Sunday, November 27, 2005

Is Mysore representative of India?

For those of you who don't know Dave Barry, here's a quick introduction. Dave's blog is light fun to read, with topics like terrorist squirrels, exploding animals, toilet malfunctions and other minor mishaps which somehow seem saner than most events in world politics.

But I digress. The topic of this post is that Dave has unofficially adopted the Star of Mysore as the representative Indian publication, and blogs about several news items reported therein. Most of these news items cause some bemusement not only to Americans, but also to Floridans; stories about illegal floors being demolished, stories about people named Snake Shyam catching sleeping pythons, and stories about the sale of cow urine in Madhya Pradesh. Not to mention the name "Mysore" in English.

This gives me a fun idea. Go ahead, try it out.

1. Pick a country. It should be as different from yours as possible, and you should also be willing to welcome whatever new you learn about it.

2. Pick a city or town in that country. Look at a map if necessary. Ideally, the town should not be big or famous enough to come to your mind immediately when you think of the country.

3. Find a local newspaper or other MSM outlet based in that town. Don't pick a newspaper which is circulated through the entire country. Pick something that has more news reports than analyses and editorials. Don't pick a special-topic forum or a blog for this exercise.

4. Add that newspaper's website to your bookmarks, and read the headlines regularly for 2 weeks. Blog about anything interesting, funny or new that you find.

Finally, compare whether you leraned more about the country than what you knew earlier. If you had any stereotypes, were they reinforced or were they dispelled?

For my part, I'm picking Coast Week, published from Mombasa, Kenya.

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