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Murder most foul: An Oscar in the making

February 17, 2013 in Commentary

Of recent, my thoughts have been beset by the way people have been reacting to certain emotive news subject featuring Oscar Pistorius. Here is a person, disabled as he may be, that in the wink of an eye, has undergone a life changing experience. The incident in question refers to the ‘alleged’ murder of an up-and-coming female model at the point of his gun. The why it happened is the current furore of public speculation that is being driven to insanity by the media sharks, hungry for sensationalism, melodrama and sales.

In taking the time to read all the news reports on the Oscar troubles and their associated public commentaries, one gets the feel that all is not well in society at large. In breaking down the commentaries into their various headings, which range from Religious pundits quoting scripture and their brand of theological edits to explain or bless the embattled soul, to the downright obnoxious who relish in making what-really-happened extrapolations fact based on mostly yellow-page styled journalism, and their own narrow life experiences.

Of course, in between all the ‘listen-to-me’ commentaries, one does find the down-to-earth type comments that express sadness, disbelief, scepticism, and pose elucidating questions relating to the muddled hype traveling the internet, the printed word, and the airwaves.

To my mind, the issue arises from the inclination we have of putting people on pedestals based on certain of their witnessed above-normal human prowess while casually ignoring, or not taking into account, their very human side. A side that plagues Homo Sapiens across all walks of life. Had Oscar or his girlfriend been one of the average billions, would the dastardly incident have caused a stir or even the lifting of an eyebrow?

What is on the table, although complex in nature is a simple question of a human being, being human. Oscar is a real human being that has to content with real-life fears, aspirations, mental torments: depression; misery; despair; despondency; and bouts of ego

Although there is a growing faction of activists who feel that the female girlfriend is being side-lined by the attention the fallen superstar is receiving while the victim lies dead, it cannot be denied that while she was an up-and-coming cover-model superstar, Oscar is the newsmaker of the day: he broke the moulds of human perceptions, he made history and he moved the human imagination to greater heights enforcing the new-age ethos that nothing is impossible.

Yet the pedestal was created, assembled, manufactured and cemented in place, firmly affixing the feet-of-clay of the disabled superstar to it. Is this because we need heroes to give credence to our feeble lives? Is this because we need hope to an otherwise humdrum existence? Is this because we need something to grab-onto which seemingly makes sense and affirms our desire to a better life?

There is of course the possibility that all the adoration and adulation that Oscar received over his period of fame played havoc on his frail human psyche which led to the development of the commonly known prima-donna syndrome: a rather common human weakness that has manifested itself in many Hollywood stars, musical idols and political statespersons.

The way forward for him is going to be tough and brutal. Fortunately he has the money to employ a high-powered lawyer which by all accounts, gives him a decisive edge in maneuvering through the mazes of legalese and jurisprudence processes.

The way forward for the hapless family of the deceased model is likewise going to be filled with much despair, depression, anguish, sleepless nights and questions.

To me, the bottom line to the entire fracas is never to put a human being on a pedestal for in the end, it is only a human being. Yes, appreciate their achievements and accomplishments but there is where it should end.

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Rules are for Control Freaks

January 24, 2013 in Commentary

Society has become a victim of rules! There are rules on how to raise children, on how to have sex, on how to treat one another, on how to fight a war, on how to be more human, on how to think, on how to have meaningful relationships, on how to date, on how to…etc, and then there are the Oprah’s, the Dr. Phil’s and the Media Moguls who relish in telling people on how to be men, to be women, to have orgasms, when to marry, why not to marry, be all you can be, achieve maturity, be free, find the G spot, have mighty erections, loose weight, be parents, and so on.

Nothing is undertaken without some form of instruction: we need psychiatrists, we need motivational speakers, we need decision makers and we need soothsayers. And then there are self-imposed etiquettes that dictate what may be spoken about in polite-conversation and how to act in public.

What about the modern propensity to Political Correctness, where new definitions on how to class people’s disabilities are the rule of the day – hearing impaired, mentally impaired, physically challenged…? (Why must modern bureaucratic systems insist on having to categorize measure, diagnose and appraise society in order to keep it functioning in an organised way?)

