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IDLEMINDSET | HEY! HERE COMES THE BRIDE

Today’s title is a bad pun; used in mocking deference to our current social trauma. You see, folks here love us some noise-making activity: weddings, funerals, protests. And, what with the rainy season and the gloomy dreariness of the political landscape and the entertainment industry, we’re quite ripe for some serious noise-making.

"What do we want?" "Scandals!" "Where do we want it?" "Nollywood!"

“What do we want?” “Scandals!” “Where do we want it?” “Nollywood!”

Luckily, the legislature gave us one that’s as morally provoking as an episode of Big Brother Africa. You know the gist already, but let’s rehash it briefly. Sometime last week, the Senate decided to try their hands at a good deed. Maybe it was the Ramadan season and they were feeling especially pious, or maybe the air-conditioning was bad, but somehow they got off their fat asses and voted to delete a provision from the Constitution with the undeclared intention of saving young girls from being  hustled into early marriages. Except that they did not consider Yerima whom, as a kid, all the little girls used to laugh at and call names.

"Soon. Very soon."

“Soon. Very soon.”

And so the devil was waiting in the details, Yerima, our infamous monster, wasted no time in being dickish about the first vote;  like a petulant child, he harangued the tired legislators into a brain-freeze, and before you could shout  “ChildNotBride!” he had cowed the Senate into a re-vote where he managed to scuttle the original idea. Their attempt at living a righteous life suitably thwarted, the Senators took the matter as a sign from God, and moved on to the more pressing and less-controversial matters of financial allocations and self remunerations.

"It's a simple matter," said David Mark, "The Senate giveth and the Senate taketh away."

“It’s a simple matter,” said David Mark sagaciously. “The Senate giveth and the Senate taketh away.”

However,  some of us idle folks would not be so easily persuaded by this drama, and soon the catapults were unslung, and a barrage of accusatory and reformative missives were directed at Abuja. Loud and clear, the noise began. Across the country. Folks  poured out to sign petitions—both clear and unclear—in a bid to put a lid on the mess being boiled by the Senate. The social media had its day, and frantic energy fizzled in the tweets. World War Three was all set for a launch date and somewhere, a senator  cursed the day they decided to amend the goddamn Constitution in the first place.

The AC contractor has got a lot of explaining to do.

The AC contractor has got a lot of explaining to do.

Now we’re not here to rain on the protesting parade. Not at all. In fact, we dig all of this. It’s all very healthy and inspiring. You see, few things improve the mind like a little protest now and then. But with one condition: if you gotta protest,  then don’t fuck around—figuratively and literally. You see, Nigeria has been a great place for fucking around—and that becomes quite boring after a few decades. The government knows the fucking around cycle too well and it takes advantage of it too often. The cycle is like this: first comes the blunder, next comes the hoopla, and then afterwards, yesterday’s hot topic becomes “stale gist”, and life moves on.

And then we can start cracking bad jokes about it.

And then we can move on to the bad jokes.

Here’s the question: how long can you sustain your current enthusiasm before your attention is captivated by the next trending topic? Sure, there’s a new bride in town, but don’t mistake the wedding for the marriage. Do not confuse novelty with passion, and restlessness with activism. Sometimes, what  gets the noise going is merely the general infatuation for the new bride, but the fight has to go on even after the noise quietens. And here’s the lesson for today: if you must have a bride: marry her—don’t just wed her; if you must protest a government policy: fight it to the end—don’t just make some temporary noise.

Oh, one more thing: #ChildNotBride!

IDLEMINDSET | BIG ENDERS, SMALL ENDERS

We apologise to our long-suffering readers. We’ve been away for too long that we have no idea how to craft an appropriate apologies without sounding like clingy, readership needing, page-view counting blog. Which we totally are. But you see, the Nigeria’s madhouse effect is gradually beginning to reflect on our carefully maintained schedules and we’re also going topsy-turvy. Really, there’s been lots of fun activities going around in the past few weeks. It’s a combination of : million dollar rewards, romance in the banks, wars and rumours of wars, killing of the gays, and the most important of all—Big Brother Africa.

