Aroon Purie Likes Slate A Little Too Much

October 14, 2010 2:20 pm by

The evidence.

Slate writer Grady Hendrix’s hilarious article on South Indian superstar Rajinikanth has been doing the rounds of email inboxes since it was published on September 27. And while many have found its turn of phrase (Rajinikanth is described as the spawn of “a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake”) funny, some seemed to have enjoyed it a bit too much. Kerala-based media watchdog, CounterMedia, has discovered that India Today editor Aroon Purie lifted the first two paragraphs from Hendrix’s article for his editorial on the actor in the October 18 issue (there are two editions of the issue; this appeared in the one with the Robot cover story).

Here is the opening para of Hendrix’s piece, titled “Superstar Rajinikanth”:

Jackie Chan is the highest-paid actor in Asia, and that makes sense. Besides producing, directing, and starring in his own action movies since 1980, he’s earned millions in Hollywood with blockbusters like Rush Hour and The Karate Kid. But the No. 2 spot goes to someone who doesn’t make any sense at all. The second-highest-paid actor in Asia is a balding, middle-aged man with a paunch, hailing from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and sporting the kind of moustache that went out of style in 1986. This is Rajinikanth, and he is no mere actor—he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth. Or, as his films are contractually obligated to credit him, “SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth!

Now, here’s the opening para of Poorie’s editorial:

Jackie Chan is the highest-paid actor in Asia, and that makes sense. Besides producing, directing, and starring in his own action movies since 1980, he’s earned millions in Hollywood with blockbusters like Rush Hour and The Karate Kid. But the No. 2 spot goes to someone who doesn’t make any sense at all. The second-highest-paid actor in Asia is a balding, middle-aged man with a paunch, hailing from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and sporting the kind of moustache that went out of style in 1986. This is Rajinikanth, and he is no mere actor—he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth. Or, as his films are contractually obligated to credit him, “Superstar Rajinikanth!

On the plus side, India Today did take the trouble to write “Superstar” in lower case versus the all-capped version in the Slate story. While CounterMedia says it’s common for the opening editorial to be ghost-written or penned by senior editors, blogs have been atwitter that this could be a cruel joke, played on Purie by his editorial staff. Which is possible considering this is probably Purie’s last editorial before MJ Akbar takes over (who’s already mentioned in the masthead as “editorial director”). So either this was the world’s worst send-off/welcome or one giant bitch slap from a bitter staff.

So far no comment from Purie’s camp. It doesn’t help that other writers have emerged from the fray with similar accusations of India Today‘s borrowing policy. Read more here.