The deliberation at hand is not on instructional credos like the rules of mathematics, reading, hygiene, etc, but on all the superfluous gumph that common sense and reason, more often than not, provides answers for. It’s as if we want to be something that we are not, but that in the process of protecting that allusion, we have been reduced to levels of indecisiveness.

Being imperfect (not in a religious sense) by nature, means that learning by trial-and-error is what life is all about. Undertaking life-tasks without having to readjust in mid-step is unheard off. As Robert Burns so aptly put it “best laid plans of mice and men” usually go awry, for unforeseen circumstances overcome all humans.

Why then, are we so passionate at wanting rules? Is it because of the comfort they offer? Is it because, by following the rules, there is a lesser risk of being called upon to answer for one’s actions? –  (Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, observed that Modern society, rather than being based upon greater individual freedom as its apologists suggest, is in fact a disciplinary society that exerts its controlling influence through instilling guilt, shame and a general sense of abnormality in those who transgress the norms.)

Have we become sheep?

All positive strides undertaken by humankind had a risk taker at its helm. Not a passive rule player that stuck to the norm in case it all went sour and then had to face barrages of “I told you so” insults – and maybe therein lies the problem; our overly cautious approach to ‘causality’ (cause and effect,) is driving us to being guarded, non-committal and open to indoctrination.

Yet, in amongst all the ‘how-to’ literature and philosophies, there exists a world of questioning and intellect, that manages to keep its head above the whirlpool waters of ‘how-to’ information. The common denominator being the ability to observe and question with impudence, using powers of reason and common sense – all inherent abilities found within the human genome.

The solution to avoiding the ‘how-to’ trap lies within the grasp of all humans. All it takes is thoughtful assertion, pensive stability, cognitive curiosity; and the ability to overlook frailties for ‘even the bright are given to forays of ignorance.’

“Bah bah black sheep, have you any wool. Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full…”

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Bestiality, Police Brutality and Fickleness

January 20, 2013 in Commentary

So the famed American cyclist has ‘come clean’ to paraphrase the media hype. Really?

Given the American propensity for hype, truth-and-reconciliation marketing and self-aggrandisement, the well-publicised talk show was a beautifully choreographed piece of circus performance complete with a voluble ring-master, obedient slew of lawyers and agile camera shots. All that was missing were the wild animals, dogs and clowns; and maybe they were all present…just in disguise!?

I wonder what the famed cyclist’s appearance fee was?

And speaking of criminal congress, the constitutional court has found that the South African sex offender’s act is unconstitutional in that consenting persons should be allowed to entertain copulation without the fear of being labelled criminals. Of course the section in question is mainly about teenagers engaging in consensual sex and not really about adults but still, given the population growth, there are a lot of young orgasms taking place irrespective of laws, mandates and adult aversions.

Then there is a clip in the South African media about a ‘petite blond’ having been sent for mental evaluation for having had intercourse with a Terrier and a Labrador. Is this because the breeds in question did not give their consent or is it just because she found sex with the loving breeds sensual?

And speaking of defloration, I wonder if SANRAL will also be sent for mental evaluation due to them screwing the public without their consent; or the use of protection?

And on the subject of being screwed by the system, it was reported that some rating agencies have warned the USA that they will suffer a rating downgrade if they do not raise their debt ceiling. If one follows the line of logic, debt is master. In other words go ahead and create more debt i.e. print more money, and all will be well with you. Pity that the same opportunities are not afforded the masses. These will just have to continue to bend over and smile. After all, it is the American way.

Personally I find the whole flaccid affair distasteful. America is still classed as the greatest world economy yet it owes more than it has. What does that say for the people earning in US Dollars? How valuable is their money really? How will this whole sexual affair affect us as outsiders to the whole game play? Maybe our saving grace is the other American invention; Viagra.

