Thursday, November 18, 2010

An interesting... flowered irritation

Since Kevin Pietersen came to try and get some form back by playing for The Dolphins, the UK and other international cricket writers keep on saying he went back to SA to play for Natal. Even this morning, 2 months after it happened, Mark Nicholas (who is one of the top commentators in the world) said Natal.

The province is called KwaZulu-Natal.

This is not some contentious name like Tshwane or Mike Sutcliffe's plethora of road name variations. KwaZulu-Natal has been called so since 1994. That's a cool 16 years that cricket commentators have had to get used to it.

I am not talking about your local British person who has never been here. I am talking about professional journalists who have followed the English team here on more than one occasion and been to the province.

If it's too long for their poor keyboards then abbreviate it to KZN like most of us do.

Outside that, I'm so excited to watch Rhodesia make a return to Test cricket with a banging fixture in Salisbury against Ceylon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An interesting... SABC fairytale

Set in the future...

Once upon a time King Jacob had a rather large headache. "Stop consuming the SABC" said Dr Motsoaledi, the royal doctor, "for this is what causes your head to be sore". So King Jacob phoned his friend, Sir Robert Gumede, and asked him to buy the SABC and take it off of his hands. Gumede agreed and purchased it for R120 which, all things considered, was its value to the public.

However, this angered many people and pleased other people.

Prince Zwelenzima Vavi said publically that he was against this happening and he cold have used it to employ another 3 million people by raising TV licence fees, but no one heard his message because of the Protection on Information declaration which banned all of his press releases because they made King Jacob and his friends so uncomfortable.

Princess Helen of Cape Town said she was glad it was privatised but that Gumede was a shit option when it should obviously have been sold to Rupert Murdoch.

Prince Dr Piet Mulder said that he wanted his own public broadcaster but needed his own public in his own country first.

Prince Mike Sutcliffe said that before the SABC was sold he wanted it to be called the Mzilikazi Umqaqazikababaxelitshalala Kahle Umbuzi Mahatmaguevara TV Station of the Republic of South Africa. Prince Zweli Mkhize agreed absolutely.

Minion Herschelle Gibbs said it was sweETV. But he didn't watch it because they took the porn off. Poor oke.

Imperialist Geoffrey Boycott said it was overvalued and wasn't worth a stick of rhubarb.

The Daily Mail got its facts in a twist and reported that Jacob Zuma actually killed Robert Gumede with his machine gun. No worries. They published a two-line apology the next day on page 47, just after the recipes.

Previous-prince Benni McCarthy asked if there would be food available at the launch of the new station. Khulubuse Zuma said he wasn't coming if there wasn't.

Royal Pastor Ray Macauley invited Gumede to host the new station in the east wing of his mansion. He also got Tom Cruise to fly out and bless it. Silly man, it's so easy to confuse Rhema and Scientology.

Princess Diane Kohler-Barnard said " this is a fucking storming success and about fucking time the national fucking broadcaster was put in new fucking hands".

Princess Lindiwe Sisulu refused to confirm if the sale had happened.

Princess Gwen Ramokgopa said that it didn't matter because no one in her constituency could afford TVs anymore because they were spending cash on generators and having their garbage removed by private companies.

The Mail and Guardian's editor, Heathen Nic Dawes, is still in a coma. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An interesting... odd statement from David Cameron

Regarding the hiked-up university tuition fees in the UK which sparked serious protests in Londo yesterday, David Cameron said: "Raising tuition fees will do two things. It will make sure our universities are well funded and we won't go on increasing so fast the fees for overseas students … We have done the difficult thing. We have put up contributions for British students. Yes, foreign students will still pay a significant amount of money, but we should now be able to keep that growth under control."

Let me highlight the important bit here: we won't go on increasing so fast the fees for overseas students

Hi David. Do you know one of the main reasons why the Liberal Democrat hype before the election dampened into the squib which was their portion of the vote? It was their pro-immigration stance that did it.

The people that voted for you? Well they disagree with your lapdog about that particular topic.

And you're from a pretty proud and nationalistic country.

So what did you actually mean? That the British people should pay more to attend British universities but the foreign students won't?

In fairness, Cameron was answering a question directed to him while he is on his trip to China, and the question cold very well have been "Are fees for foreign students also going to increase?" for all I know.

But the Prime Minister should know how that quote might sound to some people.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An interesting...myth buster (long-ass post)

This article was published in Time magazine and managed to annoy me to a fairly large degree. It's by a gay man writing about how and why his relationship ended, and blaming the fact that he is gay, and the structure of gay relationships, as opposed to him taking any responsiblity for how or why his coupledom was removed.

The basic conclusion here is that there are a different set of rules for a relationship in which there are two men, as opposed to a man and a woman. He makes the point that without defined (possibly gender) roles, there is no future possible. Let's take a run through the article with some quotes and I'll show you why he's talking out of his rear end.

