Putu the Cat

Fear me, if you dare. Meow.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Superman is no more

In a week that has seen the death of two legends, Christopher Reeve died at the age of 52 after battling a paralysing injury for close to a decade with dignity and determination. Tons of obituaries, and the usual host of controversies following his campaigns to promote stem cell research and its relevance in the US presidential elections. But by favourite obit is the BBC photo one- take a look.

Derrida is dead...long live deconstruction

While the great man is no more, there have been furious debates about the legacy that he's left behind. Terry Eagleton argues that the critics who've emerged after his death are 'English bone heads' who cringe at the term 'French philosopher' and who were bone-headed enough to deny him an honorary degree at Cambridge. You can find other obituaries here, here and here. And the politically minded have already begun to use his deconstruction techniques to prove what a philistine George Bush is. Umm...come on guys, you misunderestimate the poor chap...how many of YOU knew that the fish and the human being could co-exist peacefully?

A Crocodile in the Swamplands

In an essay by the same title, Amitav Ghosh, whose book on the Sunderbans, Hungry Tide, Putu gave the thumbs up to earlier, has spoken out passionately and eloquently against the building of a new tourist resort in the Sunderbans by the Sahara group. He's argued that this will destroy the eco system, be financially unviable, destroy a fragile network that protects the region from nature's fury, and most importantly, be detrimental to the lives of those who live in the region. The Hungry Tide has as one of its central events the massacre at Morichjhapi, where hundreds, possibly thousands of tribals were killed as they resisted central government encroachment. Ghosh's book has particular resonance given the news that keeps coming in from the North East- considering how tenuous our hold over our remote regions are, and how shabbily we treat them, what's in place to prevent a second Morichjhapi from taking place?

"To begin with, it is worth asking whether the project is feasible even on its own terms. What, for example, are the chances of converting a stretch of the Sunderbans into an arena for water sports and a haven for beach lovers? This is an area of mud flats and mangrove islands. There are no ‘pristine beaches’ nor are there any coral gardens. The Ganges-Brahmaputra river system carries eight times as much silt as the Amazon and the waters of this region are thick with suspended particulate matter. This is not an environment that is appropriate for snorkelling or scuba diving...A quick glance at a map is all it takes to see that the chosen location is directly exposed to the weather systems of the Bay of Bengal."

" What would happen if the complex were to find itself in the path of an incoming cyclone? In 1979, the Left Front government evicted tens of thousands of refugee settlers, mainly Dalits, from the island of Morichjhapi. The cost in lives is still unaccounted, but it is likely that thousands were killed. The eviction was justified on ecological grounds: the authorities claimed that the island of Morichjhapi had to be preserved as a forest reserve. It is scarcely conceivable that a government run by the same Left Front is now thinking of handing over a substantial part of the Sunderbans to an industrial house like the Sahara Parivar. It runs contrary to every tenet of the Front’s professed ideology. The Sahara Parivar’s project would turn large stretches of this very forest, soaked in the blood of evicted refugees, into a playground for the affluent. "

It's all about sex....eventually

So Putu has had a number of adventures in the last few days, managing to go from Tibet to a cruise on the Brahmaputra to a quick hike in New Hampshire, where Putu dislocated a kneecap and demands that readers express their sympathy. But Putu is back and talking about sex, which given the deplorable state of the feline species in Tibet, Assam and New Hampshire, Putu hasn't had much of. But there's sex in the air...and you can get it for just $4. Ok, ok, not really, but you can get a copy of the new Marquez book that should be out soon for that price on the streets of Colombia. The book is about a man who remembers all the women in his life as he makes love for the last time.

And clearly, sex sells as well. Not just sells, but brings with it awards and moolah too. Elfriede Jelinek who's just won the 2004 Nobel Prize for Literature. Known for her books that explore the women's sexuality in often explicit detail, some would argue that Jelinek is a controversial choice. Her own website though, is a bit strange...what's with the Bambi figure, mate? Isn't that kind of perverted...or is just me....?

And finally puppet sex has hit Hollywood and the censors are not pleased. South Park's creators have just released their controversial anti-terrorism spoof Team America: World Police. The creators of the movie had a few harsh words to say about the attempts to censor the scenes showing simulated sex between two puppets. Producer Scott Rudin told the media: "our characters are made of wood and have no genitalia. If the puppets did to each other what we show them doing, all they'd get is splinters." while one of the director Trey Parker said "We blow Janeane Garofalo's head clean off, [but for the MPAA] it's all about the positions of the dolls having sex," Parker said. "It's not funny - it's tragic."