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Gheun Taak! Mumbai bitch slaps Auto-cracy

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment
Source: MeterJam.com

Rohit Sharma

To fight the growing autocracy of rickshaw and taxi drivers, thousands of commuters have pledged to not to use them for travel tomorrow.

A web campaign – Meter Jam – which was kicked off a few weeks back, has been very well received by people who now plan to say a big no to autos and taxi-wallas in Mumbai on August 12. The three advertising professionals who came up with this idea say on their website, “Strikes need a strike back!  We’re tired of meter that always reads more than it should, drivers who refuse to ply and demand return fare whenever they want. And if all that wasn’t enough, now we have to deal with strikes too, any time the ‘unions’ decide! Everyone is holding the janta to ransom. How much more will we pay? It’s time to turn the tables.”

Apart from the page on Twitter, the fan page on Facebook that was created mid-July has received the support of almost 20,000 people who are addressed as ‘Jammers’ and asked to flash Jammer badges, stickers, placards and posters as a sign of protest.

Meter Jam asks commuters to opt for bus services or car pool tomorrow. There are 90 supporters who have registered on the website to provide car pooling services through various destinations in the city. A list of bus services and their respective routes is also provided.  

An NGO, International Consumer Rights Protection Council’s (ICRPC), has acknowledged the initiative and requested its members to join in the protest.

Do you think such a campaign is required in other cities like Delhi and Bangalore too?

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Once you go black, you Can go back!

July 19, 2010 2 comments

Rohit Sharma

“I cannot believe its 2010”, a reviewer of the controversial Vaseline Men Be Prepared application rants on Facebook. Another reviewer goes, “Supporting the maintenance of insecurities about the need for lighter skin is one of the most unscrupulous things a company could do to young men and women the world over. UNILEVER = modern world fail.”

Source: Amul

Hindustan Unilevel Ltd (HUL) and controversies go hand in hand. The issue has always remained the same- they want all of us to “whiten” our skin or how many call it, get “fair”. Companies leading products like Fair & Lovely and Pond’s have always kept the women’s skin lightening debate on rage and this time men are also involved.

‘Vaseline for Men’ has launched a unique application on Facebook that asks you to upload your photograph, which you can then lighten and keep as you profile picture. The application has attracted over 900 fans and almost 9000 monthly users. However, the reviews of the application aren’t every appealing- Based on over 70 reviews, the fairness calculator has received paltry 1.6 stars out of 5. Many are offended by the application and demanding it to be removed. 

According to the research agency AC Nielsen, the Indian market in skin-whitening creams for men and women is now worth over US$430 million and is growing at nearly 18% a year.

FICCI, says that the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) market in India is worth Rs 1200 billion and HUL has a share of Rs 80 billion in it.

Top Bollywood stars- Shahrukh Khan, John Abraham, Shahid Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan have been promoting men’s skin lightening agents for sometime.  

A member of Facebook group called India against fairness creams comments, “The real issue with it, just like with any beauty campaign, is that it’s taking advantage of people’s poor body image to make a profit. But there are countless products and companies that do this every day all across the world. Entire industries are dedicated to it. If you’re going to be upset about one of them you should be upset about all of them.”  

Do you think it’s another shade of racism or merely a marketing campaign gone totally wrong?

White Trash is a trash is a trash

July 7, 2010 13 comments

Rohit Sharma

“I never knew how a bunch of people half a world away chose a random town in New Jersey to populate. Were they from some Indian state that got made fun of by all the other Indian states and didn’t want to give up that feeling? Are the malls in India that bad? Did we accidentally keep numbering our parkway exits all the way to Mumbai?”

-Joel Stein, Time Magazine. Article- My Own Private India.

Here are some reactions on blogosphere-  

“Joel Stein is a racist, xenophobic PIG. The last I checked, pigs were not Kosher.”

“I assume Stein is eating bagel and lox in his mother’s home while she cooks him a brisket.”

“I think America needs geniuses like us to keep you falling in the marsh of drugs and prostitutes. Someone with oiled-hair and extra cologne carrying an intellectual head on his shoulders is far more superior than a typical American pot-head.”

Time Magazine has apologised to the Indian community but has not removed the article from its website.

Joel Stein (who is Jewish) Tweeted- “Didn’t meant to insult Indians with my column this week. Also stupidly assumed their emails would follow that Gandhi non-violence thing.”

Do you accept Time Magazine’s apology?

Ya Allah! South Park points & laughs at our Gods

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

& only few care…

Rohit Sharma

In one of the most daring moves in American television, channel Comedy Central has taken a giant jab at religious beliefs of people across the world. Much worse, the makers have put their lives at stake by messing with Islamic community.

