Take that sexy back or How Rihanna teaches us to live together in harmony

This week we had new shots of Cindy Sanyu posing in a tank top and jeans in front of a quarry to illustrate the story about her shift to television. But we could not use them.
Why not? Because she was in a tank top, that’s why.
We are also not using the picture of Rihanna in shorts. We’ve replaced that with a picture of her in white pants.
We do not show women’s bellies or legs in the Sunday Vision.
Now, you and I do not see anything wrong with a chick with a bare belly. We may think it’s hot, or even sexy, but we don’t equate that with immorality. It’s not bad, it’s not necessarily heroic. It’s in the nothing-wrong category.
But that’s just you and I. Uganda is a morally variegated place with several different points of view all converging on the same chick, so what you call “hot”, another person calls “offensive”. That is why we are afraid of using Cindy’s stomach.
The higher-ups think it is too explicit. Too much flesh is being bared. It is pornographic to them.
I fully understand this. I mean, the most slippery thing about sex and conversations about sex is that there is no consensus about anything. Not even that sex is good. There are people who approach the act with guilt and shame and need to be taught to accept it as a natural thing. I have heard the traces of surprise in their voices when they say, “It’s a normal thing. It’s perfectly natural,” as if they themselves were astounded to learn this fact when it was revealed to them.
You, of course, do not feel the same way about it. You all looooove you some sex. I know. You love everything about sex. You love having it, talking about it, being it.
So one side of this society thinks sexual desire is an embarrassing character flaw on our part as humans; the other thinks sex is our whole purpose for living.
And then there are varying degrees in the middle, of course.
I think it’s the same thing with sex that it is with sexiness: There are those who see sexiness as a deliberate attempt to arouse desire indiscriminately and it is whorish and vile and should not be seen on the streets. That is why they want to stone hot chicks. Then there are those who see it as just another thing to be, and to them it is no more innocuous to wear a small skirt as it is to wear lipstick.
(Of course if you scroll down through the history of lipstick, you will find that lipstick itself was once considered vile and whorish, too.)
Well, maybe it is not us they are worried about. Maybe it is themselves. They don’t want to be confronted with evidence of sex’s existence so openly. The constituency of readers who still view it as a dirty little secret will be offended to see it out in the open. Though I cannot share the sentiment, I can appreciate that it exists.
And so I capitulate. There will be no photos of Riri’s knees in the Sunday Vision.
Though things went a little too far when I was asked to euphemize the term “Farting” in Tim Bukumunhe’s column and replace it with “breaking wind”. I mean, you can’t use the word “fart”? What’s the point of freedom of press if we can’t even say the word fart?

This week there was an office discussion here in the Ugandan press over pictures of Cindy Sanyu posing in a tank top and jeans in front of a quarry to illustrate the story about her shift to television. But we decided not use them.

Why not? Because she was in a tank top, that’s why.

We are also not using the picture of Rihanna in shorts.

riri in shorts

We’ve replaced that with a picture of her in white pants.

riri decently dressed

We do not show women’s bellies or legs in the Sunday Vision.

Now, you and I do not see anything wrong with a chick with a bare belly. We may think it’s hot, or even sexy, but we don’t equate that with immorality. It’s not bad, it’s not necessarily heroic, it’s in the nothing-wrong category.

But that’s just you and I. Uganda is a morally variegated place with several different points of view all converging on the same chick, so what you call “hot”, another person calls “offensive”. That is why we were afraid of using Cindy’s stomach and Rihanna’s legs.

Some people will think it is too explicit, that too much flesh is being bared. It is pornographic to them.

The most slippery thing about sex and conversations about sex is that there is no consensus about anything. Not even that sex is good. There are people who approach the act with guilt and shame and need to be taught to accept it as a natural thing. I have heard the traces of surprise in their voices when they say, “It’s a normal thing. It’s perfectly natural,” as if they themselves were astounded to learn this fact when it was revealed to them.