As for erections, our dear farm workers down in the Western Cape have once again taken to the streets with whatever they could get their hands on to protest their meager salaries, blaming everything and destroying everything in the process. What a warm afterglow the SAPS must be enjoying, having had to face the brunt of anything that can be thrown, hurled and chucked. Maybe the SAPS should take a step back, cordon off the area and let the protesters do what they do best. At least this way the SAPS can’t be blamed for hurting a poor protester or innocent onlooker. In retrospect, this type of passive action would also be judged as criminal by public opinion. I find the whole affair offensive and prejudicial to all concerned for winners there will not be; especially not for the workers.

Anyways, while I type and bask in the afterglow of all the excitement I am confronted by the idiocy of it all.

I am struck by what strikes people as important e.g. Lance Armstrong. Since when is the doing and screwing’s of a sport personality of such importance that it occupies center stage in world news; specially when wars are raging, unemployment continues to escalate, and the financial systems is in tatters?  Oh wait, Tiger Woods…and now he wants to re-marry his ex.

I am in awe of the general commentaries made by those with access to on-line news sites and the blogosphere. Commentaries that judge and hold in abhorrence human infractions and public incidences without first checking on and ensuring that the facts are correct.

I find it interesting that for every ridiculing article written about dear uncle Zuma, the more the ire of the ANC rise against the press. In the laws of physics, sooner or later the one will disappear for no two forces can occupy the same place, space or time. History will tell.

And now that France has joined the conflict in Mali, all is as it should be: Fucked up! At least I know that the sun rises in the east.

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by jawell

2013: The new Apocalypse

January 14, 2013 in Commentary, Uncategorized

2012 was marred by many eventualities, wars, paranoia and conspiracies. Truth was the main objective behind any of the aforementioned but it suffered greatly at the hands of father time.

Take the Mayan end-of-time proclamation that came to pass without not even as much as a belch from our dear friend the sun.  Was the whole 21 December brouhaha a hoax or just a failing in interpretation? Irrespective on how one sees it, the affair did stir much in the way of media writings, blogs, books, speculations, documentaries and debates; all in all, a pleasant diversion to the everyday humdrum of human life.

The Lance Armstrong doping debacle also grabbed the imagination of the populace. Here is a story so sordid and scheming that even the most ardent fans of the Icon were left reeling at the truthiness of it all. Yet, the whole judicial issue was based on circumstantial and inferred indictments: solid proof has yet to be presented. Yet again, a non-political story managed to divert the attention of the masses away from the realities of life, if only for a brief moment.

There is a rumour doing the rounds that Armstrong is toying with the idea of coming clean; and possibly on Oprah. Once again only time will tell what the truth really was.

The American elections and the ANC party elections were entertaining to say the least. President Obama like President Zuma was presented by the media as being in danger of losing his crown. The election figures showed a different story.  Was the whole pre-election news mongering engineered to keep the masses entertained and filled with angst about the future?

The Green Movement, as is the custom, again made lot of noise during 2012 pushing their agendas (noise pollution,) used much paper on pamphlets and other marketing materials (from trees, plants, etc) undertook many miles of travel on roads, air and sea (using natural resources,) and wore down many shoes on mass-actions necessitating the purchase of new ones by the consenting participants (leather, electricity, waste, etc.) Civil disobedience and damage to property pail into insignificance when compared to the foregoing wastage practices.

The great Mandela fell sick and instantly caused a panic amongst the pack of media wolves and loving adherents: some hoping to be the first to publish a piece of the action while the rest spent their time in prayer, vigils and hopeful Facebook postings. What is going to happen when the great-equaliser death eventually does go knocking is anyone’s guess but it will be sad and interesting.

2012 also delivered many deaths as is the norm given the mortality state of life; some deaths more notable than others but all eliciting equal amounts of sorrow from grieving loved ones. The one lesson that sticks out by the devastation left behind by the-great-equaliser is that life is promised to no one.

Oh yes, and positive thought, or the religion thereof, has become entrenched as the new black.

What was notable about 2012 is up for grabs and the answer(s) will depend on socio-economic and gender and employment status of the respondee.

What about 2013?

