Sunday, June 10, 2018

Even a little dabbling in a field gets you a title to flaunt around for life, at least on Wikipedia - but did you really earn it, and did you really deserve it

Two examples here. Is it right to call Priyanka Chopra a singer? It is not. She isn't a singer. No way. Just because she has "sung" a few songs doesn't mean that she deserves the coveted title of a "singer". You earn this title. You shouldn't be awarded this title just for quickly assembling a song by hiding your own voice behind modern technological features such as autotune [or Auto-Tune], by resorting to nudity/sexualization [she starts to pour this right in the first five seconds] and other distractions or "riders" in order to shift the main focus of the song from its melody/tune towards its racy visuals, by selling yourself to a top star so that you can convince him to participate in your song in order to give credibility to the song which you alone cannot [but after his massive contribution you still get to collect and flaunt the undeserved title of a "singer"], and by making a song such that only a small proportion of its length is comprised of your voice while much of it is simply instrumentals or the voice of that top star whom you desperately rented by selling yourself.

Let's look at these two sentences.

"Priyanka Chopra... is an Indian actress, singer, film producer, philanthropist, and the..." [link]

"Udit Narayan... is an Indian playback singer... of Nepalese descent..." [link]

Both these sentences use the same word - singer. But is the so-called singing of Priyanka Chopra comparable to the lifetime singing career of Udit Narayan? Not at all. The way the words have been used imply an equivalence - but this is anything but equivalence. If both Udit Narayan and Priyanka Chopra are singers, and the latter is also an actress, a film producer and a philanthropist, then she must be a sort of polymath, right? Not at all. At least this title - singer - has been given to her but neither does she deserve it, nor has she earned it.

This actually also highlights two major issues with Wikipedia itself:

  1. As far as Wikipedia's perspective is concerned, it doesn't have any perspective of its own. Whatever is published elsewhere is Wikipedia's perspective, with two noteworthy points. The first being that Wikipedia uses this extremely vague term called "reliable sources", from which facts/information can and should be picked. But what's credible/reliable for one person might be propaganda for others [think of The New York Times knowingly spreading anti-Iraq and anti-Saddam propaganda in 2002 and 2003 in order to prepare the world opinion for an American invasion of Iraq]. The second being that the "volunteers" who write and edit Wikipedia - their personal biases and opinions can never be separated from them and these will definitely percolate into what gets written on Wikipedia.
    1. In the case of Priyanka Chopra, if news media outlets call her a singer, then Wikipedia will automatically start to call her a singer. It doesn't matter what the "real truth" is. Whatever is reported is automatically "the truth". This is kind of like according to Wikipedia, Crimea was annexed by Russia - because the entire Western news media said so and continues to repeat so on a daily basis. Wikipedia doesn't have any judgment or morality or perspective of its own. It'll never raise the fundamental question of whether the secession of Crimea was really an "annexation", especially considering the pro-secession results of the referendum held there and even the subsequent confirmation of these results as correct by West's own polling in Crimea?
  2. There isn't a proper way on Wikipedia - or more broadly in the English language - to differentiate between different "levels" of a title. A random, low-level newbie singer is also a singer. And a legend like Mohammed Rafi is also simply a singer.