Thursday, December 21, 2006

List of things that are pissing me off (with respect to George Carlin)

To spread some holiday cheer, in this festive season, here are a few things that grind my gears..

1) Stock Photos

Nothing lends inauthenticity to a static web site like stock photos, especially when the company is trying to appear global and culturally diverse.. If you really are culturally diverse, why don't you put actual photos of your employees, huh?



2) Social Networking Sites
I've been a part of three, and I haven't made ONE new friend, one new business contact, a single buck from all the hours wasted online, except maybe voluntarily sacrificing my privacy on the altar of web savviness. Like a pack of gypsies, we've all moved from one socialweb to another, adding the same buncha people we vaguely know. Ryze, orkut, hi5, linked in, myspace, friendster...VC money is being redundantly pumped into newer social networking sites, which keep spamming my inbox mercilessly... when will it stop?!

3) People who advertise their tastes in music and books like it means something
You know what I'm talking about. These people are so self involved, that they think dropping names of artists or authors imbibes them with the same mystical ether of personality. Yeah well, you don't have to be from the UK today to listen to the Smiths, the geography in music is fucked. CDs are dead, all you need is a broadband connection.

From a friend's Orkut:

Music:rock, electronica & alternative from the eighties to the mid nineties; Gary Numan, Wall of Voodoo, Murray Head, Art of Noise, Alan Parsons Project, STP, Pearl Jam, Depeche Mode, Icehouse, Nik Kershaw, Duran Duran, Joe Jackson, Howard Jones, Live, Digable Planets, Lucas, Glenn Frey, The Police, Level 42, Aztec Camera, Modern English, Styx, Journey, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac, Til Tuesday, The Tubes, The Clash, The Cure, David Bowie, Baltimora (muhahahaha), Yazoo, Devo, Go West, Men at Work, Midnight Oil, The Fixx, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Tommy Tutone, Michael Sembello, Naked Eyes, Glass Tiger, Matthew Wilder, The Smiths, Wang Chung, Alphaville, Billy Idol, Huey Lewis & The News, REM, Information Society, Beats International, Psychedelic Furs, Bronski Beat (anything by Sommerville really), U2, The Romantics, Romeo Void, Simple Minds, Styx, Information Society, Madness, Swing Out Sister,

And these things are tagged in Orkut! Like I'm going to find a soul mate based on the fact that we have both listened to Massive Attack.

This never happenned:
"Hey! you listen to Band X! I listen to Band X too! ! We have so much in common! We should make babies based on the fact that we dig the same recording artist!!!"

4) That flangey effect they use in Hindi pop music now
Do you know that Cher song, which has this voice mod that makes it sound like "do you beleueueueueve in love?" Yeah now someone's distroing a torrent for that Pro tools plugin, and every producer is abusing it like it were a retarded stepchild. This MADNESS HAS GOT TO STOP.

5) RJs
Why do
all Indian RJ's have the same voice? They do! They've ALL got the same style, that fake effusive friendly tone, like they're trying to sell you something. And they're all peddling the same old payola crap for bus money, making insipid, hackneyed comments about the weather, interspersed with product plugs or some vagueass remarks about some celebrity, and trying to be edgy by mocking Himmesh Reshammiya.

And I hate it when they fade out a song repeatedly to make some crappy comments:

Jaagi soi rahoon

"Aaand you're listening to 109.2 radio FM, "

khoi khoi rahoon
uski yadoon mein

"I'm your host Kritikaaaa, taking in callers for the next half an hour... dial 2226221!!!"

uske khwaabo mein
jhome jiya re

"You're listening to the Crazy Kiya Re from Dhoom 2"

(Na usko pata
Na uski khata

"If you haven't already, you muuust watch movie!!! Hritik Roshan looks so hot!!!"

Mein us pe margai
Zara usko bata)2

"Craaazy"

Dheree dheere ikraar mein
kabhi kabhi intezaar mein
uske hi pyaar mein jhoome jiya re

6) The House Nigger in Bhangra and Bollywood
remixes
You know what I'm talking about. I'm less offended by Bhangra music that has the house nigger, because it is offset by Punjabi bitchaez can afford electrical appliances to shave, wax, and epilate their body parts.

What annoys me more is when Bollywood remixes add an asinine rap part which has ZERO lyrical finesse, or merit. I'm unable to remember any song in particular, so I'm going to leave a placeholder for my beloved readers of this quality blog to fill me in here. Please give me a bollywood song with a rap interlude that sucks. (with transcribed lyrics please)

**
Placeholder
***

Monday, December 18, 2006

A couple of very interesting links here:

http://www.policyreview.org/aug02/harris.html

"My first encounter with this particular kind of fantasy occurred when I was in college in the late sixties. A friend of mine and I got into a heated argument. Although we were both opposed to the Vietnam War, we discovered that we differed considerably on what counted as permissible forms of anti-war protest. To me the point of such protest was simple — to turn people against the war. Hence anything that was counterproductive to this purpose was politically irresponsible and should be severely censured. My friend thought otherwise; in fact, he was planning to join what by all accounts was to be a massively disruptive demonstration in Washington, and which in fact became one.

My friend did not disagree with me as to the likely counterproductive effects of such a demonstration. Instead, he argued that this simply did not matter. His answer was that even if it was counterproductive, even if it turned people against war protesters, indeed even if it made them more likely to support the continuation of the war, he would still participate in the demonstration and he would do so for one simple reason — because it was, in his words, good for his soul.

What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him.

And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy — a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent anti-war demonstration, he was in no sense aiming at coercing conformity with his view — for that would still have been a political objective. Instead, he took his part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of feeling himself among the elect few who stood with the angels of historical inevitability. Thus, when he lay down in front of hapless commuters on the bridges over the Potomac, he had no interest in changing the minds of these commuters, no concern over whether they became angry at the protesters or not. They were there merely as props, as so many supernumeraries in his private psychodrama. The protest for him was not politics, but theater; and the significance of his role lay not in the political ends his actions might achieve, but rather in their symbolic value as ritual. In short, he was acting out a fantasy.

It was not your garden-variety fantasy of life as a sexual athlete or a racecar driver, but in it, he nonetheless made himself out as a hero — a hero of the revolutionary struggle. The components of his fantasy — and that of many young intellectuals at that time — were compounded purely of ideological ingredients, smatterings of Marx and Mao, a little Fanon and perhaps a dash of Herbert Marcuse.