Well, as yet there have been no reported or observed conspiracies or rationalised paranoia that have reared their ugly heads; likewise for doomsday seers, new-age religious prophets or apocalyptic mystics.

Wars continue unabated, politicians are still being self-serving, fat cats are still raking it in, the populace is still being screwed to every till point and bank counter, the unemployed will soon be able to take over the governing of a country for having the most active members, and prejudice still is paramount in most minds.

I’ve heard talk of a 30 year cycle of change which is apparently  approaching its conclusion, of the age of Aquarius where enlightenment will reign supreme, of economic transformation where all will be treated fairly, of Governments becoming more open and amiable and of Father Xmas finally attending one of Oprah’s talk shows. In the words of Fry and Lewis: The more things change, the more they remain… insane.

At least the Facebook Soap Opera changes every 5 minutes.

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by jawell

Some Truisms of the modern age

January 10, 2013 in Commentary

  1. That the God entity reads FB postings
  2. If the media say that they have the public’s best interests at heart, they do
  3. Any statements made by an authority body must be the truth i.e. Road Traffic Authority
  4. What happens on twitter is the ultimate truth
  5. Objectionable still-life photos are always judged as real without question
  6. e-mails sporting an official looking letter-head are real beyond a shadow of a doubt
  7. Generalized quotes and posters that appeal to the everyday life issues are true in all respects
  8. Being positive is the new black
  9. Reality Shows are the real thing, untouched by the wiles of the camera or a good story
  10. Soap Operas depict real life
  11. For every religious argument there is an opposite and equal atheistic vehemence
  12. Everyone else is deemed to be an idiot
  13. The placement of an emoticon or emoticons within or at the end of an suspicious posting makes it all better J
  14. Karma will work its Retribution at the beck and call of a Facebook and Twitter posting
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Is God Suable?

December 4, 2012 in Commentary

 

The movie, The Man Who Sued God, asked some very enticing questions and made some good propositions in the process.

I found that the movie handled the subject with manners and decorum. I found that the movie maintained the subject light yet fetching. I found the concluding remarks by the protagonist very elucidating: ‘the god in acts-of-god does not exist’ and that suing the God that people worship would be a pointless exercise in that how does one sue Faith?

Therein lays the whole basis to religion, spirituality, belief, the universe, life, and everything.

In our modern world, information is paramount.  Yet it is this paradigm that creates much unrest, unease and discord. The modern ethos of making an informed decision relies on the fact that one is able – or capable – to disseminate the plethora of available information, and make an ‘informed’ decision based on the disseminated information.

The flaw to the above is that in most cases, the information at hand only provides two sticky alternatives – in many façades – to a viewpoint thus leaving one with a 50-50 change that whatever one decides upon will be the correct answer or the correct plan-of-action.  The study of statistics has shown that the probabilities are exactly the same if one just followed ones instincts.

Faith follows similar patterns of likelihoods where life and spiritual beliefs are concerned. How can one argue against the belief that God – in its many guises – does not exist or does exist? The ensuing arguments and counter arguments will only fill the hordes of gigabytes available on the hordes of server farms around the world. And that is not even mentioning the tons of books printed on the subject matter at hand.

The movie took the arguments into a court of law where the lawyers, attorneys and barristers questioned, argued, debated and called witnesses to the witness-stand in their attempt at proving one-way-or-the-other that God was liable for acts-of-god, or not, and thus by implication, the followers, the clergy and all who profess to be disciples of the deity in question.

Of course the movie could not take a stand on the subject and thus ended in an impasse. The only defining statement is that the legalese wording acts-of-god was oppressive and abusive and held no relevance to the God being worshiped my millions around the globe.

Indeed, how does one argue faith or even the application thereof?

Millions of Humans take solace and hope and refuge against all the atrocities the natural world can throw at them based on that word: a word that does not just encompass optimism, confidence and conviction, but that embodies ones whole being, existence and belief structures.

Arguments in the movie were well thought out for the protagonist, who himself was a famed lawyer, threw many a curved ball at all the religious fanatics who got onto the bandwagon claiming blasphemy, heresy and hellfire.  The end statement of ‘love conquers all’ sorted all issues and calmed all antagonists.

