the same time, like maybe marriage and simultaneous murder/rape are the same thing in his eyes and it makes you wonder, hmmm, is this a person other people should be having babies with? And if he marries people he clearly wants to murder and rape, what does he do to people he likes? The mind boggles.

But who wants to make babies with someone like that when you can make babies with a REAL monster! Yay!

Wealthy people with credit cards can now order this book online! Unwealthy people can start selling their internal organs so they can buy it from a store very soon!

I'm sorta not sure whether I should talk about this next thing I'm going to talk about because it deals with Hindi women writers and I am only one woman and I don't know Hindi. But apparently there is some kind of race happening among these Hindi women writers about who is the greatest prostitute. I admit, I'm a little confused by this because I didn't know they held races for that kind of thing. But this must be true because the Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University said so. If that article made you angry and you want to throw something at this illustrious man, you can't because that's not nice. You could sign this petition though. I do want to say that I think maybe the main problem is a basic feeling among many of the peepals that if a man writes about sex, he is edgy and vulnerable and awesome and a writer. If a woman writes about sex, she is just shamelessly shaking her uterus in everyone's face and let's face it peepal, uterus-shaking is gross. Apparently, it leads to racing prostitutes. Or something.

In the last post, I mentioned Raghav's song Angel Eyes and I was not surprised at the Raghav hate that happened because Raghav hate is understandable. Many people mentioned his accent also and as someone who gets a lot of grief for my accent as well, I thought, in the way of a Public Service Message, I would put out some friendly advice for those folks who are doing what is variously known as Putting the Peter or the PutOn Accent. In other words, people who are putting on fake American accents because they think this is something that will help them make friends all the time and they will win at everything forever.

Let us not go into the complicated and sad worlds of people who have to deal with their own real accents because it's just complicated and sad when people think you're not 'talking properly' on purpose because they think you are arrogant because you have an accent. Let's not go into all that. Let us instead talk about how it feels to be around someone who is clearly American-accent free and then, with no one ahead warning also, they suddenly start talking with a PutOn accent. Maybe you are under the impression that doing this makes everyone look at you and think, This Impressive American Person is Impressive And I Am Impressed! This is a false. Speaking in sudden PutOn accent makes people want to grab your face and say 'OH MY GOD STOP, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? HAVE YOU GONE INSANE? DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO HATE YOU? ISN'T THE WORLD SAD ENOUGH WITHOUT YOUR FAKE AMERICAN ACCENT? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU???'

PutOn accents are one of those unique things that embarrass EVERYBODY who is within the range of the PutOn accent. It is the Emperor's New Clothes where everyone can plainly see you are the nudies but no one says anything because while we are flabbergasted at your strange languages, we want to make fun of you for it later. PutOn accents make children cry. They give dogs rabies. Every time someone speaks with a PutOn accent simply to put scene, the hole in the ozone grows bigger and kittens die. So please. Before putting on the PutOn. Before you casually start throwing around the word 'nigga' in your spoken conversation because you think it's AwesomeAmerican lingo and all those black people on TV do it so that must mean everyone can, think of what this man is saying to you.

funny animated gif

And now, musics for the masses. This week we celebrate these awesome songs

Bang by Rye Rye

Break Ya Neck by Busta Rhymes

Something Bigger, Something Better by Amanda Blank

Mere Daftar Main Ek Ladki Hai by Pradeep Roy (special shoutout to my homibabas from college who won't admit to singing this song and probably don't read this blog either but whatever)

MIA- Paper Planes Brentwood Redux- "These shades were made in Sri Lanka. Don't you DARE write anything else funny about me!" also i want blonde white servant person. is that racist to say? probably. im sorry.


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