TO DO WITH SELF INDULGENCE - Part One PEOPLE
Post date: May 13, 2009 11:31:46 PM
Hey! Diddle! Diddle! The cat and the fiddle the cow jumped over the moon!
The little boy laughed to see such fun and the dish ran away with the spoon!
This is a lesson about ambition overriding the possibility of achievement.
Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating a Xmas pie;
He put in his thumb and pulled out a plumb
And said what a good boy am I!
A lesson to show that what Jack did was not an achievement the plumb was already in the pudding. The sarcasm of these rhymes is not understood.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That is not the right definition; the shortest distance between two points on a plain surface is a straight line. A black man, Hannibal, knew that a long time ago when he crossed the Alps and took a straight direction but not a straight line.
We are in difficult waters and so many have an idea that they are great and have bestowed the laurel leaves on themselves as they feed off and devour knowledge from the bright and intelligent, whom they despised and when the time is right regurgitate it in a form that is more palatable to the public taste.
Last week on his programme, Andrew Pilgrim played it like Mac Fingall. They play the idiot! Wa Dax! What is its meaning. It is a class thing - a quasi class - that behaves as if everything is a joke. La! De! Da! Let us make fun of this for nothing is important we are alive, we are pretty and we treat everything on that trivial level - trivialize everything. That is Pilgrim, which should contrast very seriously with his performance as a lawyer.
Laughter accompanies deep ironic situations - unless something can get a laugh in a play it is not understand - they have even found a way to laugh in Julius Caesar - when Cleopatra put the asp to her breast they laugh and say that is only a play.
What comes through Andrew is that he is a cynical person and he is laughing at people all the time but do not mind how idiotic they getting on out there they not going bring that kind of nonsense to middle class people. Why do they do it? May be it is an arty-farty thing for Andrew’s father was one of the few and only boys that drove himself to school and his uncle, Paul, was a founding member of the Barbados Rally Club, which was in the 50s, when only the cream of the coloured society, like Dobbie Douglas, were members
If I were his mother I would think that he might be getting back at me for it is certain that he would not have seen that behaviour or mores while under his family’s middle class roof.
Elton Mottley will play that he agrees with the “um dat” kind of thing but he is not with that. Jeanette Layne Clarke in her column, Bobby Clarke, they do the split personality thing. Tom Adams used one voice for the lower classes and one for the better offs but none of them doing that in their own real lives. Edward “Kamau” Brathwaite talks about nation language and he wears locks; he understands that there is some affinity with metaphors but he expresses himself in impeccable English.
Slapstick is like Jim Carrey, where falling down is to make people laugh but these are no Jim Carrey or Jimmy Edwards, who always got a laugh, was bright and he was a mathematics masters. Tony Hancock was a better comedian, he made a lot of money and he killed himself eventually. Our Fingalls and Pilgrims feel that they are celebrities but it is not so they do not act like professionals, do not rehearse, there is no editing and no disciplines. Daphne Hackett gone and Cynthia Wilson, Peta Alleyne and such people try with the likes of Belly Laugh and are happy with such. The only one that would not compromise to descend to that level is probably Alfred Pragnell.
It is self indulgence. Jewel and her cackling Bajan Women, which cannot be watched more than once and not to its conclusion. “I want people to see me on a motor cycle: let me be seen doing this, interviewing the American Ambassador,”- and all that at the expense of the audience. They figure that they are too big for their boots. “We are big so we can do anything,” - and speaking like the queen in the third person. “Pilly went to Africa” - “Hamilton Lashley is not going to do that.”
It is a particular bend – for a particular effect or effete. “Oh! I discovered Africa!” They believe that they are at the same level of the Hollywood stars and that is what afflicts Barbadians. They believe the spin, which is put out there: Barbados is the best in the world. Everything about Barbados is fantastic, we are stars!
It is all to do with behavioural science but our society is not governed by science and so a lot of analyzing is needed - like, when old people tied a fowl or a turkey by the foot, fed them - sometimes the birds were force fed and when the string was removed, the birds did not wander out of the radius of the circle of the thread because the birds had that territory and did not know they could go further.
They do not know that they are free.
An old chief messenger wore khaki suit and top hat and every body above a janitor he called: “Yes Sir!” and when he retired, on mornings he dressed the same way and went and stood outside the public buildings.
There is so much of that and it is tied up in what we call - tradition - meaning:
“It does happen, there is no explanation for it,” and even the politician are not bright enough to know it is done. The Prime Minister is still Deus ex machine - God in the machine. Owen did the same and all the rest did it. He is God by virtue of his office and sitting at the top of the pinnacle, so do not confront him.
Brought up to think manners means do not cuss the white man translated means - the boss cannot be told when he is wrong. In the army it is yes sir! Salute and have the courage to do what needs to be done in the way it should.
There are definitions, “connective dissonance” – e.g. a person joins a group and finds that the group’s behaviour is not what was expected but some want is fulfilled so the person reconciles the difference, adapts, explains away, resorts to defensive mechanisms, and defends the conduct.
What can be recognized as plain ordinary common, manipulation, denial and refusal to face reality. That is observable with more and more people. See but blot out, hear but not listen, pay no attention let the bright ones talk, what they want to talk, do not be disrespectful, ask questions that bare no reality to the topic and appear intelligent.
It is an idiot’s stance. Jewel Forde in a recent interview with the American Ambassador wanted to show her intelligent so she catered to the Ambassador, smiled when she did not have to do and did not let the woman talk. When she looked at a painting she said: “I got one of them home.” This behavior is the way to get through and the line of least resistance. Every morning on “Morning Barbados” subjects come prepared to say certain things, do not give proper answers and hope that a question is asked for what they have to say. Barrow called it appearance.
