Even though Mandela's legacy is local, and most of the action is taking place in South Africa, the media has descended with full force to provide literally hours...and hours...and hours...of coverage of every gathering from happy dances of joy over his death, to the lighting of candles and creation of fire hazards all over Soweto, Pretoria, and other places you've never considered a tourist destination.
The goal of the media is to make this slow-news time MANDELA time, and fire up the editorials about oppressive white people (blacks would NEVER be mean to a minority. Nor Japs, Germans or Serbs or Irish or English or Pakistanis...). As the slow, slow days move along (several days mourning he died, several days discussing the funeral, three or four days he'll be lying in state) keep the coverage only on Mandela and forget what else is going on, like Iran's nuclear antics, the latest gang rapes in India, or the bizarre climate change incidents around the world including sudden floods in parts of Great Britain that had never suffered devastation before.
If the goal is to not only cover, but exaggerate Mandela's world influence and prolong this death and burial till everyone goes into a coma, the media has succeeded.
Oh, maybe they neglected a few things...sober coverage of what this guy did and didn't do, for example. Or giving us an example of one of the many songs written and sung about him when he was at the height of his triumph, released from jail and in power.
That brings us to the lady they called Mabrr. She's just one of the many South African (and African) musical artists unknown around the world. It seems that unless the rhythms are stolen and then performed by a Paul Simon (or in tribute to Biko, a Peter Gabriel), there's still some kind of apartheid going on. Oh, just a little irony, that music is free (via air waves or the Internet) but people choose to segregate it. To paraphrase the Claude Rains character in "Casablanca," I am "Shocked...shocked...to find this is going on." Racism is the only possible answer. Don't people realize South African music is JUST as good as any other country's music?
In South Africa, 50,000 copies means platinum...but Fassie once sold that amount in a single day (her 1998 album "Memeza").
100,000 to 300,000 was more like it. In May of 2004, she suffered a cocaine overdose and went into a coma. Nelson Mandela visited her in the hospital, but she was brain dead, and eventually taken off life support.
On and off life support in recent years, Nelson Mandela finally died a few days ago, at 95. Hardly unexpected, but this blog MUST join with the entire world in saluting the man who is really just a notch below Jesus and Mohamed in having had a huge influence on the entire world.
Of course he has. The fact that he rose from woman-chaser and prison martyr to become President of a fairly unimportant country makes him a world figure. And while Dr. Martin Luther King may have gotten there first in making segregation an issue, and actually died for the cause, well...race is still a problem in the USA. But not in South Africa, right? Mandela didn't just make progress against apartheid by ending up President for a while, he erased it! Didn't he? Isn't that part of the celebration? Has to be. That's why the whole world has to hear about this for ten solid days.
It's like saying that because Obama became President, the United States is now free from segregation, unsubtle apartheid in hiring or not hiring blacks, etc. In the race to turn Mandela's death into a pre-Christmas holiday, the vast amount of racial unrest...affecting ALL races...has been erased from memory like everything on a DELL computer a day after warranty.
Forget about little bumps in the road, like the murder of WBO heavyweight champ Corrie Sanders just last year, September 22, 1021. (Besides, the South African was white, his killers black. So it doesn't count). And forget about the latest hero athlete from South Africa, Oscar Pistorius, who shot his girlfriend through the bathroom door. Heck, just because the guy felt so unsafe in South Africa that he needed a lethal weapon beside his bed...that doesn't mean that Mandela isn't a world-influencing hero or that South Africa isn't the bestest place on Earth to spend your vacation, or end your life.
We're in the midst of a 10 day grief-fest, with tears of joy and shouts of triumph. People are having a great time mourn-ebrating the death of Nelson Mandela, and anyone who does NOT agree this is an event the whole world should be involved in, not just South Africa, is one hell of a rotten realist. If Jackie Robinson died a few days ago, perhaps the media would likewise insist the whole world have a 10 day grief-fest, even if baseball isn't played in every nation on Earth. Why should it matter? Robinson, like Mandela, achieved something for his people, so all people should celebrate it and take a good happy hit off the inspiration bong. Any excuse to party, right?
