Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Decaffeinated Society

Here's another cheat blog. The Op Ed pages of most Pakistani newspapers are as dry as a week old baguette. So when I came across something which didn't have to do with politics, gang rape or water distribution I sat down and read. Hey, this guy writes well. And he has a point to make.

Let the good times roll!
Out of my head

There's always been celebrity gossip. But now we've got more and more of our local newspapers and magazines devoting more and more of their pages and photographic space to capturing the event-attending lives of not only the rich and the famous -- the glitterati -- but , increasingly, of the wannaberati -- the wanna-be rich and the wanna-be famous.

I used to be irritated by this waste of precious column and page space. Who really cared what these people were up to? Did it really matter that Bopsie threw a "GT" for Poopsie's birthday which was attended by so-and-so; that Buggles had a "pre" at his place before the MALCOGSOC Winter Ball and so-and-so showed up; that Cuppoo had a "post" after the LRBTARIAN Club Nite; that there was much revelry at the mehndi of Magsoo and Salsy at which who wore exactly what? And who were these Bopsies, and Popsies and Buggles and Cuppoos and Magsoos and Salsys in the first place? And exactly what had they done in, and with, their lives? And if they actually had done something constructive or substantial or creative then why weren't we reading about their accomplishments rather than what party or function they'd attended? Why were these non-events being given so much coverage -- in glorious colour, no less? Weren't there more weighty matters to discuss and actual achievements to celebrate?

I wasn't questioning the right of these people to party away their lives -- hey, I love a good party as much as the next person, and if you've got the time, money, and energy to be a happy and willing passenger on the social merry-go-round, then more power to you -- but I was certainly questioning the need for all this hedonistic revelry to be splashed all over the newspapers and magazines. When people are starving and women are being gang-raped and inflation is at a full gallop, surely the power of the press could be put to better use? I couldn't understand the undeniable growing popularity of these pages.

But somewhere along the way, I had a change of heart. Just like I did in the case of professional wrestling on television, which I couldn't stand to watch in the beginning. Being a big sports buff, I couldn't figure out the charm of something so fake. But then I realised that this wasn't sports but "sports entertainment" and I had to take it as something like a soap opera. From then on, I admit, I became an avid follower for a while. So, just as I came around to watching the World Wrestling Entertainment on a regular basis, I've realised the sheer entertainment value of the society pages littering our newspapers and magazines.

I mean this stuff is almost as good as P.G. Wodehouse. The British humorist found rich material for poking fun at the English upper classes and their foibles through his brilliantly named characters such as Monty Bodkin, Clarence Threepwood, Galahad Threepwood, Gussie Fink-Nottle, Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps, Bingo Little, Oofy Prosser, Bertie Wooster, Major Brabazon-Plank, Honoria Glossop, Tuppy Glossop, Pongo Twistleton, and so on. With the Bopsies, Popsies, Buggles, Cuppoos, Magsoos, and Salsys of the society pages of our newspapers it's like a P.G. Wodehouse novel come to life. You couldn't pay to find funnier stuff than that.

Hold on. It gets even more hilarious. You can't find such an entertaining cast of characters all in one place anywhere else: idle young playboys and dirty old men; interestingly (ahem!) dressed debutantes and celebutantes; painted starlet-slash-models and even more tinted, dyed, highlighted and colour-lensed formidable-looking aunts of the high society set; corporate executives on the rise and rotund businessmen on the make; fabulous fashionistas and even more fabulous (ahem!) fashion designers. And what their smiles for the camera say is this: "Look at me, I've arrived! I'm somebody! Love me! Look at the exciting life I lead! Envy me!" This need for approbation (why else would you allow total strangers a peek into your private lives?) is just about the funniest bit of all. Sometimes, though, the humour is hilariously black as in the case of some wannaberati being labelled "and friend" or "and guest" in the captions under the photographs. Oh, the hilarity!

Apart from the glitterati and wannaberati, various groups in this cast of hundreds include the following: the flitterati (the idle rich, given to dilettantism and flitting from one party to another); the pseudorati ("famous" only for having their photographs appear regularly in the society pages); the organiserati (event managers of uncertain leanings); the flatterati (mutual admiration societies); the matterati (men and women given to material excess, probably the largest class of all in this set); the titterati (the giggling classes); and the twitterati (resembling titterati, though dumber). Sometimes you also catch a member of the bitterati (the cynical elite) looking on in the occasional photograph.

So, may the society pages flourish for all the mirth that they provide the reading public. Let the good times roll.


Blogger livinghigh said...

sigh.. i live in caffeine, sadly ;-)

PS: hows ya doing, uber? ;-)

12:18 pm  
Blogger s said...

brilliant article!

they do this in dubai as well, and it is just as tiring/amusing. what's worse is that the often catch me at parties and insist on a photo and when i see myself in a stupid 2 dirham rag "spotted at an exhibition", i just feel like killing myself.

it puts life into perspective!

6:33 pm  
Blogger Uber Homme said...

I"m well dude. How about you ? Am following your blog eagerly.

S: Nothing worse than being labelled a "friend" or a "guest" though. That means you don't exist for the lowest form of journalism. The good news is that I've learned to recognise the journalists and I've managed to duck each time a picture is taken. Not to say I'm there at each "do"....they've even started to cover small dinner parties of eight now :)

12:57 pm  
Blogger Sin said...

The worst part is that they're not journalists! They're "friends" or acquaintances who sell their party pictures to magazines! I have a "no photography" policy at any thing I throw.

10:47 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home