Here we go again


Honestly I’m soooo tired of the following topic. I know that I should be completely jaded by such things already, but I like to think that they can still bring out the fight in me. The same mob mentality over the radiowaves that we have seen in the past has happened once again. SM tipster “Ayyner” alerts us to yet another racist outburst by some East Coast on-air personalities. The following is a partial transcript (a longer transcript here) of the Jersey Guys Radio Show on NJ 105.1 FM. The Jersey Guys are Craig Carton and Ray Rossi.

[Caller]: You just said it all, the last couple of Â… callers, I guess they donÂ’t know that they live in America and weÂ’re being overrun. I had just moved out of Edison because of what has happened in the past 10 yearsÂ… Orientals are all along, the whole complete route 27. And Indians have taken over Edison in north and all over.

[Carton]: Damn Orientals and Indians.

[Caller]: I..i moved out..36 years IÂ’ve lived in Edison

[Carton]: And what was the biggest problem you had with the Orientals and the Indians ?

[Caller]: I canÂ’t handle them! ThereÂ’s no American people anymore.

[Carton]: Eh..

[Caller]: There shoving us the hell out!

[Carton]: ItÂ’s like youÂ’re a foreigner in your own country isnÂ’t it?

In my opinion the above excerpt is rather tame compared to the rest. Their ignorant invective seems to be particularly focused on East Asians. Unlike previous on-air incidents, this seems to have occurred in the middle of a “political discussion” instead of one meant to be funny. Specifically, the conversation centered around the upcoming race for mayor of Edison, NJ. The discussion basically degenerated into Carton bashing liberals who he thinks care too much about getting minority votes. You should be concerned with the majority (“me”) to paraphrase Carton. According to an article from a few weeks ago this duo has a large audience.

Touted as the most listened to FM talk show, the afternoon program commands nearly 1 million listeners a week, said Ray Handel, director of marketing and promotions for the station.

Of course this is really nothing new. Limbaugh gets away with this kind of crap all the time but is clever enough to not be so blatant. If you can’t even be clever enough to veil your racism [sarcasm] you deserve to be smacked off the airways. In any case, we’ve been informed that “South Asian legal organizations are coming together again to craft a concerted response.”

Update (4/27/05): The reaction. Continue reading

‘Four Weeks in Bombay’ on $20

Hollywood Masala’s Santhosh Daniel directs our attention to “Four Weeks in Bombay,” an exciting experiment in reality filmmaking/human torture:

Set in Mumbai (Bombay), the film follows four continuous weeks in the life of twenty-year-old San Diego-native, Phil Mikal, as he steps off the plane and into one of the most compelling cities in the world. Given just twenty American dollars, a few necessities and no translator, Mikal a.k.a. Jonny Quest can end his involvement in the project only if serious illness or injury occurs and, voyeurs can watch his adventure via broadband-access from May 6th-June 3rd for just $2. [Hollywood Masala]

Here are the rules for Mikal, who must have agreed to them while under some form of intoxication or duress:

1. The game starts as soon as he lands at the Airport in Bombay and ends at his scheduled flight back to the U.S.
2. He will only have $20 American dollars to get him started.
3. He will only be allowed to bring daily necessities like clothes, toothbrush, shaving cream, deodorant and so forth.
4. He’s not allowed to advertise that he’s only there for 4 weeks to anyone!
5. He’s allowed to get a job or do anything he has to do to survive as long as he complies with the rules.
6. Since he is aware of the project ahead of time, he’s allowed to do whatever research he may feel is necessary.
7. He is only allowed to forfeit the project if he catches a serious illness or gets a serious physical injury. Common cold, flu, stuff of that nature doesn’t count.
8. He will be allowed to take any required/suggested medical shots preparing him for the trip.
9. We’re not allowed to help him at all…not even translate. We’ll be operating the camera and only act as observers and leave the viewer to draw their own conclusions. [Four Weeks in Bombay]

Still, $20 is a shockingly low amount of money for four weeks in India. How will Mikal earn more cash?

Since your visa is for traveling purposes only, legally you can’t get a job in Bombay. Have you thought about how you’re going to overcome that challenge?
Either by not getting a job and trying to make money in alternate ways… [Four Weeks in Bombay]

Ah, indeed, there are many “alternate ways” for a pretty white boy to make money in Bombay. Hopefully, this will also be taped, making the $2 access fee a downright bargain. The adventure starts on May 6, and the price of admission unlocks full access to the entire show.

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Resort opens world’s first all-glass underwater eatery

This has to be what fish and lobsters in tanks at seafood restaurants dream of — a glass case in the ocean filled with juicy humans, fattening themselves up with rich resort food:

The world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant has opened at the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa on the Island of Rangali. The restaurant, called Ithaa – meaning ‘pearl’ in the Maldives’ language of Dhivehi – is situated on the seabed, six metres beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean. All the walls of the restaurant are transparent, offering 180 degree views of the surrounding marine life and coral reef. [World Leisure News & Jobs]

World Leisure News & Jobs: Underwater restaurant for Hilton

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Forbes’ breakdown of Lakshmi Mittal’s crib

Lakshmi Mittal’s fortress isn’t made of steel, which calls into question his affinity for the source of his eye-popping wealth:

The steel magnate set real estate records last year when he paid $128 million for a townhouse in London’s Kensington Palace Gardens…Mittal’s mansion, tucked between Kensington Palace and the Sultan of Brunei’s spread, has garage space for 20 cars, and is embellished with marble taken from the same quarry as that for the Taj Mahal. [Forbes]

Forbes: Homes of the billionaires 2005 — Lakshmi Mittal

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Music family’s matriarch passes away

From the Los Angeles Times (free registration required):