You, of course, do not feel the same way about it. You all looooove you some sex. I know. You love everything about sex. You love having it, talking about it, being it.

So one side of this society thinks sexual desire is an embarrassing character flaw on our part as humans; the other thinks sex is our whole purpose for living.

And then there are varying degrees in the middle, of course.

I think it’s the same thing with sex that it is with sexiness: There are those who see sexiness as a deliberate attempt to arouse desire indiscriminately and it is whorish and vile and should not be seen on the streets. That is why they want to stone hot chicks. Then there are those who see it as just another thing to be, like being funny, and to them it is no more innocuous to wear a small skirt as it is to wear lipstick.

(Of course if you scroll down through the history of lipstick, you will find that lipstick itself was once considered vile and whorish, too.)

Well, maybe it is not us they are worried about. Maybe it is themselves. They don’t want to be confronted with evidence of sex’s existence so openly. The constituency of readers who still view it as a dirty little secret will be offended to see it out in the open. Though I cannot share the sentiment, I can appreciate that it exists.

And they are less tolerant than we are. We won’t complain if every popstar in the paper is always fully dressed. But they will let it be known if they see something they don’t, (or do) like.  And so I capitulate. There will be no photos of Riri’s knees in this section of the press.

This is how we sustain societal order. Ignore the docile party, and placate the the party most likely to cause trouble.

This post is not about Rihanna’s knees. This is about everything.

How People Read, or How I Write

I wonder if you read the New Vision on Friday last week. If you did, I am so sorry. You must have wished your brain was a belly capable of vomiting.
Especially after reading this:
Silver City Spur is probably supposed to be based on native American culture and tradition but, rather than present a glimpse into the rich and profound heritage of a diverse group of peoples, it hints, rather, at cartoons featuring “injuns”.
Tomahawks (native American throwing axes) adorn the walls and totem poles (a pole with carved animals on it that is part of some native American cultures) are carved into the pillars. Braves (native American warriors) and squaws (native American women) are painted on the ceiling, arrows at the ready.
Even the chairs are shaped in a way that makes you think of “gulches” (American desert term).
I imagine if I was a member of the Navajo nation (a Native American tribe), perhaps I would be embarrassed, but then again, it is a restaurant, not a museum.
It’s everything from irritating to repugnant isn’t it? If this infuriating writer felt that these terms were so arcane that they could not stand without parenthesized definitions, then why did he use them in the first place?
It’s a long story. My editor felt that I should not write words which he thinks the “average reader” is not familiar with without defining them.
So I guess I should proceed this way:
It’s everything from irritating (annoying) to repugnant (disgusting) isn’t it? If this infuriating (annoying) writer felt that these terms were so arcane (strange) that they could not stand without parenthesized (things in brackets) definitions, then why did he use them in the first place?
I don’t believe readers always stop stymied (confused) every time we encounter a new word for the first time—we don’t require brackets with definitions in them before we can proceed. The first time you came upon the word “malignant”, did you have to rush to a dictionary?
Because writing and reading are not just about definitions. They are about tone, context, rhythm, atmosphere.
Listing the foreign words portrays the restaurant as full of things from a foreign culture, a faraway otherworld, a life separate from the one the reader inhabits. Whether you understand the words or not, the context is still created: you pick up the air of exotic-ness, you know that they represent another universe.
To describe it in more quotidian terms (now, wonder why I used the word “quotidian” instead of “everyday”) would be to sacrifice that. You can’t properly describe the unusual in mundane language.
Anyway, let me stop bitching. The person who wrote about a woman who may be the oldest living person had it much worse when the headline writer decided to go with the question:
Is she the oldest being living?

I wonder if you read the New Vision on Friday last week. If you did, I am so sorry. You must have wished your brain was a belly capable of vomiting.

Especially after reading this:

Silver City Spur is probably supposed to be based on native American culture and tradition but, rather than present a glimpse into the rich and profound heritage of a diverse group of peoples, it hints, rather, at cartoons featuring “injuns”.