For want of a better term, call the phenomenon in question a fantasy ideology — by which I mean, political and ideological symbols and tropes used not for political purposes, but entirely for the benefit of furthering a specific personal or collective fantasy. It is, to be frank, something like “Dungeons and Dragons” carried out not with the trappings of medieval romances — old castles and maidens in distress — but entirely in terms of ideological symbols and emblems. The difference between them is that one is an innocent pastime while the other has proven to be one of the most terrible scourges to afflict the human race. "

________________________________________

When postmodern thinkers wish to communicate about the possibilities of contemporary thinking, they speak today about the disappearance of the difference between being and appearance. Human reality, according to them, has taken on increasingly the form of an artificial construction, so that traditional differences between reality and fiction, truth and simulation, or art and technology have more and more been leveled. [...]

This then leads to a further claim: modern thinking "has since Kant moved closer and closer to the insight that the grounding of what we call reality is based on fiction. Reality proved increasingly not to be constituted as 'realistic' but as 'aesthetic'. Where this insight has been accepted-and it is widespread today-aesthetics loses the character of a specialized discipline and becomes a general medium for understanding reality."

http://hcs.harvard.edu/~hrp/issues/2000/Feger.pdf

cyn.in (Sign-in)

cyn.in: a Bliki for Enterprise Collaboration (Blog + Wiki)

cyn.in is the flagship product of Cynapse, a privately held company based in Delaware. cyn.in's focus is on taking the principles of zero barrier, freeform, social and emergent software apps and applying them to the enterprise market.

cyn.in is targetted at internal and accross organizational teams, irrespective of
whether they are in large enterprises, small and medium-sized
businesses, or non-profit organizations.

cyn.in provides a centralized single place for team members to store information about a team project like documents, presentations, timelines, task lists etc. Email is no longer an ideal technology for aligning and sharing deliverables. A single knowledge worker can easily generate 25,000 e-mails per year; a company with 100,000 employees could find itself with 2.5 billion e-mails in its archives. Searching through these plethora of emails for the correct document is an inefficient way of working.

The other problem with email is that the anti-spam servers might block messages, attachments are generally blocked by corporate firewalls and the flow of a discussion is not maintained.

cyn.in is a serious collaboration service for businesses. cyn.in works as well for two users as it does for 1,000 and can be adopted granularly. cyn.in offers a free-for-life Professional Edition and a paid Enterprise Edition. Each free cyn.in site gets 25MB of storage for 2 users, whereas the Enterprise Edition can be scaled infinitely depending on the requirements.

cyn.in has a self explanatory, de-jargonized, 100% WSYSIWYG user interface. Any data in cyn.in is simply a note. A note could contain rich textual content, pictures, media, categorization tags, or files of any type.

Creation of content in cyn.in's web based editor is as simple as making a document in Office. Attaching files to a note is very easy and adding in-line images to the content of the note is just a click away. No HTML. No FTP.

This note can then be stored for oneself or shared with team members for collaboration, eliminating email and related issues. cyn.in has a secure 'intranet space' where you can publish the note for consumption by members of your organization.


With most legacy
software, a team has to pre-define structure of their folders or
categories prior to creating any information. And every member of the
group is required to adhere to it and extend it only with caution.
Without this authoritative mechanism, information inadvertently runs
into chaos. This ends up being a serious waste of resource and yet the
final outcome of the information structure is far from satisfactory.

cyn.in counters the problems that folders and categories bring about with SlashTags. SlashTags are the pivot of cyn.in. SlashTags, are the most freeform, organic and social way of structuring information. SlashTags provide the flexibility of tags and the structure and path creation of hierarchical folders.

The crisp cyn.in Bliki is delivered as a Software-as-a-Service offering an emergent mechanism of delivering software applications to customers over the Internet.

SaaS or On Demand software can be implemented rapidly and eliminates the infrastructure and ongoing costs that traditional applications require providing lower TCO and very high ROI.

cyn.in is completely delivered and managed over the web, and is setup instantly.The cyn.in Enterprise Edition costs between $30 - $16 per user/month.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mourning Raga

At its core, Morning Raga deals with a very lofty question that many Indian artists have to contend with, an issue elaborately worded by Vikram Chandra in his essay The Cult of Authenticity. The big question, how does an Indian artist balance his Western and Indian influences, without being torn apart by culture critics on either side of the fence? The recording artists for Morning Raga got the gist of this conundrum, whipping out an awesome soundtrack; but just about everything else is so grievously wrong, right down to posting a press releasey edit on wikipedia.

It’s about this ad exec who makes jingles, who one day he realises that he's a whore to the capitalist gangbang and decides to quit his job and start a band to make some TROO music. In the next 5 minutes, he recruits band members in the most fake and contrived circumstances designed to push the plot further to the divine tragedy of Shabhana Azmi, a Carnatic singer with a catholic guilt complex.

The whole movie is so wannabe urban meets rustic, east meets west, old meets new that it feels like a 3 hour Bharti Telecom ad, you know, one of those ads in which they show a hundred contemporary faces of gratitude and joy for a telecom service without which their lives would be impossible. The colours and tints are very Karan Joharesque, whether its ‘hip’ backdrops of coffee franchises and discotheques, or rustic backdrops of paddy fields and old Chettiyaar style houses.






So the plot is that 20 years ago, Shabhana was a great singer in her gult village, and had a best friend who was a violinist who never ventured out of the village so when they go to the city to perform, they meet with a bus accident that kills Shabhana's son and her best frand. This instills in her a guilt complex, and she blames her ambition and her various gods for this divine retribution, because a woman belongs in the kitchen lol.

20 years later, the best frand's son comes back, he's the ad jingle maker now troo musician wants to recruit the now tragically emo Shabhana. Before he recruits shabz, he has taken in Peridaaz Zorabian in, and she's the modarn metro chick who wears tight jeans. Guess what, pehraaz does not have a father! You wanna know why?! Cause he died in an accident 20 years ago by drinking and driving, the same accident that Shabana's son and gult-ktvlt music director's mother died in!

The cathartic ending for the movie is the band playing at a major concert without shabz who's still chickenshit to travel outside of the village. But in the omg sensational yending, she does come with her Veena and sings to a spellbound audience who stand and applaud her while pehraaz zorabian gyrates and gives the western touch to the Carnatic like an Usha Uthup remix.

