Sunday, November 18, 2007

Information Overload

Has any literate soul on this planet been spared the torture of reading about Paul McCartney's divorce? How many oceans must I cross to not have to read about Sanjay Dutt's daily diet in prison?

This is something that has been troubling me since quite sometime now. I seem to be reading ("flipping through" would be more appropriate in retrospect) the newspaper every morning more as a matter of habit rather than in the hope of gaining some valuable information.

I grew up in an era when our teachers drilled the importance of reading the newspaper daily into our heads. An era when newspapers were considered as essential as a dictionary or an encyclopedia in the educational system. Present day scenario: I would seriously think twice about advocating the benefits of reading a paper to a child. Unless of course they're short of cheap novels and would rather read about Paris Hilton's affairs than a (perhaps less graphic) Mills and Boons.

In a country which seems to leave skid marks on the roads of time owing to its phenomenal pace of development, the regression of our media reporting surely does take me by surprise. I mean please spare me the liberal lashings of the words hook-ups and break-ups and kindly tell me what is actually happening in the real world!

Having said this, I am not oblivious to the fact that this unceasing supply of gossip is only catering to the all consuming demand for the same. The common man does seem to derive sadistic pleasures out of seeing a distraught Britney knocking down her ex husband's door. The question I ask is this: How is this a news item? Would this piece of news interest us had it been just any bald mother going ballistic to meet her kids? Are we subconsciously trying to feel good about our mundane lives at the cost of snooping into the less than perfect lives of celebrities?

Our fondness for trashy media is what has brought us down to this day when one really cant tell the difference between the Times of India and a Stardust. While most people seem to be enjoying this roller coaster ride of daily scoops and scandals, I am beginning to get really dizzy on this particular "joyride".