Speakers do not know about what they speak and concentrate on style - catch phrases and translate one another words because it sounds good. “um, did, dat, wunnah” not recognizable as language. There is a new word impact, impact is an intransitive verb and must carry a preposition. Transitive and intransitive - I eat bread - there has to be subject and an object.
A fellow came in court charged with stealing jewelry and he wore a big medallion. The magistrate said: “officer bring that thing let me see it,” he drop it on the desk and he did not hear a tingle because it was not gold.
The Herald published by Clennell Wickham is in the Archives and in it there was a regular column called Lizzy and Joe, written in Bajan and rhyme, and very amusing. The innuendo of these two people’s conversation was brilliant and should be required reading so that some can see how language is used.
Before there was a body of West Indian literate Charles Dickens was read. In Dickens’ books there was standard English and Cockney. Cockney connects a similar word and make it rhyme, and it is spoken by those people born and living in a district within the sound of the bells of Bow Church in Bow Street, where there was a police court, police court because all the prostitutes and petty thieves use to go before the magistrate there.
There is pure French Castilian and the spelling has to be this way and the grammar and that is the only authorize one. Spanish is the same. There is an academy that controls and the Spanish popular press cannot do things like how the American do like spelling “nite” for night. There is some accommodation of dialect among the people but it is not authorized or even looked favorable upon by the authority.
In South America and Puerto Rico Spanish there are many things that the native Spaniard would understand in as short space of time like our wunna, the English would understand in time.
People in England did not go to school until 1844 after their first education law. A revised Education Act came in the middle of the war, when Churchill realized that lack of education was why people were caught so unaware and he made education compulsory. Before that the education system was based on elitism. Barbados never relied on the local expert we accepted everything that was done in other places and did not have an Education Act until the 1900s.
They had very few local inspectors of school and he came down and did a silly thing. A man called Hayden was the first director of education. He introduced age grouping and one morning a child was in 1st form at 10 years-old and the next morning in 3rd form in that age grouping.
Thirty elected members of parliament and there is no brain test to get in the House. A political leader must be educated to the broader world issues and at this time too many that govern are backward. They have no idea of social history.
“That is rhetoric” - meaning style but rhetoric is the opposite of style. Rhetoric is much too fundament to ignore, it is not a surface thing and it needs deep study.
The politicians are the same thing, from where do they come? Let us face it from the beginning Grantley Adams had bright men around him that could shine but he did not promote them for the moon gets its light from the sun and he did not want them to get too close. I remember even en Grantley Adams he would pass he was very careful not to be seeing mixing with certain people that was Grantley. Grantley was another Grantley man.
Horace Barker had a rum shop, where there is the statue of Clement Paynes now. He ran that it for about fifty years. Young civil servants went there and Adams use to go. He usually bought a half bottle of J.R. coloured rum. He came in sat d at a table and Horace brought his bottle out. Grantley acknowledges the boys, sent drinks over there for them, but he did not go over because, some said, he felt that they would drink his rum. He never paid Horace.
Grantley was not a scamp because he saw that certain thing needed to be done and got them done but he did not want any company and that had and affect on that generation - fellows like Sleepy Smith and Cupid Williams, who went to St. Lucia. The fellows could join the Labour Party but they could not get a position. Hugh Springer was line up for to be president, when Grantley got him the job, which was a launching pad for Frank Walcott.
All the politicians did that. It is just perverse characters and then the sideline politicians themselves were not educated. Grantley got rid of Hugh Springer. Sir Mencea Cox had a wife and N.E. Wilson used to horn him all the time, she ended up with a white fellow. Cox was a taxi driver, owner of a taxi. He was self-educated and was kept around maybe because regardless of how well educated he became he could not be a threat.
Aubrey Bryan was one of Adams men he had a bar and restaurant but Adams would not put him on the executive committee. There was Edwy Talma; he was bright but he did not want the absolute position. Wynter Crawford got rid of himself and Theodore Brancker and all of them left. Grantley kept Ronald Mapp - he was a teacher - and all those that worshipped him.
Hilton Vaughn was born in Haiti that is why he never was knighted. He was not enfranchised because a Barbadian knight must be born here. He lived just above Top Rock on the left hand side. He was bright and was not allowed although Grantley sent him to the UN on behalf of Barbados. Grantley sent him as high as Grantley wanted him to go. Vaughn, like most great men, one of his passions was writing - he wrote a lot but never published and he played the ukulele. Grantley kept Husband, Smith, Walcott and Miller – although Miller was different he had initiative.
Freddie Miller played the saxophone and he kept it in the trunk of his car, M22. He and the boys started to drink in Baxter’s Road by old Arthur Cave and when Arthur Cave was ready for home they retired to a mulatto fellow from Tichbourne or by Enid in Nelson Street or Rudy’s Inn on Bay Street above the Police Boys’ Club on the Esplanade side. Ernie Small used to play the organ there and drinking was until the cows came home, when the crowd got small Freddie went to the back of his car, returned inside and played his saxophone.
When enough was had the drinkers traipsed off to Roger Blackman, who lived in Maxwell Road. Freddie lived in Brighton and Arthur Gay in Lower Westbury Road so Freddie gave Arthur a ride home. Freddie never drove more than 10 miles and hour. “Freddie I could get out and walk.”
There was his younger sister, Dorothy, she was like one of the boys; she went to Queen’s College, lived in Canada and became a nurse, one of the first black ones, although she was one of the red Millers, very fair. There was jetty at Brighton by a rum refinery and she laid and sunned herself. She went night clubbing with the boys and drove a car.