Had he lived, my friend and ally Jalal Alamgir would have been 43 today. Instead of mourning in his tragic and untimely death, let us celebrate his life, and vow to continue his work for a progressive, democratic Bangladesh.
Over the fold is an article I wrote for an Open Democracy special commemorating Jalal.
All About Eve, the Oscar-winner in 1950, is a drama set in the black-and-white era Broadway. It shows how the seemingly innocent Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) connives, deceives and manipulates people and event to eclipse the ageing star Margo Channing (Bette Davis). In her quest, Eve is initially assisted by the theatre critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders). But before long, DeWitt makes it clear who calls the shot. Let me outsource to wiki to describe how the movie ends:
After the awards ceremony, Eve hands her award to Addison, skips a party in her honor, and returns home alone, where she encounters a young fan—a high-school girl—who has slipped into her apartment and fallen asleep. The young girl professes her adoration and begins at once to insinuate herself into Eve’s life, offering to pack Eve’s trunk for Hollywood and being accepted. “Phoebe” (Barbara Bates), as she calls herself, answers the door to find Addison returning with Eve’s award. In a revealing moment, the young girl flirts daringly with the older man. Addison hands over the award to Phoebe and leaves without entering. Phoebe then lies to Eve, telling her it was only a cab driver who dropped off the award. While Eve rests in the other room, Phoebe dons Eve’s elegant costume robe and poses in front of a multi-paned mirror, holding the award as if it were a crown. The mirrors transform Phoebe into multiple images of herself, and she bows regally, as if accepting the award to thunderous applause, while triumphant music plays.
You see, whether it is Margo or Eve or Phoebe — it’s Addison who makes or breaks the star. The question is, what makes Addison tick?
And more generally, what motivates the media?