Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moon Landing

I'm watching The Dish about the giant radio telescope in Parkes, Australia, that tracked Apollo 11 and received the first TV signals of Armstrong on the moon. It's pretty good so far but there was such a hilariously funny poke at India in the movie that I felt compelled to blog about it in real time.

IMDB didn't have the quote in their database, so here's my paraphrasing of it.
Man: "Over 600 million people are going to watch [the landing] on TV."
Girl: "Are they going to watch in India?"
Dad: "Yes, but they are all going to watch it on one TV."

I have no idea if or why a teenage girl in Australia in the 60's would care about India, and it seems a little suspicious that a joke that is still apt today would have been around then. I've heard other jokes with "only one thing" punch lines but don't know the seminal version.

The joke is still funny now because it is very common to see crowds of people huddled around the occasional TV that we see in shops in Kochi. The TV is invariably an old CRT model, maybe 19 inches, hung up in the corner but sometimes just sitting on a table. There will be either a Malayalam movie or the latest cricket or football match playing.

It always amazes me how a TV is one the first things that poor people in developing countries acquire. They'll live in a hut with not much more than clothes they are wearing, a cooking pot, and a color TV! Sing us out Janice....

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