I went home with Michael the night we met, and figuratively speaking, I didn't leave again for those 7 1⁄2 years.

It's very important to include this statement to reinforce the fact that gays are all about sex and just bone all the time without giving credence to anything emotional. You know, like how black people steal and Afrikaners are all racists.It's an opening to immediately differentiate the writer from what the reader may be used to.

Things drifted for a while. There was some icky couples counseling ("Try a blindfold") and therapeutic spending on vacations, clothes, furniture. We were lost. The night Michael wouldn't stay up to watch The Office finale with me, I knew I had to move out. Yes, he was tired, but if he couldn't give me the length of a sitcom--Jim and Pam are going to kiss!--then we were really done.

The point is reinforced: you know that gays only care about interior decoration, fashion and showbusiness. Don't you? Same way Americans only care about war and French people stink of garlic. One again, it is the writer forcing upon the reader that he is GAY GAY GAY.

He then has a whole speel about how his life is better because he is now single and the sex is better (ja because that's not a vengeful thing to do, is it?), he went back to gym. Oh, and his evenings contained "moderate drug use" because in case you forgot, he is gay, and a nice cliched gay myth hasn't been in this paragraph yet. Ok, we've finally ascertained that this man is NOT straight and now the article can go on.

Finally I started reading the academic research on relationships, which is abundant and, surprisingly, often rigorous. I wondered whether Michael and I could have done more to save our union. What impact had our homosexuality had on the longevity, arc and dissolution of our relationship? Had we given up on each other because we were men or because we were gay? Or neither? Friends offered clich├ęs: Some people just aren't meant for each other. But our straight friends usually stayed married. Why not us?

Yeh that's it. Some straight people that he knows stayed together but him and his boyfriend broke up. Conclusive evidence in my book. This is also where he begins to ask whether he was personally responsible, or whether it was his gay handicap that prevented him from being together with someone else. Where did he start researching?
Dr. David Reuben's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex. A good modern insight into contemporary sexuality as it was published 41 years ago. Yep, the writer consulted a book published in 1969. You know, back when homosexuality was thought of as a disease. Summed up, this twat's conclusion is that gays cannot have a proper relationship because they are always on the lookout for the next penis. This was in the era where STDs hadn't been discovered yet so excuse my scepticism when it comes to sexual expertise during the hippie era. All of a sardine, after quoting the book,the writer says:

I know now that the book was blithe and stupid, but I think many people, gay and straight, assume gay men are worse at maintaining relationships than straight people are. I needed experts, answers. I was also curious if I should be so upset about my breakup. As a society, we treat single people over 30 with condescension or pity, but maybe the problem was that I had hurtled into a serious relationship too young. I know that in my 20s I had wanted to impress my family and my heterosexual friends with my stability. Maybe I should have waited.

This is where he offers a real morsel of how he's starting to think it's a gay thing: his fwiendy-wiendies didn't think gays could be stable and THAT'S what drove him into a relationship too early. Peer pressure, can't you see? Not love or attraction or chemistry or anything that could apply to heterosexuals too (because they never ever rush into relationships in their 20s which they regret later on). Everyone who gets into relationships too early thinks "maybe I should have waited" but in his case it was because he was gay, not just a person who did something they regret... like everyone else.

Research on gay relationships is young. The first study to observe how gays and lesbians interact with their partners during conversations (monitoring facial expressions, vocal tones, emotional displays and physical reactions like changes in heart rate) wasn't published until 2003, even though such studies have long been a staple of hetero-couple research.

He then goes on to quote that very first study. Not anything that extended from it, but the very first one ever which compared 40 straight couples and 40 gay couples, the conclusion of which said that gays were bad at repairing things that went wrong in relationships and this is where homosexual relationship counsellors should focus.

The therapist Michael and I hired did not encourage us to repair. She didn't have to. Our relationship had become so etiolated and dull that we didn't even have proper fights. We carried an aura of passivity, and the therapist wanted to see passion.

He goes on to say that gay people get off on emotions and tension and straight people don't. So the problem was that this therapist treated them like straight people not that the relationship was already doomed by then. Or dull. Or just a normal relationsip that ended because the twosome grew apart.

For gays, it is apathy that murders relationships, not tension. Straight people more often prefer a lento placidity.

No margins are given here as results of this small study. How many of the 80 couples exhibited this? Was it 22 vs 23? 12 vs 36?

It just sounds like such a generalised statement lifted off a study I don't feel is big enough. Surely all relationships have their own ebb and flow?

Now we get into complete and utter bullshit:
No one is sure why gay men are worse at making up after fights, but I have a theory: it's less important for their sex lives. Probably because they don't have women to restrain their evolutionarily male sexual appetites, gay men are more likely than straight and lesbian couples to agree to nonmonogamy, which decreases the stakes for not repairing.

