Host: Hey, is that you Cookie Monster, the character from Sesame Street?
Celebrity Guest: Yup. Me here to introduce new blog.
Host: What happened to Russell Crowe? I asked for Russell Crowe.
Celebrity Guest: Russell no available this week. Him have spa accident. No ask.
Host: By “spa” you mean “brothel in Athens”, and by “accident” you mean he microwaved his penis again, right?
Cookie Moster: Dude, what part of “No ask” you needed help with?
Me: Well, I just can’t believe he went back there after what happened the last time.
Guest: Crowe huge pervert, yes, but even huger dumbass. However, forget about him. Let’s get down to business. Me have cookies to chase.
Self: Yes, let’s get down to business. This new blog. Tell us about it.
Him: liz-venividivici.blogspot.com! It lively, stimulating and opinionated but in interesting way. So far only few posts which are in slice-of-life vein, but me look forward to enjoying more in future. By the way, you have cookie? Cos me want cookie.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who is fondly known to his citizens as “Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni”, has been globetrotting gaily through the news, and has been photographed, as if evidence is required, in the embrace of some of the most despicable men in the world.
But besides the lolpresident potential of those pictures, why should we discuss this matter at all, especially so long after the heinous and embarrassing acts were committed?
Because UPYM didn’t only meet creepy despots and doughy warmongers. He also went to, of all places, Iceland.
How about that? Iceland. If he isn’t the first Ugandan ever to set foot there…
And that is the part of his trip that is going to affect the price of bread.
Most of us know nothing about this country, and so it will surprise us to learn that it is in fact the most developed nation in the world, following the HDI standards, the same ones which make Uganda the 154th most developed nation out of 177.
There is a whole section of its wikipedia entry dedicated to extolling the magnificence of Iceland’s economy, but I am in a mood today. I don’t want to actually give accurate and considered assessments of things. I took a little glance and after five seconds drew up this profile of Iceland’s economic history. In brief, until sometime in the last century, Iceland was one of the poorest countries in Europe. After all, it was Iceland. It had no natural resources and hardly any people either. Iceland has a population of 320,000 people.
Imagine. 320,000. That isn’t a country, that is a sub-county. In fact not even a county—that is gombolola.
A major contributor to the wondrous and highly-developed Icelandic economy is fish.
Therein lies our lesson. Museveni cannot have failed to see the lightbulbs that would suddenly blaze above his shiny dome when he encountered this nation and learnt its history.
That is how you develop, he must have said. He must have turned to Odit and said, “You. Thingy, write this down!”
And proceeded to dictate a groundbreaking plan for development. “The formula is simple: Less people. More fish!”
And that is what is going to inform Museveni’s economic policy for his next term in power. Less People, More Fish. He will make you chant it like sheep.
He will seek to radically truncate Uganda’s galloping population growth rate and, since going into one’s fourth term one no longer required to keep up the pretence of democracy, he will conscript all able-bodied men into mining Victoria, Albert, Edward, George and the other English monarchs by force. They will be sent off, like, to fishing work camps. With no women.
If you put a lot of energetic young men together and deny them women, they may start to bugger one another, and if “Dr” Nsaba Buturo is right and homosexual lovin’ is soooo good that once a man tries it he becomes instantly and eternally addicted, we can be doubly confident that the population growth rate will be curbed.
That’s some analysis for you. Now let me take this shitload of money to Salina.
Can I play the surgeon this Friday, slit open the torso and welcome you into the belly of the beast? Take my hand and let me lead you inside, where slimy guts writhe and steam furiously, noisily, disgustingly. Come on. Let’s go.
I said let’s go. I am not releasing your hand. This is not a tour. This is an abduction. I am going to show you, by brute force, the whole repulsive process that results, in the end, in the shit your read in your newspaper.
First a flashback:
When I first started at the New Vision newspaper (around February, 1962, give or take) it was as a freelance writer. The company was cruelly exploitative — often Stalinesque — but we brave soldiers were determined to battle the odds and succeed. Succeed in getting some of that press money. Chiching. Chiching.
Some of us were on Campus. We needed teeth.
But as with all battles, this one often wrought wounds. Us soldiers would meet under a sprawling tree in what is no longer the parking lot to lick our wounds (Yes. They paved paradise. Initiate Earworm.) and complain.
We complained about the bosses, we complained about the stories we were assigned to do, we complained about the pay, we complained about the new measure to enforce a formal dresscode, but most of all we complained about sub-editors.