And everyone lives happily ever after, I suppose.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Comedy Gold

I love Indian matrimonial sites, if westerners have Myspace, we got shaadi.com, and bharatmatrimony.com for da hookupz yo.

Browse through some of these profiles, and you'll find racism, nepotism, close mindedness, ignorance, and candid admissions of economic strata and employment status of sibling, father and mother.

But it serves a very important function. Without arranged marriage, 70% of Indian men and women would die virgins.

When you go through the site, you seriously wonder, which asshole said that Indian women are beautiful in the world? Maybe 1 in 10 are. And the less you say about men the better. I blame arranged marriages for this. Evolution would have weeded out the ugly if it weren't for the safety net of arranged marriages, which perpetuate this cycle. When it ceases to be a decisive survival factor, the species comes up with specimens in varying degrees of grotesquenesses.

Some examples:
Complexion: Wheatish

I AM VERY HOMELY AND FRIENDLY GIRL WITH BEAUTIFUL MIND.AS I AM FROM JOINT FAMILY KNOWS THE VALU OF HUMAN RALATIONS.

Fair N Lovely

Body Type: Athletic

0_o - Wau

Sunday, November 05, 2006

He's going the distance..

I've been jogging religiously for the last three months(okay on and off to be honest, but more on than off!), and it's one of the most therapeutic things ever.

Why you might ask? Because it's a full body high, and it gives you a buzz that goes on all day.
When you get your body racked in pain, it secretes endorphins, (endo-morphine) which can be a real kick, and that's just the hangover!

I claim to be no expert in running, especially long distance, since I've been a heavy smoker for over 5 years. But I've been slowly cleaning my lungs out, and I'm on a snus methadone program to cope with my nicotine fixation. (Cigarettes suck) My personal best is 10 kilometres on a treadmill, in an air conditioned gym. Now since the weather is tolerable in Dubai, I run around Zabeel Park, cause it's cheaper than a gym membership. I can manage 6 kilometres without taking a break. I hope to compete for the Standard Chartered Marathon in Jan next year and finish the half way course. (10 kms)

Some jogging tips:
Jogging is all about rhythm. It's a very high impact exercise, and can wreck havoc on your knees and joints, which is what tires you out. The key is to glide through, using your hands as pendulums to give lift, using the momentum to power the next stride.

Wear shorts and sleeveless t-shirts. Less friction and resistance matters a lot in the long run.

Watch your breath. If you're panting hard, you got a few hundred feet of steam, so you can either slow down or burn out.

Always keep a bottle of water handy. Since I run in circles around Zabeel park, I keep my bottle of water at the starting point of the lap, and it keeps me motivated to complete the circle!

Jogging is best done on an empty bowel and an empty stomach, while being well hydrated.

Sleep is very important too. I seem to run pretty badly on days where I haven't gotten enough.

Find a partner who's better than you. There are many joggers whom you can run with to improve your speed.

Music helps set the pace, but once you tire out, your body automatically finds the most efficient gait and stride.

Wear a headband and a sweatband, especially if you're listening to music on headphones. Copious amounts of sweat can short the headphones and make em go bzzzzt!.

If you're running out of steam, try changing your rhythm and mix it up a bit. I run the first lap on my calf muscles, by leaning forward slightly, by the second and third lap, I use my hands more.

And if you're absolutely exhausted midway, slow down until you can control your breath again, and pick up the pace.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Faith in Humanity--

"I think you should be allowed to own a Humvee, I just think that when you go to buy it, like when you sign it, so that it's yours, you just get hit in the back of the head with a roll of fuckin' quarters in a sock, then just wake up in Iraq with a gun and they go, 'Oh yeah, you have to get the oil yourself. You can drive it all you want, you just have to get the gasoline by yourself.'"
- Patton Oswalt

I wish we could draft these fat fucks who're gulping down the spoils of war by buying even more SUVs even after they've felt the sting of rising gas prices. and it's not like they're particularly safe either.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

300


I’m currently obsessed with the upcoming movie 300, which like Sincity was based on a comic book by Frank Miller, and is now going to be remade into a highly stylistic movie that looks like LOTR/Troy on LSD. Check out the trailer.

What a story. It has so many awesome lines, Frank Miller just had to ink it. It’s one of the greatest stories ever told. At the battle of Thermopylae, a few thousand Greeks, led by the Spartan king Leonidas commandeered the first resistance to the Persian king Xerxes, whose empire stretched from the edge of Greece to the edge of India. By some accounts, it was 3,000 Greeks vs. a two million conglomeration of Libyans, Egyptians, Arabs, Ethiopians, Babylonians, Syrians, Assyrians, Ionians, Lydians, Bactrians, and Indians… it was a formidable fighting force.

The Greeks fought them at the “hot gates”, a precipitous tight narrow path which reduced the Persian numerical advantage, and the Spartan army’s tank-like formation tactics held the line for three days. The sacrifice of the 300 Spartans who died roused the country into unification, and they fought back valiantly.

I can’t wait for this movie. I read the comic book a couple of days ago, and while I liked it, I couldn’t help take offence to some of the undertones. First of all, the timing of this movie is a little suspect. At at time when Iran wants to go nuclear.. comes an ancient story of how they wanted to enslave the last free world of free people who wanted freedom and liberty beyond all means for freedom is worth fighting for and freedom is worth dying for as is liberty rah rah bullshit.

The word freedom is has been molested long enough, and I hope the movie doesn’t have any rah rah Mel Gibsonish war cries about liberty or freedom.

Secondly, the comic has a few symbolic undertones which maybe I’m looking too deeply into, but see for yourself and judge. The Persian arrowheads have moon and trident heads on them. Is it just me?

It's unfair of me to complain about how revisionism in an English movie made for a western audience, but how come when Alexander ran with a similar conglomerate right up to India's door, his great philosophy isn’t enslavement, but "one people"?.

The only fun thing about history is rewriting it, so I propose a story of how a small tribe of Indo-Scythians exiles whose village is sacked, their women raped, children slaughtered, go on a suicide mission and turn the tides of history by assassinating Alexander in a guerrilla fight.

The movie won’t he half as cool though.

P.S. History of the Middle East in 90 seconds

Monday, October 09, 2006

This just in: the world is 8000 years old

I was talking to this Pathan driver who was gonna drop me to the pub. Have you ever taken a ride with these guys? These people love to talk, when they're not listening to BBC Urdu. They're pretty cool actually. They never hustle you, never rob, steal, or cheat, they just drive these beat up crappy 80's hanging-by-a-thread type cars which they bought for 2 grand, and these cars have no seatbelt, and this musty smell that stinks like a fungus factory, but they charge you less than a goddamn Metro taxi. I'll be damned if I'm gonna pay 50 bucks for a trip to Media City just because I wanted to sleep half an hour more.

