Madame Zille will march on Luthuli house next month. First the Commander in Thief shows up at Nkandla wearing that peakless hat he invented, now the DA will toyi toyi outside the ANC hq. With all this demand I think it’s time to start a rubber bullet factory.
I don’t know if I understand marches, specifically as isolated incidents. A committed program of dissent, where a weekly march clogs up a city’s or country’s infrastructure makes sense. A deliberate intent to be heard, where thousands are arrested at a time, buckling a system that relies on cooperation.
But this seems like a kind of once off outing more concerned with being seen than actually effecting change. Like that time-wasting golden parachute wearing coworker who spends half the day on Facebook, but has mastered a focused look on his big stupid face. This is an opportunity to wave at new potential voters on television and not a manifestation of actual concern.
6000 DA supporters taking a day off work to look upset outside Luthuli house is going to do fuck all for job creation. In fact, it’s going to keep our gattas busy baby sitting a bunch of scared white people.
How’s about the 6000 morally indignant caring citizens stay at work that day. Pool their collected earnings, which at R400 each, works out to 2.4 million Rand. Then they can start a trust or a cc or whatever the fuck business pigs do with 2.4 million lying around, and maybe create some jobs themselves.
I won’t be told this act of marching is directly linked to concerns over job creation for the simple fact that it’s creating fuckall jobs. It’s nothing but a pre-election infomercial. It’s time for manifestations of solidarity to be put to better use.
Indifference is the key here, the dangerous thing too, ‘how not giving a shit can fuck everything up’ should be our grand national subtext. Perhaps written on the media magnet that is number one’s scrote sack, which is a national symbol for obvious reasons, us bastards.
It does fuck everything up, completely, we need to understand that collectively individually first, sure, but together we’d fix the fuck out of shit.
Yes we would, there’s no denying that, everyone feels it, some grand bundled together gesture against the shitness, but there’s that media drive I need to plug into. Hours of world class distraction far more soothing than actually helping anyone, what am I, some kind of hero? I want something delicious.
How to properly deal with indifference, I don’t know, I don’t think we could just talk about it. A kind of group therapy wankfest where yet more nothing gets accompanied by the guilt released by confession. A leveler, to straighten out the overly emotional consumer.
It’s the source of much personal relaxation, my indifference accompanies me on every orgiastic excursion, a kind of helper. My favourite vice. Why bugger it with crises?
Yet we must give a shit, that’s the key, that’s what the missing ingredient is, if we somehow allowed ourselves to act as if we cared then change would occur. But wait, no one does, so what’s the point. This sounds like martyr territory.
Give some fucking change to the poor, help them out, or empower some people properly every now and then, is that where the difference lies? Each one employ one? Decaf latte please.
But we won’t do that, justified in our own tiredness, having slogged at the wheel for so long. The trenches, the mines, the 9 to 5er noise that clogs up empathy. My best excuse at the very least, being tired sucks.
Could there be empathy and a life filled with responsibility and routine and strange obsessions? Perhaps.
I want to document this general decline in humanity, or perhaps fulfillment. It wouldn’t be difficult, the occasional personal diary entry would do. Cue self loathing.
So good at disguising it too, this filth has some seriously sophisticated defense mechanisms. Hear the tone of the term ‘bleeding heart liberal’ when it’s said. This club so fiendish and secret it’s members don’t even know they’re in it. Heavy times for the human race lie ahead, surely. Every good intention turned into an event, with podiums and cameras and applause, pre-ordered. Anticipate the back slap, in three, two, one… aaah, the satisfaction of giving.
This idea that our liberators aren’t after true liberation, but rather the very luxuries they’re not, or weren’t, privy to. That’s the heinous haunting flip side, this uncertainty of intent, some very dangerous ground for hope to tread on.