Tomahawks (native American throwing axes) adorn the walls and totem poles (a pole with carved animals on it that is part of some native American cultures) are carved into the pillars. Braves (native American warriors) and squaws (native American women) are painted on the ceiling, arrows at the ready.

Even the chairs are shaped in a way that makes you think of “gulches” (American desert term).

I imagine if I was a member of the Navajo nation (a Native American tribe), perhaps I would be embarrassed, but then again, it is a restaurant, not a museum.

It’s everything from irritating to repugnant isn’t it? If this infuriating writer felt that these terms were so arcane that they could not stand without parenthesized definitions, then why did he use them in the first place?

It’s a long story. My editor felt that I should not write words which he thinks the “average reader” is not familiar with without defining them.

So I guess I should proceed this way:

It’s everything from irritating (annoying) to repugnant (disgusting) isn’t it? If this infuriating (annoying) writer felt that these terms were so arcane (strange) that they could not stand without parenthesized (things in brackets) definitions, then why did he use them in the first place?

I don’t believe readers always stop stymied (confused) every time we encounter a new word for the first time—we don’t require brackets with definitions in them before we can proceed. The first time you came upon the word “malignant”, did you have to rush to a dictionary?

Because writing and reading are not just about definitions. They are about tone, context, rhythm, atmosphere.

Listing the foreign words portrays the restaurant as full of things from a foreign culture, a faraway otherworld, a life separate from the one the reader inhabits. Whether you understand the words or not, the context is still created: you pick up the air of exotic-ness, you know that they represent another universe.

To describe it in more quotidian terms (now, wonder why I used the word “quotidian” instead of “everyday”) would be to sacrifice that. You can’t properly describe the unusual in mundane language.

Anyway, let me stop bitching. The person who wrote about a woman who may be the oldest living person had it much worse when the headline writer decided to go with the question:

Is She The Oldest Living Being?

Of course she is not.

What did you just call me?

I understand that the reason some of you write the colloquial term for woman as “chic” instead of “chick” is that you think it is sexist to use the same word for the ladies you respect that you use for small poultry.
This is for you.

Heh heh
Heh heh

Okay. Now, get yo’ weekend on! See you at the beer.

One not-so-quiet day in the media

Hi, my name is Ernest and I make a living poking fun at celebrities. Well, I do other stuff, but that is part of the job. Occasionally, I say mean things about singers and actors and, my favourite, radio deejays.
No, I have no moral compunctions about it. They are the ones who started it by sucking.
Now, working, as I do, in the entertainment press, I also occasionally find myself sitting at my desk chatting with important people when our intrepid reporter Peter Parker shepherds a person with big hair and brightly-coloured tights to the desk next to me.
At this point, I can tell, even without looking, that a pop singer has entered the room.
I can hear Peter Parker giving her friendly instructions, telling her to have a seat, telling her she can type the lyrics to her song into this computer and being generally jovial.
The fact that he has not introduced me means that this is probably not one of the artists I would want to meet. Or this is probably not one of the artists who want to meet me.
In today’s case the artist was Cindy, of whom I recently wrote the following.
By the end of Cindy’s Swahili hit Nawewe she is wrestling with the high power-notes, and they are winning. Towards the end of the video, she tilted her head back and emitted a sound between a growl and a roar that made us think, if she was trying for a Jennifer Hudson-type of thing, she didn’t make it. In fact, I am sure the producer had to cut the recording right after that sound was made and send the studio intern to the kiosk round the corner to get a sweet peps and a bottle of water for the poor girl.
On behalf of Cindy’s many fans out there, let me say we love you the way you are. We are concerned about your health, so don’t hurt yourself. Remember, there is a reason God gave us this autotune software.
Cindy was sitting next to me. Within striking distance. We sat there ignoring each other.
No, I wasn’t scared. Shya.
I am totally faster than her.
But we sat there, ignoring each other. Doing our business. No one said a word. Until.
“WHRAR! WHRAR! LOOK IT IS CINDY A CELEB IN TH OFFIS Y DON’T U INTRODUSE HER TO EVERYBODY YOU PETER PARKER YOU BRING FOR US A CELEB AND YOU DON’T INTRODUCEE!!! WHRARRR!! WHRRARR!!11”
One of my colleagues has a whrarring habit.

