WLOG: Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2021

Profile Links

A profile of Shekhar Gupta on Caravan Magazine by Krishn Kaushik

Shekhar Gupta built multiple successful careers — as a journalist, as the host of NDTV’s Walk the Talk which featured the who’s who of contemporary India, as the ‘CEO’ of Indian Express and played a vital role to turn it around into a money-making enterprise, and now the Editor-in-Chief of a leading digital news website and the host of a popular daily news wrap on YouTube. A through line in his long career has to be the strength of relationships he cultivated with his subordinates in the newsroom and the powerful across the spectrum outside of it. These are, as you’ll read, more valuable than the eight figure compensation he received as the editor-in-chief.

Most things written about in this profile are before my time as an interested news consumer, so this has been educative to me. A great archive.

Food Links

The last GenSec of the Communist Party of USSR appears in a Pizza Hut commercial shot near Red Square in Moscow. Za Gorbacheva!. (Commercial embedded in the article.)

Learnings for me include the fact that Gorbachev, subsequent to the fall of USSR and the financial crises that followed, was deeply unpopular in Russia and that he lost most of his savings, and that he basically agreed to do this commercial for money.

Interesting, as this article points out as well, that Gorbachev was quite popular in the world outside USSR. I’d heard that he made some heroic attempts to make peace and normalise relations with the US but Reagan and Bush Sr were being very difficult. He also had ‘name-recognition’ in India, when I was growing up; I knew his name before I knew about USSR.

Cricket Links

Just not cricket, by Geoff Lemon for The Guardian. Companion discussion on Red Inker podcast.

A blistering attack on the standards of Channel 9 cricket commentary, to what it has fallen from the days of Richie Benaud, Tony Greig, Bill Lawry. Today, (this essay is six years old but the damage isn’t undone by any measure) “it’s all about being the matiest mates who ever mated.”

TV commentary is important. It’s valuable. To us television watchers, in our collected cricketing memories, commentary is inseparable from the action on the field. Romance and legends aside, commentators educate us about the game, not just teaching the rules of the game and welcoming the new audience to the party, but also carrying the viewers through the game’s slow hours, pressure points, bringing their trained expert’s eye to assess, contextualise, and predict the passage of play.

Granted, commentary should also be entertaining, but sorry, this won’t cut it.

Of course viewers want fun – the art of filling slow hours is cricket commentary’s joy and genius. But there’s a reason that it’s great to sit around with a bunch of mates and talk shit among yourselves, and boring to sit next to someone else’s bunch of mates while they talk shit among themselves.

An Unquiet History of Pakistani Cricket, by Osman Samiuddin on 81 All Out. A warm and personal history of Pakistani cricket through the eyes of a journalist-turned-fan.

Music Links

Sriman Narayana by Annamacharya, rendered by MS Subbulakshmi. Lyrics in Telugu here
The Scientist by Coldplay

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