Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 02:01:56

When Polity Speak

Updated: November 8, 2014 1:41 pm

A POLITICIAN has to make a speech. That is a sine qua non of being a politician. And of course as a politician s/he has to have enough expertise in the art of saying nothing in so many words. The subject of the speech need not be important or even relevant. Anything goes, however weird it may be—as for example the relation between truth and politics. Take Sarah Palin, the former US vice-presidential candidate. The other day she spoke on—believe it or not—”the abuse of truth in US politics”, in which she declared that “truth was an endangered species” at the White House, and accused President Obama of “telling lies”.

Well, now, a country’s ambassador to another country has been defined as one “who ‘lies’ abroad for the good of his country,” but a US president suffers no such territorial restraint, he can ‘lie’ even at home. In fact this seems to be a permanent perk for the resident of this particular House. For when Hillary Clinton was called “co-president” during husband Bill’s presidency, a New York Times correspondent had called her a “congenital liar”. So Satiricus reasonably expects that if, as rumoured, she became the next US president, she would continue the time-honoured presidential tradition.

That being so, maybe when our Foreign Minister hugged Hillary the other day it was an official Indian acknowledgement of the fact that in the US of A telling lies is a presidential privilege. At the same time Satiricus hopes that in exchange for an old American lie Sushma presented Hillary with a brand new Indian truth by informing her that with the present PM’s Swachha Bharat Campaign the PMO is also cleaned—there is not even a small mouse in the PM’s chair.

Being American!

MANY Indian students go to America to learn things. That is because American universities offer courses in almost everything one needs to learn. That makes Americans learned in all things. On the other hand it also means there are things in which they lack natural talent. So it was interesting for Satiricus to learn that Americans have to learn how to be stupid. For he read in the papers the other day that there are American universities that actually offer a course in stupidity.

In Satiricus’s sage opinion this is really stupid. For educated stupidity is, after all, artificial stupidity, it cannot compete with the natural-born ability to be stupid. Look at Satiricus. Did he go all the way to America to acquire this knowledge? He did not. Why? Because he was born with it. Does that not explain his stupendous success as a journalist?

Equality For Animals!

THERE are humans who say the law is an ass. What the asses have to say to that Satiricus does not know. Maybe they call it an inhuman insult. But if they were less assinine they would appreciate and even welcome the difference between inhuman and nonhuman. For a wise American human, actually surnamed Wise, is leading a “Nonhuman Rights Project” that has asked a New York court to grant human rights to a chimp. He has argued that this chimp, called Tommy, who is kept in a cage on a farm in New York state, “is entitled to live as a free man”, because according to scientific findings quite a few animals from chimps to elephants are equipped with intelligence. Well, now, what does human Satiricus have to say to that? He says he fears a day may come when this Tommy the Chimp may become so intelligent as to lead a campaign claiming all animals are equal but human animals less equal.

Do “How” Really Matter?

HOW weird ! how funny ! How weirdly funny ! An American management guru by name Seidman and America’s biggest yogurt-manufacturer by name Chobani are reportedly fiercely fighting a trademark battle over the ownership of the word “how” ! Seidman has written a book on management titled How : Why How We Do Anything means Everything. On the other hand the yogurt-maker has built an advertising campaign centred on the phrase “How Matters”, claiming how its special straining process makes his yogurt extra thick. The management guru says he built his company, called LRN, on the phrase “How Matters” for the last ten years, but the yogurt-maker has now stolen his “HOW”, which he wants back. On the other hand the yogurt-maker says he has not even heard about this management man, then how can he steal the fellow’s intellectual property called HOW?

Satiricus is well and truly stumped. How many times has he used “how” in his column? And to think every time he uses it he is stealing somebody’s intellectual property. Satiricus sincerely hopes he is not sued for such theft. But in case he is, he has a solid defence. He can successfully argue that he never ever stole anybody’s intellectual property, for nobody has yet dared to charge him with being an intellectual.

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