The Organ In The Chapel

For the two years that I attended boarding school, I was subject to a non-negotiable, uncompromising rule: daily attendance at an Anglican chapel service was required. The bell calling us to service would ring out, loud and clear and persistent; we would make our way to the chapel and file in obediently, taking our pre-assignedContinue reading “The Organ In The Chapel”

Cultural Associations Do Not Add Up

In reviewing Jonathan Lethem‘s Dissident Gardens (“Leftists in Jeopardy“, New York Review of Books, April 2014), Michael Greenberg writes: Lethem’s impulse to display his knowingness, his “vernacular” expertise, as he calls it, his belief that “were’ surrounded by signs [and] our imperative is to ignore none of them engenders a narrative noise that drowns out theContinue reading “Cultural Associations Do Not Add Up”

Political Schooling Via The Usenet Newsgroup

As my post yesterday should have indicated, we are educated by a variety of modalities. A powerfully formative one for me was my exposure to Usenet newsgroups. I discovered newsgroups in 1988, shortly after I began work as a research assistant with the Computerized Conferencing and Communications Center at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.Continue reading “Political Schooling Via The Usenet Newsgroup”

My Father’s Record Collection

Among the many seeming treasures I left behind in India when I migrated to the US in 1987 was my father’s vinyl record collection. It contained the music I grew up with, played on a turntable, piped through a Phillips amplifier, and then, finally, emitted through a pair of custom-made speakers. The collection was eclecticContinue reading “My Father’s Record Collection”

Alina Simone Doesn’t Like The Internet, Her Best Friend

The New York Times periodically publishes blog posts and Op-Eds by defenders of the intellectual property regimes that are a blot on our cultural landscape today; these defenders include what I describe as–for lack of a better term–‘the whining artist.’ This category includes all those who, seemingly stunned by the fact that the political economyContinue reading “Alina Simone Doesn’t Like The Internet, Her Best Friend”

Concert at the Corner

The boy with the violin case came around the corner. On time, as always.  Head bowed, feet dragging on the sidewalk, the case drooping by his side, as always. He approached A__’s gang, scattered on the sidewalk, oblivious to their presence. Till A__ spoke. ‘Hey!’ The boy looked up, alarm running through his body quicklyContinue reading “Concert at the Corner”

Mozart on Constanze: Tepid but Frank

In December 1781, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote a letter to his father Leopold, telling him he wanted to marry Constanze Weber. He might have been a brilliant composer, but when it came to describing his beloved, his skills did not transfer so well. [I] must make you acquainted with the with the character of myContinue reading “Mozart on Constanze: Tepid but Frank”

RIP Ravi Shankar

I was born in an obscure small town in Central India: Maihar. If that name is known outside of its local, provincial, confines, it is almost certainly due to the Maihar gharana of Indian classical music. (From Wikipedia: ‘In Hindustani music, a gharānā is a system of social organization linking musicians or dancers by lineage or apprenticeship, andContinue reading “RIP Ravi Shankar”

Coming For You with Chuck D and Public Enemy

In reviewing Jay-Z‘s book Decoded—a collection of lyrics with extensive commentary–(‘Word‘, The New Yorker, December 6 2010) Kelefa Sanneh writes: Too often, hip-hop’s embrace of crime narratives has been portrayed as a flaw or a mistake, a regrettable detour from the overtly ideological rhymes of groups like Public Enemy. But in Jay-Z’s view Public EnemyContinue reading “Coming For You with Chuck D and Public Enemy”

The Copyright Police Catch Up With ‘Hung Up’

Well, I’ve finally run afoul of the copyright police. More precisely, two videos I had uploaded to YouTube–some six years ago–have been taken down. Last night, as I searched for them repeatedly, I wondered what might have happened to them. This morning, as I thought about their content, I realized why they might have gotContinue reading “The Copyright Police Catch Up With ‘Hung Up’”