Anyways, the cool thing about these people, and why they rule more than you is this. They take 6 month vacations every year. Who among you can say that?! They might live in a shithole that has been bombed the fuck out by two superpowers in the last 25 years, but they take 6 month vacations!

Anyways, this old man asks me what I do, so I tell him that I work for an Internet company… He doesn't know what the Internet is, so I try to explain it to him. You see, it's a series of tubes... or something. I gave up when I realised I had no analogies that he'd understand. Later
on, he asked me if I was a Hindu. I said I was. And now the playing field was leveled. Now he could teach me a thing or two. And boy he did! So he said.. in chaste Urdu, which I am paraphrasing..

"Is Duniya me hum kyun hain? Humare aur jaanwar mein kya farak hai? Tumhe naukri, ghar, maa baap, behen, izzat, pyaar kisne diya? Yeh duniya kisne banaya? Yeh sab allah ka den hai. Is duniya ka har ek har tukda uska den hai."

(Why are we here? What makes us different from animals? Who gave you this job, house, mother, father, sister, respect, love? Who made this world? This is all Allah's gift to us. Every part of this world is his gift to us.)

So to asked him. How old is this world according to you?

He said 8000 years.
So I explained the theory of evolution to him. That we are no different from animals. That when you see a beautiful woman, you get a boner; because we are animals. That we came down from the trees 50,000 years ago, and stood upright, freed up our hands, and started thinking. We started thinking and using our brains, which is why they grew huge, and which is why we have women with big hips, which we as men love to hump. I told him the world is 4 billion years old, and that our basest motivations are in protecting our keep and furthering our genes. In Hindi.

I'm not sure he wanted to understand, or share my world view.. but maybe something got through?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Well played

I love reading history threads on Wikipedia, my last insomniac read was the first Gulf war between Iran and Iraq, which lasted for 8 years, and cost $1.8 trillion, a stalemate whose net result was cheap oil for US weaponry, a war that was funded by money loaned by Arab countries to Iraq, a debt so huge that it led to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, which led to another war in which it got gangraped, a trail of chemical weapon precursors sold by countries in Europe and Asia, a war so ghastly that it turned a fairly liberal Iran into a shriveled up islamofacist state under Khomeni.

The rivalry between Iran and Iraq was an ancient one, their territories marked by religious seismic cracks and fragile egos, under which lay a vast bed of oil, the engine for industrialisation, that could have ensured their dominance if they'd played their cards well.

Both sides lost the war. It plunged two ancient civilisations with an amazing amount of natural wealth, culture and history into totalitarianism and barbarism. The winner? Uncle Sam.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Captain Awesome

I just read Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman last night, and more than anything, it made me reconsider my narrow minded and focused take on life. Some think it's great to obsess, but to just have one all-consuming obsession, I would consider narrowminded.

This guy was a scientist, samba drummer, artist, writer, teacher, father, tinkerer, ladies man, always sharpening his skills, learning new languages, jumping streams.. He tinkered with a lot of things, pulled a lot of pranks, and never sacrificed liberty for decorum. I think his vitality is commendable, perhaps, also the source of his genius.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Interesting Der Spiegel Section

I rate Der Spiegel's reporting quality on the same standards as BBC Radio and The Economist. Their crew puts an insane amount of analysis and insight, with zero fluff..

I spent a few hours digesting this section they call: The New Cold War: Global Battle for Natural Resources

Interesting factoids:

"Peak oil" consumption, or "Depletion mid-point" will be reached within the next 10 to 20 years, according to Gerling's most recent study. The depletion mid-point is the point at which half of the total quantity of petroleum has been used up.

India consumes 1/10'th of the oil that the United States does. (Source)

Motor vehicles consume half the world's oil. (Source)

Both India and China have a 30 year trade agreement for Gas, while India only gets 7.5 million tons of LNG, China gets 250 million tons.

The original Diesel engine was invented to run on vegetable oil (Source)

40% of Brazil's fuel comes organically from bioethanol, a form of alcohol. (Source)

Three corporations control about three-fourths of the world's supply of iron ore. (Source)

The energy content of the vegetation that is constantly reproducing itself on the Earth's surface exceeds humanity's current energy needs by a factor of between eight and 10. (Source)

China wants to build 25 to 30 new nuclear energy plants by 2020. (Source)

The Three Gorges Dam, which displaced a million people and took 16-years to construct will generate 85 billon kilowatt hours of electricity annually. It is 5 times the size of the Hoover Dam (Source) By current estimates, it will only supply 3% of annual power demand for China.

Per capita consumption by an average American is 33 times more than an average Indian (Source)

India consumes 3% of the world's energy (Source)

End of Article Analysis:
Despite the far-sightedness of its energy strategy -- and the ruthlessness with which it implements that strategy -- China is having serious difficulties securing the resources it needs. For this reason alone, it is far from certain that the much-quoted "Chinese century" will really happen. The same is true of China's aspiring rival India -- and of Japan, which has to import 80 percent of its resources. (Take that Friedman!!!)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another Herzog Movie: Fitzcarraldo


Having been previously briefed on Herzog's brand of cynicism, I couldn't help being guardedly enthusiastic when I saw a 300 ton steamship being tugged across a hill, as Caruso wailed, sonorously and majestically on a high note that seemed to pull it with some kind of psychokinetic will. It's an unforgettable scene, one that has as much drama and passion off screen as much as on it.

Fitzcarraldo has some common threads with Aguirre: Wrath of God: The mighty Amazon river and Klaus Kinski are pitted against another, two forces of nature, indomitable in their own ways.
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, a.k.a Fitzcarraldo, as the Peruvian natives call him, is a fledgling Irish entrepreneur who sells ice in a town where all the other Spaniards sell rubber. His last big business idea was to start a rail road, earning him the reputation of the village idiot. Most natives have been colonised by the Spanish and put to work in rubber plantations that have made some obscenely rich. Success has eluded Fitzgerald, whose reputation for being a bungling businessman is only preceded by his love for the Opera, his highest ideal being to bring the Opera to Iquitos, Peru.

