Tilt Republic. Johannesburg. New York. Cape Town. London.

a summary

There are all sorts of problems with nearly everything. I remember drunkardly walking out of one of those Saturday markets that sell everything you don’t need at prices only people who don’t need things can afford. Babbling incoherently about the dangers of sex to another comedian I once heard discredit god and existence through a hole that wasn’t his mouth.


“Then when it was our turn everything changed, DON’T FUCK ANYONE OR YOU’LL DIE! Nevermind, here comes MC Hammer.” -Dylan Moran

A man in a beard overheard me and agreed. He was old, possibly bitter and also white. Too many warning signals to not be suspicious. We moved on, eyeing the fucker knowingly. Apartheid nostalgia? Couldn’t be sure. Still, when the revolution comes he’ll be the first with his back against the wall. Poor fucker, probably doesn’t even see it coming.

Problems are one of existence’s key features. From unnecessary smells and people who chew with their mouths open to murder and people who chew with their mouths open and cat piss. Where ever you are there’s sure to be some or other minor or spectacular malfunction making itself known. Proud fuckers, these defects.

This is just something I’ve learnt to make my peace with, and by making peace I mean complain bitterly. My god, what a blessing overt protestations of displeasure are, to whine and moan and carp and grumble…bliss. The great middle class boil in my soul. Too green to lance, green as in rotten, not under ripe. The puss has made its way down my arteries and into heart and brain. I can tell, because every year I get another year older I hold a memorial service for failed aspirations. Without fail this happens, the getting older part too.

Our political system and its commentary are too often held hostage by extremes,wordy academies on the one side with racially charged militant pigs on the other. The great stand off between unpaid economic hostages of apartheid and anonymous vierkleur naaier bloggers and commentators. I see yellow. Should have lanced that fucker when I had the chance.

And sure, there are many good ones amidst the sludge, but it takes effort to find them. I rejoice whenever a new one turns the corner, my mind’s eye brightens. A “mind rise”, once described by an art lecturer who only wore black and only drank spritzers.

There’s a similarity between the individuals on my A list. They’re constitutionally soluble, sufficiently front footed, yet not too pushy and normally rather charming, or at the very least funny. Without humour this grand political debate turns tedious fast. Laughter fixes everything. Fascists don’t have five minutes. Democracy gave us comedy. Imperialism the cross. Look what that did.

There are always bits of advice wrapped in the great columns, sometimes masquerading as observations and always painted as a preferred state of affairs. It boils down to the pursuit of beautiful ideas and their eager assignment to actuality. From morality to leadership style to economic particulars to existential pursuits and the list goes on. Sometimes people say rude things about Jacob Zuma’s head in their professional unfunny capacity. This isn’t smart. Let the comedians do that.

I just think with all the political fuzziness, ideologies left unexplained or unattended and every other politico’s hand caught fisting the cookie jar, we might do well to distil a maxim that remains applicable across the board.

With one of the largest civil services in the world comes a million departments, committees and portfolios. Each with a very specific mandate. Add to that the fact that we have one of the most tolerant and liberal constitutions in the world, a beauteous feat, yet complicated for the matter at hand. How to fit all of that intent in one sentence?

With a myriad of constitutionally ordained dispositions, political agendas and spiritual leanings to filter before we produce an all encompassing aphorism that resonates with the South African condition, well it could take terribly long. We might as well coin the phrase ‘be nicer’ and get on with the rest of our lives.

Meditative interlude (wank).

I’ve spent some time considering this problem, between the previous paragraph and this one that is. Well I had a shit and insulted squirrels on twitter, but my process has come to an end.

The one phrase, the one bit of advice I think speaks authentically to South Africans without losing any potency is this, “try and be less kak.”

If every opinion blog, op ed, office wall and comment section had this pasted on its masthead, we’d surely see progress as a country. Except for squirrels, those stagnating artificial additions to the animal kingdom deserve whatever’s coming to them.

February 15, 2014 Early Tilt