Frankly, we don’t care much about the political skulduggery that parades up on down the pages of Nigerian newspapers because, fuck politics, that’s why. Most of what you see is the same old news: ass licking, back stabbing and fifty shades of public masturbation. Even more importantly, there are world-shaking current events that requires our immediate attention, if not even outright demonstrations.
But, now and then, some gem of an ironic cock-up comes along, grabs you by the throat and tickles you hard in the ribs till you want to seize your office-issued laptop and throw it across the room in annoyance.(Which would be totally cool if you tried it right now.)
Now, this particular issue isn’t a shiny new story, it’s the same old crap, with a touched up tissue paper. And no, it isn’t the particular scandal you’re thinking: you know, that pile of wank about the Sanusi-Boko Haram conspiracy theory; that story circulated (allegedly, allegedly—this is for the damn lawyers) by a presidential aide who has to be the most interesting man in the Nigerian social media circle right now.
We’ll get back to Sanusi. But, for now, let’s focus on the ringleader of the president’s batshit crazy media circus, our erstwhile tutor and rebel leader, Mr Reuben Abati. See, back in 2009, before the mischievous gods took a hand in his affairs, Abati wrote this thoughtful article where he advised Nigerians to reflect before celebrating independence anniversaries. Not one to be intimidated by a few lines of hyperbole, Abati proclaimed that: “The world is passing us by. At 49, we are a nation of malcontents. When last did anyone tell a happy national story made on Nigerian soil?”
A fair enough observation, especially from a bright and hardworking intellectual who had had to face the hard knocks of working class reality in a country consistently administered by rouges since 1914. Life as an everyday Nigerian isn’t sexy–and damned if Reuben Abati didn’t know that shit. There was nothing to celebrate in 2009, and he looked ahead to proclaim that there was nothing to celebrate in 2010–and by extension, 2014. But Abati, hot and brilliant writer that he was, sucked hard in the prophecy department, for, as we all know, his personal life became a happy national story. The deadbeat jalopy gave way to presidential jets, and our previously angry discontent turned into a contented philosopher.
So, great, Abati discovered financial orgasm and renounced his activism. But the hunger-inspired words he wrote some four years ago still require some serious consideration. Especially after the Sanusi debacle. Especially after the Boko Haram debacle. Especially now that our government has gone bonkers with a centenary celebration which good old Soyinka frankly refers to as a “canonisation of terror“.
Of course, hard as his PR team may try to deny it, we all know that President Jonathan is quite the connoisseur of wine, women and the good life. Which are all fine things for the modern gentleman. But with a terrorist takeover of the North East, allegations of financial misconduct, and several other shenanigans, the dude needs to connect with the current atmosphere of the country—and then, you know, maybe take a break from one or two delicious female members of the cabinet.
We don’t begrudge celebrations. But the current socio-political mood is just as important as a sense of history, and neither of the these two point to the need for a jamboree today. Think of this: Abati wrote years ago that there was nothing worth celebrating; Sanusi, former member of that same government, says things are even worse than they were years ago. But Sanusi is what happens when you have an activist in the government, and Abati is what happens when you have the government in an activist. Somewhere in between these two is some common sense, but common sense doesn’t receive centenary awards. And if you still don’t get the point, then get the fuck outta this blog.
Here’s the good news: we’re bringing you an Idlemindset article. The bad news? We’re still assholes—and not the good type either. We’re the evil kind of asshole—the ones who just won’t give a fuck. Not even after you’ve set it up all oiled and ready to go, eventually driving you to mocking insanity for your inability to get that anal you’ve always fantasied about…. Wait. How did we get here?
Okay, let’s just focus. Especially on the positive aspects of what you’re doing right now—using your employer’s time to read this absolutely work-unrelated post, and getting paid for it at the end of the month. Think about that. Wow, right? A life of free money.
We’ll that’s why we have unions, democracy and traffic lights: so we can protect the weak elements of society against the caprices of the stronger ones. Especially if by “weak”, you mean “poor, struggling, downtrodden masses” and by “strong” you mean “rich as fuck.” And so today, you can do absolutely nothing at all and still get paid like hell for that nothing. And this works very well, generally, because some people fought for your right to wank during office hours a long time ago. And that recognition of human rights is part of why more countries are shifting towards some form of democratic government.
Democratic ideals are good for political business: you see, when the people are happy with their lives, families and jobs (or at least, when they think they are happy: which is also generally acceptable) then the government is happy. But, democracy can be just as terrible as a dictatorship when mishandled by the people and their government. And more so when the people forget the whole point of the democratic process: freedom. And that’s why Socrates had to call out the fuck-ups of democracy by distinguishing between democracy for the purpose of dealing with “shallow issues” and democracy for the purpose of dealing with “urgent human questions”.
Now, we’re not saying Socrates is the smartest of the bunch—afterall, he chose to die by drinking poison rather than lose what was essentially, a twit-fight—but, the dude had a fair point. You see, democracy as a game of numbers is good for making decisions about the allocation of communal goods and resources: these are, ultimately, “shallow issues”. But when it comes to decisions affecting rights, justice, fairness and equity—aka “urgent human questions”—you just can’t leave it to a game of numbers and the will of the people. Especially when those numbers are out to kill you.