He tries to make the ends justify the means, and to achieve his ultimate goal, Fitzgerald takes on a daring mission. To ply an unnavigable river route that has never been charted, because the natives are wild untamed headshrinkers, and steep rapids have protected them from being tamed. To ply this route, Fitzgerald comes upon a bold plan.. to lift his entire boat across a steep hill that divides two rivers, so he can ferry the boat down the river path where the rubber trees havent exploited.

Colonising the headshrinkers with the awesome power of Caruso's music, he actually tames them into following his dastardly plan, but to their own ends.

Fitzcarraldo is quite gripping, you cannot help being moved by the awesome power of Caruso, as the Molly Aida (the steamship) tapers down the treacherous rivers of the Amazon. Kinski is all enigma, his manic zeal and crackpot posture makes a great portrait of madness. The film is slow, but compelling. The ending isn't as depressing as you'd expect, and the characters not as one-dimensional as in Aguirre:Wrath of God. The missionaries seem more geniuine, and the business tycoons have more sides to them than just greed. And then there's music, the irredeemable power of music, which wins over everyone else.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

India: The Middle Years

Much has been written by many a nostalgia afflicted NRI about the time when they were kids, from jingles, TV shows, movies and cricket. And it's tough to top writing like this.

I found a really cool link to archives of NewsTrack, a privately run news show that had no channel to back then. They used to sell these tapes on VHS, and were very Tehelka style for their time. I think this was the crew that went on to make The World This Week. I'm not entirely sure of this, but given the format of their programming, it seems so. See how it always ends with an entertainment related bit?
1989 November (90 minutes)
- Rajiv Gandhi: The last 5 years -- inside out.
- Opposition: Election heats -- Politicobatics for opposition leadership.
- N. Ram: Uncovering the cover-up.
- Raj Mohan Gandhi: The Asli-Naqli Gandhi.
- Raj Babbar: Political role-playing.
- Imran Khan: Player or Playboy?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Don't believe the hype!

I'd like to distance myself from conspiracy theory nuts who believe that JFK's assassination was an internal thing, that Bush blew up the WTC on 9/11, and the moon landings were a studio job. I guess there's a psychological need to believe such things, it's more of an emotional response than a rational one.
Seriously, the powers that be cannot cover up a blowjob, do you seriously think they'd cover up the assasination of a president, and none of the insiders, who planned it would come out and say it in an age where such a story could get you a million dollar book deal, soon to be a big budget hollywood movie? That too in a land where the voice of dissent isn't really repressed, where Colbert can openly diss the president.

But it doesn't stop from a lot of internet nerdlings from voicing such thoughts as facts. The internet is a vast memplex with webpage for every typo and erroneous thought, where information and disinformation is archived forever.

And now Loose Change, this so called documentary is being aired on TV.

Hopefully this will change your mind.

Or maybe this:

Dylan Avery admittedly started the Loose Change project as a work of fiction. It has remained so. A few minutes' fact-checking easily refutes every major claim in the video. How bad is it? We counted 426 errors in a video that runs for 1:19:32. It is an avalanche of ignorance.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Why environmentalists are mental

This has been an internal rant for a while, and I thought I'd let it all out right now, instead of having it locked up inside of me. Without being too wishy washy about it, let me say it straight:

Environmentalism is bullshit.

Life is not sacred. Life feeds on life, and all higher beings have to kill in order to live. There are degrees, but that's the golden rule. Vegetables are living things too. How come we don't care about them, but only for certain animals, especially those that possess huge quantities for fur, or those that we see our own likeness in?

Nature is brutal. I'm sure you've all seen (vicariously) proud tigers killing deers and antelopes on TV, poisonous frogs, snakes, sharks, crocodiles, and piranas. Such predatory games can be found in all walks of life. There's nothing new about it. We've changed. There's been a gradual disneyfication of our life, the brutalities far removed, sterilised, and televised.

We've all been given fantastic numbers by environmentalists on the rate at which species that are dying out, and yes, those pandas are cute, but you gotta ask yourself, when was dying not kosher to life? What the fuck happenned to the dinosaurs, or the links between the ape and the homosapien?

The concept of harmony or "balance" is bullshit. Nature puts forth a game of gene roulette, and these intergroup tournaments are being played out all the time, as we speak. There are winners and there are losers. Life improvises and cleanses itself, as it has over millions of years. Who the hell are we to play interventionists?

Even if you take selfishness into account, and argue that we need these beings in order to protect the ecosystem that we eventually rely on, guess what, no matter what we do at this point, we're just pussyfooting about. There needs to be a Pol Pot for every square mile on this planet for humanity to go back to a point where we're not a threat other species. There is no way out, and there is no turning back.

Guess what, all life is adaptive right down to bacteria and virii. Bacteria get a lot more chances to come up with cool stuff, cause well, they get a lot more chances. Now we have to contend with bacteria strains that escape the pincers of antibiotics. Chemists have to come up with new antibiotics to fight these resistant strains. In this game, bacteria will always come on top.

Then you've got the whole global warming argument. To those folks, I present global dimming. Apparently, there's been a force counteracting global warming, and emission controls will very soon remove the dust cover that we have protecting us from the actual effects of global warming. That means we should all continue polluting if we are to survive.

Environmentalism exploits the power of myth, it's in our instincts to dream of a garden of eden, or a utopian land, where we're all happy and without any conflict. That's one of the best selling points of heaven. Both heaven and eden are manmade constructs. We've had it so good in the last century that we think we're the masters of the universe. We're not. We're barely in control of the world we live in. And when we embellish ourselves into other living things, we get self righteous collectives of pricks like PETA and Greenpeace.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

No Man's Land

Spent my last weekend at a friend's place, watching No Man's Land, a Bosnian movie about the war that broke out there in 1993. It's the movie that beat Lagaan to the Oscars - deservedly so.

The plot revolves around two enemy soldiers (one Bosnian, and one Serb) who find themselves stuck in a trench, exchanging bullets, cigarettes, and heated self-righteous arguments, while being shelled by both sides. The two soldiers play a game of cat and mouse, winning the upper hand on old political debates while playing Capture the Gun.

Things heat up when an a presumably dead Bosnian soldier wakes up to find a landmine planted underneath, which brings some well meaning foot soldiers from UNPROFOR to the scene. It's a breach of protocol, but the French sergeant uses a British journalist's clout to get a German bomb defusal specialist in the scene.

