Being the parent of a toddler has introduced me to all sorts of things I’d never have known about otherwise: how many Legos can be stacked before a tower topples, the sound of a stuffed rabbit singing when I accidentally step on it at 2a.m. (yes, I’ve done it more than once, and yes, it’s just as terrifying as you’d expect), the exact amount of time a paper airplane proves entertaining until it just decidedly doesn’t, the glee inspired by dogs and cats yowling “Jingle Bells,” and…most recently, Global Grover.
I don’t have cable, and I’m just fine leaving well enough alone when it comes to the shows my kid doesn’t know he’s missing until such a time as they become unavoidable. But my own generation was raised on TV, and I don’t have an ultra cynical take on it… and I do remember fondly the old standbys, namely Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street. So I just shrug when, despite best efforts, certain things just slip into my child’s consciousness. He’s only just two, and he already sings the melody and words from the Elmo’s World theme song, for crying out loud. Resistance is futile. Continue reading “Global Grover, Meet Edward Said”
In a recent email discussion among scholars about general issues of representations and Wendy Doniger’s controversial book (about which I have written on Culture on the Edge and Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog), P. Pratap Kumar, a colleague in South Africa, framed the issue through a clear, though contrived, contrast between the scholar and the devotee. He wrote,
Someone who is raised as a Hindu grows up listening to religious songs at Satsangs and even through Bollywood religious songs (there are plenty of Bollywood religious songs that Hindus listen to with utmost devotion) and never would have known that their Hindu texts contain many erotic statements and not just the singular term Linga. But on the other hand, scholars especially from the outside Hindu tradition (be they western or eastern) begin with Sanskrit language and then reading the highly specialised texts where they find statements that devout Hindus would have never heard of. From scholar’s reading, there are indeed very detailed erotic references in many Hindu texts, . . .
We as scholars have to talk about these things because these matters are there in the texts from the Rig Veda to the epics in plenty of places. It is hard to fault a western scholar or any non-Hindu scholar for pointing these out and translating them for what they are.
Continue reading “Residual Assumptions”
Know that image? It’s from the once popular Disney movie “The AristoCats” (1970) — take a look at the scene: Continue reading “Just a few Notes”