That the ideology of liberation was the best tool for the job, the job of getting paid, no one should doubt, but what happens to those still fucked? Now that the middle class is demographically levelling, do the poor stay fucked? It seems like no one of consequence is asking. Sweet excess is, like it always has been, the point of the exercise. Once gained, agendas change. Their core that is, veneers shouldn’t, that’s just bad PR, 101 shit. Lie, go ahead, everyone does.
Those banging on the loudest about nationalization and land reform seem to be doing so because it’s there only revenue stream. The chauffeured pinko rhetoric, these unionised pyramid schemes and all the while we’re matching action with ideals. Sizing up receipts, pointing fingers and feeling our way to some heavy realities: money talks, fuck the poor.
[My hazy memory and the inconsistency of my notes effected this article immensely, I must remember to make more audio recordings.]
There’s a kind of traveling that makes traveling all the more worth it. My twisted comrade, Brendan Murray (name not changed on account of indifference), coined the apt tag, ‘burn it down weekend’.
I don’t know when chaos and self-destruction became so charming, but I do know it isn’t going anywhere soon. Having spent most of my life in Cape Town I’ve grown accustomed to tourists shredding their way through public spaces. asymmetrical sun burnt strangelings laughing madly in areas meant for transmuting & other gray activity. Watching these fucked visitors, normally around 30, with their toxic state of social decorum and willingness to drink, smoke and frobnicate just about anywhere has taught me much about the human condition, mostly that we’re bored.
The Orwellin idea (put beautifully to music by Yorke) that eventually 2 + 2 will equal 5 is a threat than spans further than political propaganda. We tell ourselves all sorts of things to keep our industrious selves going. Churning out work needs a thorough grip of discipline which needs a Goebbels like grasp of intra-personal propaganda. The alarm clock, the exercise, the diet, the meetings, the concerted effort to produce. These are wonderful pastimes, but smack in the middle of holiday season the crutches of necessity fall away. That steam needs to escape and there’s no telling my generation how to blow that off.
If we have one defining characteristic it’s knowing how.
Of course burning it down where you live is a terrible idea. Negotiating your favourite coffee shops from the tail end of a binge has too many social repercussions. You’ll eventually pressurize your neighbourhood into all kinds of knee jerk anti social outbursts.
There’s no need to have a wild-eyed chat in a lift doorway about the reason you’re bleeding from one unshod foot with someone you share the grind with. These are meant for export.
I don’t prescribe it for everyone, we can’t all be so grotesquely obsessed with civilization’s underbelly, but I have yet to find an adventure equal to taking a running jump off the edge of altered consciousness. Personally, I blame the innate drabness of the nineties for my chemical threshold.
Many speak of travel as a great exercise in mind expansion and perspective gathering, I agree, but different configurations of foliage and cuisine have nothing to do with it.
It was a Thursday afternoon, I was sitting on the balcony of the Ethiopian restaurant on Jeppe street, inner city Jozi, overlooking the swirling street filled with every kind of not white citizen our boundaries have in them. It’s one of my favourite places, everything my home town isn’t, untainted by pale neurosis, just beautiful. Drinking espresso, chewing through Calland’s masterpiece The Zuma Years, a heavy document diagnosing South Africa’s power structures. A must read if that’s your thing.
I remember feeling the weight of untangling our grand national narrative in an unpleasant way. Sometimes life feels wrong no matter how right you’re behaving. It’s the strange way a psyche bent on work reacts when its had enough. Staring longingly into my phone I decipher its potential for solving my existential crises. I put it back down. That strange thing we do often, look at the phone for answers, I’ve seen many do it, glued with an ever ready swipe finger, negotiating the mystery of our own voids. Suckers.
Looking at my notebook I rewrote a quote from memory, “get busy living or get busy dying,” good advice to the stagnating. This time I picked up my phone with gusto, dialed Brendan Murray and inquired his where abouts.
“Durban bru, have to attend a wedding.” With no hesitation I invited myself and set off. A bus would do, it would give me time for heavy reading and note making on the state of the nation, a proper prelude to a weekend spent warped by every chemical we could get our hands on.
