Posted in book review

The Orwell Essays

harryjohnstone

Orwell-Essays-1Brian Sewell, who died in 2015, was primarily known as an art historian. Opinionated, snooty and disdainful of popular culture, he became something of an ironic celebrity in his later years. Between 1996 and 2003, he was a columnist for the Evening Standard with a brief to “express opinion on any serious matter that interested me”. The Orwell Essays presents a selection of these articles, on subjects as diverse as Zionism, fox hunting, pornography, bear baiting, homelessness and the Elgin Marbles.

Throughout these essays, Sewell challenges “political correctitude”. On spoken English, for example, he resents the “inverse snobbery” of the idea that “the ugly accents of Liverpool and Birmingham are better than a received pronunciation that reflects the literary form and is intelligible worldwide”. He describes the hypocrisy of “blinkered” MPs who ignore the cruelty of the poultry and livestock industries, but support a ban on hunting as a “politically…

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Posted in suicide, TV series

13 Reasons Why: A Perspective

The new Netflix TV series ‘13 Reasons Why’ has created a storm. After a long time, there is a TV show that talks about the real struggles in the life of adolescents that sometimes wrecks their lives and drives them to take the final step.

The protagonist of the show is a 17-year-old high school girl named Hannah Baker, who has recently committed suicide. Telling the story from the perspective of two people-Hannah Baker and her friend Clay Jenson, the show begins with the news that Hannah Baker has died. Arriving home from school, Clay Jenson is surprised to find a package containing cassette recordings at his doorstep. On hearing them, he realises that they were made by Hannah before her death, detailing the 13 reasons why she took her life. These 13 reasons turn out to be 13 people in her school who had in one way or another, contributed to her suicide. Some had broken her heart, some her spirit and some her soul. What follows after the people involved hear the tapes, and their actions thereafter, forms the crux of the narrative.

The show is groundbreaking in many ways. Not only does it deal with a very important topic, but it does so in a way that makes people really care about Hannah and do everything possible to save her. It is not that we do not care about people, but the main problem is that instead of offering support, most people offer sympathy, which although is required but is not enough in most cases.

So to those reading this blog post, I urge to take a few minutes out and talk to those who are a bit depressed. There are usually some signs that can help you with identifying such people-they offer subtle hints that they need help; or in some cases, you can sense that their primary nature has changed. Reach out to them, talk to them, spend a few moments with them, make them feel wanted. Imagine what would happen if every individual reaches out to another one in need. The suicide and depression statistics would tell an entirely different story.

As I write this post for the first time, I got the news that within a few hours of the announcement of Class 10 and Class 12 results in India, 12 students committed suicide because of low grades, even though one of them had secured a respectable 74%.  Imagine if someone had reached out to them and talked with them. Imagine if someone had told them that grades ultimately do not matter, what matters is that you do your job well and be dedicated to it. The Blue Whale Challenge has picked up steam in the world now. Having already claimed countless lives in the world, it has resulted in the death of 2 children so far in India and the police have saved many children from taking the extreme step. The importance of psychological help has never been stronger.

To those reading this, I urge you again. Help those in need and if you need help, I am one of those you can talk to.