Clean bored by an ad break

Right, so breaking the extended radio silence by shamelessly stealing the headline of an evocative piece by Rahul Bhattacharya, an always excellent writer [Here’s more of his writings from Mint, and have you read his book Pundits from Pakistan yet? No? What are you, a philistine?].

When I find disgust peaking at the increasingly intrusive nature of the advertising, or at the overtly hysterical nature of the commentary, I wonder at times why I am in a minority; why the disgust is not more pervasive than it appears to be. Rahul looks for answers in the Indian psyche:

The highest possible figure is important because in India money is exciting and a truth. It is the parameter to judge a profession, a work of art, a life. To be able to say “billion dollars” matters. It empowers and it attracts power. And as symbolism, the IPL deals and public auctions are scarcely different from Mayawati’s garland of rupees that middle-class Indians find so repulsive.

A minority will grumble but India can accept the IPL the way it is because it is not a playing society. Its relationship with sport is not of participant but consumer. It holds nothing sacred. The IPL knows that it competes not against sport but general entertainment. “Saas-bahu se better hai,” a viewer remarks. And to compete with saas-bahu one must make concessions. Do not give them a moment to linger; cut to Deepika Padukone, a cheerleader’s thigh, a 30-second dugout interview.

I appreciate that the IPL did not invent advertising in cricket, merely took a leap further towards the logical end. That we are still not at the end is the truly frightening thought.

Read the whole piece. It is more than worth your time. Tangentially related — this time we don’t have the fake IPL player to liven things up [Oh, by the way, watch out for said FIP appearing on the live daily chat show, soon — will update re date on this space], but we do have the real, and really funny, Anand Ramachandran to provide some cutting edge humor on Cricinfo and, in this latest instance, on Read.

Unrelated but interesting, Akshay Sawai in Open magazine profiles good friend and lawyer/activist Rahul Mehra, likely familiar to readers of this blog as the man who first took on the BCCI and, more recently, the Indian sporting establishment.

Back to the live show, which I resume hosting tomorrow [Aakash Chopra — on Twitter, here — will continue to host the Friday editions, and other hosts will appear on other days — as always, announcements here when the details are locked down]. My recent, and mentally exhausting, trip to Delhi was lightened by Arnab Ray’s [familiar to readers as Greatbong; here he is on Twitter] debut book, May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss.

Regular readers of his blog will notice some of his constant preoccupations in the themes of the book, even experience mild deja vu at times. Familiar with his work or not, the book is light, breezy and always, underlying the satire, there are points worth pondering.

Tomorrow is Arnab’s last day in India on this trip; wind, weather and scheduling permitting, he will guest on the live show, between pm. Links to the show, at least an hour ahead of time, on my Twitter stream; also on the Yahoo News and Cricket streams.

Questions you would like answered, themes you would like addressed? Post them here in the comments field, or on my Twitter. See you, live, tomorrow.


7 thoughts on “Clean bored by an ad break

  1. hallelujah ! at long last some of the best ckt writers taking on the non-sense dished out by LKM and co. Its been sad to see how the likes of harsha bhogle have lost their spine to maintain decorum in commentary . And worse not write/talk about conflicts of interest that pervade cricket today. Hats off to the usually insipind sports mantri Gill to call a spade , a spade.

    For those who say Bhogle wont bite the hand that feeds him i have this to say – he is needed by IPL more that he needs them and they know it. Its for him to decide how much he will bend over to please.

    • Hear, hear, Ila. You’ve hit the nail on the head. The fact of the matter is everyone and his uncle is quite happy to get a bite of the IPL cashpie. So why all this whingeing about commercialisation? LKM has shown it is possible to get away with anything – commentators endorsing products on air, “white” cheerleaders, making and changing rules on a whim, strategy breaks, conflict of interests between the management, owners – as long as they are worth a few hundred million $ and the richest people in India are on board.

      Rahul is right (” money is the parameter to judge a profession”). Ask the average upwardly mobile Indian about his/her job. The response, more often than not, is simply ” My pay package last year Rs.ABC and now it is Rs.XYZ”. Not a word about what the job entails. If there are no issues with that, there should be none with the IPL’s crassness either.

  2. Symonds made some interesting comments on IPL overkill..One can understand where he was coming from. Most the superstars of the IPL are aged, retired from the game or chose to retire for IPL. Now the burden of playing more matches in the same time window is easier said than done.IPL organizers might try to get a bigger window .. difficult considering Feb-March is good time to play cricket in most part of the world..Anyway these superstars still have to play that long or more matches in IPL since they are not in any national team.
    I thought the earlier plan for the IPL4 was to play each team only once but to play each other in the semi final stage. Share dilution generally a raw deal for shareholders… Their stake in a firm gets watered down when new shares are issued to fund a deal or to raise money. Interesting to see what the existing stakeholders of IPL will do in next few weeks.. No one lost money taking some profits when the stocks are at all time high. New franchises bought the IPL stock at the peak. Are they about to be led off the cliff? Actually, for once..

    • Well .. Some matches do get boring .. especially with the bottom teams – like DD and KPXI.
      Today’s match (March 28) was set on fire by Bhajji. After his blast, Deccan were so dazed that they were sleepwalking.
      I would say .. choose your matches. No point in watching everyone.

      • Bottom teams like DD…, set on fire by Bhajji’s blast, Deccan were so dazed they were sleepwalking….

        Don’t be so smug, Mr Kale. 170-180 has nearly been a safe score for the last few matches.

        Remember what RR nearly did to MI with 200+ on the board. Don’t close your eyes SRT is peaking too soon. :))

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