So, gays fight differently to straight people because to feel better they can just run out of the door and bang someone else. The assumption here that gay men do not give a flying toss about how their partner feels? The assumption that the relationship doesn't matter because we won't run out of people to shag? And on that note, straight people never go looking for others to bone? To say that gay men put so much emphasis on getting a leg over with no regard for emotions and feelings is condescending, incorrect, and a somewhat bitter statement.

Finally, I think gay and lesbian couples may prefer more heart-racing during conflict because of what happens to gays and lesbians as kids. Although the world is changing--more than 3,700 schools now have student clubs that welcome gays--many gay kids still grow up believing that what they want is disgusting. They repress for years, and when they finally do have relationships, they need them to carry sufficient drama into those emotional spaces that were empty for so long. Gays need their relationships to scorch.

By virtue of being gay in a straight world, it is possible that tension could result in later feelings toward and away from certain aspects of life, like relationships. I find it difficult to believe that this transcends the sexual preference barrier though. Surely kids (and adults, I suppose) who grow up under any kind of uncomfortable circmstance could have this kind of influence affect them? I find it difficult to believe that gay men may react differently in later life if they faced serious prejudice and consternation when they were younger. The same way a child with an abusive father may act differently to someone who didn't have that kind of characteristic in his or her life. I hardly believe this is exclusive to homosexuals as a group and is far more applicable on a specific personal basis.

Penutimate paragraph: Today Michael and I are friends. On Christmas Eve, we gathered a group, and I made an enthusiastic attempt at the traditional Italian seven-fishes feast. I'm in better shape now than I was in high school, which fits with psychologist Bella DePaulo's finding (in her fascinating 2006 book on single life, Singled Out) that the period around divorce is associated with improvements in health. Divorced men are also, not surprisingly, happier than men stuck in bad marriages.

Once again, not one thing he mentions here applies exclusively to gays. Once again, I think that the writer and Michael broke up becaue of normal relationship reasons and not because they were gay. The reactions to the break up from the writer are certainly bog-standard for people in general.

And yet if ours had been a straight marriage, I have little doubt we would still be together. We had financial security and supportive families. We almost certainly would have had children. This isn't regret--fighting my homosexuality would be like shouting against the rain. But while the researchers are certainly right that straight couples have something to learn from gay couples, I think the inverse is true as well.

Financial security and supportive families does not a happy marriage make. There are so many aspects to marriage and coupledom - finances and family being two of them - and they don't all have to go wrong for problems to develop. Loads of couples with fiscal security and familes that love them dearly break up. And it's not the pure fact of being gay that drove them to do it. There are a host of reasons that it could have been, and to tie it up in homosexuality is insulting, condescending, and, dare I say it, bitter.

But it's much easier to blame it on something like that, hey?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

An interesting... cabinet

In the spirit of Gwen Ramokgopa being elevated to the second most important health position in South Africa after confirming (by trial and error) that she is the world's worst mayor, I have decided to create my own cabinet.

President: Me
It's my cabinet. So in the game I am the president.

Vice president: Mike
I want a two-income family.

Minister of Sport: Herschelle Gibbs
I would like to pick someone with an honourable past. Someone whose reputation was never questioned, who never took illegal substances, who could always be relied on by his country...

Minister of Security: Lolly Jackson
Such a controversial figure who managed to remain out of harm's way all these years.

Sorry, what? Oh.

Minister of Communications: Floyd Shivambu
Outside spelling, reason and the ability to argue a point, this man was born to write press releases. Number 2 in the Communications Ministry will be whoever is in charge of marketing at Cell C.

Minister of Health: Gwen Ramokgopa
I have decided to promote her. So many people died during the Mbeki years and I feel like I wouldn't be able to match his efforts unless I also put a real nincompoop in charge.

Minister of Ruling until Jesus Comes: Ray Macauley
Seriaas - the amount of money he makes for his church? Imagine what he could make for government. I mean the people.

Minister of Women, Children and the Handicapped: Josef Fritzl
He knows how to keep them happy and reproductive - even with each other. And it wouldn't matter if they are handicapped because they live in a basement.

Minister of Agriculture: Leon Schuster
I know Afrikaners love Leon Schuster. And they love farming. So this appointment is for them.

Minister of Inter-cultural Relations: Sarah Palin
I wanted someone with a real open mind. You know, the type who really just get other people and don't fall back on knee-jerk prejudices. And she's smokin'. This is such a big portfolio though that I decided to hire the entire management of the BMF to work with her. And SASCO. Hahaha ok I'm done now.

Minister of gays Moving Images: Barry Ronge
We do require someone to push the agenda of gays movies, organise great gay movie parties, invite other gays celebrities and get them to strip to music teach us about this popular subculture art while we drink champers eat popcorn.

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Khanyi Mbau
It's a play on words people.

Anyone else you think we should add?