Part of my job here at Uganda’s leading newspaper is making  fun of celebrities.  I do other, more importan stuff, of course, like build the nation, but occasionally, I also say mean things about singers,  actors and, my favourite, radio deejays with fake accents.

No, I have no compunction about it. They are the ones who started it by sucking.

Now, working, as I do, in the entertainment press, I also occasionally find myself sitting at my desk when our intrepid reporter, Peter Parker, shepherds a person with big hair and brightly-coloured tights to the desk next to me.

When this happens I can tell, even without looking, that a pop singer has entered the room.

I can hear Peter Parker giving her friendly instructions, telling her to have a seat, telling her she can type the lyrics to her song into this computer and being generally jovial.

The fact that he has not made introductions could mean that he  knows that this is not one of the artists I would want to meet. Or this is probably not one of the artists who want to meet me.

In today’s case the artist was Cindy, of whom I recently wrote the following.

By the end of Cindy’s Swahili hit Nawewe, she is wrestling with the high power-notes, and they are winning. Towards the end of the video, she tilted her head back and emitted a sound between a growl and a roar that made us think, if she was trying for a Jennifer Hudson-type of thing, she didn’t make it. In fact, I am sure the producer had to cut the recording right after that sound was made and send the studio intern to the kiosk round the corner to get a sweet peps and a bottle of water for the poor girl.

On behalf of Cindy’s many fans out there, let me say we love you the way you are. We are concerned about your health, so don’t hurt yourself. Remember, there is a reason God gave us this autotune software.

Cindy was sitting next to me. Within striking distance.

No, I wasn’t scared. Shya.

I am totally faster than her.

But we sat there, ignoring each other, doing our business. No one said a word. Until…

“WHRAR! WHRAR! LOOK IT IS CINDY A CELEB IN TH OFFIS Y DON’T U INTRODUSE HER TO EVERYBODY YOU PETER PARKER YOU BRING FOR US A CELEB AND YOU DON’T INTRODUCEE!!! WHRARRR!! WHRRARR!!11”

One of my colleagues has a whrarring habit. When he notices brightly-coloured tights in the room he can’t help himself. His penis took over.

So Cindy had to demur and smile nicely and say how do you do to everybody, even though half of these fuddy-duddies wouldn’t even know who she was if those nude photos hadn’t appeared in the Red Pepper.

“WHRAARR!! EVEN BAZANYE WHY DONT U  GREET HER SHE IZ A CELEB CINDY IZ NEXT 2 U JUST SITTING!!!”

This is the point where I lie to make the story more interesting.

The cordial smile dropped off her face and her features froze. She fixed her suspiciously red eyes on me and mouthed the words, “Who did you say this was?”

What response could give? I had no option. “It’s Bazanye. Recognize!” I said.

What came next was a flurry of slaps and kicks attempting to strike me and missing by miles. She fights like she sings, you see. Never able to hit the right note, or the right target.
“Chick, chill, stop trying to punch me. I’m too fast with my ninja steez.”
Soon she was spent. Gasping for air, limbs flailing by her side, she gave up and prepared to limp out of the office. That’s when…
“WHRRAARR!! IF U REALLY WANT 2 HURT HIM WHY DONT U JUST SING THE LAST VERSE OF THAT SONG OF YOURZ!!! WHRARR.!”
So Cindy marshalled up the last bit of remaining energy she had left and won in the last round.

The Pursuit of Happiness

I am masquerading at Garden City that I hear “in the field gathering information”. Lol.