Yes, the movie proved to be somewhat controversial and provocative all rolled into one, but the execution thereof was wonderful to witness.

I do not see the subject matter being openly argued in a court of law but the reality thereof is that such subjects are argued on a regular basis in a court of law: a defendant claims that she saw an ‘apparition’ that told her to go forth and cleanse the world of all evil; a defendant claims that he had a religious epiphany and is now clean of all fleshly desires and sexual wantons; a group of believers holes themselves up in a confined compound waiting for a religious occurrence to take place oblivious to the consequences of their anti-social actions; etc.

Faith is usually attributed to the spiritual world, but does Faith have a part to play in secular life?

The answer to my mind is yes: one needs faith in the judicial system that the law will run its course; that the police-person will do their job; that the utility provider will serve its constituents properly and orderly; that the Government will serve and protect the people; that the people will act in good faith towards their fellow humans and other cohabitants.

I fear that such ideals are very much pie-in-the-sky and that faith has been played out, but it is the only sanity left in this Topsy-turvy world we live on.

In the movie, Billy Connolly boated off into the horizon with his girlfriend and faithful dog, happy that all is well with the world.

Ends

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Dopes are Us!

November 14, 2012 in Commentary

I heard today from Anti-doping SA (SAIDS) that top of the list for doping offenses is Athletics. Athletics of all sports; are they not the doyen, the revered, the upstanding ones of the sporting codes!?

What got me thinking is how those charged with engendering public opinions are very quiet on this issue. Now cycling on the other hand, a sport that does not feature in the top 5 doping abusers in South Africa, has been vilified and much maligned due to the actions of some high profile individualistic personalities.

The opinions that have been expressed by the public made for interesting reading. A lot of the expressed opinions were very much emotive in content with many respondents using their version of morality to back up their viewpoints. This of course was used by the media to great effect as can be witnessed by the plethora of yellow-page reportage that inundated the written pages and viewing screens around the world.

Yes, the doping infraction by some cyclist is shameful but why the extreme brouhaha about cycling when there is other sporting codes with a higher infraction rate than cycling? Surely the so-called impartial media should be reporting on these infractions as well?

This scenario is similar to the much publicized and marketed superlative of America being the world’s largest economy: yes it is.., but it is also the world’s largest debtor. Actually the later outperforms the former.

There is much moral indignation being spewed by Sporting commentators, Media houses, Governmental Watch Dogs, Anti-doping bodies, and the public at large. They all claim to have been cheated by the cheats. Really?

Is the above not a case of the coal calling the charcoal black given the amounts of money being spent on over-the-counter drugs?

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Why the Obsession with the American elections?

November 7, 2012 in Commentary

Why the obsession with the American elections?

Here is a country that has the highest deficit rate (16 trillion Dollars) yet still gets viewed as the largest economy in the world?

Their track record as a rescuer of countries is beyond poor?

Most of the accepted paranoia and conspiracies are American driven?

Their application of Democracy leaves much to be desired?

Their record in usurping their own constitution has no equal?

Why the obsession with the American elections?

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I Did it My way: Armstrong

October 29, 2012 in Commentary

What has grabbed my attention of late has done nothing to dispel the mind-set that news is sensationalist, opportunistic and out to make a fast buck.

The Lance Armstrong disparity is just such a topic. Here is a guy that has been found guilty American style; that is to say on ‘reasoned evidence.’ And the public have bought into the whole incrimination saga hook-line-and-sinker.

There have been few newsworthy articles that have reported the debacle on a non-biased or non-moralistic way. The majority have painted a picture of sensationalized doping schemes that makes governmental buffoonery seem like a kindergarten school activity.

As a matter of fact, the end of the world is a walk in the park compared to what the Livestrong Texan has concocted, engineered and consumed. Words like Biological Fingerprints, blood doping and EPO have been and are being bandied around with such ferocity that Guantanamo Bay smells fresh by comparison.

