Rahul Gandhi, Britney Spears and Groundnut Oil

I’ve been a bit preoccupied the last couple of days, and blogging has been light. So a few quick links:

Rahul Gandhi, who is travelling through Karnataka, wants journalists to leave him alone. “I want to interact with people freely,” he says, “because I like to say many things off-the-record.” In other words, he doesn’t want to be accountable for his public utterances. He’s lucky he’s inherited India and not the USA, where virtually anything a politician says can end up on YouTube.

Mid Day mistakes betting for match-fixing. The headline mentions match-fixing, the text only speaks of betting and satta. Do they really think there’s no difference?

Rediff reports: “Britney’s pregnant teen sister gets engaged”. That’s too much information for one headline, no? By the time Rediff’s readers process it, the baby will out and cutting records.

Abdul Ghaffar, accused of stealing “two cans of groundnut oil 14 years ago,”, has been acquitted. There is no mention in the report whether the people who actually took that oil have been apprehended. I consider it likely that they’ve consumed the evidence.

I’ve just discovered Ayaz Memon’s column from last Sunday: It’s headlined “The fantasy of make believe.” Er, Ayaz?

And finally, check out this superb piece by one of my favourite columnists, Stanley Fish, on denouncing and renouncing. An excerpt:

This denouncing and renouncing game is simply not serious. It is a media-staged theater, produced not in response to genuine concerns – no one thinks that Obama is unpatriotic or that Clinton is a racist or that McCain is a right-wing bigot – but in response to the needs of a news cycle. First you do the outrage (did you see what X said?), then you put the question to the candidate (do you hereby denounce and renounce?), then you have a debate on the answer (Did he go far enough? Has she shut her husband up?), and then you do endless polls that quickly become the basis of a new round.

I am beginning to believe that the main purpose of elections is not to enable democracy but to provide newspapers with material to write about. And blogs, of course.

Blogging will continue to be infrequent for the next couple of days. I wish you happiness.