Pattabhi Jois in The Economist

June 4th, 2009

The Economist, of all publications, ran an obituary on recently passed Ashtanga master and beloved Guru to many an Eastern and Western Yogi. While much of the copy presents a nice story of his personal journey I suspect the subtle undertone of disdain at hippies and organic kale or the rhetoric used to conclude the piece will generate a comment or two. It is the Economist, after all,at least they welcome our views. Check it out here.

3 Responses to “Pattabhi Jois in The Economist”

  1. Andreas says:

    No “undertone of disdain” at all, actually, neither subtle nor unsubtle. I know because I’m the author of the article. It’s our brand of cheeky humor, lest we take anything too seriously. Incidentally, if I was caricaturing “hippies” it’s because I was one (ie, an Ashtangi) for many years.

    In case you’re interested, there was quite a bit of back an forth between my editor and me on this, and if you want to follow the different version, I blogged about the process here.

  2. Jen says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes process on your piece. After a quite gratifying read of all three versions and some posts on your blog I realize that I have been critical and Patanjali forbid, even judgmental.

    I humbly admit I am not a regular reader of The Economist so may have misunderstood the cheeky humor.

    Maybe my previously perceived disdain, I can now read as the author being self ironic?

    If so that is a tad ironic to me since self irony is something I learned from my boyfriend who is a regular reader of The Economist.

    Thank you for expanding my awareness and understanding!


    p.s. Do you think all Ashtangi are hippies? Is it a side effect of the practice? Maybe that is why Jois stopped practicing!

  3. Andreas says:

    That irony thang is an acquired taste, Jen. At The Economist, we are sometimes even ironic about being ironic. ;)

    In this post, I quote a colleague of mine coining the perfect term for the opposite tone of voice: “earnest and gushing”. But I also define irony as “the non-aggressive savoring of contradictions in life and people (others and yourself) and of turns of phrase that are slightly and adroitly off-key and thus meaningfully surprising.” So irony is really quite compatible with yoga. Or so I find.

    The hippie thing was just something to get a rise out of some readers. No, most of us are not hippies. But we’re all a bit eccentric, don’t you think? I mean, just look at how I write. But that (eccentricity) is something to celebrate.

    Good to make your virtual acquaintance, and I’ll make time to browse your blog a bit.

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