I’m not on trial. For this I am truly thankful. I’ve been monitoring the Oscar Pistorius trial and I’m grateful I’m not up there defending myself. (more…)
I live in a world where it can be difficult to admit a struggle. It’s all about selling yourself as a brand and nobody associates with a loser, right? Except that’s just marketing kool-aid that you don’t have to – and really shouldn’t – drink.
There’s something my dad used to always say – “used to” because he doesn’t anymore, not because he can’t. Dad used to say humans are gregarious beings. I’m not sure where he first read it but I’m glad it stuck because in my isolated teens, it reminded me that friends and family are crucial support structures.
Now, unlike the rote learners in my dad’s generation, my generation forgets everything we learn. Someone somewhere’s convinced us that it isn’t important to remember stuff. “They’re just facts”. “Applying them is all that matters”. And, yeah, that’s all well and good but how are you going to apply something you don’t really know anymore. It’s like those fantasy stories where the hero forgets an important spell. Only the stakes are higher. Here in the real world, there are no fairy godmothers, and precious few deus ex machina to whisk us away from danger.
Here, only the people who really know us can remind us who we are, and when we’re really getting lost in life, of what we hold to be important.
How do you keep it all together? Me, I like to remember that nobody is an island, that humans are gregarious beings.
It took some time to get my head around this.
The short answer is nobody cares. But that’s obviously glossing way over the issue.
The real answer is a little more complicated. Not as complicated as the economic theories and analytical hoops these guys jump to try and choose, but I guess it must be complicated if they don’t get it.
I say nobody cares. We obviously all care if more money leaves our pockets, right? If all you hear about is money spent on things you can’t understand but must value if you want to call yourself a good South African. That guilt money that goes to fund projects nobody asked for and to line pockets nobody knows who has a hand in. New World Cup stadia, the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (which is a double-tax if the rumours are true), tender contractors that pull public funds then turn to vapour. Crumbling housing developments. Undelivered text-books. The list goes on.
But nobody would mind if that money was spent in a way that added value to our day to day lives. If we had better social security, improved (even free) public healthcare and transportation, a functional education system. Look up [tax rates in Scandanavia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_rates]. Swedes pay 25% VAT! Most of the free world has it easy by comparison. Personal tax rates can hit 60% and yet the Swedes couldn’t really be bothered.
Thing is all that money isn’t simply vanishing. It doesn’t feel like plunder the way tax often feels here. Enough of it makes it through to projects that make a difference to the lives of the ordinary citizen. Unemployment benefits, schooling, healthcare, pensions. See, if that’s what a tax hike bought, I’d be first in line like a hipster queuing for his iPhone on launch day, begging PLEASE just take my damn money. I don’t think I’m alone.
“I’ll give you a day, maybe not today or tomorrow but I’ll give you a day where I’m gonna rob you. See, I’m going to take all my money back! You’ll see, you…”
The dealer-gang just laughed. I suppose they’re used to seeing sales turn sour.
Kill a word and you’ll have killed an idea. Subvert it, however, and you do much worse.
Welcome, South Africa, to Twentythirteen
I’d just like to take a moment to welcome you to 2013, and to my first post of the year.
The festive season is traditionally a difficult one as ordinary people everywhere – people like you and I – unite to help vineyards and brewers clear their stock. If you didn’t know, we aren’t raucous for fun, but only so these pillars of society can start the new year free and clear. I hope you joined the social initiative. If not, there’s still time. Get involved!
So you don’t think this work wasn’t selfless, I’ve decided not to post any personal images. After rifling through the library, all I’m left with is the following poignant image of a hard-won war at Vrede en Lust Wine Farm & Estate.
We don’t do it for the fame.
PS: I know this is a bit late but after much hard work in the trenches, as it were, I needed a moment (or ten) to recover.
PPS: The contents of the empty glass? They were great.
PPPS: Posting on a fixed day is quite restrictive. I’m thinking about changing the Law of the Thursday posts. Subscribe and get notified when a new one is up. Next up: Professional Crushes: What are they and how do I make them go away?
PPPPS: Made you look!
This reminded me why it’s always good to fact-check before making sweeping statements. It’s so easy to ruin a life, where if the journalists had spent just a few minutes verifying their facts, they’d quickly have found out Ryan Lanza is actually very alive. I guess it’s the age old problem of trying to break a story, but that role is largely out of journalists’ hands now. I know… I’m a journalist.
Originally posted on usmanhashmi:
As a result of the terrible mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut – the immediate question was who had gunned down nearly thirty people, most of them children, before taking his own life.
Early media reports suggested that the shooter was around twenty-year-old from Newtown named Ryan Lanza. A Facebook profile fitting the description was easily accessible and social media users to professional reporters at once assumed that they had found the gunman who committed the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.