Is journalism a social mission? Or, is it an economic activity? They say I am on a social mission. I say I am on a selling job.
What do I sell? I sell newspapers. To inform and educate? No, sir, that is not my job. I entertain. I titillate. And I sell daily the political pitter-patter and the economic blah-blah. What is more, I add spice and salt to my wares?the bedside gossip, the key-hole view. And, of course, the titillations that stir the libido of my readers.
It is said about me that I stood like a pimp at the door of our democracy during the emergency and saw the country raped by arbitrary rule, that I did not raise my little finger in protest against the rapists, that I joined them to seek advantage for myself. But what could I have done if the country had no mind to resist the perversions of the rulers?
But, pray, what were you ?liberals? doing when the orgy was going on?
In a country where only the very scum of the earth feel attracted to politics, what do you think will happen? Do you think that these useless drop-outs of our schools and colleges, and of society in general, who rule over us, will court the country like the troubadours of old singing and pining for her? They would not. They would much rather rape her than seek her consent, for they are an impatient lot?they are in a hurry?and have no interest in a protracted fore-play.
I admit the ?jute press? (as you call us) feeds our people on such fares as ?Pre-marital sex is good?, ?Is corporate ethics relevant in our times?? And to these I add gossip about Bollywood stars, and such titillating trivia, as you allege, to turn the tastes of our readers to that of country curs. Even shit, my friend, eaten over a long time, turns into a delicacy, my shit or your shit makes no difference.
My critics of the Left press say I?m not serious, that I am shallow. I agree. I enjoy life in the shallows with pretty maidens. You take your men to the deep waters, not knowing how to come back alive. This is what happened in Russia.
And, to you, my friends of the nationalist press, I have this to say: once you puffed and huffed with intemperate wind against the ?jute press?, said you have something new to say. But what new things have you said? And have you won more readers? You haven?t. All the new readers are with me.
These are days of ?promotions??of ?Pappu'spappads?, ?Chottu'schutneys?. You can even promote a peanut farmer to the Presidency of the United States. This is the power of the media today. It provides an out-size figure to the pygmies of the world. Send a dog, they say, into space and he will return a celebrity! The Third Page of my paper is full of pygmies and celebrity dogs. They come to me with their wads of notes. How can I resist it? So, tell me, who has corrupted whom?
You remember, we were once close rivals for the pulpit to win the minds of men. You were, of course, far ahead of the priests in chicanery, deception and hypocrisy. Is it not true that your Marxism is the fourth Semitic religion?
I stand with life. I flow with it. Let those with a mission inherit heaven. Let me only inherit the earth.
And why do you forget that I have not brought out my newspaper to sit on the wayside, as you do, to whisk the flies from morn to dusk? I expect quick sales and quick profits.
A newspaper is to me like a real estate. I sell it acre by acre, inch by inch, according to the profitability of each page?highest for the front page, less for the middle pages and dear again for the rear. You say that in the less fertile acrage, for, which there is no great demand, I cultivate poppies to dope the readers. What else? I cannot let my space go fallow.
It is not for me to pry deep into human destiny, into the world'spolitical tumbles or acrobatics, or for the swings and swangs, for the cattle that graze in my narcotic fields are not interested in any of these imponderable things.
I think your experience is not different. Who is interested in the daily buzzing and labours of the editorial dung-beetles of the Left press?
You want independence of the press? What for? To serve the nightsoils of Moscow and Beijing to your readers? Pray, where are the writers and thinkers of our country? If there are any, I am sure, they are busy labouring like Laban in the vineyards of other countries to fetch a bride?to fetch a living.
There, I hit you all hard. Didn'tI? It hurts, gentlemen, when the truth is told.