Why so serious?

So it is summer in NYC, and it is a gorgeous and glorious season here in the big apple. Women dress to leave very little to the imagination, the reason being it’s hot.

In the winter, when it’s 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside, people here have to wear layers – normally three layers – underclothes, clothes, and coat. So in the summer women compensate for that restriction by only wearing half a layer, plus for you ladies there are dudes running around in wifebeaters, which we call “merinas” in Jamaica. In the winter people socialize less, because it’s dark so early – 5pm sunsets. And also because it’s cold, so cold there is ice on the street for weeks after a snowstorm, melting slowly and refreezing each cold night. The skies are often gray as it rains more in the winter, and people are very receptive to the rain, because it could be worse, it could be snow.

Batman Guerrilla marketing in Gotham
Batman Guerrilla marketing in Gotham

So it’s the summer, the best time to visit New York City if you’re a tourist, the only other really good time being during Christmas. In the summer there are well-attended happy hours daily, barbecues, get-togethers and generally lots of fun. Many people go to the beaches here, however being used to the beaches of the Caribbean that is really not something that interests me, and oddly I find the same to be true for most of the Jamaicans in NYC whom I know. We also have the tradition of summer blockbuster movies, and this year has been a pretty good record with Wall-E, HellBoy II, Hancock, and The Dark Knight. I may actually end up watching The Dark Knight a third time in IMAX, it’s that good a movie. My interest of course is in the screenplay — this movie is adroitly executed but also very well-written. Such is the charm of competence, it sucks you in and makes you a fan.

Which leads me to the real reason that writing here has slowed down, competence, or really the lack of it. The realization I have come to about the current government is painful for me as I genuinely wished them well, and continue to wish them well — yet increasingly I can’t help but conclude they’re a group of absolute fuck-ups. (And that is the first time officially I’ve cursed in this space.) And I’ve been genuinely afraid of what I’ve been thinking as a result of this realization.

Why so serious? People are dying. PEOPLE. ARE. DYING. And the response of the current government had been for PM Bruce Golding to issue a statement about once every ten days saying “We’re going to confront these criminals eventually. One of these days they’ll be sorry.” The image that this action/inaction brings to mind is of a feeble old man standing on his veranda, shaking his fists, and yelling at kids after some mischief. Then finally the government issued a crime plan, after much fanfare and hype and it bombed. A more full post about the pros and cons of the crime plan will have to be made this weekend.

So increasingly my thoughts in reaction to news out of Jamaica and my criticisms are wantonly harsh, with little humor and less wit. Every now and then I read something and have a wry thought – like when Anthony Gomes has a column about decriminalizing prostitution and I note to myself that prostitution is perfectly legal in Jamaica as long as the hookers are incumbent members of parliament. But mostly I’m pessismistic about the Golding government now. Why so serious? It’s hard to not be serious. People. Are. Dying. Many meeting abrupt and violent deaths as displayed in the daily news-feed of carnage, but far too many are dying a slower and ultimately more painful death, watching their ambition withering on the vine and rot as epitomized by Olint and Cash Plus. I’ll incorporate the theme of ambition into my post about the crime plan/lack thereof. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me to see how so many talented, dynamic people who want more and strive for achievement are being damned to poverty and strife by their government and the entire political system. We are rich in resources and poor in imagination.

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14 thoughts on “Why so serious?

  1. Hush mi love. No’ mine yaw! See “Dirty Harry” get arrested? This is the first time I have seen them haul in a Supe, so let us see where it leads. I think the military might be supplying the JCF with intelligence, since the latter has traditionally appeared bereft of it. In the meantime, there is a tiny spark of hope, far in the distance…

  2. hey good to get a report on Up So, and thanks for the heads up on Dark Knight, will try and see it. just hope its not too gory. too much gore in real life y’know?

    yes, the arrest of Dirty Harry is certainly a milestone…may there be many more. we can’t afford to lose hope down here, it’s about the only commodity most of us can afford!

  3. The arrest of Bungles is definitely significant.Nonetheless,like everything else in Jamaica,it most likely will become a nine day wonder, and nothing comes of it, and ndeed, his political connections result in him being exonerated.Hopefully,there will be the implementation of due process of law, and for once let the chips fall where they may.One is extremely mindful of Crawle,Clarendon although a qualitatively different circumstance.But it just seems that we can never get it right when it comes to certain agents of the state.Specifically,if they are strategically placed on the JCF’s organizational chart,or, interestingly, they have become some form of folk hero, or, brand name officers, with respect to supposedly being infamous or notorious crime fighters.It will be extremely interesting to see what unfolds with Bungles/Dirty Harry.In all honesty,Jamaicans are interested in the TRUTH couched within the context of the RULE of LAW.We are tired of manipulations,obfuscations,prevarications, and ad hoc legal constructs and conveniences to protect the so called influential members of society.The unvarnished TRUTH regarding Dirty Harry is essential.All Jamaicans are keenly and intently looking at this one.LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY!! RESPECT!

  4. Star I have been in NY for one week and I haven’t seen any of these half naked women! I going back next week, so i want you to point me in their direction!

