Eddie Stern takes ‘The Economist’ to task over India article

In a bit of a break from our Ashtanga-focused posts here and, more importantly, among the Confluence teachers, Eddie Stern’s latest blog post picks up a controversy over an article in The Economist magazine.

Here’s the link to Stern’s blog, and the opening part:

The Economist ran a bizarrely derogatory article on India and the Kashmir conflict on July 21st. Among the things that jumped out were

1. The subtitle of the article: ‘A Brighter Mood Brings an Opportunity. Expect India to Squander it.’

2. A photo caption below pilgrims that facetiously read: ‘Oh look, a five star military checkpoint’.

Amazingly, that’s not the worst part. You’ll have to head on over to the blog to find out.

(I’ll wait. I just took a lesson on “long tone” vocal warm-up so I’ll do that for a bit.)

OK, back? Surprised by what you read? I hate to say, I’m not.

Now, first, as both Stern and the person from the Hindu American Foundation note, The Economist is a top-flight publication. (There aren’t many left.) But — speaking as a former journalist — I can tell you that not a single journalist I’ve ever known wouldn’t go for the cruder description of the piece of ice. It doesn’t help that it’s also a very short, quick one, which is music to a journalist’s ears.

I’ll also be the downer who says that the campaign HAF has started won’t do much good. “Astroturf” campaigns to the media do little other than annoy, infuriate or humor journalists. And if people aren’t even giving the chance to personalize their letter a bit, it will be all to clear that the (same) letter from a different person is just more of the same.

That said, if you really are upset by The Economist piece, I’d urge you to write the magazine on your own. It’s easy: “To share your thoughts about anything you have read in The Economist or The Economist online, please e-mail letters@economist.com and include your mailing address and a daytime telephone number.”

A handful of original letters will go much further than hundreds of the form one.

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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