A proper primer for the serious thinking that the endless brain spasm of drug induced psychosis bestows is paramount. There’s nothing quite as tiresome as an empty head that’s expanded.
Sure it’s a painfully unoriginal salute to the dearly departed Doctor, but an honest heartfelt one. I have season tickets, it’s one of my favourite rides.
I carefully arranged my agenda in haiku form, being a sucker for concept and meaningful action, leave nothing to chance or apathy:
time for a bus trip
durban a new encounter
drug drugs drugs
A quick inventory reassured me of my preparedness. Notebook, pen, book, cash, the raw materials for documenting a first class downward coastal spiral.
Park Station was a trip in itself, a stone’s throw from my 20 square meter inner city caffeine stain, it’s an entwined nerve ending of Africa’s transport system. R220 to Durban or R700 to Malawi, I almost folded.
A short 2 hour wait in an upper deck bar filled with jovial travelling pisscats and I was set for the night long haul to the coast.
“patients experience a feeling of being “out of body” and detached from their environment. “
Should we applaud an official opposition that has only now accepted that employment policy must make considerations for 300 years of colonial oppression? I’m not sure.
Bravo to Mazibuko for wriggling free of the old guards leasch. Tea girl indeed.
It is an interesting tension, which I think may have been kindled by a few sensationalist pens, this old guard versus new. I’ll be certain to keep an eye out for such manifestations.
The weirdness of this debate is the second tier noise it creates. Too racially charged, too much bullshit entitlement and all the rest of it. I tire of the racist bleeting with its thin veneer of disgust at corruption. Where were these masses heaping moral disgust on the fascist enclave that fucked our country into obscurity? Probably braai-ing.
Thuli Mandonsela remains a beaut for a number of reasons. Her constant calm exterior amidst the tumult of her daily grind, which must be a colossal grind. Busting misconduct, excessive expenditure and the all round scallywagging of our country’s most powerful can’t be relaxing. There’s only one real explanation for her consistency, Thuli Mandonsela is the Batman.
The idea that we need a public protector pisses me off from the outset. I think her role is vital and that she’s doing a superb job, but isn’t her role part & parcel of what it means to be a political leader? Our politicians are meant to be public protectors, sure many of them are, but that we have this kind of military police outfit could possibly breed some heinous attitudes towards the whole operation.
I imagine our politicos dodging her like I did my nazi prefects during my school years. Those pimps bred a new found dislike for adhering to proper conduct. It seems so external, this lotus of restraint when it comes to filching our hard spent tax dosh.
That’s a tricksy debate all the same, I can’t blame the prevailing turd like attitudes to responsibility on her office, but I won’t write off this idea that the whole system seems wonky from the outset. The same feeling I get when I see a security guard patrolling the police station. Something’s wrong.
Thuli Mandonsela reminds me a kind of Thomas Sankara (with more paper work and respect for due process). Her fearlessness in the face unpopularity, especially when squaring off with a collective as scary sounding as the security cluster. Top dogs there to ensure el presidente’s safety. After 206 million Rands worth of security upgrades you’d think the compound would be safe from paper work. Besides, we’re not interested in blueprints. We know the place’s dimensions, that part of the report can gladly be blacked out with the words “fucking big” written in the margins. What we want to see are receipts. Detailed breakdowns. Who got paid and where did the cashish come from. That’s the rub, that’s always the rub. The upside of having a neo liberal cesspit in the place of our upper echelon’s sensibility is we know what they want. Money.
Right, so apart from the ridiculousness of wasting money on people who waste money, we can also disregard this silly threat to national security.
Another helplessly strange addition to this saga has to do with why Madonsela exempted Number One from the Nkandlagate naughty list. The argument is that though he benefitted from the shenanigans, he didn’t instigate it. This is a toxic bit of reasoning. Easily side-stepped, even by the profoundly dull. All it takes is a back-handed conversation involving a medical parole get out of jail free card and wham, the system is greased. The other alternative is that there’s a group of sinister corrupt motherfuckers planing tax dosh heists benevolently. As much as I’d like to believe in the intrinsic goodness of freeloading shysters, I can’t.
