Interior Design Magazine, a little off

I am sure that there are plenty of us out there that have seen the movie "Zoolander". This is yet another post is in regards to the misconstrued depiction of South Asian culture in the "Pop" world.

We had written about the "Incredible India", events that took place last year in, New York City. The following quote rang in my ears:

'It is a very exciting idea to bring India and the United States closer to each other, and the goals India has to make itself better understood in the US and the goals we have to make us better understood in India,' remarked former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the inaugural event at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts September 23, 2007.

I understand that it is almost expected for movies like "Zoolander", to twist perceptions of cultures for virtue of comedy. It's another thing when a serious design magazine writes about it, as if it is a proper portrayal of facts and fantasy.

This is the article that was published for the image above:

Adventures in Fantasyland
by Judith Davidsen
Interior Design · March 1, 2008

"Where else but in Zoolander, a camp fashion-industry comedy with sets designed by Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, would Hindu deities and Devanagari script cover a skate ramp?"

Firstly the script is not "Devanagari". I would have hoped that Judith Davidson would have done a bit more research and realized that the used, Urdu-Islamic script is distinctively different that the Hindu-Devanagari script that she claims as used. Interior Design, being in New York City, should have opened plenty of outlets for her research. She could have come down from the 17th floor of 360 Park Avenue South, and kept her eyes open for places where the cabbies eat lunch. These places are hard to miss because there are dozens of yellow cabs double parked outside.

They would have been happy to let her know what the script's origin was. A proud South Asian is always ready to give some insight on their cultures. The best part is that she wouldn't have had to pay a dime. She may have even discovered that the "chai" was 25% the cost of Starbucks and tastes a lot better.

As a Hindu I would hope that I could recognize the deity that she is writing about, but can not. Probably because it isn't one? I guess any jeweled adorned woman is a Goddess, in the Western World, but reality suggests that Judith failed to do her research again. Doesn't Judith have a South Asian friend?

Judith in the future, we at Chor Bazaar will be willing to assist you to the best of our abilities, should you ever write about South Asian culture again. Henry Kissenger's quote is brilliant and true. There is a need for cross cultural understanding and there are plenty of willing South Asians to ease the confusion.

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stephen said...

i was the one who gave her that information.
you know we sometimes just cut and paste, mix it up in america. other countries tend to split hairs over every little difference. hey where can i get a good south indian, like really south indian meal in NY?
like something from trivandrum.

U Shah said...


I don't know if cutting and pasting can be attributed to America. I am not foreign to design or America. Splitting hairs was not my intention. Just ask someone before making a cutting/pasting judgement. Interior Design Magazine should have more class than this. This holds for any culture.

On to South Indian food in NYC:

Thiru Kumar's Dosa cart Address: at the intersection of W.4th St and Sullivan St at the South end of Washington Square Park. He has won a few Vendy awards.

Dosa Hut, Address: 45-63 Bowne Street, Flushing, Queens (near 45 Avenue)It's near the Ganesh Temple. For some reason the best South Indian food is near a Hindu Temple.

Hampton Chutney: One on the Westside and one in Soho. Not made by South Indians, but it is an interesting "fusion" of South Indian and Western. You will never find one of these near a Hindu Temple because they stuff meat in a Dosa.

Good Luck and hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the food tips!
next time i dabble i will
do a double check!
your right - cut and paste is an international trend.
there always is someone near to verify things, especially in new york and for a large publisher!
great site!