Sunday, February 5th, 2023 06:17:21

Measurement Of Influence

Updated: May 21, 2011 10:19 am

Satiricus does not find his name in Time magazine’s recently-published list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Oh well, maybe he has to thank his ignorance for it. It seems he did not measure up to it because he did not know the qualifying measurement of influence. How long should that influence be? Or how broad? How many kilos should it be? Or how many litres? Satiricus has no idea. To add to this confusion worse confounded in his bird-brain, he cannot understand how an apple can be compared to an orange or a cricketer to a politician. How is it, for instance, that Indian cricket team captain Dhoni, 52nd in the list, is more than 30 places above US President Obama at 87th place? Is that because Dhoni is influencing more Indian kids than Obama is influencing American kids from 6 to 60? In fact, why is Obama in the list at all? Is it because he won the Nobel Peace Prize and then secretly dispatched American armed forces to 75 countries of the world to fight the American war on terror?

                Much more interestingly for Satiricus, the list has placed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton above US President Obama. For, he has read Hillary’s political biography by Barbara Olson, a leading American lawyer-investigator, in which Olson writes about this one-time US “Co-President” : “I have come to know Hillary as she is… Who has gone to the brink of criminality to amass wealth and power…” Olson also quotes the New York Times columnist William Safire calling Hillary “a congenital liar”. Does this mean Time considers this female, of the American political species, a more influential virtual criminal and born-again liar? And finally, ISI Chief Shuja Pasha has been honoured with inclusion in this list and described as a “Pakistani patriot”. As an added qualification Time pointed out that within weeks of his becoming the ISI chief the 60-hour multiple terror attack on Mumbai took place. How thrilling! It has now been revealed to this ignoramus that Pakistani patriotism consists of killing Indian men, women and children by the hundreds.

Fishy Matter

The other day Satiricus read in the papers that according to a recent survey, 45 per cent of the child population in the USA is suffering from obesity. Translated into English, this means nearly half of American children are fat and getting fatter. This is surprising, for Satiricus thought this problem had been solved when a number of American scientists came together a couple of years ago, to learnedly discuss and determine the ideal American dinner. He recalls that they had started with an in-depth debate on the servings of fish. Should children eat fish just once a week or even twice? And should the portion they eat be small, or should it be smaller? After weighing the pros and cons of the fishy matter for an hour, they had spent hours on a bitter debate on sugar, which in turn had led to a bland discussion on salt. The edible end had come with the vital matter of vitamin D. So how did the audience listening to all this mealy mouthings on meals take it? The report said they could not stomach it. They were fed up.

                Not that Americans are not particular about what and how much they feed on. In fact, in this momentous matter they rely on the letter of the law. For instance, Satiricus recalls that some time ago a pizza-making company had filed a suit against another pizza-making company, charging it with plagiarism on the ground that the pizza cooked by company B was an exact replica of the pizza cooked by company A, right down to the size. The learned judge agreed that it was a business malpractice and ruled that company B must change the size of its pizza. In another instance, the world-famous McDonald’s had not long ago filed a suit against a British company for cooking a product called McCurry on the ground that “Mc” was a protected trade mark, and the Brit was guilty of an illegal infringement and a crime committed in the kitchen. Satirius does not recall the verdict in this case, but in his considered culinary opinion, he imagines the Brits were sentenced to stick to what is known as the “alphabet soup”, if they were not to find themselves alphabetically in the soup like this.

                Talking about legal limitations for sumptuous snacks and delightful dinner, Satiricus was interested to learn that Europe plans to pass a law even for the humble yoghurt. When is a yoghurt really a yoguhrt? Years of uncertainty on this dietary dilemma may soon end, when the European Union authorities draft a law to define this milk-product that millions of Europeans eat every day. But the problem for their legal eagles is, is Spanish yoghurt the same as French yoghurt, or French yoghurt the same as Dutch yoghurt, and so on and on? Satiricus learns that strong territorial tastes have given rise to a hot and hungry debate among different European countries having different national rules on yoghurt. The EU authorities have reportedly decided that it is time to have a consolidated law that will transcend narrowly nationalistic tastebuds. Oh well, Satiricus hopes that draft law is duly digested in continental kitchens.

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