Rest In Peace, Kevin Carter

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kevin Carter, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, died exactly 16 years ago.

Before he went to Sudan to take the picture that made him famous, Carter was a member of the Bang-Bang Club, a core group of four South African photojournalists determined to expose the violence and discrimination caused by Apartheid. All had strong senses of justice and a conviction that the world needed to see the violence that they themselves had been witness to since childhood.


Book Review: The God of Small Things

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Note: This originally rose out of a feature I guest-wrote for an ongoing series over at Ars Aromatica, which consists of a book review followed by an fantasy outfit based on said book. If you want to see the original post (the book review is identical) then head on over here.

The everyday world itself must be shown to be subliminally spiritual. It is an old idea: The secular world is secretly full of saints who don't even know they are saints. It is they who keep God from destroying it altogether.
~Donald Kuspit, A Critical History of 20th Century Art

The God of Small Things is often compared unfavorably to works like Midnight’s Children, an unjust comparison considering that, beyond superficial qualifications (both novels about recent Indian history) the two works share about as much in common as the writers themselves (one a Keralan Christian and the other a Muslim from Mumbai by birth, in a country where regional, ethnic, and religious differences mean everything). Whereas Rushdie writes veritable tapestries on a large scale, detailing the exploits of multiple generations and entire nations in an ongoing saga, The God of Small Things is a miniature of a scene set in a specific time and place, drawn in painstaking and exquisite detail that yields gruesome facets upon closer examination.

At the surface, The God of Small Things is a novel about transgressive love within a repressive society: upper-caste Indian woman falls in love with a pariah, the two embark on a torrid affair, and eventually both suffer brutal deaths as punishment for flaunting the mores of their community. The main characters are all outcasts in their own way: Ammu, who&#8212with "the infinite tenderness of motherhood and the reckless rage of a suicide bomber"&#8212defies the restrictions placed upon her as a high-caste Indian woman and a divorcée; the twins Estha and Rahel, born of Ammu’s “disgraceful” inter-religious first marriage, who like to play “perverse” word games and ask inconvenient questions as precocious children are wont to do; and Velutha, who with the native dignity of a prince totally incongruous with his status as an Untouchable, refuses to accept his inferior lot in life. Their defiance is passive, not exemplified an any outright act of rebellion: their real "crime" is that they do not conform to the demands of the larger society.

Because "a murder of crows" is such a cliché...

A simple spot for my ramblings, musings, and scribblings. A notepad of sorts, minus the charm of the analog format and random (often obscene) doodles made while talking on the phone.

(Okay, maybe I'll post those too.)

If you happen to be here, hi. Feel free to browse around. Maybe you'll find something interesting. And please don't take me too seriously. It may result in your being shot, as per the words of the immortal Mark Twain*.
*Mark Twain is God.**

**Anyone offended by the single-asterisked statement may want to read the statement it denotes.

A Deceit of Lapwings

All happy people are more or less dissimilar; all unhappy people are more or less alike.