Constructive feedback please –

Episode 9 has generated some interesting comments and I found these two comments to be the most interesting:

Okay, some feedback on the Podcast (s). Firstly, I like it. The range of topics is wide enough and conversations informative enough as well. Secondly, you guys need to invest in better Audio recording systems. Early podcasts had an issue where Omar could barely be heard and this one has an issue with massive and unacceptable lag which leads to long moments of silence. This leads to listeners fatigue and also increases the podcast needlessly. It is irritating. Though Omar voice issue has improved in recent podcasts the volume intensity of different speakers is still not consistent, some are louder and some less so. This needs to be dealt with. Thirdly, regarding this particular Ep9. content was good listen so no qualms there but man the long “Aaaa” pauses in speech are just too irritating after a while. Razib is a more fluid speaker. Fourth. Zack also needs to go on less redundant windings. He says the same thing multiple times worded differently. It is unnecessary, esp on a platform of Podcasts. Stick to the point and be concise, respect the listening audience to have a certain level of contextual grasp. I hardly doubt you guys are making this podcast to be some sort of educational material for 10-14 year olds. Listeners already have a certain level of grasp, stick to a standard and move on rather than spending minutes on redundant things. You guys seem new to this Podcast game and hence seem to be having above issues. Podcasts is a platform which is very mature now hence the sort of feedback I listed above, these are basic stuff on this medium but I think you can improve overtime, it is just about rounding off the edges because the core(content) is solid so majority of the battle is done anyway. Best of luck. Looking forward for more from you guys.

This chap hasn’t donated to the Patron account (or if he has, hasn’t mentioned that) and spews opinions on the whole podcast. It’s discourteous because we haven’t actually asked for feedback and what gets my goat is unqualified opinions; either invest or shut up.

The amusing thing with Xir Var is that he presumes that we really care as to whether he liked the podcast or not.

This isn’t me being defensive; I dislike the lack of respect by anonymous commentators and I always will. My persona is somewhat public (though it’s rapidly paring back as I grow tired of the phone and online word) and I think it’s unfair to parry with opponents in the dark.

FWIW I had wanted to step out of the podcast with Slapstick because I thought that Razib and SS would have had a much more fruitful conversation but I stayed on simply to make the logistics work.

This was the first comment that I read that pricked my ears and I thought was out of line:

This was my first podcast, as the topic interested me. By the first 3 minutes upon hearing assertions of Vedic originating in BMAC and etymology of Atharvaveda is based on the root Athar = fire in Iranian I was extremely amused. That amusement pulled me through a few more minutes and it ended, when I heard Pashto and Persian are dervied seperately and directly from a proto language. At that point i decided to stop the cast at about 18 minutes in. To be fair to real scholars who have or may come on the podcast in future, you guys might want to seperate the streams into something like BrownPunditWannabe for amateur hobbyists and BrownPunditReal for guys who actually can back up their assertions with something concrete. Also this is nothing personal against slapstick, everyone has their personal views. Just my thoughts.

I understand there is such a thing as jealousy but to attack SS in such a manner was simply unwarranted.
My patience is growing thin and so is my libertarianism (I’m turning into an authoritarian in my old age) and I don’t see the point of such callous disrespect.
Both of these comments could have been couched in much more dignified ways (while retaining the feedback) without coming across as condescending or patronising.
The sad part is that I had wanted to write my post on Collette but instead I’m simply issuing a broader notice as to my moderation style. It’s a grey area, to be fair, but considering that this is an unpaid hobby I don’t expect gratuitous (and anonymous) condescension acceptable anymore. Especially to those of us who take the time and effort to make the blog what it is (I also notice it’s not the regular commentator handles that are falling foul of our standards).
Commentators may presume that they are doing a favour by reading BrownPundits, leaving a comment or hearing a podcast. The numbers are extraordinarily healthy and rising with or without individual commentators and BP has a life of it’s own hence why I’ve toned down the Masalification on my side.
Also finally for what it’s worth I do happily admit that I fluff a fair bit but then I’m kind of “learning on the job” and it’s going to take a few more podcasts for me to get it right and to understand the “rough knowledge” of the listener.
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Admin note- be polite

I’ve been exceptionally busy these days since I’m trying to take Bubble Tap to franchise and it’s a lot of work setting it up.

I don’t want to detract from Omar (Episode 8) and Razib’s excellent podcasts (Episode 7). Of course it would nice to see more of our stakeholders support Razib’s patreon, Episode 9 is on Sanskrit.

