Where have all the book critics gone? Do we have any famous names in book reviews today? It was not so long ago that the world abounded in book reviews and critics showed the way to new literature. They were a fearless independent and entertaining bunch of people to whom I owe a lot for the mind boggling marks I got for my book review assignments. Copying and pasting is so much easier than writing your own review no? Besides the latter would involve reading the book brrrr
I come from the stables of a college with an English Department that considered Book Reviews to be the be all and end all of English education. Not submitting a book review was considered a sin graver then the Seven Deadly Sins and many an English Professor were convinced that such an act should be made the 8th Deadly sin by the Vatican. Thank god no Professor from my college ever became the President of India or the consequences would be catastrophic!
Minister: Madam President, here is the clemency petition of the terrorist who bombed the parliament.
Prof: hmmm the death sentence does seem harsh!
Minister: But Madam President he attacked the very seat of democracy!
Prof: True! But he did not kill anyone…
Minister: Madam President he defiled the shrine of our constitution!!
Prof: I don’t think…
Minister: Besides Madam President, he was notorious for not submitting his book reviews during English classes!
Prof (screeching): What!!!! Kill! Shoot him! Bomb him! Hang him! Maim him! Wait I will kill the $%#^&@ myself !!!!
Presidential guards rush to restrain the President!
If not submitting a book review was the 8th Deadly Sin then not submitting a Film Review after a Film Appreciation class was the 9th Deadly Sin of the college. While we hoped that we were shown movies like Lady Chatterley’s Lover, what we got was horrible art films that could render one’s brain geriatric in one film sitting.
Hero: But naught the air transfixed thine soul to me.
Class: zzZZZZZZZZ! snooOORRREE!
The professor who would be sleeping in her front seat would wake up when the snores got louder or someone whispered too loud. Her “ahem” would ring in class like a toy pistol in a war and she would be forced to bang the table to get our attention. As a punishment she would rewind the movie (groan) and we had to watch the horror show again.
Hero: It is but a folly to think that I entertained the very thought of humaneness!
Heroine: Perhaps the black clouds signify something…I can feel an imminent catastrophe in my bosom!
Prof: What is so funny about a catastrophe of the bosom?
After the class settled the Professor would give us an inscrutable look and we cringed at the thought of the next Film Appreciation Class. This lady was formidable. Her collection of absolutely unfathomable movies could zap the brains of Einstein and render him stupid in seconds. One day she bought a movie on the angst of an Art Filmmaker (AF)!
AF (screaming): Ambiguity!!!! Ambiguity!!!! It will be my death! AARRGHH! AARRGHH!
Friend: Your obsession with the artificial construction of reality will be your doom!
AF (screaming): NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friend: Your inner psychological state should be portrayed with more subjective realism and it should be within the bounds of the narrative.
AFM: AARRGHH!!!!!!!!!! *Smashes furniture, vomits and then passes out*
Prof: Please submit a review by tomorrow morning.
We were often subject to movies on social issues to “develop” our social consciousness and sensitiveness”
French Revolutionary: This is a prescient moment… it will forever influence the course modern societies in transition would follow!
Lady: The era of revolutions is nigh! This is a decisive event of our lives!
Girl 1: Why isn’t he kissing her?
Girl 2: I think he is a revolutionary.
Girl 3: LOL!!
Girl 4: he he that was funny!
Girl 2: What’s so funny!
Rest of the class: ROFL!!
Prof: For god’s sake what’s so funny about the French Revolution!!!!!
Thank god Film Appreciation Classes were few and we managed to put together a film project after carefully Goolging err I mean after carefully considering the message of the film, the director’s purpose or intention and the theme of the film and comparing other films from the same director/genre. :|
Now if you are wondering why I am looking for book critics …well…we have a book review contest in our Newsletter you see and old habits die hard. :(