Rights—however defined—transcend numbers. But when some clever politician argues that the “will of the majority” in a democratic setting makes an action okay, then this fallacy is certain to get a fair number of people confused. But anyone who has ever seen a violent “majority” mob knows that the argument is absolute nonsense. A mob, whether legalised or not, doesn’t care about “urgent human issues”.
But by definition, a mob is irrational. Democracy is not—and shouldn’t be—a license for the majority to destroy the opinion of the minority. Or vice-versa. No matter how reprehensible the other side of the argument is to you.
It’s a simple idea, really, but most people fail to see it—because humans are essentially wired to be assholes. And here’s the moral for today: if the discussion is about roads, airports and election timetables, democracy works fine; but when the debate shifts to the repression of the minority, then the fact that the majority are all for it still doesn’t make it right. And if you’re really convinced that everyone has to compulsorily share your opinion—then get an island.
Here’s the good news, folks: our blog rolled a year over the weekend! And as irrelevant as it may seem,we’ve spent a full year tormenting you with unsolicited tips on life, religion, citizenship, sex and visions of a fourth term by President Goodluck Jonathan. And speaking of that, for those of you who have been with us all the way, you know that our favourite villain has been, second only to the Arsenal football team, Goodluck Jonathan himself. And we expect to continue to toss out more cheap shots as we anticipate 2015.
Now, if you’re anything like us, you probably enjoy our little lessons and morals—and forget these as soon as you close the web page. But if you’re one of those few people who actually manage to learn some stuff from this blog, possibly making insightful comments on our posts, and even referencing us in conversations with the uncool folks who’ve never read this blog—then, wow! We absolutely love you! But also, get a life—and remember to send us a tithe of your livestock when you become rich and famous.
And that’s why today, we won’t dabble into any homegrown aphorisms, but instead, we’ll tell you our own version of the classic stories of the good little boy and the bad little boy—by Mark Twain. And while you can read the original stories here and here, we assure you that own version is more suitable for today’s fast paced money chasing environment as well as for your understandably, literary-challenged state of mind.
Now, let’s start with the story of the good little blog. See, there was this little blog that was eager to grow up into something kickass. It was out to educate the world, enlighten the minds of folks and make the earth a better place for drinking coffee. This noble blog had plenty visions and then some more: all of which were of the highest, faultless quality. It had no plans to make profit or benefit itself , it just wanted to improve the world. And so it started out with a stream of nice articles: incisive, well written, excellent lexis, and no bad words like “fuck” or “shit” and all the other words that make people drop their public jaws in terror. It was a very nice blog, giving credit whenever it borrowed material, never stole an article and never insulted any of the other blogs.
When our good little blog got kicking, it attracted a few readers—like everything new. But because it had no scandal or gossip to offer, the few readers who came over were not impressed, and eventually they stopped visiting the blog and soon forgot about it totally. The only comments on the posts were from trolls and spambots and the good little blog had to close the comments page just to avoid the headache of deleting these undesirables. But a hacker got into the blog and put up a nasty picture on the blog’s homepage—just for the “lulz”. The blog was shut down by the hosting site, and (just for the “lulz”) the hosts sued the good little blog for a million dollars and won—because the good little blog tried to be all logical and stuff when it appeared in court. Unable to use logic to pay the hard cash, the good little blog was sold off and it died in ignominy, forever unremarkable.
Meanwhile in another part of the country, there was the bad little blog–and when we say “bad”, we mean—fucking horrible—its only goal was to make money, and there was no story that was too low for it to publish. It stole articles from other blogs with dismissive elan. It never educated anybody and never wrote about ideas. Instead it was the ultimate jerk: willing to take bribes to suppress true stories, while setting up untrue stories (about celebrities) and nasty stories (about ordinary folks). In fact, this bad little blog was quite adept at stirring up controversies and shit. Naturally, everyone complained about the bad little blog, but this bad blog was a splendid hypocrite, carefully using “s*x” for “sex” whenever the need arose—and somehow its page-views kept rising along with its readership, commentary and advertisers. Especially, the advertisers.
The bad little blog eventually became a giant website and ranked first in the whole country. Because of its popularity, it easily won respectable awards, consistently receiving the title of Most Distinguished Blog of the Year, Best Political Blog of the Year, Awesomely Distracting Blog of the Year and such other fancy titles. It even got into the inspirational racket—making money off folks while pretending to give revelations about stuff that was freely available on the internet—if only the audience would get off their collective asses and do a Google search. Well, you know the rest of the story—our bad little blog earned big, entered politics as the official government spokesblog and when it retired, it was widely praised as an innovator in the blogging industry, although no one could quite say for certain what this bad little blog innovated that was useful to the society.
And of course, you know the moral for today. You already know the point we’re trying to make all along: that is, Idlemindset is a good little blog which is gradually dying because folks are more interested in entertainment than in enlightenment; and that you need to change your ways so that this blog can help you become a better person. Right?
You see, we are a bad little blog, and we’ve been quite good at being naughty. What’s more, we’re quite chuffed that you’ve stayed with us all the rascally way. And here’s our lesson for today: You, our Idlemindset folks, are the coolest. You rock, dudes, you rock!
Remember to follow @idlemindset on Twitter as we plan to send the first Nigerian politician to the moon—without space gear.