However as an aside I found this comment by our resident Morisco to be incredible tactless:

Apologies for pinning this blog’s low standards on you Razib. I found it through your work originally and have gotten progressively more irritated that virtually none of the posts are above grade-level quality (your excellent posts excepted obviously).

The rest of the comment is unabashed Muslim propaganda about how the Arab invasions of the Middle East were actually a blessing (cue eye-roll).
Anyway I will be deleting all of his following comments on this blog until he makes an apology and rescinds his comments. If not I’ll simply ban him.
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The Colored Actors Hiding in the Favourite-

I went to watch “The Favourite” last night, which is getting rave reviews for Olivia Colman’s performance as Queen Anne. Considering that Olivia Colman will soon be playing HM the Queen in the upcoming series of the Crown it seems Ms. Colman is another Helen Mirren in the making.

I’m reading the auto-biography of one of my actors, Sir Nigel Hawthorne CBE. He played King George in the “Madness of King George” and of course Sir Humphrey Appleby in “Yes Minister.” When I read his experiences about being in perpetual penury and having to navigate landlords, it just reinforced how difficult it is to make it in the world of Acting even if you are a privilege white male.

Some of the excerpts on race in the biography are hilarious even though Sir Hawthorne’s views are exceptionally progressive for the time (and this was only written 20years) the milestones are moving so quickly in terms of race, gender and sexual orientation that most language gets dated.

My short thoughts are that even a movie as innocuous as the Favorite, which is ultimately a period piece on Royalty, gives such flavours on the immense upward struggle suffered by BAME (Black-Asian-Minority-Ethnic) actors.

While Emma Stone, as a White American, could plausibly play the lead Abigail Masham and half Jewish Rachel Weisz play Sarah Churchill (ancestress of course to Winston) the best Yorgos Lanthimos could do is “shadow” in 3 coloured actors. There was one Chinese girl in the violin who was in the screen for perhaps 2 seconds, an Indian boy as the help in the Bird Shoot and the final was a Black Server. All of these characters were on screen momentarily as though hinted at but never really featured.

Of course the question about whether colored actors have a place in Period Pieces is a particularly contentious one. However considering that the characters were wearing denim, which certainly wasn’t around in the early 18th century, it seems that either one go for complete authenticity or accept that Creative Licensing encompasses colour and race.

This topic won’t be solved now or in the future however I also wanted to add how Colonialism just makes this a vicious cycle. At the end of the day the only countries with viable and continuous Monarchies happen to in Northern Europe. The Gulf Kingdoms are merely Tribal leaders elevated to Monarchical dignity but nothing really more than that.

Without strength or coherence of a continuous Monarchy most third world countries simply do not have the heritage (or resources) to make compelling Period Pieces that spark the global imagination. The English Monarchy (even the French) resonates in the minds and most people can name at least a handful of monarchs.

In the case of “Independent” nations such as Siam, Afghanistan or Ethiopia; these were glorified buffer states that survived by juggling various European powers. Turkey is probably one of the few countries that somehow managed (through Ataturk) to survive as an independent power (and arguable it’s more European than Asian).

It is not inconceivable that if India had not been subject to foreign influence some sort of Composite Monarchy would have had to emerge (either Mughal or Maratha). The Hindu-Muslim labels certainly existed pre-colonisation and was significant at an elite level but in the early 1700’s (incidentally the time of Queen Anne) it would have been a much more syncretic and fused identity at the common level. It may have been that a Muslim-flavour Hinduism (Muslim Sufis internalised into the pantheon) would have been another sect like the Shaivites and Vaishnaivites.

Of course counter-factuals are always difficult since history is so unpredictable. But it would have been nice to have imagined that maybe in another reality the Favourite would have been about court intrigue in Aurangzeb’s court between his sisters Jahanara and Roshanara.

Some of our Indian friends will of course be outraged that I would use the example of someone so controversial as Aurangzeb. However it is not implausible to also imagine that in a continuous period of Indian Monarchy (whether Mughal or Maratha); Aurangzeb’s perfidy towards Hinduism would not have been the last word but simply treated as a sort of Bloody Mary figure.

At best the Mughals would have been seen as the Plantagenets of India. Instead of coloured actors darting sheepishly in the background in Period Pieces, they would have taken a centre stages since their stories and intrigues would have riveted the world.

If people think I’m being a melancholic Persian then let me ask this:

How many non-Desis cared about Padmavat?

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This Zach is an ass

The implication being that Zach G’s girlfriend is some fresh off the boat immigrant who just can’t wait to watch Bollywood movies simply plays to cultural tropes and Orientalist erotic fantasies..

Anyone who knows India, Indians or Indian women for that would realise just how switched on they are to the discourse.

