Wednesday, May 28, 2008


With America’s image amid a phase of seeking much-needed refurbishment on the international front, Hollywood comes to the rescue, using the Cannes Film Festival for the staging of a burnishing session with glitter and vaporous glaze. It appears that while her mind was busy laying claim to friendship with the Dalai Lama, Sharon Stone’s synapses were preoccupied fashioning karmic connections between recent events in Tibet, and the earthquake that just killed almost 70,000 people. For those who have not heard it, "And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?"

Response from China didn’t take long to rattle Internet circuits with angered sentiment apropos the profundity, plus some mild retaliation in the form of film banishment. Reaction from most other corners of the globe was jaw-dropping consternation at yet another very inappropriate statement from a myopic and self-serving corner of the human universe. This, however, isn’t just someone mouthing off a bit of nonsense, which most of us are often prone to do. This is a Hollywood Red Carpet Moment. The world is watching and the more you have to say, the more chances you will have of getting one sound bite recursively ventilated on evening news from New York to Dubai. For some reason when Hollywood speaks, the world listens, and votes, or uses, or eats, or wears, or drives, or thinks, or not. The sound bites from the Red Carpet are not accidental. Good PR is always well orchestrated, and Hollywood delivers some of the best marketing ever devised. Scripts, on the other hand, are not always perfect, and egos are too often built that cannot be controlled as they bask in the adoration of Klieg lights.

Far from Cannes, a country mourns and adjusts to a heartbreaking cataclysm. The earth shuddered, and tens of thousands of parents shed tears for lost children. Children stand, almost bare, staring in anguish at rubble that only days ago was their home, hoping for signs of a Mom or a Dad. A world looks on from a distance in bewildered compassion, and is reminded of nature’s absolute sovereignty. This catastrophe occurred in China, yet we all suffer at the loss of life. This tragic human event, although not a consequence of cosmic retribution, is ours to learn from. Each one will find something to grasp, and we will retain it.


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