I haven’t abandoned thinking and writing about things Jamaican, or Caribbean. However, I’m often captivated for a while by other things happening elsewhere, especially those that seem absurd. That lets me see Jamaica in its proper context in the world: interesting but small; significant but not that much, often. Some local things should capture our imagination, such as our national netball team, the ‘Sunshine Girls’, winning a thrilling three match series against England, and by 57-47 in game 3. However, the series will be remembered for the power outage during game 2, which goes to the plight (weak pun) of life in a developing country.
Honestly, though, I’ve been pondering a different tack for 2015. I like satire and think it’s lacking in Jamaica. I may not be the satirist par excellence but am happy to lend my words and manic thoughts. Then, we heard about the killing of journalists and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo. They were at heart people ready to lampoon. Yes, their take was often harsh and distasteful, and likely to cause offence. That wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t necessarily how we would all see it, but it’s a point of view. There are many ways to counter it, WITHOUT VIOLENCE. For some, though, to silence a critic with a punch, kick, bash on the head, or a bullet, is much easier. It’s also an approach that cannot be allowed to be taken for granted. Yet, one of the challenges is to counter it without resorting to violence. Call it the moral high ground, or whatever.
It starts simply, though, with an outlook. In Jamaica, we are quick to use violence as a means to correct or confront what we don’t like. You doubt this. Check one cartoonist this week. Las May has our Minister of Education heading into a school to deal with an administrative problem, BELT IN HAND.
That is a normal Jamaican solution. What’s to criticise? Spare the rod, and spoil the child. A few good licks…
I was with a visitor downtown, yesterday. We grabbed some soup and corn, by Heroes Circle. While standing, I watched some women with a young boy, maybe 2 years old, encouraging him to ‘beat the woman’ with a long stick. Play? Joke? After he did it, he was chased and given a little slap. More play? More jokes? Things have origins.
Don’t give me pious concerns about wrongs in the world and blow off what we do that’s really not nice.
Now, that some of that is off my chest, let me go back to scouring the world and Jamaica for hints of the absurd.
A British pub named the Prince of Wales was sent a gas bill for about US$3000/1700 pounds, addressed to “HRH Prince Charles“. (It’s quick a funny audio report.) British Gas had been trying to contact ‘The Prince’ without success. Silliness didn’t stop there, because the pub has no gas. Maybe, the real prince was having another tipple behind Ma’am’s back.
BBC News Australia @BBCNewsAus must be thanked for bring this to my attention: Upside down yoga is taking off in Australia. I’ve done yoga as did my father, who was very good at headstands. It can transport you to new heights, but like this? Is it really helpful or just a take on Cirque du Soleil? Umm…
Finally, not absurd, but strange but true. Goalie wins match not with a save but with a penalty kick. West Ham United beat Everton in the FA Cup, 3rd round replay. Both are English Premier League teams. Each has a Spanish goalkeeper. They tied in regulation time, and remained tied after extra time. On to penalty kicks. Not ideal, but so goes the world. West Ham could have won it 5-4 on kicks, but had the winning attempt saved. On they went, and it came to 8-8, and the goalies were due up next. Not all are like Manuel Neuer, but they can all kick hard, and usually high. So it was for Robles, Everton’s goalie, whose shot hit the bar. Up stepped Adrián. He was ready. As he approached the ball in his run up, he stripped off his gloves. What next? Then he slotted home his kick.
Pandemonium! 9-8 win. Off went the goalie, to celebrate like a field player, with the now customary slide. Upton Park, where West Ham play, was full of bubbles. (I’ll explain another time.) That sort of makes up for Neuer not being given the Ballon d’Or.