Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mad Men: A Flight of Stairs in the Dark

#Np Theory Of A Deadman – Hate My Life  

A boy updates his Facebook status. His Facebook status updates his Twitter, and his Twitter sends word to his Linkedin. All it takes is one hit, and one message — through these intricate interconnections — becomes public; becomes, for solicited prostitutions of view.  

A girl far-far away in South Africa to his Kenya, who is the boy’s boss – and incidentally tapped into his networks – sees his update. A girl calls a boy and asks him why he has not responded to her email from 6 hours ago.  

We live in a world where technology is making public figures of anyone with a key -board or -pad. The World, Thomas L. Friedman remarks, is Flat

What this flattening does not take into account is just how much technology complicates life. If a fire breaks out in a traditional village deep in the heart of Kenya’s not-so-Silicon-Savannah valley, chances are that one hue and cry gets the neighbours out. I witnessed a couple of instances deep in Laikipia county, where one scream was all it took to marshal a fire brigading troop of young men, women, elders, living dead and ancestors to the scene of a fire; to putt it out collectively. 

There are no electric lines in the village, you see, to add insult to the incendiary injury. There are no gas cylinders, you will find, to hinder prospects of getting too close to a flame. There are no worries, moreover, that a call to put out fire at 6 O’clock – be it am or pm – will stop you from getting home, or to work. There is no traffic jam or one-for-the-road to consider. No all-nighters either, no trans-nighting...unless of course it's the kind that goes "ooh, aah..."

In the communes, the people live together, work together, fight together. Sure they will disagree. But – so I found during my 6 month stay in Sipili Ng’arua – they have a lot more that unites them than divides them.  

How? If ‘your fire’ spreads out onto ‘our grass fields’, then ‘my cows and goats’ will starve before the next rains come; two months from now, I could lose my source of milk, source of income. If ‘your trouble’ spills over past ‘our grass’ and levels ‘our children’s school’, then ‘my money’ – spent in piecemeal building up the school’s infrastructure – will be lost. If, heavens forbid, ‘your flames’ fan through all that and burn down ‘my forest, my crop, my hut’, then I have no firewood, no home, no clothes, no food…

I’ll be damned if I let your fire burn me!  

Just because I update my Facebook and Twitter doesn’t mean I’m ignoring your Inbox or Direct Message. Social Media is about being social. Being social is about expressing yourself. Express … your SELF. Talk, that is. 

Do you stop talking every single time you receive an email or text message? Do you stop eating or walking? Does your digestive tract halt, or your 'Last Enzyme Standing' lift up a placard hailing ‘ye majesty the Royal Baby Mail’? Do you park your car to the curb and pay a parking fee just to respond to that glorious seed of corporate communication?  

Inboxes and Direct Messages are simply over-glorified text messages and emails. They are personal, should remain in that realm.  

Who says life revolves around that email, so much so that you sit around waning and waxing, twiddling your thumbs, awaiting a response? When did communication become the equivalent of actual tasks?  

Unless I am absolutely in love with you, absolutely available or do not need to think about my response, then where you come off expecting immediate responses absolutely beats me. Let me rephrase: I work offline. I don't work online. I cum online...and vent. Occasionally say something sensible, but mostly, I work offline. So deal with it...your little Inbox or DM will be got to if and when it is got to. 

Yet urban life does seem to revolve around emails: that email a client is waiting for; that email your boss sent that pissed the silently flowing shit out of you; that email your Badoo layover sent you with a NSFW attachment; that degrading email copied to everyone and their dog’s flea’s sister’s mother, sent to you by that little mind, with its little car, and a fancy little dress laced with fancy little ‘imported airs’ of self-importantly caffeinated weaves in a dainty little furnished apartment. We have become such narcissists in our own little worlds that nobody seems to think through what their actions do to others’ state of mind.  

Further, John Perkins – an Economic Hitman – released Confessions thereof in 2004. This self-confessed former pecuniary mercenary, helps kill off democratically elected presidencies – with a bullet, a polity or a policy. He then turns around and tells you about it. In a book; a book that is for sale. 

In other words, I was once a thief, rapist and murderer, and have severally crushed little babies under the soles of my feet, but now I’m saved; praise Jesus!  

