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“Thank you very much for supporting my views on Yoga. Through which link, I can’t recall, but I did come in contact of a very nice blog of yours. Simplicity, lucidity and emotional approach are the attractive elements of your poetry.” These were my words in my reply comment on my blog page My Interview to the commentator, Mohtarama Rabab Maher, a British-Palestinian poetess, presently residing in Doha, Qatar. I have great pleasure to express my exposition of her poem, A Publicity Whore, published on her Blog *(‘BoBi’z Breathings . . .’) here.
Before I advance further, it would be necessary to put the poem under exposition on this page. Without going through it would be like firing in darkness. This article being an online blog publication, I provide the link of the poem only, *‘A Publicity Whore’, with prior permission from the poetess to serve our purpose and maintain the size of the article. It is obvious that in case of publishing my E-Book or P-Book in the future containing this article therein, I will have to include the entire copy of the poem.
This poem is written in an autobiographical style, hence in the first person, where the singular pronoun ‘I’ is used. It is about the ‘Network of Electronic Media’ – as shown by the image of a TV with the words ‘Weapons of Mass Deception’ to symbolize the poem. The poetess herself also says in her reply comment to some commentator that the poem is about a “Network” in little Qatar.
The ‘Network of Electronic Media’ is compared here to a woman of bad character in a metaphorical figure of speech. A hollow publicity is just like an imaginary female ghost (witch) who looks beautiful when facing us; but when she turns her back, she looks fearful with her internal flesh and bones bare and horrific. TV and the web-world are the most effective ‘Weapons of Mass Deception’, which can brainwash spectators sometimes with its presentation of unreliable so-called facts as part of its propaganda. Both print and electronic media are so powerful nowadays that they can mould the public as they wish by fabricating stories and telling lies. A network can do anything it likes with its powerful tools of cameras, satellites, journalists and propaganda techniques. It can also depict a person from Hero to Zero.
The role of the media is mostly negative and that is why the poetess has portrayed it as an evil instrument harmful to mankind in all respects up to the end of the poem. The poem starts with a confession of a network, it being a blood-sucking leech that wants to keep its existence strong and stable at the cost of the prestige and lives of others. It can present and represent even unseen things in such a way as if they are actually there. The media always tries to remain popular, and to achieve that very goal, it will not even hesitate to exploit its people and others. Print or electronic media are far from any ethics and yellow journalism presenting un-researched news unprofessionally with eye-catching headlines only to increase sales of newspapers or maintain TRP of TV programs or channels to get more and more revenue through commercial ads. Like a whore, the media will do pretty much anything, degrading itself to entice viewers or Readers. The poetess marks such negative tendency of the network, ‘But the facts I keep securely obscured from you’.
The middle part of the poem is sarcastic and/or ironical. Here, we can see the double standards of the media or network. Let us go through this stanza, ‘I fiercely claim I fight and speak up for the truth / Whilst my treatment of my workers is rather uncouth’. On the one hand, the network aggressively claims that it fights and speaks up for truth, but its behaviour towards its own employees is rough and uncultured. We are shocked when we learn that the employees of the network (media) sometimes sacrifice their lives to report against gangsters and enemies of society and humanity, and the authorities of the network do not pay due respects to them. They should be praised, but instead, their names are immediately forgotten and buried with the dead common people as if they never existed in this world. The network applies its polished lip service to introduce its deceased as martyrs just to fool the public (even if they are worthy of such a title). They have no true regards towards their martyrdom, but to show its outward and artificial sympathy, they associate their names with its news broadcasting studios. These poor fellows are remembered on their death anniversaries just as a formality to win the favour of the people and to keep the opponents away.
In the concluding part of the poem, the poetess has successfully unveiled the network’s original face besmeared with cunningness and roguery. The network is always very smart in dealing with the public with its trickery. The eyes and ears of the public are under the control of the network. It can very cleverly hide its own low “character” and cowardice by hook or crook. It can break the morale of powerful personalities for fear they may damage its reputation. The climax of the network’s negativism is expressed in its extremely exposed words, ‘…I am a publicity whore / I only please you with frivolity (childish gestures) and nothing more’. I cannot restrict myself by not mentioning a line from a poem from the Shakespearean play, As You Like It, ‘All the world’s a stage’, just to correlate it with the last stanza of our poem, ‘When I am in the spotlight, I smile to gain that publicity / And behind the shadow of that light, I just care about me’. Here, the poetess succeeds in her aim to expose the true colour(s) of the network, its inner being. When the network is under the spotlight, as on a theatrical stage, it displays pleasure and smiles with great joy; but, as soon as it finds itself behind the shadow of that spotlight, it becomes very conscious and worries about regaining its popularity.
Summing up, I have to say that I have read the above poem under exposition again and again just to feel the feelings the poetess would have felt during its creation. It is the principal principle when criticising poetry that the critic experiences the overall impression and concept of the poem and then go for a summarized text to submit natural expressions of the feelings of the poet or poetess. I have tried my level best to understand the poem before starting to write its exposition. I hope that any veracity or difference of opinion in my interpretation of the poem will be excused if it is otherwise understood by the poetess herself or anybody else.
Note : It seems that the Author has deleted the site – ‘BoBi’z Breathings . . .’.
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