I am drinking a cappuccino, interestingly enough. An odd choice on such a hot occasion, but I was falling slowly and surely asleep and I needed to banish the encroaching temptation to just jump back into the car and drive back to Kyaliwajjala where I have a bed.

When the waitress was preparing it, I was joined at my table by AutoPaul, a friend who is on his way to London. He sat down and we discussed whether I really wanted to ask him to bring back a Nokia 5530, or Baby Zu or Sinayo. That is the stripped-down nothing-but-the-basics version of the famous Zuena, or Nokia 5800 and it just went on sale in the United Kingdom. It’s  more attractive than it’s ancestor in two ways. One is that it is cheaper by far. A paltry 500,000 shillings. Incidentally, that is the same amount of money I paid for my very first mobile telephone back in the days. Ivan was still a tadpole back then but me I was already connected. You may be cooler now, but I was cooler first.

GA628
This is Eric, the iPhone of those days

The second thing that makes the Baby Zu to the Zuena as a whole Rihanna to a mere Beyonce is the fact that it includes technology that traps Wifi waves from the ether and gathers them into its memory card, so I don’t need to carry my faithful and much-loved but, let’s face it, heavy as fuck laptop with me to Chomas or to Good African every time I need to download a new podcast or mixtape. I can just  whip out my phone when I find myself in an area where these wifi waves reside and command it to find the podcasts or the zshare mixtapes.

That is Baby Zu in two colours
That is Baby Zu in two colours

I can even get it to call up blogs, twitter, facebook and IM in a way that is superior to the methods my current phone uses and thus can I stay in touch using Yahoo Messenger with friends in outside countries. Like Cheri, for example (There has never been a more boldfaced hint in the history of wordpress, Chan.)

Thie proggie is slightly problematic, though, for those who didn’t bother to click the link, I don’t want to go for it until I have lusted after it with an energy that is practically perverse. As it is, right now I’m just checking her out across the room and thinking she’s kind of fly.

One of the rules of Thingism, the life philosophy that seeks fulfilment through the accumulation of material goods, is that you can’t just want it: you have to bleed for it. That is the only way you will know satisfaction from having it. If you have never heard of Thingism (or the Pursuit of Shit) here it is in a nutshell:

Thingism (Or Shitism):

Are you unhappy? Unfulfilled? Do you feel like your life is a meaningless waste?

Do you feel overwhelmed by the futility of it all?

Then you need to go out and get some shit (Material things).

Get new shit. Get fancy shit. Get expensive shit.

Get trendy shit. Get highly-advertised, designer-labelled shit.

That is what you need to give your life the illusion of meaning and purpose.

The more shit you get the more shit you crave in a never-ending-cycle of greed and lust!

You will never feel lonely again, once you start running after shit.

Get you some shit.

Because getting Shit. It’s the meaning of life.

You want to object and bring up the old retort about the old man who spent his life gathering riches but never found what he was really looking for and died miserable and alone. That is because what he wanted was love. Instead of buying love, he went out to buy Bentleys. Misguided hoarding is not Thingism.

For example, if what you really want is a reason to value yourself as a human being, and you go out to buy House of Dereon garments in the hope that this will give you what you inwardly desire, you are wasting your money and time.

Because there is NO REASON to value yourself as a human being in the first place. We are all worthless. Every single one of us is a pointless piece of crap crawling from fear to shame to regret, and the only reason we don’t just stop moving once and for all and just die on the spot is that, in addition to those, we also have greed and envy and vanity, the only things that motivate us to get out of bed in the first place.

And to gain true satisfaction, these are the urges you should feed. To feel true fulfilment, you need to feed your greed, and your lust and your vanity. You won’t get happiness, but happiness is like life itself. Life is the absence, nay, the postponement of death.  To live is to delay your demise for just another day.  And happiness, similarly, is merely a state of temporary distraction from the natural state of hopelessness that is the lot of every man, woman and child.

man, what was in that cappuccino?