The movie revels in absurdism that evolves out of the multicultural and bureaucratic milieu, and weaves it into a climax that works out as an allegory to the war itself. You have two former neighbours fighting each other to death, a bunch of well meaning but uncoordinated Europeans standing helplessly on the sidelines, a time bomb that's ticking away, with a limited attention span being the only defence mechanism to the unfolding tragedy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lord Rama on the Raglan Scale

  1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin : YES
  2. His father is a king and: YES
  3. often a near relative of the mother, but : ?
  4. the circumstances of his conception are unusual, and: YES
  5. he is also reputed to be the son of a god : YES
  6. at birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or maternal grandfather, to kill him, but NO
  7. He is spirited away, and: NO
  8. Reared by foster-parents in a far country: NO
  9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but: NO
  10. On reaching manhood he returns or goes to his future kingdom. :YES
  11. After a victory over the king and or giant, dragon, or wild beast: YES
  12. He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor and: YES
  13. becomes king: NO
  14. For a time he reigns uneventfully and: NO
  15. Prescribes laws but: YES
  16. later loses favor with the gods and or his people and :YES
  17. Is driven from from the throne and the city after which:YES
  18. He meets with a mysterious death: ?
  19. often at the top of a hill.: NO
  20. his children, if any, do not succeed him. : NO
  21. his body is not buried, but nevertheless : YES
  22. he has one or more holy sepulchres. : NO
I did a google search on this, didn't find any pages, so I figured i'd put my Doordarshan GK to use. The results: A very poor 10/22 for Rama. Not too bad. But not as high as Christ or Prophet Mohammed.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Herzog's Grizzly Man and Aguirre: Wrath of God

All great artists have their own unique shtick, a singular vision that can be seen in all their works. It's like a journo's beat; H.S.T's was the death of the American dream. For Werner Herzog, from what I've seen of him, it's deconstructing the deluded, people who were teetering on the edge and then keeled over.

In Grizzly Man, with considerable sensitivity and pragmatism, he documents the story of Timothy Treadwell, a gonzo wildlife documentaratian cum activist who is in love with his subject: Alaskan Grizzly bears. He spends 12 years living in close proximity with them, appointing himself as the sole protector and caretaker of these bears. On his 13'th year of filming, he is eaten by them.

Herzog salvages 100 hours of primo footage from this man's life, where his delusions really come out in the open. Treadwell's life is examined; from intimate cam confessionals, his childlike conversations with foxes and bears, his life as a failed actor and a former substance abuser, his failure to connect with complexity of the real world, or understand the brutality of the wild. It's a picture of how man finds meaning, however contrived, in an uncaring universe.

In Aguirre, Wrath of God, a small party of Spanish Conquistadors head down the Amazon River in search of El Dorado, a fabled city of gold. As the search gets bogged down by weather, so does the size of the party, until a mutinous Aguirre leads a small group into a disastrous foray down the river. The movie is slow, surreal, and wild, some of the shots are really out there I'd hate to describe it and spoiler it for you folks. Watch it if you havent.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Land of the Blind - a review

A biting modern day political satire, heavily inspired by real life, Land of the Blind is a fable that borrows heavily from 20'th century despots.

It's steals from the best -- a bit of Animal farm, mixed with Khomeni, Turkmenbashi, Pol Pot, and Kim Jong il. If you know who these people are, and how hilarious their cruelties can be, then you'll definitely feel clever for watching this movie.

Land of the Blind is a fictional account of the life and times of Everycountry, ruled by the iron hand of Maximilian, and succeeded by president-for-life Maximillian II, who has a penchant for directing b-movies.

Ralph Fiennes plays Joe, a prison guard who develops a deep kinship with playwright Thorne (Sutherland), a revolutionary poet who quotes verses on the prison walls using his own feces. There's a power struggle, a coup, betrayal, and a first-person account of the sordid tale, hilarious at some points, a greek tragedy at the end.

The cinematic style reminds me a bit of Brazil, the scriptwriting of Brass Eye, topped up with surreal scenes and a liberal dose of black humour. Subitles may help.

It's funny because it's true, Land of the Blind revisits and modernises the old stories, and manages to stay fresh.

P.S. Rottentomatoes gives it a shitty rating, I really don't understand why this movie was so ruthlessly assasinated. Yes, the plot is inspired, but it was still enjoyable to watch.

The Che Guevera Effect

When it comes to heroes, no political figure has been deified as much as Che Guevera, atleast in the last century. This photo has become synonymous with youth, revolutionary ideals, socialism, and hipsters trying to be ironic.

The beret with the star, a ragged face with a month old beard, this pic had a lot to do with the cult of personality that revolved around him, a meme whose effect can be seen even now. You can see it in documentaries about Argentina's economic meltdown, and worker led factions that usurped corporate ownership and turned them into cooperatives. (You call it stealing? We call it expropriation) Hell yeah.

Latin America has always had a bit of fire in their belly, sanctified by the ghost of Che, his grim, smug mug looking someplace up high, challenging you to share his vision. Or perhaps, it's arrogance that stems from vanity; the relative ease with which the Spanish colon-ised the native population there.

In any case, all firebrand revolutionaries who talk about the power of the people and quote poetry are like the pigs in Animal Farm, and it's not long before high minded ideals give way to use of low brow force. As long as there's a government, it doesn't matter if it's communist, socialist, capitalist, or dictatorial; as long as there's power concentrated in the hands of a few, there will be injustice. A government cannot exist without the threat of, or the use of force.

With good PR, any form of ownage is possible.

Some heroes don't translate too well. Myths have to be borne out of the soil, which is why rock will never be as popular in India, Qawalli will never be popular in the south, or Carnatic music in the north; the twain shall never meet. It's the same reason why Che Guevera will never be revered in India; simply because of geography1. Point is, Communism failed in India because its PR machinery never got a chance at capturing the people's consciousness. Perhaps that's a side benefit of being a country so divided on religion, ethnicity, and subcastes. Nepotism takes precendence over ideology.

But there's one guy that the commies missed out on. Veerappan. He's the closest thing we have to Che Guevera. The spoke Tamil, so it doesn't matter what he said or believed in, because most of India wouldn't understand. You could have four maoist poets planting heart rending quotations for him on Wikipedia. Some say he was a sandalwood smuggler, but that can be used to fuel his Robinhood complex. Throw in a bit of Thoreau, and a few Thiruvalluvar quotes, and you would have had a serious rumble in the jungle..

1. Marxism was spurred on by a sacred text called The Communist Manifesto, is therefore exempt from the trappings of geography, in the same way that religion is.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bullshit!