Tehmina Mehta, the matriarch described as the quiet strength of a classical music family that encompassed her late husband, Mehli, and sons Zubin and Zarin Mehta, has died. She was 96. Mehta died Friday in Los Angeles of natural causes…Her late husband perhaps offered the greatest assessment of Tehmina Mehta when he told The Times in 1984: “Though her body is frail, her mind is stronger than all of us put together. She’s the center of our family and the one person who holds it all together.” [Los Angeles Times]

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Incestuous affair crumbles after sex change

This one has it all: Hermaphroditism, incest, sex change surgery, betrayal, and the inevitable lawsuit. Cable executives score their next movie-of-the-week:

Twenty-nine-year-old rubber tapper Kuttiyamma, born with both male and female genitals, had been in love with the relative, Laura, 25, for 15 years before having surgery to become a man and change her name to Binu, the Hindustan Times reported. But Laura became engaged to another man and Binu is suing her for breach of trust after spending 50,000 rupees ($1,150) on the sex change in southern Kerala state. [Reuters/Yahoo!]

Reuters/Yahoo!: He sues lover after sex change hitch

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Bangladesh thrashes luxury goods

Bangladeshi customs officials have yet to discover the concept of a seizure auction:

Hundreds of people watched as officials from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) used bulldozers to crush a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota car and other luxury goods at a railway container terminal in Dhaka. NBR chairman Khairuzzaman Chowdhury said a trading firm had sought to evade customs duties by falsely declaring that the container carried iron scrap. "They wanted to befool us by saying they brought in scrapped metals…so we are giving them the same. They, or anyone like them, will not forget this," he told reporters at the site. [Reuters/Yahoo!]

Reuters/Yahoo!: Declaring cars as scrap? Dhaka customs makes it true

Update: BBC News has a small photo of the glorious event.

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What lies beneath

Accents matter:

In a rambunctious Meatpacking District bar, I met a woman whose parents were German. She was tall, brown-haired and fair and had grown up in India. She had a Delhi accent.

At a self-storage business, I met a manager who looked black. He had a courtly manner and a delightful accent, and his nametag said Seetram (Sitaram). He was surprised and pleased when I guessed Guyanese.

In college, the hardest partier in the entire coed dorm was a girl from a wealthy Bombay family… She once told me, ‘English is my native language, yaar. I can hardly speak Hindi.’ She had that aggressive Bombay accent, the hard one used by young men on the make, not the singsong one nor the Marathi tapori…

In Barcelona, a middle-aged cab driver with a rich baritone guessed I was Latin American, narrowing it down to either México or Costa Rica. He was very good, because I had picked up my Spanish from a costarricense teacher in a California high school. In his mind, the Hindú bit was of least importance.

In 1993 I rode my motorcycle from San Francisco to Seattle and back, pausing overnight at a remote motel in Crescent City near the California-Oregon border. The motel owner was happy to hear Hindi. It’s a pity I didn’t have Gujarati in my repertoire for that extra discount.

Congratulations, [the talented] Mr. Rupinder. You’ve successfully passed just this once. But you’re only as good as your last con.

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Upgrading my religion

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Upgrading my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it…

– apologies to R.E.M., ‘Losing My Religion’

Are you highly religious and anxious about the fast pace of technological change? Simply text your guru for personalized blessings (via Boing Boing):

… they were dubbed “bhajan-kirtan” channels, watched by the very old or the very bored… [Sadhana] has started an SMS service by which viewers can contact their favourite guru for blessings/advice. So, if you want to know from Sudhanshuji Maharaj if it’s the right day to go looking for a job, all you have to do is type “7333″ and “S SUD”.

… the channel has empanelled 40 spiritual leaders. “We get 20,000 SMS every day from all kinds of viewers,” says Gupta, who has tied-up with 85 cellular operators…

Or launch a satellite so you know when to pray:

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world’s largest Muslim body, said Sunday it plans to launch an $8 million satellite within two years to take pictures of the moon to find lunar calendar dates… “The satellite will have a fixed camera on board that will take highly detailed pictures of the moon and beam them back to earth…” A moon sighting committee in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, frustrated millions of worshippers when it said it got the date wrong by a day for the peak of this year’s haj pilgrimage in January.

There is already some criticism from religious officials in Saudi Arabia, which uses the lunar calendar. “The shape of the moon has to be seen from the ground,” said Osama al-Bar, dean of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj Research in Saudi Arabia.

Osama the Hajj researcher has decreed it, so thus it will be.

Abercrummy & Fitch settles

SM tipster Chai Shenoy, brings it to our attention that there has been a settlement in the discrimination lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch. From the New York Sun:

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge yesterday approved a $40 million settlement of employment discrimination lawsuits charging that a popular clothing chain, Abercrombie & Fitch, avoided hiring minorities and women nationwide in order to preserve the “all-American look” cultivated by the company in its catalogs and advertisements.

After a brief hearing, Judge Susan Illston gave a strong endorsement to the settlement. In addition to offering cash compensation, the deal requires the company to set up a diversity office and to cease the practice of limiting recruiting to certain fraternities and sororities.

“I think this is excellent work,” Judge Illston said. She heaped praise on attorneys for both the company and the class. The judge also paid tribute to the “courage” of Abercrombie employees who were named plaintiffs in the case. “I do think you’ve done a public service,” she said.

The lawsuits alleged that Asian-Americans, African-Americans, and Latinos who were hired by the company were often relegated to stockrooms where those staffers could not be seen by customers. An attorney for Abercrombie referred questions to the officials at the company’s headquarters, who offered no comment. In court filings, the company has denied any systemic discrimination.

Incidentally, A & F is also known for its T-shirt “humor”, which pokes fun at minority stereotypes.

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