It’s times like these we need pens like P.J. O’Rourke’s. Though a republican miscreant who I suspect secretly wants to burn homosexuals and atheists alike, his righteous indignation with kak big government spending would rip this situation wide open.
Zapiro’s latest piece depicting our upper echelon filling a small piece of Madiba’s footprint seems so apt. What the fuck are we doing, why’s my president so engrossed by this one-dimensional trinket of a big house? I find it slightly embarrassing. He did so well to drop kick those dirty fascists out of the mix, now he’s being reprimanded nationally for astroturf and a tuckshop.
I live in downtown Jozi, just 45 minutes ago little Mogadishu erupted outside my window. A mugging turned vigilante mob retaliation turned bottle throwing rescue operation by thug cronies. Where’s Doornfontein’s security upgrade? It all boils down to the term ‘public servant’, and last I checked, servants chow last.
It’s an egocentrism that borders on the tyrannical. It is a plague infecting our middle classes. It’s a curse that left unchecked could leave the very fabric of interpersonal amiability tattered in shreds. It must end.
I am of course talking about double parking.
Well, as an example at least. I am referring to those moments in daily life when someone who shares this world with us believes that they have the right to own it. That the shared space which we cohabit is merely an extension of their greater narcissistic world. And the rest of us merely pawns in their game of tomfuckery.
The simple double park. Whoa, Keen, don’t be so bloody angry mate, they’ve just popped into a shop for five minutes.
This rather innocuous sounding activity is anything but that.
Allow me to retort.
Take Kloof Street in Gardens, Cape Town as an example. It is for the most part a highly congested road with a great deal of foot traffic, road maintenance, MyCiti building, and cars occupying the area. It is also home to a Woolies, a Wellness Warehouse and a great many expensive SUV type monstrosities. You know those SUVs that have never seen the great outdoors. The dirtiest the tyres have been is from little Fluffy the poodle’s excrement in the double garage.
Now the demographic at fault should be quite clear at this point.
Let’s call her Tiff. Tiff has just finished Pilates and is in dire need of an organic carrot and spirulina juice. She also doesn’t want to find parking further away from Woolies or Wellness. So she double parks.
Giving Tiff the benefit of the doubt, merely as a obligatory gesture, she thought “I’ll only be five minutes”. I say the benefit, because I care to wager that Tiff has given absolutely no regard to others that will be inconvenienced by her parking.
As she prances into Woolies and realises that she needs more than just her overpriced organic enema, she decides to do a bit of a shop. In the meanwhile her car hogs the road like a fat boy on the last cupcake at a birthday party. The rest of us must navigate the precarious detritus resulting from her self-obsession.
It may just seem like a simple double park, but what it clearly represents, if we are honest with ourselves and apply a scant layer of behavioural reasoning, is a psychological hegemony and narcissism to the core.
These people will think nothing of their five minutes while they curse the taxi driver for the same inconsideration. At least the taxi, while annoying as fuck, provides a service to others, albeit driven by his own financial motivations.
The Pilates-playing, SUV-driving, toned vessel of human tragedy believes wholeheartedly at either a conscious or subconsious level – the latter if we are to forgive them their own idiocy and blame it on a lifetime of sanctioned selfishness – that they are better.
Their time more valuable. Their convenience paramount. That they think nothing of those put out by their leisurely morning of core strengthening and organic afterglow, shows a heinousness that must stop.
For how long can they expect us to remain silent? How long can they expect me to curb my desire to keep a box of eggs in my car to soil their windows and bonnet as I drive past? It has been a recurring fantasy of mine. The only catharsis I derive in these situations is imagining that I wait for them to return to their car and engage them.
Engage them on why they behave this way. Why they think that their post Pilates liquid refreshment is so fucking important.