"Yeees! Shower Hour!"

“Yeees! Shower Hour!”

But of course, it’s no real concern to you what assholes are waging wars, and which farmer’s ox is gored as long as you continue to have your three square meals and DSTV subscriptions. After all, life is short and fleeting, and the essence of getting up at unholy hours and going to bed at unholier hours, commuting to work with the suffering of a martyr, is to be able to be as happy as as practicable in this up and down world.  that agreed, why then do folks get all riled up over issues that, when all the cards are down, neither takes a morsel of food nor cancels their right to watch that sweet African Magic?

Your inalienable right to---WTF?

Your inalienable right to that sweet—WTF?

And this brings us to the story of Lilliput (and Blefuscu–which is unimportant) and the issue of the Lilliputian Big-Enders and Small-Enders. These names would sound familiar to those of you who actually sat up to listen to the boring drone of that damned literature teacher (we will pray for your wasted childhood) instead of  fantasizing over the potential response to the love letter hastily scrawled on a sheet of  2A Onward Big Exercise Book.

Still better than text messages.

Still better than text messages.

But back to literature class, the aforesaid Lilliput and Blefuscu were two neighboring island “kingdoms” in Jonathan Swifts book, Gulliver’s Travels. (Insert appropriate expression of recognition here.) Now, Lilliput had been at war with Blefuscu for a while, principally because the trouble seeking Blefuscu encouraged and supported some errant Lilliputians who had refused to toe the generally accepted beliefs of Lilliput. You see, it is a religious belief of Lilliput that a boiled egg (yep, religion does talk about food) should be broken “at the convenient end” before it is eaten, so the scripture said. Traditionally, “convenient end”  had been interpreted as the “big” end of the egg—until some folks decided it actually meant the “small” end of the egg.  The Small-Enders eventually converted most people to this religious thinking and gained the rulership of the kingdom.  But some die-hard Big-Enders, now the minority, would have none of that shit. They got reinforcement from Blefuscu and a series of religious civil war began in which “…one Emperor lost his life, and another his crown.” Yeah, it was that bloody, they took that egg-breaking business very seriously.

"Just crack the damn egg against the wall, mister!"

“Just crack the damn egg against the wall, mister!”

But you see, it’s easy to make light of this story when you are unable to apply it to current realities. There are lots of Big-End and Small-End issues that cause unnecessary friction in real, everyday life. Of course, it is proper to hold a belief and stick to it, but it is improper to force that belief on others.  Even more improper: taking violence or the threat of violence in order to force that belief on others. Because, as someone said, beliefs are like big swinging dicks—it’s good to have one, but bad to wave it in someone’s face. Only a club, tribe, cult and other exclusive societies requires that everybody must maintain the same beliefs. But in a complicated, admittedly fucked-up world, such as we have today, beliefs have gotten to complicated and numerous that everyone had better share the damned space together or simply blow up the world in the process of determining which belief will survive and which one must die.

Trust us on this: you won't be missed.

Trust us on this: you won’t be missed.

And that’s the lesson for today, folks: the world doesn’t belong to anybody. You meet stuff here, you’ll leave stuff here. And all the stuff you think you’ve built up forever can be blown off in the puff of a madman’s nuclear bomb in a part of the world you didn’t even know exists. But as long as you’ve got to share this tiny portion of Space with other people,  history has proven that any attempt by any majority to dominate a minority for the purpose of forcing everyone to behave in a particular direction always results in disastrous consequences. So you see, it boils down to everyone having a peace out or everyone having a piss out.

Please follow our brilliant handle @idlemindset on Twitter so we can keep Boko Haram away from Nigeria! 🙂

IDLEMINDSET | FARTS, TOILETS AND SOME VERY UNPALATABLE TOPICS

Its another cheery Monday, and therefore, a very fine time to throw punches at our cherished social norms. So, let’s start off with this insignificant news item from last Friday that still has many Nigerians mystified: the President paid a surprise visit to the Nigerian Police College in Ikeja, Lagos.

"So Jonathan went to a police college? I went to see the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."

