Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

 

Insulting our Intelligence

There are all kinds of stupid people doing stupid things in all walks of life. In some cases though, being stupid can only be called an occupational hazard. Especially true if you make a living where staying alive is a vital part of your umm… livelihood. Like bank robbers and thieves, for instance.

Sometimes, when going about his business, a criminal may forget how low his IQ is or the fact that his mother dropped him on his head when he was a child. Stupid people can almost always be counted on to do stupid things, like enter into the world of crime that usually dictates that you have your wits about you, at least most times. What happens to these people then, is not very surprising: they get caught. What is funny to us is how these stupid criminals get caught.

Whether they are professional criminals or not, the most common instances of people doing stupid things to get caught, are usually found at the wheel of a car. Anyone who has watched a single episode of Cop Videos will know what I'm talking about. A beat up station wagon or Buick barreling down the highway with 50 police cars on its tail is a common sight on American national TV. With more than 95% of these wannabe evaders being caught, it's a wonder why others would even consider running in the first place. There was one instance where the suspect ran out of fuel, and realizing this, turned into a nearby gas station to fill up. What his chicken brain couldn't comprehend though, was that the police cruisers not 50 feet away on his tail would catch up with him before he even reached the fuel tiller.

How about the bank robber who turned into a police station parking lot, thinking it was a regular parking garage in which he could ditch his car? At least he could plead guilty and say “I turned myself in even though I didn't know it.”

Not all criminals at the wheel have to be outside to do stupid things. An inmate at Tomoka Correctional facility is famous for trying to speed away on a lawnmower when his supervisor's head was turned the other way. He might have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't the 10 foot tall, solid concrete wall blocking his way to freedom. Then there's the man who stole a Mercedes, only to crash it into a tree 6 feet away. He was also dumb enough to leave behind his wallet, driver's license, and cell phone behind.

It's not always men, though. A male accomplice distracted the shopkeepers while the woman tried to walk off with 30 tubes of toothpaste shoved down her pants, trying to make a “clean” getaway. As police later commented, this case was bizarre because the woman could have tried to steal other smaller, more valuable items (like jewelry) instead of opting for something as mundane as toothpaste. Can't brush her record clean now, can she?

After being on the run for 3 years, how would you like to be caught by what you post on Facebook? While bragging online, a man wanted for bank fraud was stupid enough to give away his location in his Facebook status. He's now facing 30 years behind bars. Good luck on Facebooking from behind bars. Mafia hitman Pasquale Manfredi was snagged by police who tracked his constant Facebook chatting. ABC News reported that Manfredi “logged into his account so often that police were able to trace the signal and find his hideout.” He was charged with murder, among other crimes.

It seems criminals are an idiotic bunch. They are getting smarter though, as a recent study proved. Apparently watching CSI and other cop shows, crooks are gradually getting smarter and covering their tracks more. Get your laughs while you can people, or else you'll be stuck watching moronic shows like Castle to get your fill on criminal behavior.

By Shaer Doesn't Like Phish Sticks Rea


Totally Random Toon

By ER Ronny


Book Review

In Custody

There are quite a few pick-me-ups on an otherwise overcast Pennsylvania afternoon. An email from my biology professor, saying how the afternoon class is cancelled, or perhaps the sudden discovery of my specialty coffee card that will get me my sixteen-ounce spiced pumpkin latte from the café. And sometimes, when shelving books in the basement of the library, the jolt of happiness as my finger grazes the spine of an all too familiar name. Yellowing pages and a woefully unstamped index card aside, I pull out a first edition copy of Anita Desai's In Custody and know that my biology assignment - due all too soon might as well be banished to the Never to Be Completed tray.

There is much to be appreciated about In Custody. On the surface, there are no parallel-narrative-structure-shenanigans going on. Set in India, about a lower middle class man with a wholly unremarkable existence, the premise of this novel is very relatable. A lowly professor of Hindi in a dusty small town grudges every day of his miserable life while his bitter wife harangues him and his son regards him from a distance. Deven's life is coloured by the glorious Urdu poetry of yore, an art form that his craft leaves little room to appreciate, and as he grapples desperately to hold on to the last vestiges of a fading beauty his friend Murad throws him a curveball. Go forth and interview the greatest Urdu poet of our modern times, Murad says, and Deven finds himself in a journey of self-exploration and discovery that he did not quite anticipate.

Like Desai's Clear Light of Day, In Custody frames realistic events with a liberal dose of tragic comedy. The dust on the bus railings and the hawking of roadside peddlers, mundane details of city life, are captured in detail. The heat on Deven's skin, as he cradles an audio recorder to his breast and journeys off to interview the elusive Nur, is almost palpable. On the other hand, Desai doesn't refrain from interjecting wholly comical events into an entirely hopeless endeavor. Deven's venture is beset with roadblocks from the start, and as he stumbles from one metaphorical pothole to the next the mild feeling of frustration that was building up at the back of the reader's neck explodes in a flurry of full-out 'Are you serious?' The machinations of the wives of Nur, the unending stream of failed ventures as Deven shuttles his disgruntled assistant and secondhand recording equipment to and from Delhi, and the mewl of disapproval from his wife and his friend Murad coalesce in a resolution that leaves the reader wondering whether the aforementioned journey of self-discovery was even worth it at all.

In Custody is a much lighter read than The Clear Light of Day, though the fact that both novels were nominated for the Man Booker Prize is testament to their depth. Still, if one's in the mood for a road novel that is as much about the journey as the dust-trodden road itself, then In Custody is a good book to take out into the winter light and enjoy.

By Shehtaz Huq


BBLT 5 Launches in Dhaka

With high expectations and 42 excited youngsters, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Centre (BYLC) started its flagship program Building Bridges Through Leadership Training 5(BBLT 5). The participants were chosen in a highly competitive manner from over 811 applicants this year. Of them, 215 were picked for a written exam. From there, 98 participants progressed to the next round for a team-building exercise and a personal interview. Finally, 42 emerged from the rigorous selection process and were chosen for the 5th BBLT program.

The inaugural program of BBLT 5 was held on 4th November, 2010 at The Lake Shore Hotel, Gulshan. After a video documentary detailing various aspects of the program, and hearing past BBLT graduates talk about their successes, the students and their guardians got to know a little bit more about the program. Mr Ejaj Ahmed, founder and president of BYLC talked to the audience about the need for leadership in the country. After another wonderful speech from Mr Ivdad, Director of Youth Leadership at BYLC, Mrs Ellen Goldstein, Country Director of World Bank, gave the audience a few things to think about. Mrs Goldstein stressed on how change has to come from within, and requires a conscious effort from the individual. After that, the Chief Guest of the evening, His Excellency Mr James F. Moriarty, delighted everybody by speaking in Bangla. Through his short but concise speech, he wished the participants well on their journey of self-discovery. Refreshments and an art exhibition followed the inspiring words, with everyone eagerly looking forward to the days ahead.

BYLC is a leadership training institute founded by Harvard University graduate Mr Ejaj Ahmed. Through its signature BBLT program, it seeks to bridge gaps in society by uniting youth from different educational backgrounds and equipping them with leadership and problem-solving skills. The four-month program is funded by the American Embassy and organised by BYLC. After a one-month intensive training program, students get to try out their newly-acquired skills in the community where they will be working closely with each other to solve problems in the area. Here's wishing all the best to the next generation of home-grown leaders, and hoping they have a great journey ahead!

By Tahmida Zaman
Reference: www.bylc.org

 

 

 
 

home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2010 The Daily Star