On Large Gorillas, Tantra Challenges and Self-Delighting Sentences

Ah, April 1! It’s that day of the year again when one is wary of taking others seriously, so there is no better time for me to resume blogging. I’m going to be a little tight on time for the next couple of days as well, so here are some links to keep you going.

A couple of readers asked me for my reaction to the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, as it’s my money being spent (not that anyone cares). I shall be lazy and point to Bibek Debroy’s excellent comment in India Today, in which he points out that the proposed hikes will effectively be “a transfer from 375 million who work outside the government to 45 million who work for government and quasi-government bodies.” Aroon Purie also has something to say about the “Rs 66,000 crore gorilla” that runs our country.

A recent example of government dysfunction was the Goa government’s handling of the Scarlett Keeling case: when ministers and top cops come on TV and blame a young girl’s rape on her mother because she left the kid alone, it makes the skin crawl. Devangshu Datta puts it in context of another “WTF moment” he once had on a ship.

Speaking of WTF moments, check out this Shashi Tharoor piece in which he argues that a study that shows “correlation between engineering and terrorism” (with no hint of causation, mind you) constitutes an “argument in favour of studying the humanities.” Lest engineer readers of this blog do something rash in dismay, let me point out that Tharoor does say: “I know a few engineers who wouldn’t harm a fly.” Isn’t that kind of him?

A few days ago I’d blogged about the great Tantra Challenge. Reader Ajit Joshi informs me that he has persuaded Rationalist International to put the videos on YouTube—so here you go.

Speaking of rationalists, Christopher Hitchens writes about Hillary Clinton’s “flagrant, hysterical, repetitive, pathological lying,” and points out how she is guilty of both suggestio falsi and suppressio veri. Read the full piece.

Finally, I shall end with the quote of the day, from the Economist review of Salman Rushdie’s “The Enchantress of Florence”:

Mr Rushdie ought to bear in mind that a novelist is at heart a storyteller, not a serial creator of self-delighting sentences.

What baffles me is that there are actually many people who love those self-delighting sentences, such as the good friend who sent me the above link, Manish Vij. I assure all pretty desi women in Boston and thereabouts—Manish was available last I heard—that he has no other bad qualities.