South Park, an animation-adult series, somewhat on the lines of The Simpsons, commemorates its 200th anniversary by burlesquing religious figures from around the world- Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Moses, Joseph Smith, Lao Tzu and Muhammad.

Super Best Friends. Pic source- southparkstudios.com

In the episode titled ‘The Super Best Friends’, Kyle and Stan revisit the group of superheroes ‘Super Best Friends’ to try to get Muhammad to come to South Park, because Tom Cruise demands to meet the Prophet so he can steal his “impervious to being made fun of” goo.

Buddha is shown snorting coke, Krishna snaps and turns into a badger, Tom Cruise is a “candy packer in a fudge factory” (a hint at the rumors circulating around Cruise’s sexual orientation), Jesus is called ‘Jesus f****** Christ’ and Muhammad cannot be “presented to the township because violence can not be risked from the Muslim people”. 

It’s not new though. In an article by Erik Childress in cinematical.com, he says, “ In 2006, South Park aired the two-part episode, “Cartoon Wars”, which featured Eric Cartman on a crusade to get Family Guy canceled after Muhammad is slated for a guest appearance on one of their episodes. Fearing a terrorist attack, the town buried their heads in sand in a show of solidarity to Islamists that their eyes would not feast on this unholiest of acts. Ultimately, the Family Guy episode airs but the moment of Muhammad’s appearance is cut away from with a message that read “In this shot, Mohammed hands a football helmet to Family Guy. Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.” Strangely, unlike this time, there was no raging criticism or protests over the episode then

Revolutionmuslim.com has given a serious death threat to the makers of South Park ‘reminding’ them of the Van Gogh incident. Film Director Theo Van Gogh was shot 8 times by Mohammed Bouyeri. The assassin proceeded to slice his throat practically decapitating the filmmaker, stabbed him in the chest and then left two knives in his torso with a 5 page letter attached.

Watch the rare scenes (backwards, due to copyrights issue) from the controversial episode. (Note Muhammad’s image in the video has been censored)

These deadly recalls‎

February 25, 2010 1 comment

Geetanjali Kalra

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda. Pic source: nydailynews.com

2010, the beginning of a promising decade, did not begin on a very good note for major car manufacturers across the globe. The year saw several car manufactures resorting to the most unprecedented thing in the past two months by recalling their highest selling brands. What began with Japanese auto major Honda recalling 8,532 units of its sedan ‘City’ in India due to defective power window switch, as part of a global recall initiative, was then followed by Volkswagen recalling 193,620 vehicles in Brazil because of a lubrication problem with the rear wheels. It was Toyota motors then recalling 4,36,000 hybrid vehicles worldwide, including the newly launched 2010 Prius model. The latest to join the recalling bandwagon is the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki which is recalling about one lakh units of its flagship export model ‘A-Star’ to replace a faulty fuel pump part, in cars manufactured before August 2009.

What can this really be attributed to? In a bid to maintain their leadership position and to take competition head on, companies are hastily launching models in each product category. This in turn leads to specifics being ignored and the quality of ‘quality control’ taking a hit. Not to say that harried customers too are looking in the opposite direction for their next car purchase.

Also read Total Recall.

Quote of the week

February 19, 2010 1 comment

pic: outlookindia.com

“There would be some security lapse here and there but everybody would be safe.”

-IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi at Commonwealth Shooting Championships

 For more hilarious gaffes at the event read this.

From Bikini to Burqa

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Rohit Sharma

If Disney can do it, so can Mattel. Disney brought in a black leading lady as its princess in “The princess & the frog”, Mattel, now hopes to reach out to Muslim girls worldwide through its ‘Burqa Barbie’. The idea is novel- the doll went undercover for a charity auction in connection with Sotheby’s (auctioneer) for Save The Children, a few months back, when Barbie celebrated its 50th anniversary.

A "western" Barbie

But why burqa? After the launch, there were swarms of online protests when people questioned Mattel’s choice of a symbol of oppression. President of the National Organization for Women NY said, “Women are forced to wear the burqa or risk being murdered. Mattel should be ashamed. Making a profit by selling a doll that is clearly wearing a symbol of violence is not acceptable and there should be a public outcry to take this doll off the market.”

Someone in an interview to dailymail.co.uk made fun of the new doll saying, “The message with Barbie for women is you can be whatever you want to be… I have a Barbie in a wheelchair that was only out for six weeks.”

Mattel which reported a 3% slump in the worldwide gross sales for the Barbie brand clearly seem to be desperate.

American writer, Phyllis Chesler said, “Will clean-cut Ken now come (pun intended) with four burqa’ed Barbie doll wives?”