Stop wriggling. Would you prefer it if I used handcuffs?
What is this “Saba Dita” of which Ispeak?
And now we come to the disgusting part. This is how a newspaper article is made: It begins with a writer. Who, as you may have surmised, writes the damn thing. He or she then sends said article to an editor.
Sometimes the editor looks at the article and likes it. And laughs while reading it and says, “This woman is crazy,” if, for example, it comes from Lydia Namubiru.
After reading and chuckling, he or she passes the article on to an anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive gnome that lives in a hole under the floorboards and is called a sub-editor.
Actually, that is not true. The subeditor is not a gnome. The subeditor is a smart young lady. The gnome is the editor.
Now, this subeditor, in the New Vision at least, is supposed to take the article and check it for spelling and grammatical errors (which she will then correct), accuracy (which she will ensure) an, after this, put the thing on the page. Yes, our subs do layout.
They have to fit your words on the page. But sometimes writers write too much. Sometimes MTN or DFCU or even Geisha (though where soap of all things gets the impudence to interrupt newspaper stories is a mystery) book advertising space, which means your story has to become even shorter. The result is that the subeditor often has to cut stories.
Writers HATE that.
Writers think they know it all. They think they are the perfect arbiters on what they mean and what they say and how it should be presented, and they loathe any slight alteration to it.
This weekend, for example, Ivan Musoke is going to want to kill me because I cut the intro out of his Big Brother article.
After working for roughly 40 years, give or take, I came to that career point when one discovers that one can make more money as a subeditor.
So I turned and told my brothers in arms, the soldiers I had fought so many battles with, to kiss my ass and I went off to the desk.
Where I was to learn this:
Subs HATE writers.
Because so often writers are sloppy and irresponsible and late, and if they are not that, they are just plain bad.
Examples in recent history:
When listening to Katamba and Dumba do their commentaries, they will give enormous player profile and accurate information and statistics after a mere fowl committed, goal scored.
Beauty lies in the hands of the beholder. To me, beauty does not mean much. I don’t think the one I’m dating now love me because I’m beautiful and neither do I love him because of his looks.
There are cases, and they are not infrequent, where you see a writer’s byline above a story, but not a single sentence you then read is as originally written. I kid you not. Shit is real in this subediting business. It has made some subeditors nervous and suspicious to the point that they don’t believe in perfect copy anymore. Every article has to be corrected.
And that is what writers complain about. Sometimes the “correction” is a bit overzealous, and things like pace, flow, impact and even meaning are lost.
For example, this build-up, rising to a crescendo that will thump my point down here…
I believe in putting the bad news on the front page before the good news. I believe in all of it. Because when it works, when the principles are followed, then it goes beyond just information being conveyed. A wonderful thing happens: Truth is told.
May be reduced to this…
I believe in putting the bad news on the front page before the good news. When the principles are followed, the truth is told.
No thump. Just a flaccid splat.
As time went on, however, I rose in the ranks. I am no longer a subeditor and am now in a position where I am able to insulate myself from their woes. I have a good rapport with the subs who handle my work in the Sunday Magazine and I can confidently tell you that any errors you see in my magazine column are my own, and I only work with excellent writers, so I forgot what it is like for subs to beef with writers or vice versa.
As usual, with these long posts, by the time I get to the end, and having been interrupted throughout the process to actually do the work I am paid to do (I started writing this around two hours ago) I don’t remember what my point was.
No, I wasn’t bitching, I think along the way, I was going to apologise for my outburst and assure Ugandan subs that, while I retain the right to fume, it isn’t personal, and I like them and want to be their friend.
Except with Don. Don, we should take this outside.
If anyone happened to pass over the New Vision today, and see the grotesquely mutilated carcass of the article I gave them, and if you are not completely put off by the road-kill they published, the actual article, in proper English, is over here.
Another weakness of the traditional press is that it has subeditors who can’t handle the language. Ntssssss.
Lauryne has barely stepped four metres out of her campus hostel when there is a whoosh of floodlights, a squeal of sirens and a chorus of clicks as a cordon of police officers, crouched behind their car doors yell, “Freeze! We have you surrounded. Get down!”
Oh shit!” mumbles Lauryne. “It’s the fashion police.”
She tries to fight back! “You’ll never take me alive, coppers! I have great legs. And I’m Not Afraid To Use Them!”
