April 07, 2007

Therefore I think

Got tagged, by someone who believes my blog makes them "think". As far as I'm concerned, that's the best kind of reward a writer -- this writer -- looks for: that he gives someone something to think about. So thank you, Ms/r FirstCityDelhi.

Though I do take objection to your characterizing my humour as belonging to a sell-by age bracket ("the humour just about misses our age bracket", sez FCD). I mean, I was under the impression that mine was timeless humour of universal appeal, the likes of which the world has never seen nor smelt. So thank you again and so very much, Ms/r FCD, for pricking that particular pleasant balloon! I may never forgive you. Ever.

FCD has also saddled me with the task of propagating this tag: I've got to list five more blogs that make me think. Considering I read so few blogs any more, I don't know quite what to say. I could take the easy way out and point you to the blogs under "Well Worth Your Time" to the right of these words: those ladies and gents make me think.

But let me be more daring. Here are some other blogs that make me think.

  • Michael Higgins, at Chocolate and Gold Coins. Mike Higgins, to me, exemplifies two truths I've come to learn and appreciate. One, the most interesting opinions are usually those generally contrary to your own. Two, but they are interesting only if their holders are not full of supercilious self-importance, not prone to flinging about abuse. (Because of one more truth I've come to appreciate: supercilious self-important abusers are that way because they don't quite believe their own arguments).

    Michael's writing is thought-provoking and often persuasive precisely because he respects his readers, because he is quietly confident in his beliefs. He seems to be on a long blogging slowdown; I remain hopeful that he will return to more frequent writing.

  • Dionne Bunsha. For years, I've known Dionne as a dogged, thorough, no-nonsense journalist. Not for her the lazy journalism filled with phrases like "I'm told" or "I hear", nor is she content to rest on a lone foray or two from years in the past. Instead, she goes to where her story is, returns to followup, does the hard digging for her material, and produces copy that tells the tale like it is. This blog is really a repository of her stories in the press. Take the time to read them; it'll be worth your while. This is first-rate journalism.

  • Samanth Subramanian, at A writer and his Web-blahg. Samanth's blog carries many of his film reviews, and such beautifully crafted reviews they are! I'll mention just one that I read recently, of the movie "300". I went to see "300" expecting a good film, because the story of Leonidas and his Spartans is so compelling and inspiring. But it was an utter disappointment, because rather than the story, it focused on turning the screen into a comic book. Samanth had the same reaction as I did, but put it into much more eloquent words than I could, complete with his always sly sense of humour. Here's a line from his review:
      [Screenwriter Zack Snyder] has slain so many Persians with "300" that he should rightly be included alongside Leonidas in all future accounts of Thermopylae.
    Indeed. I keep telling myself, read Samanth's review first, then go see the film. Gotta start putting that in practice. In this case, I would have saved meself eight whole greenbacks.

  • KM, at Flotsam. Pithy and irreverent. That would be enough to make KM a must-read. But then I found two things: he once found and linked to a storyboard of that sequence from North by Northwest; and his email signature mentions both Chicolini and Rufus T Firefly. Hitchcock, and the Marx Brothers: clearly, this KM is a man worth watching.

  • Peter Foster. Peter is the Delhi correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. I've met Peter, and was struck not so much by how much he knows about India, but how much he understands this country. (And there is a difference). His blog reflects that understanding. Like with Michael Higgins, I don't always agree with all that Peter says. But he invariably gives me stuff to think about.

    A bonus sixth:

  • Michael Deibert. Michael Deibert spent a long time in Haiti and wrote a book about his experience there, Notes From the Last Testament. (For which, as far as I can tell, he has attracted abuse from right across the political spectrum in that country; that itself a testament to the independence of this man's mind). He spent January and February in India, writing from Bombay and Kashmir. Look at his blog for plenty of his quietly incisive essays. I liked this from a recent post about Walmart and NYC: "Hopefully this beautiful city will resist the malling of America for many years more."

    And that, ladies and gents, is the scuttlebut for the day!

    Here's the fine print for the six good folks above, as it came to me:

    1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

    2. Link to the original post (that got this going).

    3. Optional: Display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' icon. I chose not to. You'll find at the original post.

    Oh all right, all right, here's a bonus seventh:

  • Erotica. Made you think, yes?

    Anonymous said...

    1. I read most of the links on your side panel. Will try these ones on your list esp. Michael Higgins ( maybe not that last one).

    Its very dry, academic and detached but I would recommend this site:


    got the link from Nitin Pai's blog.

    2. A kind of authentication in reverse. Think my mail is secure. Have replied to your mail. ~11.30AM IST. Have a request in there to consider placing Guj2002 on your side panel so that its a case of never forgetting rather than remembering.


    Anonymous said...

    On a re-read, these two ideas didn't quite sit well together:

    - confidence in ones beliefs
    - respect/ listening to contrarian beliefs of others.

    I'm thinking an overdose of one would affect the other, or that one would just be patronizing* the other in the listening.

    For myself, I hope I will review, fairly frequently, what I hold to be my beliefs. The overcoming bias site has helped in this regard.


    *patronizing is a very loaded word that can be fired off all too easily. Will endeavour to avoid this term as much as possible.

    km said...

    My oh my.