    The Golding Gov seems like what we call a rubber teeth dog, all bark and no bite as far as the economy and crime is concerned. But then again, do we have any better, Sista P’s party sell out the country and plunged it into poverty during their 16 yrs.

  5. In the land of garrisons, ganstas, gunmen, guns, ganja, ginnalship (anancyism), gimmicks (bandoolooism), nuff gal, copious cell phones, astronomical crime rates, exorbitantly high food prices, vacuous political leadership and accountability, and the society trapped in a political conundrum with respect to the orange and green parties one has to be extremely serious.Indeed, one can empathise with your political and emotional state vis-a-vis happenings and events in Jamaica.Notwithstanding, as Ellie and Ms. Annie Paul aptly articulated, hope is the only commodity most of us Jamdowners, including those in the diaspora can afford.Indeed, let us all keep hope alive.Irrespective of the trials,tribulations,woes, and the many rivers we have to cross, to improve and ameliorate the general human condition in beleaguered but beloved Jamaica. Nuff respect star!!

  6. I love “hope” just as much as the next guy but in a two party system when you have seen one party fail for close to two decades. And now at long last to see the alternative and see how little anything has changed, and how readily the government of today is failing — it’s heartbreaking. Where do we turn now? To burning and looting? Or to brain-drain mass migration of the best and brightest minds? Where are our good options?

  7. @ Stunner:
    Where are they — all around. Go to Central Park and watch them tan on the lawn, take the subway to the BX. Use your Jamaican accent freely – it has a salutary effect.

  8. I must confess that the word “hope” has been bandied around to substitute for “hopelessness” that would tell us to write a requiem for our country. It is in the face of this hopelessness that we dare to hope, if only to keep hope’s last ember alive.

    For we are afraid to admit that we have run out of options and have become silent witnesses to a young nation in what seems to be its death throes. The nihilist in me tells me that even if the nation is flayed in an inevitable conflagration, then some good must come of it, and perhaps it will only be in the ashes of revolt that life can teem again.

    One of our most defining characteristics is the propensity to ignore trends and signals until our problems become unassailable and loom large over us. This is one of those times, and I guess we shall pay for the inertia and the long double-decade — hell, no — generation-long silence.

  9. The “ugliest picture of an author award” had me in stitches! I had asked myself when I read the article yesterday if dem coudden put likkle powder on im an tell im fi smile. Then check out the grainy-grainy photo of Henley Morgan in the same publication at http://www.sunheraldja.com/article/show/1347

    They just couldn’t bother with the effort to get a decent photo. He should sue.

    But who cares about presentation? News is news, and people don’t demand much.

  10. Ellie,your clarification of the utilization of both terms “hope” and “hopelessness” is well comprehended and greatly appreciated.Thanks and respect!

  11. With regard to the question of options,one is of the perspective that we have exhausted our options,as a consequence of the abysmal and atrocious failure of political parties and political elites in the political,social and economic development of Jamaica and its people over the last forty six years,but more so over the last thirty years.Indeed,the major political tragedy,misfortune and catastrophe in Jamaica,post British colonialism ,is the profound and colossal bankruptcy of political parties,and political elites in not being able to strategically place the country on a trajectory for economic take off and sustainable development.Currently,the situation is dire,alarming,appaling and to some extent cataclysmic and could result or manifest itself in a social conflagration.Is a conflagration an option? I do not know,although many astute observers of the Jamaican scene are of the conflagration school of thought or perspective and contend that a conflagration could be a form of correction or corrective remedy. Nonetheless,the fertile conditions do exist,as evidenced in the grinding material and human conditions and the conspicuous inequalities extant within the society.That a conflagration could result in a form of catharsis,or cleansing of the society,and hence manifesting itself in a form of PHOENIX FACTOR,by giving birth to a qualitatively different society is extremely interesting.Undoubtedly,we are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place and the future does not augur or bode well for many Jamaicans.

  12. Esteban, why so serious? Here’s a joke to get us out of the doldrums, courtesy of the people of Zimbabwe:

    A policeman stops a motorist on a busy street in Harare and asks for a donation: terrorists have kidnapped the former Sir Robert Mugabe, and have vowed to soak him in petrol and set him alight if the hefty ransom is not paid.
    “How much are other people giving?” the motorist asks.
    “On average, about two or three litres.”

  13. Hilarious!! Extremely hilarious!!I enjoyed it immensely.Ellie,I am generally not a serious person.On the contrary,My disposition is generally cheerful and jocular.Thanks for the light humour.Although a joke, I am extremely supportive of the Zimbabwean motorist.Nuff respect!!

  14. I’m with you diatribalist. I have grown to really love blogging, but lately I find that I don’t spend nearly as much time being despondent, but rather enraged at the ugliness around me. And too too often I find myself at the place where me w’aa bun fyah fi Golding an’ alla dem govament heediyat deh who won’t act like dem have sense or self-respect, an’ de res o we whe jus’ a siddung an’ n’ah seh nuttn; jus’ a wait. Fi wha? You get my drift. All of a sudden, a coup starts looking good, but for the life of me I can’t even figure out who the newbies on the block would be; so much for imagination. That’s why I have to draw back, stop blogging for a few days, get some perspective, think about what I want to contribute, and how. We are living in serious times. No better time for thoughtful, deliberate dialogue and action.

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