16 January, 2021

Degeneration X

Low-brow rules the waves but the blame does not attach to the audience alone

Degeneration X

Have you checked out the Buzz of late? One Big Buzz that you couldn't have missed involved President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's hair. Newspapers splashed pictures of his silver curls licking his collar; publications, including Outlook, suggested suitable computer-generated hairstyles on their pages, TV anchors discussed the Kalam Cut ad nauseam (one channel even ran an opinion poll about it). But when the President spoke about judicial activism and racial intolerance in Bhopal recently, hardly any paper reported his speech on the front page. Clearly, the President's views on the brotherhood of man matter much less to the media than his hairstyle. And that's what you call dumbing down—where noise blocks out the news.

Here are some real and hard-to-swallow facts:

  • Oxford University Press is selling its Dictionary of Difficult Words at an 80 per cent discount.
  • Basu Chatterjee, director of the Priya Tendulkar Rajani serial, in a telephonic interview with a news channel, asks: "But what do you want...


    To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Pramila N. Phatarphekar

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section