“So Jonathan went to a police college? Big deal. I’ve been to the war fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

But, as the constant readers of this blog will tell you, we try not to take things at face value on this blog.  Accordingly, we are intrigued that the President’s sudden visit to a long forgotten institution has to be—for want of a more appropriate term–-coded. There shouldn’t be anything to hide, really. But the nature of the visit, the suddenness of its occurrence, and the general distrust we have for our leaders suggest that the President’s visit has more to it that meets the eye. In fact, it must have involved a very very pressing matter.

"Erm, is this the way to the toilets, gentlemen? I can't hold this anymore."

“Is this the way to the toilets, gentlemen? I can’t hold this in anymore.”

Of course, the President must be worried sick about the consistent welfare of our beloved police force. We all are.. Worried sick, that is. But, however innocuous his visit was, the fact is that the simplest governmental gesture cannot be trusted. So, we cynically listen to Abati’s praise of the event and draw our own conclusions:  maybe the President went for a private meeting, at best; or at worst, someone is angling to for a major police college contract.

Listen up, gentlemen, the only deal better than a major government contract is an uncompleted major government contract.

“Listen up gentlemen, the only deal better than a major government contract is an uncompleted major government contract.”

This reasoning itself is a consequence of our government’s attitude towards information feedback and appraisal. To translate that into blog English: the government doesn’t give two fucks about letting the people know what it’s up to.  Policies, activities, decisions: there’s always something, somewhere, left unaccounted and unsaid. Instead, we have plenty hidden agendas and public denials. Therefore it becomes hard to trust the government. Turn on the TV and listen to a public officer speak, and you just can’t be sure he is saying the honest truth.

Wait, did he introduce himself as the Minister for Agriculture or Minister for Telecommunications?

Wait, did he introduce himself as the Minister for Agriculture or Minister for Telecommunications?

But we have little time to waste on government talk today. It is generally agreed that our government is fucked-up. The real problem is this: a fucked-up government is merely a composition of fucked-up individuals who have emerged from a fucked-up society. The people whom we elect into government publicly feed us with the same kind of crap we like served to us, hot and steaming, in our own private lives.

Oh yes! Give us the lies, the damned lies and all the statistics.

We love the lies, the damned lies and all the statistics.

We are quite comfortable with deception—either in the name of government policy or spiritual authority. We lie to others and other people lie to us. Hereabouts, we are all public saints. Oh yeah. Especially when it comes to morals. We are all fine religious folks: we abhor masturbation, reject foul language, condemn abortions, ban porn, criminalise homosexuality, censor Big Brother Africa shower scenes,  strongly oppose nudity in the media, crucify pre-marital or extra-marital sex and lie through our teeth with a straight face.

Sex? Never heard of it.

“Sex? Never heard of it.”

We have all managed to consistently project the hypocrisy of being so good and nice and saintly and Christian, without vice or sin or blemish. We are so spiritual, the situation would be outright hilarious, if not for the social implications. Especially when the evidence around suggests we are not. And yet, we all know the truth: we love the nasties. So, here’s some unsolicited advice: instead of clinging stubbornly to a false spirituality, why not just embrace the reality of the sin?

"Ok fine, I admit it. I read Linda Ikeji's blog."

“Ok fine, I admit it. I read Linda Ikeji’s blog everyday. And I also enjoyed 50 Shades of Grey too.”

That ability to say: “Yes, I did it” takes some magnificent balls, but it can go a long way to making your life more peaceful. Cut out the crap and let the world know what you are, a character quite separate from what you hope to be. Tell the world boldly that you’re not above natural human desires and instincts, including drinking inappropriate amounts at the local nightclub and spilling it out all over the toilet seat.

"And yes, we fart at public functions!"

“And yes, by the grace of God, we are not above farting at public functions!”

And this is the moral for today: honesty is refreshing for the mind. You have no one to fear when you are an honest sinner, you have everyone to fear when you are a dishonest saint. And when we are done removing our individual self-deceptions, then we can then take a broom to our shitty government and clean it out properly.

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