Because she is a hardened miniskirt criminal. But fortunately the chief had expected this.
“It won’t work. We are all policewomen,” Detective Jane “Bulldog” Namutebi blares back through the megaphone.
Lauryne has no choice. She surrenders and is subdued.
Back at the station, Lauryne has been forced into a police gomesi and is now handcuffed to a chair in the interrogation room.
“Talk, dammit! Who are you working with!” bellows Detective Namutebi.
“I demand a lawyer. I have rights…” Lauryne protests, but she is cut short by Namutebi.
“Rights? You think this is some American TV show? You have no rights! No rights except maybe my right fist up your face if you don’t talk! Who are you working with? Who supplied the miniskirts?”
She is interrupted when Detective Sharon Nkata enters the room and calls her aside. “Bulldog, maybe you should let me handle this. You’re getting worked up. Get a glass of water.”
As Namutebi stomps out grumbling, her quieter, calmer colleague enters the room and pulls a chair up opposite the suspect.
“Look, Lauryne, you know we caught you in the act, wearing a flagrant miniskirt, in breach of the law. You know you’re going down for this. Why don’t you just make it easy on yourself by telling us who your dealer is? I’m not promising anything, but if you offer us your supplier, maybe we could reduce your charges or something.”
“The old good-cop bad-cop routine? You guys must think I was born yesterday,” Lauryne spits.
“You have been charged with first degree sexiness and malicious mini skirt wearing as well as kapalaring in public. These offences carry heavy penalties. Do you think you will survive a trial? The judge will take one look at you and see that you are guilty. Your only hope is to cut a deal,” Nkata urges on.
Lauryne sighs. Nkata is right. Even if the prosecutor doesn’t bring up her record of previous miniskirt felonies, she is undeniably extremely totally smoking hot and any court would see that a chick like her cannot fail to distract drivers.
She sighs. The only way to save her really really awesome ass is to snitch. She has to give up the name of the miniskirt supplier.
By the way, what’s going on with Degstar? You know, dude here: http://2bnileavenue.blogspot.com/2007/01/commercial-break.html
I have been on leave and, as elaborated in my previous post, been broke, so I have not had a lot of time on the internet with the rest of the world. This therefore caught me by surprise. I just walked into the internets and look what I found in my news inbox: From the Ghanaian news editor of AfricaNews in Accra came this story, headed:
I did a double take, because I thought for a moment I had misread the words and the sentence, which would be correctly read as “Miniskirts rock in Uganda” or “Rows of miniskirts in Uganda rock”, came out skewed.
Nope. “Heated debate” has apparently “erupted,” says the story, on “whether women should be banned from wearing tight miniskirts in public or otherwise.”
I would expect heated debate to erupt on permission to wear tight miniskirts in public or otherwise if it were, say, Capital FM deejay Alex Ndawula in question, but women? Why should we do anything but encourage them heartily?
This reason has been given by the cabinet minister responsible: Hot chicks are a traffic hazzard, he says.
“The country’s ethics and integrity minister s spearheading the call because women wearing them distract drivers and cause traffic accidents.”
Him again. Lord. Does this guy ever do anything except just sit there and ask for it?
Thus spake James the Ethical:
“You can cause an accident because some of our people are weak mentally. If you find a naked person you begin to concentrate on the make-up of that person and yet you are driving.”
Sounds like he is speaking from experience.
James didn’t answer the obvious question: Why not just pull over and park, you moron?
Nsaba Buturo is flying the Ugandan flag high, representing this great nation all over the world wide web, ensuring that this noble republic gets a mention in “Wierd News” “Oddly Enough News” and “Funny News of The Day” segments around the globe. They are even making fun of us in Zimbabwe, Banange!
Foreign Policy Magazine said Ugandan Drivers, Beware The Miniskirt Menace!
“The BBC notes that Buturo is seeking to rid Uganda of its many vices, and inappropriate dress is just one of the many indecent items that appear on the minister’s list. Among others are theft and embezzlement of public funds, sub-standard service delivery, greed, infidelity, prostitution, and homosexuality. But I guess miniskirts were the low-hanging fruit.”
But before we close, there is a quote from a pro-miniskirt activist in the story that started it all:
“I wear miniskirts a lot. I am not comfortable in long skirts because I have nice legs. The only thing that makes me comfortable is miniskirt. I don’t support it (ban), where are we going to put them because we have bought them and those selling them have paid taxes on them too,” young Sylvia stated.