I’m not speaking for everyone, but a day doesn’t pass without my seeing or hearing or reading something totally ridiculous. When I do, I let out a huge belly laugh. If I’ve made no other contribution to the world, it’s to pass on this sense to my daughters.
Laughter releases tension and can defuse stress. I just discussed how Jamaica is blessed by having this facility in abundance, some would say over abundance. Without searching too far, I can point to examples.
Gully Bop. If you’ve never heard this term or know the ‘artiste’ going by this name, you’ve not been around Jamaica in recent weeks. He’s a man with a mouthful of bad teeth, reminiscent of a hideous parody character.He performs in the dance hall genre. His singing doesn’t impress me, but he got rave reviews days ago in a ‘clash’ event, STING 2014.
It says something for our warped senses that hideous is not a criterion for no success in music. Ugly politicians are rare, however. Is that an example of form over substance? In Jamaica, we know how a good-looking politician looks.
It comes in the form of a former Miss World. Now, I know there’s plenty of substance to back up the form of our current Minister of Youth and Culture. But the vultures are quick to peck at her every display. There’s no suiting some people. When the minister had the audacity to walk on a each in a bikini and publish a picture of this defiant act, the attack dogs went berserk. I had visions of Ms. Hanna running for a burqa. But, that would have prompted accusations about her abandoning Christianity. She could grab a sarong. But what style? What colour? Slit in front or side? Decisions. Maybe, she should just delete the picture or get her son to photoshop it with her in a pants suit. What? Women politicians in trousers! Who’s running this country? Oh, it’s another woman. Our men emasculated, again. Put on a skirt! But, should it be one of those modest-creators so loved for our schoolgirls? How many inches below the knee? How much ankle should she show? Dark of light? White is immaculate, but so suggestive. Botheration. Just go naked? What about the tan lines? It never ends.
Days ago, we witnessed something straight out of the cutting room of the Keystone Cops or Buster Keaton. A young government minister had some reputation-boosting information published on the Internet. The score from an online game, Fruit Pop, was posted on his Twitter timeline. I used these passive terms, for a reason. Well, jokers and concerned Jamaicans were quick to jab and jook at this seemingly frivolous display. But, the minister was piqued by this picking at him. He retorted and showed more than a touch of irritation. Like mosquito bites, the more he scratched the worse the itching. He blocked people. His account was ‘compromised’, he reported on Facebook–that modern town square. He deleted the Twitter account. This was crisis management, 21st century-style. He found his being mocked the subject of ‘latest news’ in one major newspaper. How? It wasn’t scandalous. It wasn’t life threatening. But, in the scheme of things mirthful, it had a place. That was it? Good Lord! No.
The minister felt compelled to explain how this truly meaningless score had been posted. It was his four year-old’s fault. Whether true or an attempt to deflect blame–which came up as a reason–there was no need to go there. Who cares? Well, since that, nada. True radio silence. Sunk without trace. Silenced by an attempt to shut out the noise of social media. In the same way that an ‘Arnold Palmer’ became a well-known drink, and ‘Arnaldo Brown’ may have a place in social media annals as what not to do when cornered by one’s own shadows.
When you step into the public eye, you are a target for scrutiny, and it may not be to your liking. It may be created by friends, enemies, strangers, or yourself. Deal with it. Look at former Public Defender, Earl Witter. I’ve no idea what possessed him to write the letter he did regretting having proposed his deputy, Mukulu, to replace him on retirement. It was a cri de coeur that seemed best left in the Confessional or just in the depth of some deep sleep.
But, it’s out there, now, and in the mix of a messy piece of public indecision to which he seemed to contribute, but perhaps not. Sometimes, a bubbling pot needs no stirring. But, once you stick your spoon into the soup, don’t be surprised if done spills, or the pot overturns, or the dish is spoiled. Get out of the kitchen!
I’m wary of Jamaicans looking abroad, too readily. But, sometimes it’s good. In the realm of how political figures need to deal with modern media, lessons are out there, and access to them is a button press away. Fail to do that and be ready to be put on your butt.
As for musical artistes, ugly is ugly, but what sells is not what’s seen. Gully Bop was dropped by his management team faster than a football manager who has his chairman’s “full support”. He got a Benz, but lost some friends. He needs new teeth and had an offer for that to be done in the USA. But, that was gummed up.
Jamaica is no easy place to survive. We are full of scruples, yet pestered by the unscrupulous. Hammered by scammers. Discredited by our misdeeds. Let’s grin and bear it. Er, not you, a Gully Bop. 😒