Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Rising Tide

Digital Rights Management is dead according to a slew of tech pundits, the victim of the inescapable vulnerabilities that left it always under siege by relentless hackers and peer to peer file sharing. Not quite, but it may be on the way.These sites are just examples of those available on the net that offer a steady menu of current films, T.V shows, and music as described in Techcrunch, all of them daring the copy right infringement powers that be with admirable flair and a curious legitimate entrepreneurial backing.

Peter Gabriel, rocker of yore and now big time music entrepreneur has an alternative scheme offering free music funded by site ads. Check out WE7. Seems a sensible approach, not to constantly fight the tide.

A sullen and dark week on the West coast. Unseasonable high Spring temperatures have triggered a premature melt along the snowed in mountain ranges that feed into the tributaries of the Fraser River from North Western B.C down to the coast. This has been further compounded by a week of rain raising water levels and bringing the threat of floods. In the aftermath of the worst winter since records have been kept in this region the bad news continues to pile on. Still it could be much worse in this privileged part of the world.

An interesting interview
with Pankaj Mishra here as he discusses his book An To End To Suffering with a well engaged journalist. Mishra is an elegant and persuasive guide to the ideas of the Buddha and his relevance to the rapid unpredictable changes that characterize modern life.

Mishra takes a pitched stand against
the promises of globalisation and the market economy that drives it. Yet, some of the earlier edge of his perceptions of the West have softened since he has come to live here and has seen that it is by no means a secure place for the majority of people. Ignorance had led him him in the past to cast aspersions on Western seekers of enlightenment, unfairly I believe. Although I'm glad he still likes to deflate the inoculated thinkers of this part of the world who would take the easy road out in explaining the conflicts that define our times.

He states in a revealing way that 9/11 introduced America to a level of brutality that he was familiar with every day growing up in India. The comment hints at some stark truths about the North South divide but there is still a definite hole in his knowledge about the tensions that exist in the Western world since he has not seen them other than as a celebrated writer.

There is a tendency among Indians to see the immigrant Indian experience as a comfortable or even cloistered one. The illusion is well fed by stories of Indian immigrants marketing themselves with Desi dreams of advance, the smiling photographs, images of BMW's and nice houses in the background or foreground- guaranteed prosperity relayed with an aim often to elicit envy. The Schadenfreude however,conceals the relative insularity, the displaced place of the immigrant, the stigmata of racism, and the heightened generation gap that develops in the new generation who themselves struggle with the incongruities of their families' cultures and those of the new ones they find themselves in.

Mira Nair's film
adaption of Jhumpa Lahiri's novel The Namesake captures some of those feelings and the ways of compensation, of families forming sometimes fragile communities in suburbia or wherever they might find themselves, perhaps marooned and distinct forced by neccessity to live in uncomfortable, unfamiliar and even unwelcoming surroundings or better, camouflaged but marginalised in ethnic enclaves. These questions might seem less contentious today as immigration patterns are well established and as India's fortunes rise so that there seems to be a totemic identification with Indian identity for all NRI's even the new generation of confused Desi's, now a little less so because of easy avenues of communication.

The question of shifting identity is not just a phenomenon of immigrant experience anymore. Globalisation whether you like it or not has made everyone aware and uncertain of their place in regard to other distant locales and toward the future as change occurs all over the world. Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss alludes to this in just the title alone and more so with a sense of melancholy in the entire work.


Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Amrita said...

Two things very close to my heart right there: digital rights and books. The former is just frustrating to me because anyone who's into the scene i.e. anyone with regular access to the internet knows this is a tide that can't be checked but could possibly be managed. Have you heard of Joost? If you get an invite, send me one :D

Oh, and I just started An End to Suffering. Sounds interesting.

Anonymous said...

will have to go with the tide. It seems bad for artists but there is a huge plus are getting so large that quality will give u returns. returns from a percentage who will pay out of old fashioned ethics, and even out of the freebee illegal download generational time of creative work is short now...but more fair and immediate payout up front..check out the Long Tail..also the loyal audience is stronger now..kind of tribal almost..but huge tribes....Al Davis owner of oakland raiders used to say "just win baby" so now just put out good stuff and u will be more than ok...will send u a joost hookup if i get it.. enjoy Mishra... old school but great writer :) the g-man

Amrita said...

oh, i see what you meant about the anon tag now. :) actually, mishra sort of annoyed me. i didnt know the "suffering" he was going to write about was more his own (and thence my own!) than anything else. when he forgot how sad he was, he was great though.

Gagan said...

:D he is amazingly self absorbed is'nt he....I'm too much of a city boy I think to truly get where he is coming from...sometimes feels like he's from another period visiting here but he is true to what he sees...such a hard thing to achieve nah.