Penn and Teller are turning skepticism into entertainment. Their network TV series Bullshit! is a brilliant idea for a TV show, just have two guys rant and bust some of the stupidest cults centred around faith, the paranormal, or advertising. It's like Mythbusters meets George Carlin.

One of my favourite episodes is Holier than Thou, in which they effectively argue that Mother Teresa was a sadistic and cruel figure whose intention was not to help or heal the poor and the sick, but to use suffering as a means of bringing them closer to Christ.
Money donated to Missionaries of Charity never went on building hospitals but on nunneries. Dr. Aroup Chatterjee has spent a lot of his time trying to salvage the reputation of his city - Calcutta, which Mother Teresa used as a base to collect donations from all around the world, which were then remitted to party HQ in Rome. I got reading and found this free e-book. Too long probably, so read this open letter to her by the author. Missionaries of Charity is not about charity, it's about money.

Even more awesome are the attacks on Gandhi, where they bring his aura points a few notches down. A Maha aatma? Definitely not. Apparently during his time in South Africa he published a few articles where his view of the Africans was quite racist and bigoted. But they all were, back in the day. But they really don't have much meat on Gandhi, except for his approval of enemas, and how he used to carry an enema kit around with him..

And last but not the least, they attack the Dalai Lama, whose Hallmark cards style of compassion is supposed to be the answer to all your problems. If he really was all about love and peace, what was he doing receiving funds from the CIA for training guerilla operatives?

I'm currently checking out some of their other episodes, theres plenty to watch on google video. Should keep me busy on this holiday.

WATCH THE HOLIER THAN THOU EPISODE BY CLICKING THIS LINE

A list of P&T episodes

Friday, August 18, 2006

Drive-by Clickin..

1/4th of all the world's cranes are in Dubai. I read that in the paper a while ago. It seems like a ridiculous claim, but you can't look at any part of Dubai's skyline without seeing a few tower cranes jutting out. There's always some kind of construction activity going on.

I thought it would be a great idea to go and take photos of the Palm Jumeirah from the inside, since I live so close to it.















It's a Friday morning, 10:30 AM in Bur Dubai. These men in blue work at 40 degree heat, for less than about $250 a month. Yes it's exploitation, but the real exploitation starts at home, in India.















We're on our way, snaking through Satwa..















On the right, you can see Dubai Drydocks, on the left, the Dubai flagpole, which is really tall.













That's Mc Donalds, in Arabic..















Villas to the Left, villas to the right. That's Jumeirah for ya..















One more Mc Donalds, not too far from the last one!















Man with small penis compensates by driving Nissan Armada. Dubai has a lot of 4x4's. Hummers are growing annoyingly common too. Some egos wouldn't fit in small cars.















The Jumeirah Beach hotel.
















The Burj. Can you see the Star Trekkish helipad?















Dubai Marinah, another rising cluster of Really Tall Buildings.















I found this board which pointed to the Palm Construction Entrance, so I took a turn to get some better shots.
















This bridge connects to the Palm Island Jumeirah.
















We're driving on reclaimed land.































It was a friday, but a lot of people were still working.. the energy of the place was quite intense. The deadline of completion is quite harsh, and everyone is working at breakneck pace.















That's the Dubai Marina from the Palm Island.
















My Indian brethren wait for their bus home in the afternoon. I am refused entry beyond this point, since I have no official reason to be here. :( Oh well. I was probably pushing my luck by going in this far.















It's time to head back, through Sheikh Zayed road.






























That's an Indoor ski dome.















You can find it in the Mall of the Emirates. which is Really Huge.















Dubai Business Bay, being built..















The skyline to the left.. is a Billboard.















The Burj. Rising at the rate of 1 floor a week.















These cluster of buildings are all but completed. feels awesome to drive through them. The traffic sucks in the evenings though.

And well, that's pretty much it. I get tired of uploading pics.

Dubai in Pictures

I've been living in Dubai for almost 3 years now, and it's amazing to see the pace at which a new megacity is being built. I thought It'd be nice to share some pics.
















Burj Dubai





















WTC















Emirates Towers















View from Emirates towers.




















































That's the Burj. It's going to be the world's tallest tower. Current height: 60 floors.

Next up. Pictoral Drive through Dubai's Palm Jumeirah.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Invasive Species

The Age of Sail brought about a kind of globalisation that the world hadn't seen before.The balance of power could very well have swayed the way of China, had they not gone insular. This decision to forfeit the waters of the world left the competitive playground in the hands of Europe, who evolved their technology in intergroup tournaments and surpassed every other civilisation at the time.
The passing of the Middle Ages had taken a heavy toll on Europe, which had fallen prey to some of the most disastrous plagues and communicable diseases. But they emerged stronger, and more resilient, for those that survived embodied genes that could resist diseases that wiped out the last generation.

And so, equipped with a juggernaut of Guns, Germs, Steel and Christ, a highly divisive Europe carved out the western hemisphere between themselves.

But let's stop thinking of history in terms of victory and conquest. Man is a social animal, who orchestrates and domesticates an ecosystem around him. Goats, rats, pigs, chickens, animals you wouldn't consider predatory, with regards to their normal food chain. So when these men first stepped on lands that hadn't been inhabited for millions of years by any kind of mammalian life, a Zerg Rush of epic propotions ensued.

When the British took over India, they introduced Penicillin and vaccines, tyres and petrol, steam engines and sewers, radios and newspapers, and bogus titles for subjugated kings like The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire. They overwrote many aspects of life and culture, the effects of which are still felt today. Their temperament was similar to the Lantana, a cute little flower plant which many parts of India’s forests, destroying its biodiversity.

Which is perhaps why I laugh with glee when a fellow goon's stoner buddy tossed Kudzu seeds all over his town. Kudzu is an incredibly fast growing unstoppable vine plant that can grow at the rate of a feet a day, and dig in 6 feet into the soil.

From the wiki: "Kudzu is sometimes referred to as "the plant that ate the South", a reference to how kudzu's explosive growth has been most prolific in the southeastern United States due to nearly ideal growing conditions."

[quote=ripped0ff]
If you guys think that shit is bad, visit any Pacific island that was heavily bombed in WW2. Once the US liberated those islands, they realized that they had often bombed them so extensively that they had killed a good chunk of the vegetation, creating an erosion problem that threatened to destroy the rest. As a stop-gap measure to save the plant life on the islands, the Army found the fastest growing weeds and shrubs and whatnot from all over, and carpet-bombed the islands with seeds from them.