Especially the sort of girl who would be “Western” enough to have a white boyfriend but Desi that she’s confused by the discourse around her and only interested in Bollywood films. I smell much bullshit here.

She would do better to leave him as soon as possible. I’m sure she can do much better.

I actually liked the micro-aggressive video that Zach G was complaining about. It seems he could learn a thing or two about it and remember when they go micro we go macro 🙂

Be like Pri; here is my favourite couple of 2018

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Mr. & Mrs. Jonas

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This is also amazing:

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No Muslim actors please; we’re Hindu..

I’m shocked that not a single Muslim star features in the shot.

I wrote a long emotional rant, which I deleted; I’m shocked. The cultural genocide of Urdu continues apace when Islam should be the common enemy.

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Why was India richer than Iran or Afghanistan-

Thread:

I don’t have many answers but the Indo-Gangetic plains have certainly fared a lot better than the Mesopotamian and Nile River Valley.

It may be that certain civilisation required manmade constructs and when depredations occurred; they simply collapsed. It seems that the Indo-Gangetic was ringed with a massive dessert (the Thar desert and Deccan plateau notwithstanding) in the same manner the Nile, Iraq, North Africa or Central Asia were.

Just a few thoughts on what is surely a complex matter..

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MP Tulip Siddiq & her aunt Sheikh Hasina

https://www.channel4.com/news/tulip-siddiq-questions-over-links-with-bangladeshi-ruling-party

This is why I dislike the Labour Party; they constantly make Faustian pacts with ethnic minority candidates.

However after seeing the full video I also feel it’s a hit-piece on MP Siddiq. It’s the perils of rising as a high-flying coloured woman; so many British MPS are so morally compromised that they don’t get the same scrutiny.

So it’s a very delicate mix of stubbornness, racism (so invisible as to not be noticed) and the need to “template” Bangladesh in a certain way.

I was speaking to a Bangladeshi friend of mine, who’s an Awami supporter. He would prefer a healthy opposition but Bangladesh’s economy seems to be glowing and people are happy.

He also mentioned that Bangladesh’s exports are higher than Pakistan’s now and that it’s doing better in many metrics; he couldn’t believe it until he heard Imran Khan say so himself.

So in many ways I feel that even though Sheikh Hasina is morally compromising herself, if she is able to rouse a sluggish Bengal tiger into full strengthen well then she mustn’t be so bad. Maybe Pakistan can do with a Sheikh Hasina, which ironically it may have had it the 1970 election had proceeded and her father had won it. We may have had alternating governments between a West & East Pakistan..

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Irano-Scythian Origins of the Pallavas

In an example of art imitating life; I was in Mahabalipuram last week reading up on the Persian origins of the Pallavas and then somehow there was a thread about it here on BP.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/The-Pallavas-and-the-Pahlavas/article15376550.ece/amp/

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=92zsCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=pallava+iranian&source=bl&ots=Zi67DOl_c9&sig=FQhjHCOl4d7N00KKv6JJkH4sdwM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjGg9G3ydvfAhXV5-AKHbOUAXYQ6AEwGXoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=pallava%20iranian&f=false

The article I was actually reading (note it’s hideously jingoistic and downright offensive at times):

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/iranian.com/2003/05/14/indias-parthian-colony/amp/

Our South Indian podcast sort of fell through after the lead guest flaked out at the last minute (rather annoying in light that he insisted that we have a Dravidian focus).

We’ll probably now do a more general linguistics-genetics podcast and take it from there.

Ever since I got back from Chennai I’ve been ruminating on the “deep Hinduism”‘of the south. I have a few thoughts on it but it’s difficult to express them succinctly..

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South Indian Languages podcast

We are hoping to record a podcast on this important topic this weekend. Please share any questions you may have in the comment thread.

Of course we won’t be limiting ourselves to this topic but it was the request of our guest commentator, who is looking to correct the “North India” bias in our discourse.

It is not lost on me that apart from our Bang-Pak commentariat, virtually all of our regular commentators either are South Indian or based in South India.

It seems Aryavarta has boycotted BP?

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Marathas, Mauryas & Moghul

The comments thread talked about the education history of Indian school kids. This is LV’s atlas book that I came across. I found it interesting that India went from Moghul to Maratha to Independence. If only it were so 🙂

On an unrelated topic I have noticed why Desis and third worlders (partially) obsess over skin colour to the extent that we do. People in the third world (generally) have bad complexions in comparison to the West. The skin clarity is poor because of grooming & pollution. So fairness creams are a “hack”‘ to simply improve the “quality” (transparency) of the skin. Also the unfortunate fact remains that colour is correlated with caste & class.

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