The Mind Hunters

Being recognised as the 4th pillar in any modern democracy, media can play a vital role either to strengthen or weaken it. It has virtually become the most powerful institution of modern times that can make or break any political career, campaign or party and even marriages by floating a single story.

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Modern Dark Ages

We are at a modern dark age.

We are battling against an evasive virus that has been crippling societies all over the world. And there is only one thing this tells us. No society, regardless of status, has prepared for a potential biological war
against new pathogens more than they have prepared for possible territorial disputes. All of us could probably be ready to win a war but no government has made concrete plans to survive a pandemic even
during a new disease’s immunity development period.

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COVID-19: The Next Big Disruption in the CPG Industry?

The onset of COVID-19 has brought numerous developments and challenges for the consumer-packaged goods industry at a global level. The current worldwide pandemic has led the CPG industry into a host of challenges involving an imminent recession, soaring unemployment and layoffs and an all-pervading social distancing which has resulted in mounting anxiety leading to unprecedented and never seen before consumer behaviors. 

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COVID-19: The Aftermath

Over a hundred days have passed since the first reported case of COVID-19 in China which eventually led to WHO’s declaration of a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Considering the initial spread of the virus in China and enormous mobilization by the Chinese government in response, many may have been too naïve to not anticipate a pandemic.

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Kashmir

Locked Down Before the Pandemic: Kashmir Vs. The World

Let’s accept it, the year 2020 didn’t start off well. Seeing our world, “a global interconnected village” fall to a complete lockdown was something no country, international committee or organization could have predicted. Globally, continents, countries and cities are increasingly sealing their borders as a reactive yet precautionary way to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. The only known cure for this pandemic is to practice “Social Distancing” – a recently coined and trending term which has forced our global economy to come to a complete standstill.

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Joker movie

The Jest of Joker: What happens now?

Joker (2019) has made the crowds go wild by grossing over $300 million worldwide so far. The movie has only been out for one weekend and has broken box office records – making it a huge contender for several nominations this year.

The cinemas are filled with curious souls, trying to become a part of the legendary hype, perhaps less because of their genuine interest in the move but more because they want to say “been there, done that”. While Joaquin Phoenix has escalating chances of being bestowed with an Oscar this year and not only being limited to a nomination because of his superb acting, there are probably relatively few who understand the symbolism that his character portrays. Of course, the meaning is open to interpretation.

Joker is the story of a lower class, struggling stand-up comedian, Arthur Fleck, who is struggling with mental health issues including a neurological disorder that causes him to burst out laughing randomly and continue without being able to stop. Although, some viewers may see this just to be a peculiar, or scary addition to the script and associate it with the scary laugh of a clown, this can also be symbolically associated with bullying, belittling, and the way people laugh at others.

People laugh at others continuously without there being a valid reason and find it to be okay or enjoyable. However, no one appreciates it when Arthur randomly bursts out laughing and continues. In fact, it instigates other people into continuously asking him “What’s so funny?” and eventually attacking him. Perhaps it is Todd Philips’ way of mocking society, bullies, and people in general who find it normal to laugh at other people. In essence, Philips may be saying that people who laugh at other people without due cause have a psychological disorder and must see what it looks like on screen.

Fleck, then later dons the guise of Joker and gives everyone “what they fucking deserve.” Without giving too many spoilers to those that haven’t seen the movie, we can simply say that the movie is a representation of how unfairness, bullying, disrespect, and a lack of empathy for those that are struggling can turn someone into a villain. While the main message of the story is true and really needs to be pondered upon by society, unfortunately, the movie may be causing mayhem as well.

Apparently The Telegraph asked Phoenix, (the acclaimed actor who played Arthur) whether he was concerned about the perverse effects that the movie may have on the kind of people it is about – namely involuntarily celibate men who are suffering from mental health disorders and a lack of acceptance from society. Reports suggest that Phoenix got up and walked out of the interview when this question was posed.