Or maybe. Maybe one day I will just finally snap. Wait for them to return to their BMW X5, snatch away their newly bought juice, and actually use it as an enema. Mount their car. Spread my cheeks. And just like Fluffy, use the only expression available to show our true hatred for them. And defecate onto their windscreen. Artfully spelling out the message: No Parking.
The I’m not an African speech has done it’s rounds now. Everyone seeems to be saying the same thing in their own way. No. 1 has been compromised. Too many upfucks to let slide. Repercussions piling up. Bad sensational tsunami on repeat.
The idea that we shouldn’t think like Africans and simply pay, a whole multiverse of offence in a simple sentence. It’s the daring hypocrisy of a man subjugating his very own judicial directives by appealing incessantly.
Instead of worrying about South Africans thinking like Africans I think no.1 should worry about thinking like a neo-liberal classist fiend.
Bob Dylan fans will recognise the title of this piece as a great line from It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).
If you don’t, then shame on you and shame for you, because as much as it has become a disgruntled white liberal’s bent to lay claim to the hidden wisdom of the post Jewish curly-haired prophet, he really does speak with clarity.
I raise this issue of money’s obscenity not as a declaration to join the EFF – at least Juju doesn’t evoke god to do his political bidding in the same way Zuma does – but because everywhere I am, the pervasiveness of money rears it’s monstrous head.
Before you all start yelling “privileged whiteness affords the luxury of the rejection of wealth” – a bit of a wordy thing to shout, sure – I am deeply aware of the virtues in stability, comfort and freedom from worry that money brings.
It is more money as the end goal that unpleasantly itches like a rusty coat hanger on an unsuspecting scrotum.
I was at a braai recently – thankfully it wasn’t Heritage Day, where the conscious white man realises his cultural millieu is nothing better than a history of colonisation, rape, murder, exploitation and then we deceitfully temper it with some dead beast on a fire.
Back to the point. We were standing around the flames when an engineer type said: I hear you do comedy.
I nodded in the way that someone who is not yet feeling established in their field of interest does. Without conviction and with a niggling sense of uncertainty.
Do you make any money in that? Were his next words.
And there it is.
Not, is it a fun thing to do? Or what kind of comedic interests do you have? Or have you ever had no one laugh? The answer is yes. Thanks Belville.
How can you do anything that does not make money? How can you even fathom to engage in behaviour that does not, as the end goal, produce you vast amounts of wealth so that you can buy that shiny motor? Or those pin-striped satin boxer shorts? Yeah they must feel far better than rusted metal.
Now this is just one example. But many I have spoken with ask questions of me, others, themselves – can you make a living from that? That phrase is vastly misused. Livings are not so dear as to forego idealistic pursuits.
But the cash question is so often asked with regards to the creative arts. Yes arts. For stand-up comedy is most certainly that. Assuming you hear people break away from the hack bullshit of race gags and dick jokes.
As soon as we evoke the almighty Dollar, or your respective nation’s currency as your motivational force, your brain gets bloated and slow. Your vision becomes cluttered. Your integrity wanes. Christ, you even dress up in strange outfits and talk in funny voices for cheap laughs because someone is paying you to do that.
The generation afore us cannot grasp that we have grown up in an age where stability and money are not in themselves favourable goals. Instead a desire for happiness and purpose – however deluded that may be – is what guides much of our decision making.
Yes, we need to have a place to live and food to eat. But we don’t need to use our iPhone to control our TVs, surround sounds and sex toys while we lie in goose down bed linen.
Temper your material desires and focus on your ‘production’. I use a capitalist and in some sense a Marxist term here intentionally and ironically.
Go forth and create. Create for the love of the process. For the desire to touch, challenge, tickle and shaft – that sounds like a video I watched last night on an unmentionable website. Know the real value of your material wealth.
So the next time you’re burning the flesh of a deceased mammal and someone asks if there is any cash in creative pursuits, wrestle his or her wallet away and toss it in the fire, uttering the immortal words: Go fuck yourself.
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