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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Goodnight Antigua and Barbuda


Dr. Lester CN Simon

According to a recent article in The New Yorker, the novelist, Ian McEwan, refers to a study in cognitive psychology in support of a character in one of his novels. He suggests that the best way to deceive someone is first to deceive yourself because you are more convincing when you are sincere.

Over the past few weeks, supporters of the two main political parties have been accusing each other of misrepresentation of facts and plain, outright, deliberate lies. People are being deceived; young and old. The older ones seem to be engaged in an abusive relationship in which they are lied to, neglected, psychologically beaten up and yet they hold on for dear life to their party. This is so because their party was the first party that made sense and life to them and made them feel like somebody. The party can do no wrong. Even if you usher them to the brink of truth and point out that they can do better, they remain steadfastly attached to their abusive party because all parties, they now excusably tell you, are the same. They already know from where and when the licks will come, so why change parties and subject themselves to having to learn a brand new set of licks, kicks and thumps, and black eyes?

How do we explain the objective evidence that a party is at fault in a particular matter and yet it enjoys the unwavering, volatile support of its diehard supporters? Remember those bad old days, which I hear still exist, when a child was sent home from school or the parent was called to school because the child had done something terribly wrong? In dazzling light of sparkling evidence, the parent resorts to a wanton and vulgar cursing of the teacher, the entire school and any and every living and non-living thing in sight. There may be two reasons for this clouded outburst. The parent may be unable to compute the situation and takes the only familiar way out. Worse, it could be that the parent is so desirous of the child doing well that the parent deceives himself or herself into believing that the child could not be at fault. Not my party. ‘A drunk yu drunk in yu libber?’

But how do we explain the magnetic hold the parties have on the young ones through the music? The common explanation is that the young people who attend the party meetings and political music shows are only interested in the music. It was Rudyard Kipling who said, “What do they know of England who only England know?” This inspired C.L.R. James to ask, “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?” So now we must ask, “What do they know of music who only music know?”

Music tells stories. Music is the perfect deception tool. You can use music to sell ice cream, even without a cone or a container, in the hottest, bubbling corner in hell. Recently, some Jamaicans became blue vexed because of the public outcry against the lyrics and the daggering dance associated with dancehall music. They were so distraught to see their music singled out for the chopping block, they were forced to point out that Soca music was unadulterated sex incarnate and that this was in the lawful carnal knowledge of its practitioners. The music that bombards the ears and minds of the smallest of children these days is so explicitly sexual, it would make Mr. Benwood Dick lie down and send Jean and Dinah to Sunday school round the corner.

All children love stories and fantasies. The world that popular West Indian music has created for these poor, lost souls is so explicitly sexual, the children have to take on periodic or constant disguises of unreality to cope. And this is not just a male-action driven sexuality that the music is harvesting. It is a primal music sexuality that knows no bounds as it crushes your head into pap, shreds your waist into ribbons, removes the tendons from your knees and unbuckles the sinews around your ankles. This became frighteningly clearer to me when a Jamaican friend related how a teacher would cringe to enter a particular classroom of a top ranking girl school in Jamaica after recess because the classroom, even with the windows wide open, would reek with the pungent smell of raw, aerosolized sex.

The conjoining of music and political messages is not new. Unfortunately, there appears to be very little if any popular alternatives to sexual music for young people. Young people need young musicians that can take them to fantasy places where sex is not the sole driver, vehicle, conductor and passenger. The political parties understand the subversive and submissive power of music. Music and politics have become a very formidable, inseparable brand item. This brand has reached the contagious feverish pitch at which you can not only, “Talk as you like”, you can talk about what you later say you don’t like, what you don’t believe and what you have deceived yourself to believe so that you sound as sincere as the end of a letter.

We are now facing the wretched combination of the abuse and the deception of music and the same deadly elixir from some politicians, along with grand financial abuse and deception. Alarmingly and deceptively, some of us are pretending to be waking up to all these musical, political and financial abuses and deceptions for the first time. Did someone close the window?

How many more bedtime stories (another perfect deception tool) do we need to fall asleep? Maybe it doesn’t matter because when we wake up in a few days after the general elections, some of us will still clamour for the euphoria of public, explicit, musical sex, for the investment of deceptive finance from amour knights in shining armor and for our abusive, till-death-do-us-part political relationships. And we want this orgy of unreality, this repository of nonsense in our beloved, estranged native land of never ending make-belief where we can digitally ride off into the warm, glowing, software bed of a West Indian sunset and live happily ever after.

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