Monday, January 21, 2008

how abt a research on the cyclicity of mood swings?

Outlook (reference the Indian political weekly) and its mood swings are getting increasingly violent by the issue. If you were to pick up the latest issue ( dated Jan 28 2008) of the I-forget-how-many-years-old magazine and it happens to be the first issue of the magazine that you read, chances are that you will never pick another issue. Of course, the assumption in this case is that you are the kind of reader who likes reading stuff worth reading. In this issue, however, all the way from the cover, to the cover story and beyond, the magazine has failed to live up to its intellectual potential or seems more likely to be a part of a series intended as an experiment into commercial success ‘ the masala way’.

The cover throws upon you the catch of the experiment ‘he has the look, the attitude, the money. But when it comes to sex and marriage, the small town guy is still a macho man.’ I failed to comprehend to contrast between the two phenomenons. Its only when out of curiosity you pick up the story to make sense of the cover abstract that you realize that ‘the look, the attitude and the money’ has been equated to metrosexuality. And the conclusion of the entire survey is simply that the Indian small town man still wants a virgin wife! I bitched about statistical research in my previous post and this survey by a leading, usually sane and occasionally unusually insane magazine is a classical example of the misuse and futility of statistical research (conducted 999 out of 1000 times inappropriately). Read the survey methodology- 840 odd men sample the entire small town population. You’d be a fool to believe these figures are not inflated atleast by 100 percent. Read the survey and you’ll further find that you can sufficiently conclude that the survey was conducted in just two towns- ludhiana and hoshiarpur (barely 60 kms apart) - one of whom will not even qualify as a small town by many standards. And then the findings of the survey! Insanity, time-pass and printspace-pass do not quite make a very fruitful combination and their synergy can induce temporary mental disorders in many a readers- read frustration and irritation. Coupled with all this mental trauma comes visual torture, the editors having converted the magazine virtually into a porn mag this issue. Outlook’s experiments at masala success which have been developing with increasing frequency over the last 2 years may be affecting readership in more ways than the people running the magazine think.

I for one, however, would still tolerate its mood swings. Though it comes out with the worst in popular English Indian print media once in a while, the best in this space has also been outlook’s domain. Two issues back it ran a full fledged story on the bibi assassination and the future of Pakistan as it can be hypothesized thence. It is by far the most authoritative and cohesive document on this issue in Indian print media space that I have come across. In this issue too, inspite of all its prostitution, it contains a few delights. Sample the quote of the season- “I welcome the merchant of death… to corruption, official apathy, terrorism, darkness and despair” – Thuglak editor Cho Ramaswamy welcoming Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to Tamil Nadu. It’s a pity Mr. Modi cannot approach the election commission for this!

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