Hiking in the Marianas is effectively like trekking through massive weed gardens. With the exception of a handful of tree species, it's effectively a blanket of kudzu across everything (the "everything" being primarily other weeds and weed-like shrubs).
[/quote]

Thursday, August 03, 2006

How I survived a spyware attack, and lived to talk about it.

The Shame, oh the Shame. As an uber k3wl l337 hacker boi, what market analysts would classify as "Power User"; admitting that I'd been hit by spyware is not only embarassing, its a stinging slap on my face, a pockmark on my family's lineage, the rape of my tribesmen and the desecration of my gods... or something..

I fix PCs. I build PCs. I build PCs for friends and relatives. I give them tips on using P2P software. I am a walking distro. My friends are distros. I have (120 + 120 + 250 + 80 gigs of storage.) Needless to say, I think my e-penis is huge. So when I saw this,













it was like having a rash on it.

Oh by the way. That isn't an antivirus product I am using. That is the fuckin spyware in the first place.

I got it when I went to a cracks site for an app that I REALLLY needed. I normally don't trust these sites, but my boss told me it was legit, so I beleived him. And then I got propah fucked. The trojan infected the fuck out of my notebook and slowed it down to extreme frustration mode, where every action, click, or keystroke would take a few seconds. In the background, the trojan was making busy babies, buring itself in the registry, and 'colonising' my machine.

Now I had two choices:



Or
Fight the good fight, and use all the antispyware/antimalware I could to unfuck it.

I tried:
Spybot
Windwows Defender
NOD32

None of them worked. This trojan was very kvlt.

I managed to kill some of the operations using Spybot in Safe mode which provided me temporary respite, but it still mocked me, with messages like this.








How fucked is that! You sell antispyware by making spyware that fucks up the PC, and then you link the user to your site promising him a fix when he clicks the bubble. Nice pyramid scheme there, fuckass.

Think about it. A guy actually spent a lot of time working on this, rewriting the trojan, plugging it on a site, just so he could sell his shitty antispyware.

After googling the poorly written copy in the bubble, I found out what it was:

I used Security Task Manager to kill these processes.

%system%\ixt0.dll
isnotify.exe
issearch.exe
ixt0.dll
ismon.exe

And Hijackthis in Safe mode to banish them from my PC.

But that was just temporary. it came back again!

But there are a few people fighting the good fight. God bless em. It took me some time to brute force it outta my system. My PC was finally unfucked after 3 days of firefighting.

And now I am sorted.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weekend Documentary Binge

The God who wasn't there
Did Jesus really exist? Former Christian Brian Flemming presents his elaborate arguments against it, treading ground that few would dare to. In this vicious attack, he explains how Jesus's life was a collective work of storytellers, and not based on a real human being. Allegorical literature was famous back then... His life has Hero elements similar to Dionysus and Mithras.

From the wiki of Dionysus:
It is possible that Dionysian mythology would later find its way into Christianity. There are many parallels between Dionysus and Jesus; both were said to have been born from a mortal woman but fathered by a god, to have returned from the dead, and to have transformed water into wine. The modern scholar Barry Powell also argues that Christian notions of eating and drinking "the flesh" and "blood" of Jesus were influenced by the cult of Dionysus.


How Some Heros Scored on Raglan's Scale:

  • Oedipus scores 21
  • Theseus scores 20
  • Moses scores 20
  • Dionysus scores 19
  • Jesus scores 19
  • Romulus scores 18
  • Perseus scores 18
  • Hercules scores 17
  • Llew Llaw Gyffes scores 17
  • Bellerophon scores 16
  • Jason scores 15
  • Mwindo scores 14
  • Robin Hood scores 13
  • Pelops scores 13
  • Apollo scores 11
  • Sigurd scores 1

Joseph Cambell talks about the Hero factor in Power of Myth, how myths and hero stories across different religions, races and eras have somewhat the same storylines. His ideas were borrowed by George Lucas when he created Star Wars. Is it possible that Jesus was fiction like the rest of them? But that's too big a question. Da Vinci Code is risqué enough for most.



Google - Behind the Screen
It's the most popular search engine in the world, a self improving, all knowing deity that has its finger on the pulse of everything on the web. It has its eye on you. It knows the things you search for, the websites you visit, now it knows intimate details from your personal life, what you talk about, who you talk to, and what your interests are. Can you trust Google not to be evil?

This Dutch documentary asks some nutty questions: Why is its book scanning technology that is using large chunks, the fruit of humanity proprietary to Google? What prevents Google from being big brotherly? What are the sociological implications of just having one source engine, with no opposing points of view?

The Root of All Evil
Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, amongst other things is a radical atheist who believes that religion is the root cause of the big divides in the world today, a polarising influence on people, the spreader of ignorance and bigotry; and directly opposed to reason and science. Yes Richard, we all know that. This thought has occurred to other men of science too, this is what Charles Darwin had to say about it to Karl Marx:

It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct
arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly
any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best
promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which
follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore,
been always my object to avoid writing on religion, and
I have confined myself to science.

Regardless, this vicious attack against organised religion does have a few entertaining but futile jousting sessions against men of faith. Dawkins argues like a bully against religious fanboys, but his jibes fall short of delivering a KO punch.

Edit: But this cartoon does!

Orwell Rolls in His Grave
A bunch of media critics rant about how the America has lost its critical faculties ever since private media got deregulated during the Reagan Era. Public interests take a backseat, because the corporations that own the media houses also own the largest companies. This was best highlighted in The Insider, where a 60 Minutes expose on cigarettes was canned because of Philip Morris's stake in CBS.

With the ruling class in their pocket, they unshackle FCC regulations, growing more centralised and corrupt. The documentary goes on to examine how some of the biggest coverups go untold, real investigative journalism is dead, or buried over by a web of glitz and trivia, and how the media system grows more and more like George Orwell's 1984. Anecdotes include GW Bush's coverup of the Florida elections, Reagan's covert deal with Iran during the hostage crisis, and the tacit agreement between big media and neocons, both sweetening each others dealings since the Republicans took over.

This is very disconcerting:

Sir, No Sir! The GI Revolt
A lot of stories from the Vietnam war were kept secret. This documentary is about those that said no to their superiors, and rallied enough men together to create a large anti-war movement in the United States.