Perkins' book, while affirming Graham Hancock’s The Lords of Poverty – a book as relevant in the late 80s as it is now – also plays on the same layers that both books attempt to expose. I get that passion does not pay the bills, but if at all he was really interested in doing his pretty little Sacrament of Penance, Self -Mortification and a bit of -Flagellation, how about not selling the books, Lil' Johnny?

Reading either book – or both, I would recommend – opens your eyes to the frailties of our system, and why it is that we are consistently asked to fanya kazi kwa bidii, utalipwa nothing’-i. Why we are now being told that the country Africa is such a hopeful one, riddled with opportunity as it rises. Why every other speech by the ‘criminal president invited to the UK’ begins and ends with youth and women, and is laced with chants of go ye for the and multiply Enterprise.  

The lines between which, dear sheeple, you do not read, are these:      

  • That guy in Diaspora was told the same story when he left Kenya on a Green card to The Land of Opportunity, of Stars, of Stripes. They assessed his strengths, profiled him, saw how he fit in and would benefit their system, and told him to pack his bags; he had won. He could come back 5 or 10 years later, he decided, before the checks and balances designed to keep him there, benefiting their system, tightened their noose around him.     
  • That guy who has a cozy job, with a picket fence in Suburbia, nice big-breasted female to warm his loins, and a sports car as large as his cajones, is paying out loans to his employer, and mortgages and insurances and assurances to his Shylock, that keep him mark-timing in his own mediocrity, so sio eti hakupendi, but appearances must be kept up boo-boo.     
  • This president you call Tyranny, Prince of the Arable Buyers of Souls, is not a rebel to the World-System-against-Kenya cause. Dear NSIS, you can sit here.     
  • And finally, who do you think these businesses Tyranny is telling you to launch – with not one clue how to run it, and where to but the ground – are supposed to benefit? In a system as officially inept and prohibitive, unofficially corrupt as ours? Boo-boo, your ass is in someone’s pocket. So think before you do shit that will feed itself back to you in spadefuls the size of Mongolia.  
All this faux feminism belching around, giving women a sense of propriety and men a sense of importance for allowing women to be, simply works into a larger system of oppressive mindsets that boil down to little else but money. You want her; she looks good, doesn’t she? She’s independent, isn’t she? She can buy her own shit, and she buys it in ships of shit-loads. So you buy it in jet-fueled plane-fulls of it for her. Win-win, you think to yourself, aye?  

You tell her that you are pro-choice. She can have an abortion any time she feels like. She can pop as many pills as she wants, can’t she Ms. Pro-prevention? Meanwhile, the Pharmaceutical giants and baby-skinning doctors are laughing all the way to the bank.  

The same goes for the faux Green Revolution, faux Social Business, faux Micro-financing, fashion faux pas, KENYAN MEDIA, some foreign media, a lot of SOCIAL MEDIA, Holly’s wood… Basically, Imagine your World, then try see what is not infiltrated by greed and bids of insanity. Especially, try see what box you’ve fit yourself in, and what other boxes are just dying to add your massive shep'herd-ity into them.  
Question: between you, dear sheepish thinker, and the intellectually challenged/ mentally disabled/ mind-numbingly crippled/ mentally fucked up/ crazy stupid/ foolish asylum dwellers, who is more mental?  

Who is the mad man? 

We’re 7 Seconds away…  
and there’s a million voices,  
to tell you what you should be thinking  
so you better sober up for just a second…  

And when a child is born,  
Into this world  
It has no concept,  
Of the tone, 
the skin  it’s living in…  

#Np Neneh Cherry  & Youssou N’Dour 


—  Fred Wambugu, preferably known as Freddy, is a writer/ entrepreneur with a liking for agro ways. Both the loud-mouthed, angry “for no reason” and the arable kinds.  

When not farming or talking, Freddy imagines his world with Storymoja Africa, is an Industry and Market Researcher with Eronia Inc Ltd. and is the founder of inThync Kenya.   For more details on the writer, he has suggested that we tell you to scream at him on @french_freddy or Yule Mbois Mndialala.  

Disclaimer: He will holler right back. Loudly. Or lovably.  In other News, does a bio need to have an ‘I’?

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