Friday, August 15, 2008

Sometimes blogging is better

Dear faithful readers,
I know it has been far too long. I have allowed my blog to fast almost to the point of disappearance. But I have decided to come back. I could list all the reasons why this is almost impossible. But I think the email I append below--originally sent to a bunch of friends and colleagues in the art world--will give a good indication of why I'm going to try.

Dear all,

Apologies for the impromptu email, but as embarrassing as it is to write, it is even more embarrassing to live with the thought that any of you who might encounter my bylines in the latest issue of ARTIndia would read what is below thinking that what appears there is my work. They were published after an outrageous and perverse set of editorial revisions, and without my having seen them: whole sentences appear that I didn't write, some of them riddled with grammatical errors that offend me to the core. As someone who spent three long years in academia grading the papers of undergraduates with an increasingly frustrated red pencil, the experience of reading even more egregious offenses with my own name attached to them brought on something akin to one of those war flashbacks you see characters have in movies. More troubling still are the dozens of stylistic changes that render my prose completely, humiliatingly unrecognizable. Of course I wrote immediately to the editors there to register my disgust, but apparently this calumnious episode is beneath their consideration and I have received no response. And so I have written to you, a group of people who have supported and encouraged me, and whose opinions I respect, or who might find themselves wading into these same risky waters. Writers, be warned. It is sad for artists as well; the dearth of decent writing on art in India is something that is more often discussed than addressed. One of my pieces for the magazine this month is a review of Archana Hande's latest webart project to which I devoted a lot of time and attention, knowing that new media rarely features in the public discourse on art in India and feeling that I was helping to change that, in some small way. The resulting piece was so savagely mutilated in the editing process that I wish it would disappear from the earth forever. I would, like the ancient Romans over the ruins of Carthage, plow salt into the earth above its grave so that it would remain forever infertile and stricken with blight, a blank space between the advertisements, a grim reminder to any poor souls passing by. I doubt Archana liked it much either.

Sincerely yours,
Alex

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