Even the public commentary attached to such reporting shows a lack of inquiring-aptitude from amongst the respondents. As a matter of fact, alea jacta est is the order of the day.

Where are the inquiring questions, the why is he being singled out, the what about the culpability of the team support personnel, what is USADA after, is this not just paranoia-reporting using an individual to infer corruption on an already stigmatized sport, the why now. Is it reasonable to use modern doping knowledge to pass judgment on what happened in the past? If so, how far back does one take that precept? Where are the limits to the statute of limitations?  Why are people feeling so done in by the saga when they themselves are not morally clean? Who did Armstrong annoy to have this venomous outpouring unleashed upon him? Did UCI agree with USADA because it was politically expedient to do so? Is doping not a subset of professional sports? Does not the cancer medication interfere with Biological Fingerprinting? Why should I care? Et al?

Personally I have my doubts whenever I read of guilty by Reasoned Evidence for we human have the propensity to use rationale when justifying a course of action that is not clear or of dubious content. It is what we do. I for one would like to be judged on hard evidence rather than on evidence that was reasoned for the latter is a play-on-words and easily manipulated to fit the situation.

As for the eventual outcome of this drama, who knows? Will he come forward with the ‘truth’? Will UCI take USADA down for reasoning like their proverbial backsides? Will we be driven to drink with the numerous stories still being generated by bored journalists on a deadline?  Will the truth eventually be shown to be a well-designed sham? Will the people ever get off their high horses and see the news for what it is? Are USADAs protestations not a case of the best defense is an offense?

Here’s to a drug free world, people who say what they mean and upstanding politicians!

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by jawell

I Did it My way: Armstrong

October 29, 2012 in Commentary

What has grabbed my attention of late has done nothing to dispel the mind-set that news is sensationalist, opportunistic and out to make a fast buck.

The Lance Armstrong disparity is just such a topic. Here is a guy that has been found guilty American style; that is to say on ‘reasoned evidence.’ And the public have bought into the whole incrimination saga hook-line-and-sinker.

There have been few newsworthy articles that have reported the debacle on a non-biased or non-moralistic way. The majority have painted a picture of sensationalized doping schemes that makes governmental buffoonery seem like a kindergarten school activity.

As a matter of fact, the end of the world is a walk in the park compared to what the Livestrong Texan has concocted, engineered and consumed. Words like Biological Fingerprints, blood doping and EPO have been and are being bandied around with such ferocity that Guantanamo Bay smells fresh by comparison.

Even the public commentary attached to such reporting shows a lack of inquiring-aptitude from amongst the respondents. As a matter of fact, alea jacta est is the order of the day.

Where are the inquiring questions, the why is he being singled out, the what about the culpability of the team support personnel, what is USADA after, is this not just paranoia-reporting using an individual to infer corruption on an already stigmatized sport, the why now. Is it reasonable to use modern doping knowledge to pass judgment on what happened in the past? If so, how far back does one take that precept? Where are the limits to the statute of limitations?  Why are people feeling so done in by the saga when they themselves are not morally clean? Who did Armstrong annoy to have this venomous outpouring unleashed upon him? Did UCI agree with USADA because it was politically expedient to do so? Is doping not a subset of professional sports? Does not the cancer medication interfere with Biological Fingerprinting? Why should I care? Et al?

Personally I have my doubts whenever I read of guilty by Reasoned Evidence for we human have the propensity to use rationale when justifying a course of action that is not clear or of dubious content. It is what we do. I for one would like to be judged on hard evidence rather than on evidence that was reasoned for the latter is a play-on-words and easily manipulated to fit the situation.

As for the eventual outcome of this drama, who knows? Will Armstrong come forward with the ‘truth’? Will UCI take USADA down for reasoning like their proverbial backsides? Will we be driven to drink with the numerous stories still being generated by bored journalists on a deadline?  Will the truth eventually be shown to be a well-designed sham? Will the people ever get off their high horses and see the news for what it is? Are USADAs protestations not a case of the best defense is an offense?

Here’s to a drug free world, people who mean what they say and truth-speaking politicians!