Posts Tagged ‘Al Gore’

Nobel diplomas and peace Nobel lectures

December 11, 2007

Here are the peace Nobel lectures:

While you are at it, you can also take a look at the Nobel prize diplomas.

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Raj on Gurus

October 13, 2007

Here is the news report in the Hindu on how Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri reacted to the shared Nobel prize:

We congratulated each other,” Pachauri, who has a trade mark beard, said, adding that “Gore told him “we must work together.we should meet as soon as possible.”

“This is Pachy. I am so delighted and so privileged to have the IPCC share with you…. I will be your follower and you will be my leader,”” Pachauri told Bill Clinton’s former Vice President.

I do not know how many of you found it jarring — to me at least, it was; while one is talking about working together, the other is talking about following the leader; and, more importantly, the one who is supposed to be following is a scientist while the one who wants to work together is an informed publicist. [And, by the way, what’s up with “the trademark beard”, anyway?]

Raj and Plus Ultra, taking recourse to some concepts developed by T G Vaidyanathan, explains the anomaly and the attitude:

In fact, to be Indian means to respect authority — all the way down the line. Indians who have flocked to cities since the 50s and the 60s, have suffered disorientation that has created an unprecedented existential dilemma. Most Indians can deal with this crisis and bolster their weakened, wounded identity only by taking recourse to surrogate or suprapersonal figures that serve as modern gurus, of whom the perfect exemplar is the Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi.

It is not surprising, concluded Vaidyanthan, that for many Indians insecurity is nearly always a consequence of the withdrawal of external authority but never of its presence.

So, if even in his most glorious moment, Pachauri instinctively seeks a leader, let us not be judgmental. After all, he is an Indian first and a scientist next. He could not have escaped the clutches of the guru-sishya paradigm.

A very fine piece, and a must-read.

However, one important aspect (in my opinion) that Raj forgets to mention is that Indians respect authority only when it is not abstract (for example, Indian respect for authority does not mean that they obey laws without somebody overseeing them — as five minutes of observation at any traffic signal would show you), sanctified (as the Sai Baba example that Raj quotes), and/or materially beneficial as in patron-client relationships (as many Indian hierarchical systems show — be it bureaucracy, politics, or village life).

The Nobel Peace Prize 2007

October 12, 2007

Has been awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr,

for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.

Update: Chad at uncertain principles goes the Onion way with the Al Gore news!

“The President feels that at this time, it’s too early to say for sure whether Al Gore has won the Peace prize,” said White House spokesman Scott Stencil. “The science is just not conclusive yet. The President feels that more study is needed before we agree that this honor has been conferred to the former Vice President.”

When reporters pointed out that the announcement had been posted on the official Nobel Prize web site, Stencil raised the possibility of malicious computer hackers. “We have solid intelligence that indicates that pedophile computer hackers affiliated with Al Qaeda were planning to attack the Nobel Prize site. We think this ‘announcement’ might be the work of Islamofascist tree-huggers, and encourage all American citizens to run back to bed and cower under the covers until we determine the truth.” Stencil refused to identify the source of this intelligence, citing national security concerns.

The White House plans to call an international summit in early 2008, involving representatives of major oil-producing countries, to determine the real winner of the Nobel Prize. “We should be able to establish a clear consensus on the true winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize by no later than October of 2015,” Stencil said. “We ask that people be patient.”

The announcement was the latest in a series of decisions that critics say indicate that the President is becoming increasingly disconnected from reality. These include his refusal to acknowledge the retirement of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, an insistence that Will and Rebecca are still contestants on ‘Beauty and the Geek,’ and pretty much the entire Iraq war.