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Big B: The Bollywood rapper & the American star

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Sunday, Mar 21, 2010

“This is what change looks like”—President Obama on the passage of the health care bill 2010.
“How y’ah like me now”—Kool Moe Dee on passage of fly lines and breaking beats.
“Phew! Now let’s continuing governing”—The American people as we persevere in lining up with one another, and marching to a steady beat.


Now that “We, the People” can get late breaking news without the big media fixture… we can watch the admin online. “This is what change looks like.” I didn’t know, and I wasn’t sure, so thanks for clearing that one up, Big B. I’m a gen-XYer, which means that I was exposed to plenty of MTV and more than my share of bad governance. Governance was so bad under that mesmerizing era when the late Mr. Jackson was singing “Beat It!” that our leaders actually boasted of out-sourcing the care taking of most public goods. Social inequality expanded exponentially, but on MTV all we saw were those who came out on top; now we call it bling! Big bucks bred big benefits for what was presented as a benign few. Money just grew for anyone who worked hard was what the TV was selling. Now, at least, more folks know that to be untrue, not when public goods like a nation’s health security are compromised. But these are all the facts one misses when these stories are consumed and regurgitated to us by big media. Thanks to the Internet, we can surf the White House’s channel directly. “How y’ah like me now!”


Bollywood’s got their Big B, Mr Amitabh Bachchan himself, a 68-year-old film star that continues to appropriate pop cultures’ latest trends to reproduce his stardom. Bollywood’s Big B and his son each have commercial hip-hop videos—outtakes of sing ‘n’ dance film in full Bollywood array. Then Big B’s son married Bollywood’s fairest maiden. (And fair skin is big bucks in India, hence dames like Big B’s daughter-in-law are necessarily Fair and Lovely like the popular skin-bleaching cream. See the picture here of Big B, Aishwarya and Lil B before the major-event-wedding in 2007, and back when Indian chicks on screen could still boast some flesh—now thin is absolutely IN!) This courtly affair commands the attention of millions, and is its own marketing machine that could sustain that family’s wealth for generations to come even if none of them ever worked again. Until just over a year ago, it felt like America only had those sorts of stars—that kind of Bollywood Big B—the wealth alliances and fantasies sold to the masses of poor, one rupee at a time. But, apparently I was blind, because now I see watershed decisions made by those elected to govern. Like crack to a fiend, or like dark chocolate to me, Sunday, March 21st, 2010 feels like Tony Toni Toné: It feels good, yeah. It feeeeeels good!”


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