Sunday, September 23, 2007

The opinionator

Amit Varma, refers to a ‘remarkable quote’ by a socialite as reported in an article in The New York Times. While linking to that article, some other statement caught my attention.
Shobhaa Dé, (is) a model-turned-romance novelist as well as a lifestyle columnist for The Times of India, and the wife of one of Mumbai's wealthiest men………. After her fashion show, Dé explained to me Mumbai's social architecture. “If you are in Delhi, it's which minister you know,” she said. “If you are in Chennai, it's all about which caste you are. In Calcutta, it's what your grandfather did. But in Mumbai, it's not about that kind of rigid social structure any longer. It's about what you have done.
No, the point in extracting this purple passage from the article is not to rush to the defence of Chennai. I think that such ridiculous stereotyping of cities and people should be summarily dismissed from our minds with the contempt that it deserves and not allowed to gain currency and validation, through repetition.

But, I couldn’t help wondering and even grudgingly admiring, as I have done before, how an opinion of Ms De manages to get such prominent mention in a paper such as The New York Times, which has such an impressive journalistic history. Has she been appointed the spokesperson to wax forth on the country’s social architecture? What is it about her that has otherwise sane men seeking her expert views on matters on which she has absolutely no credentials or qualifications whatsoever to comment on?

And, as I asked in the earlier post, at what point in her life did she metamorphose from a mere columnist or author to a full-blown socialite? Is there some kind of certifying body that assesses one’s skills in this area and confers this degree?

7 comments:

Sundar Narayanan said...

at the new york times, it is not about what you have done.. it is who you have married and how much money does that dude have..


why not? we can also qualify ourselves to talk about the NYT..

:)

Anonymous said...

Wonder if people at New York Times even know how credible Shoba De's columns are!Any sane person who has read her columns/articles in week would dismiss it as 'timepass writing by a P3 woman'

Raj said...

sundar, but I don't get to see the viewd of anu other rich dude's wife on NYT.

Anon, agreed. But when her views are quotes as gospel in a publication read globally....

Anonymous said...

Oh ! We in Bengalooru have one such specimen : thanks to page 3 of TOI -- Raghava and Netra : We have been treated to their marriage in bangalore, a reception in boston and the honeymooning in between and later how they showed on trace of the jetlag after a long journey from boston at the party they attended; how they looked so much in love and how they are coping with all these late night partying and still enjoying.... a new shoba de in the making....BTW from what i can deciper : he is an artist - An MF Hussain in the making....

Sankar said...

Hey Raj I agree with your views, but lets not 'Bitch'. Well, it takes all kinds of people to make this world and also it takes all kinds of occupation/sensationalism to time pass or make money for all these people.

Vishwapriya said...

She is certainly not alone in having no credentials but whose opinions are worthy of bein published by the NYT! But again, dont you think that being married to "one of the wealthiest men in Mumbai" is a credible qualification?! If you read her articles in the Times of India (where the likes of Tharoor publish their opinion pieces side by side!), you will come up with this, I am sure!

Raj said...

Sankar, I have already conceded that I am an admirer. How does she manage to slip in her sound bytes everywhere.

vishwapriya, true, I can never be married to one of the wealthiest men in Mumbai, I guess.