Well, Phoenix isn’t the only one walking out- plenty of viewers are walking out of cinemas midway of Joker because they found the content too disturbing. While that is alright, as the movie is not for everyone, there have also been other instances where people felt unsafe in the cinema because of other viewers acting inappropriately or in a very disturbing manner during the movie. There was an instance where one viewer kept loudly clapping whenever Joker murdered someone. While some viewers sharing the cinema with him were disgusted or appalled at the behaviour, others were definitely disturbed thinking that there are people who literally believe that taking revenge from those that have hurt or wronged them by physically assaulting them is applaudable. There have been several other incidents in cinemas which have frightened the audience.

Social media is also full of Joker memes suggesting that the character is a hero and that people should get what they deserve. Teenagers as young as 15-16 are putting up posts about “understanding villains” now. Although, the purpose of the movie is most likely for people to understand why villains become who they are, the main purpose is to PREVENT it by being more empathetic, kind, understanding, accepting, and giving them the help they require.

Unfortunately, it seems that some people are taking it as the movie saying that it is okay to become a villain or a murderer if society has been unkind to you.

The youth, or even adults, most definitely shouldn’t take the message that grabbing a gun and shooting down anyone who has not treated them appropriately is the way to go. Most of the time we should let karma give them “what they fucking deserve” and pulling a gun is never the answer. The grotesque life that the Joker is living is not to be admired, but learnt from. My personal favorite scene in the movie is when Arthur lets his midget co-worker, Gary, go and says, ” I won’t hurt you Gary, you are the only one who was ever nice to me.”

Perhaps instead of idolizing guns, revenge, and such actions, we should idolize kindness and how by being kind, considerate, and caring, we can prevent crime and people from becoming Arthur Fleck- the Joker.

All of us should be like Gary.

Instead, he was probably the most overlooked character in the whole movie as I don’t see a lot of people talking about him. Obviously, negativity sells and people are more intrigued with the Joker rather than his midget co-worker who got away because he was sympathetic and a generally nice person.

There were several nail biting scenes in the movie, some jumps, gasps, and sometimes you may simply want to bury your head in your friend’s shoulder and never look up. The move is for those with a strong heart and a strong stomach. However, I do wish that those watching it also had a strong intellect.

Here’s to Joker, the Oscar that Joaquin will be getting this year, making even better movies in the future, and to a kinder world- the real message Joker was conveying!

Do watch it if you haven’t done so already!

#MeToo negative side effects

The Accidental Negative Side Effects of the #MeToo Movement

It’s been a banner year for the #MeToo movement, with a now staggering list of men in power facing sexual assault and rape allegations. And in May, media mogul Harvey Weinstein turned himself over at last to the police, and social media exploded with the victorious cries of survivors of sexual violence worldwide. It was undoubtedly a huge step in the eyes of the brave people who finally felt safe enough to speak out after years of silent shame. However, there may have been some unfortunate side effects in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement’s success, despite its excellent intentions. #MeToo was, in part, supposed to break the silence and stigma of sexual violence, and yet it’s possible that for many, it has done the opposite.
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Security theater and terrorism

Security Theater: Safety is But a Feeling

Safety and security is a commodity that is highly valued in society, you’re often surrounded by large groups of strangers, travelling in large numbers in small machines, like aeroplanes, trains and buses. But are the safety measures in place keeping you safe? Or is it just showmanship, better known as security theater?
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Terrorism Terror Organization

Inside Terrorism: The Wealth and Influence of Terror

Terrorism can be a very complicated and controversial topic to discuss as it is merely an umbrella term for many concepts. Concepts ranging from political, financial, to religious causes. Almost all groups who are accused of terrorism deny using terrorism as a military tactic to achieve their goals. There also lacks an international consensus on a legal definition of terrorism. As it is said, ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.’ The sheer diversity of these causes makes it very difficult to recognize and label an organization or group as a ‘terrorist group.’
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Chemical Imbalance Depression Mental Health

Depression and the Myth of Chemical Imbalance

I remember once as a teenager I was very sad for something that I now cannot remember and I asked my mom for a pill of those that the doctors gave her to cure her chronic sadness. She told me: “Oh, my little girl. It is not that easy… If so, I would have been cured for a long time”. My mother was diagnosed with almost every mental illness that was trendy in the 80s and 90s. She knew by that time, the late 90s, that medication was not exactly the cure for depression or the often claimed chemical imbalance of the brain.
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