TWO AUTHORITATIVE OBSERVATIONS ON CULTURE AND MEDIA


LORD MACAULAY’S ADDRESS TO THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT, 2ND FEBRUARY, 1835

 

“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I PROPOSE THAT WE REPLACE HER OLD AND ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM, HER CULTURE, FOR IF THE INDIANS THINK THAT ALL THAT IS FOREIGN AND ENGLISH IS GOOS AND GREATER THAN THEIR OWN, THEY WILL LOSE THEIR SELFESTEEM, THEIR NATIVE CULTURE AND THEY WILL BECOME WHAT WE WANT THEM, A TRULY DOMINATED NATION.”

 

THE IDIOT CULTURE by Carl Bernstein

 

It is now nearly a generation since the drama that began with the Watergate break-in and ended with the resignation of Richard Nixon, a full twenty years in which the American press has been engaged in a strange frenzy of self-congratulation and defensiveness about its performance in that affair and afterward. The self-congratulation is not justified; the defensiveness, alas, is. For increasingly the America rendered today in the American media is illusionary and delusionarydisfigured, unreal, disconnected from the true context of our lives. In covering actually existing American life, the media—weekly, daily, hourly—break new ground in getting it wrong. The coverage is distorted by celebrity and the worship of celebrity; by the reduction of news to gossip, which is the lowest form of news; by sensationalism, which is always a turning away from a society’s real condition; and by a political and social discourse that we—the press, the media, the politicians, and the people—are turning into a sewer.

The readers of these two observations can themselves judge the performance of our media and its treatment of Pakistan’s culture.

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