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.
A dingy affair. Some of it smells, it’s dangerous when it’s dark and it doesn’t like to be told what to do. A perfect match.
Joburg, I know we’ve just met, but I think we could get on.
Cue the Fancy Rat Society. Discharged by Brendan Murray & yours truly. We’ve decided our political real estate needs an extra informal settlement. Critical thinking meets manicured filth. Defiant, beligerent & more wrong than we’ll ever admit, but active. Like that old dog Emerson taught, the active soul is all.
Bukowski was right about waiting, and we have. We’ve waited and read and written and now it’s time to speak.
It’s a little exercise in retribution. To unfuck in jest, attack some pigs and partner with a little chaos.
Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, the new anti darlings from the terrorist stable. Yes there was Mali, but this is a fight too girded in hatred to understand. It surpasses retribution, this sphere of toxic tit for tat cannot be grappled with.
Monday morning I walked into the writer’s room at the LNN studio, filled with all the slow go gifts of Mondayhood. That quickly changed when I saw the aftermath that was half a dozen politico junkies with their fingers on the pulse of this thing called news. Wind out of their sails, distraught and scattered cuttings of existential disgust plastered every conversation.
We have to say something, something needs to be said.
The script was written but we spent an hour we didn’t have editing careful references of this manifest nightmare into the final cut. So much respect, careful wording. To and fro we chiseled our words to display how we felt.
I was blown away by the pathos I saw in satire’s hub. No jokes, no flippancy. Being the new guy on the team allowed me to see the collective empathy this group operates in so clearly. The saddest most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a while.
Braamfontein has proved more interesting than it needs to, I’ve just skipped a road down from my humble square meterage to the 11th floor of the Liberty building to visit the opening night of the Dipych exhibition. The elevator stops at the tenth because the 11th isn’t actually there.
I feel a gonzo-esque bond with the idea of attending an exhibit on a floor that doesn’t exist. I also sometimes miss doing drugs. In that true Jozi hustling spirit this hasn’t put anyone off from staging a rather large exhibit there.
Listening to the conceptual unveiling of the work was interesting. I particularly enjoyed a cat named Bevan De Wet, who despite his unfortunate name, has some exquisitely made shit to show the world.
I guess the idea of an exhibition interests me more than actually beiing there. In hindsight, making small talk surrounded by the product of hours worth of creative effort is riviting. The background jazz of sleepless nights and spent passion. In reality I feel like I’m on display as much as the work is. That ever moving focal point of events attended by narcissists.
Here’s what De Wet had to say about his superb linocut.
One of way too many artists to mention here. Go see, go play. The event will be open to the public on 21st and 28th of September.
Oh forget all that, it’s all the same.
I often hear this summmation ring from the intentionally ill informed, news wise that is. It’s all the same. These people aren’t interesting. Who wants to spend their time getting depressed?
Corruption/cronyism/nepotism/abuse of power.
The reason it’s all the same has less to do with the perpertrators than the electorate. The jibe is of course aimed at the repetitive, reworked nature of our upper echelon’s failures. These democratically elected failures. Carlin’s words ring out again, “maybe it’s the public that sucks.” They were chosen from amongst us after all.
Is it impossible that the repeat nature of corruption might have something to do with us? That doing nothing and being unhappy are more congruent than we’d like to admit.
We need to understand the connection between loving people and taking an interest in our countries political landscape. We also need to see our inaction soberly. (Yes, I use ‘we’ too often.)
For some reason we allow the enitre nature of the transaction to warp when funneled through middle class mouths.
Loving people and taking an interest in politics are the same things. Looked at through the right kind of eyes, the act itself can be felt as one of love.
Love isn’t easy, it’s not always entertaining, it smacks of sacrifice.
See, the money pissed away by the bent business pigs parading as politicos is meant for the poor.
Even ‘the poor’ seems like a silly & aloof term. They’re our poor, our fellow citizens. The people we brush up against every day. The traffic lights we nervously linger at, populated by this sub culture of the disaffected, are our people.
But the borders are set aren’t they. My bank account, my car door, my walls- this our becomes a vague thing.
Counter culture grit, alternative cogitation, underground sentiment, anarchic agitation- these are words handed to us by a context long gone. Even Gonzo feels awkward in this new world. It was a response to its day, a stylistic extention of a time gone. A taste evolved.
Our time calls for something different.
When it comes to aspiring to agitation. To finding a rebellious affair to solicit that age old experience of chaos stirring, we need to be conscious of our immediate surrounds.
Mine, which might not be yours, is the great middle class insulator. I don’t burn with anger, constantly in tune with the yogi’s prescriptions of detached bliss. The grand hipster ideal, art for its own sake, bending the corporate world’s cash flow to float meaninglessness.
That is our great challenge. How to remain interesting, unique and individualistic. How not to sell out. Ego driven dribble.
News junkie activism is seen as an old man’s sport. To occupy the bizarrely privileged real estate of the edge requires thought, an inner Bob Black type aggressive application.
Here’s my question, what does the counter culture look like? I think it’s a sober, hard line rebelliousness unfettered by the anethetised drunk wanky accumulation of material possessions. I think it’s about following the right people.
The important national discourse cannot be ignored for reasons of comfort. We need an administration that doesn’t steal, we need a knowing application of our truly enormous education budget. If ignoring the scope and relevance of these ideas leaves you unentertained, well, wait until the ignored’s understanding of entertainment germinates action. The apathetic have everything to lose.
The two fold agitator’s obsession, the chasis of our rage should have contempt for kak leadership and tireless fury for shitty education at its center.
So who are these right people to follow? Jesters, raging opinionistas, bomb makers- the internet is a beauteous place. Curate a faculty of your own, make a list. Spread their commentary, their jokes, their anger.
Let’s get on the same page.
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