There has long been the contention that art, in all its various manifestations, should ideally by apolitical in its content. And this debate on the separation of art from politics has been as old as art itself. And those instances in which an overlapping of the two occur, controversy if not outright censorship ensues. A classic illustration of this phenomenon in recent history is the Iranian theocracy’s issue of ‘fatwa’ (essentially a death sentence) against Litterateur Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses was accused of disparaging the Islamic faith. Notwithstanding the veracity of the accusations directed against Rushdie, the controversial novel should not be dismissed as being blasphemous without due critical consideration of its content, for often times, it is the dissenting and disturbing voices that also speak truth to power. In the case of the Satanic Verses affair it is theocratic power that was disturbed. But in today’s geo-political . . . Read More
Shutter Island is one of the most emotionally and intellectually engaging films to have come out in recent times. Directed by noted filmmaker Martin Scorsese, the film explores the potential depths of human psychology and the inevitable conflicts in human relationships. Although it wouldn’t rank as Scorsese’s best movie, it excels in so many departments that it is set to become a classic of the suspense/thriller/horror genre. The plot is centered on the characters of Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule (played in the film by Leonardo Di Caprio and Mark Ruffalo respectively). The Shutter island hosts Ashecliffe hospital, which is a mental asylum for the criminally inclined. The two lead characters, who serve the US military, get trapped in this secluded island due to hostile weather conditions. Their mission was to investigate the case of a missing inmate. But due to the enclosed circumstances in which they find themselves in, their mission objectives become entwined with . . . Read More
The history and evolution of Hollywood makes for an interesting subject of inquiry. The origins of film industry in the United States can be traced back to the 1920s, when the first silent movies were opened for public viewing. The movies released in the first decade were free of any censorship and hence contained controversial content. The 1920s were known as the ‘Jazz Age’ and Americans prospered due to the zooming of stock markets and the flourishing of the arts. At the turn of the decade, the Great Depression set in, precipitated by the biggest crash in Wall Street history. The country went into a period of great introspection. As politicians and economists were grappling with finding solutions to pull through the economic depression, similar efforts are being made to improve the standards of the film industry. The Hays’ Code, introduced in 1934 was one such outcome. Although the United States Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 came ahead of Hays Code, it . . . Read More
Print journalism has a long and rich tradition, reaching back more than two centuries. The content disseminated by newspapers can be divided into two classes: reports and opinion. While reports are expected to adhere to objectivity and neutrality, opinion editorials have no such restrictions. As a result, the latter can at times come across as ideologically biased as they reflect personal views of the editor. This essay will look into an editorial essay of recent times and will scrutinize if the author had committed logical errors. The editorial chosen for this analysis is “Base drilling halt on results, not an arbitrary timeline”, published in USA Today on the 8th of July, 2010. Since the author’s name is not disclosed, the views expressed therein can be attributed to the Editorial Board of USA Today.
In the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Adminstration issued a moratorium banning all . . . Read More
Salvador Dali’s 1931 painting named The Persistence of Memory is an intriguing work of modern art. The artwork became an instant success with the public audience and continues to be Dali’s most recognized work. At the core of the painting is Dali’s perception of physical objects as either ‘hard’ or ‘soft’. The depiction of ‘soft’ pocket watches in the backdrop of the landscape of Port Lligat comprises its unique appeal. In Dali’s own words, the artwork is a “hand painted dream photograph”, which projects a dream-like imagery. The central theme of the painting is the melting watch, which is a recurrent object in many of Dali’s paintings. The painting is best known for its surrealistic elements and can appear to be irrational, unsettling, paradoxical or even nonsensical. But beneath the veneer of this confusion lies its aesthetic merit and conceptual integrity.
In the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) . . . Read More
Since the beginning of the 1990s, and with the advancement in global telecommunications technology, electronic commerce (commonly referred to as e-commerce) has really taken off. And online retailing comprises an integral part of this broader phenomenon. Here in the UK, as elsewhere in the world, traditional brick and mortar retail stores have extended their services through the Internet, adding new dimensions to the experience of shopping for consumers. New and exclusive online retailers have also sprung up to cater to the newly created demand by consumers online. Since this segment of the retail industry is relatively new and empirical statistical data not abundant, performing an analysis of how customers assess service quality can be challenging. As a result, it is more logical to study qualitative parameters of service quality as opposed to quantitative measures. This essay attempts to fulfil this objective.
Given the emergent nature of online commerce, it is a tough task . . . Read More
The last 20 to 30 years have been widely regarded as the digital age. During this period many advances have been made in digital technology, leading to the promotion and use of mobile phones, high-speed networks, efficient computers, etc. This advance in digital technology has also made life easier for most people. Areas such as teaching methodology, teaching aides, public presentation aides, etc have particularly improved as a result. This essay will foray into how technology has made the task of giving presentations all the more easy and effective.
Nowhere has the development of technology had a greater impact than in the domain of communication. In the world of academia and business, the usage of proprietary software like Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Outlook have become quite common. The PowerPoint software in particular is a potent tool in giving presentations. Students use it to present their seminars; lecturers and . . . Read More
The movie Hangover, directed by Todd Phillips and released in 2009, is an adult comedy film. The movie adopts a conventional narrative technique with the addition of a few experimental elements. The plot is based on the idea of a bachelor party trip by a group of friends to Las Vegas. The four friends played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha take up luxury suite in Caesars Palace hotel. They then make a toast for the impending night of fun and frolic. But in the next scene, the narrative takes the audience to the next morning, with the suite and its inhabitants in a total mess. To make matters worse, the soon-to-be bride-groom Doug goes missing as well. As a relic of their adventure in the previous night, there is a Tiger in the bathroom and a baby in the closet.
What is striking about this comedy film is the non-linear narrative sequence employed by the director. By skipping the madness and mayhem of the friends’ night out in Vegas and . . . Read More
The two works of literature discussed in this essay have several similarities in their underlying themes and narratives. The Street Car Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, was not only well received by critics, but also adapted into several stage productions. The post Second World War period in which the play is set was a period of rapid social transformation. The United States had emerged as one of two superpowers and there is unprecedented growth in the manufacturing industry. This alters the conventional equations of power between men and women, cities and country sides, northern states and southern states, etc. It is in this shifting and evolving milieu that the lives of Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois cross paths, which ultimately leads to much interpersonal turmoil. Similarly, the novel ‘The Reader’ written by Bernhard Schlink is a work of high literary standard. The movie version too got several nominations in the Academy Awards. The . . . Read More
The Public Relations industry, which is an offshoot of the traditional advertising industry, turned into a dominant business institution through the course of the twentieth century. The two countries that pioneered this industry are the United States and the United Kingdom. In the case of the former, Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, is widely acknowledged as the founding father of the industry. In the United Kingdom, the government propaganda campaigns to mobilize support during the two World Wars made clear the importance and potency of strategic PR campaigns to influence and control public opinion. Toward the end of the century, as business corporations became the dominant institutions of our times, the scope of PR widened and assumed new roles in the commercial realm of product marketing. At the birth of the new millennium, the ascendency of digital technology into the mainstream has once again enhanced and redefined the nature and role of public relations industry. . . . Read More