CLARENCE: His majesty
Tendering my person’s safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
GLOUCESTER: Upon what cause?
CLARENCE: Because my name is George.
GLOUCESTER: Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers
My name, Ernest, is not an easy one to correctly pronounce. It is supposed to be U-rr-nusst, but most of us say Ah-Nest.
Including me. I mean, what about. If I could change the spelling of the damn thing once and for all, I would, and be known ever more as Ahnest Bazanye. Na lo. But my business cards still have the impossible-to-utter version the Lord gave the British, so I continue to go through life like Massachusetts.
One of the many babies I have helped raise in the capacity of uncle used to call me Act.
She loved me very much then, as she does now, and when she would see me approach, she would gurgle and wave her pudgy little arms and go, “Act! Act!”
When she saw someone with a moustache she would go, “Act!”
When she was crying and everyone wondered who could cheer her up, she would cry, “Act! No one but Act!” the last bit being, of course, implied.
We are approaching the point, my friends.
So, does the word act mean “give a thespian performance” or does it refer to this nigga right here?
When I yell, “Act! Act!” I am usually staring at a movie screen with Keanu Reeves on it, and am usually yelling out of frustration, demanding that he put in some effort at least, so at that point, Act does mean, well, act.
But when my dear niece said Act, she meant something completely different.
So it is with all words.
I love the word nigger. I find it fascinating. Morbidly fascinating. And I like to play with it. Because there is such a thrill in playing with something so dangerous.
I don’t like to be called nigger (Certainly not. No one does.) and don’t particularly relish being called nigga, either. Except if the term is used in the tone people of my generation usually adopt, to whit: “I am about to refer to you in the parlance of silly black American wannabes who think it is cool to imitate what they see on TV. Look, let us mock them by using their slang in humour! My nigga!”
Being a “nigga”, besides, is almost as bad as “nigger” in Uganda. The word instantly conjures up the image of a smelly, deluded, brain-washed half-wit loser with unkempt hair, who steals from his mom’s purse and dreams of being a rapper because he “lorvs hip-HAP” and keeps it real by being wearing fake gold jewellery and smelling awful.
It would expound on what “nigger” is, but you don’t have all century.
Neither word is one you would put on your CV.
But I still believe that a word derives its meaning from the intention of the speaker, so when they say they are using Nigga as a term of endearment, I understand, and appreciate, even though I won’t join, them.
They are like babies who can’t articulate the more established terms.
So much time passed between when I started writing this post and now, that I have forgotten what I was trying to say.
Oh. Ugly Art. Picasso’s vomitacious and pukeadelic painting.
I think I am beginning to see the point of view of people who actually like the fugly thing. Perhaps it is like digging into a Nas record (or a personalised mixtape—because every album he has made since Illmatic has only been been 50% brilliant, with the remaining 50 % forgettable dross). It isn’t music to make you happy. If it was a painting, it wouldn’t be roses on a windowsill in the sunset.
It is stories of men succumbing to despair, transfixed by the darkness inside themselves staring at it because it is easier to surrender to that than to fight the darkness outside, aggression and anger masking the whimper of hope’s death, monochrome streets under the rain, deflated basketballs,