Three Days in The Gulag. A corporate fantasy sequence

Day one

Office Drone: Hello Ivan? Hello? Hello.. I can’t make out what you’re saying. Gimme a second. Hey, colleague, do you mind not humming loudly next to the phone while I am on call with a client?
Annoying Colleague: What’s wrong with you?
Office Drone: There is someone who keeps humming, loudly and dischordantly, next to the phone while I am on call with a client.
Annoying Colleague: If you want you find your own office.

Day two

Office Drone: Guy, you’ve been playing that Don Moen CD all day long for a week. Don’t you think you might want to give it a break?
Annoying Colleague: What’s wrong with you?
Office Drone: By that what I mean, of course is, give ME a break?
Annoying Colleague: Don’t you know there is freedom of worship on Uganda? If you want you find your own office.

Day three

Annoying Colleague: Hello, IT department? Something is wrong with the sound of  my computer. It says “Sound Card Not Found.” I think it has been sabotaged. It doesn’t make any sound. Hello? Hello?
Office Drone: WU TANG CLAN AINT’ SHIT TO FUCK WIT! WU TANG CLAN AINT SHIT TO FUCK WIT!
Annoying Colleague: Do you mind not shouting those obscene songs while I am on the phone, I am trying to talk to IT about the virus that has attacked my computer.
Office Drone: WHAT THESE BITCHES WAAAANT! WOOF! WOOF! WHAT THESE BITCHES WAAAANT! WOOF! WOOF!

Parts Of The Newspaper That Didn’t Suck

In this week’s Sunday Vision:
Resident sexist pig (male) writes on women who hit bars in large cliques:
Many ladies cannot hold their own, so they drag their friends along for the ride. They may not even stand these friends, but it wipes away any sense of vulnerability that may be lurking at the back of their minds. Ever seen a lady by herself at the bar? Does she scream “I am woman, hear me roar”? No? There you go. The confidence usually builds as the number of ladies swells and then when they hit their peak, they are invincible.
See, from invisible to invincible in seconds.
The New Vision website team have no fucking idea how to break paragraphs so please forgive them.
You must have asked yourself many times: “How do I move from being an average guy who these women just ignore to being one of those really sexy dudes who make them quiver and swoon?”
Ernest Bazanye (for it is I) has the answer
The next day we scoured through the area for cheaper eating joints. The days for fancy words like ‘restaurant’ were gone. It was now down to ‘eating joints’ or bufunda. We got a dilapidated one hidden somewhere best described as “for the sake of your reputation, don’t tell a soul you were here. Have a nice meal”.
Erique Mununuzi remembers his campus days.
I’m also shocked. I also thought he was still in S4.
And finally, my recipe for exploding pudding

In this week’s Sunday Vision:

Resident sexist pig (male) writes on women who hit bars in large cliques:

Many ladies cannot hold their own, so they drag their friends along for the ride. They may not even stand these friends, but it wipes away any sense of vulnerability that may be lurking at the back of their minds. Ever seen a lady by herself at the bar? Does she scream “I am woman, hear me roar”? No? There you go. The confidence usually builds as the number of ladies swells and then when they hit their peak, they are invincible.

See, from invisible to invincible in seconds.

(The New Vision website team have no fucking idea how to break paragraphs so please forgive them.)

Also in SV

You must have asked yourself many times: “How do I move from being an average guy who these women just ignore to being one of those really sexy dudes who make them quiver and swoon?”

Ernest Bazanye (for it is I) has the answer.

In the magazine, Erique Mununuzi remembers his campus days.

The next day we scoured through the area for cheaper eating joints. The days for fancy words like ‘restaurant’ were gone. It was now down to ‘eating joints’ or bufunda. We got a dilapidated one hidden somewhere best described as “for the sake of your reputation, don’t tell a soul you were here. Have a nice meal”.

I’m also shocked. I also thought he was still in S4.

And finally, my recipe for exploding pudding, also billed as Bad Idea

(P.S. Lulu, you see how creative I am today? You see? I told you.)