Celebrate real world figures? Nah. Moses? Let the Jews celebrate him if they want. Jesus? His teachings are ONLY really for fully ordained television ministers who know exactly what that Son of God was talking about. Mohamed? He's for Muslims...you need not pay attention unless a knife is put to your throat by an Islam extremist who expects you to convert or die. But Mandela? THERE'S A KIND OF HUSH ALL OVER THE WORLD...
...Because the man fought apartheid, single-handedly. No help from entertainers who refused to play Sun City. No inspiration from Dr. King. No support from the United Nations. Nothing to do with changing times and attitudes towards blacks around the world...or the fact that for several decades, blacks were being given much more visibility in teaching, banking, and other positions, as well as in politics...and that a guy like Arthur Ashe could be winning on a tennis court instead of sweeping it. Oh...let's forget that a Jewish tennis player can't play a tournament in Dubai at the moment. Just how Mandela, the world figure who cured the world of prejudice, couldn't fix that up...who knows. Who cares. Jews shouldn't play tennis anyway. What do they need it for? Most are employed by the Wiesenthal Center faking holocaust photos.
Still with me? Then join with me in saluting the British press, and the British people, because though many cities over there were just in the midst of a huge downpour and flood...the kind most have NEVER seen before (what, Nelson Mandela didn't also prevent global climate change?), coverage happily turned away from tragedy and toward the Great Mandela Fest. I hear next year's summer rock concerts will be name-changed to Mendelabury. Peter Gabriel will headline, now that he's got to write a song about Nelson, to eclipse the feel-good dirge he wrote about Biko. You know, the one he wrote and sang in a fake African dialect (having left his Jolson black-cork at home).
Hey, fuck the British floods and the people who lost their homes and all the rest of that...or those who lost their lives at 20 or 30, not 95 after decades of doing little except posing for photos and being told "you're great."
Happily the British press knows their priorities. And if they didn't, Photoshop did.
Right now, nothing eclipses the constant coverage of Mandela's death.
President Obama, too overcome to offer up something original, like his catch-phrase about the "audacity of hope," re-cycled Secretary of State Stanton's line after Lincoln was shot: "Now he belongs to the ages." Stanton was pretty good, ad-libbing that at a traumatic time. Lincoln was, after all, shot in the head and still president.
You'd think that after the first hospital scares, and being in his 90's, Mandela's condition would've prompted America's Big O to start thinking up something really good.
Now, Nelson Mandela was a good man. Maybe even a great man. Most don't know how he made it from screwing a lot of women to vegetating in jail for two decades, to becoming President of South Africa. But I'd like to think that a few people know that South Africa is a lousy place to live, and it's on a continent that is a lousy place to live...an ENTIRE CONTINENT that is horribly overloaded with savagery...where women are circumcised, oppressed and attacked. If they didn't have cunts, there would be apartheid against them. The African continent is wild with crazy bands of nuts killing other crazy bands of nuts...tribes warring against each other, and with no white people to blame all the shit on, they go attack anyone who is albino. It's the continent where poverty, caused by over-breeding and by stupidity, is considered an excuse to attack any ship that happens to be within sight of Somalia. There are also excuses to attack and kill people in shopping malls...the few examples of civilization in a land that nobody would visit at all if there weren't lions and elephants and diamond mines.
OK, that's enough. A little too much information and a bit of sacrilege here? It's just a response to a little TOO much coverage of Mandela this week...turning an expected death of a 95 year-old political figure into a junior Kwaanza.
Your reward for reading is listening...to...a download of "My Black President," which is about Nelson Mandela...not Obama. But hey, Obama is irrelevant. No point in changing the world. Mandela did that. And Mandela died at 95 knowing he not only helped his people take a few steps closer to equality...but that his example made blacks in EVERY country on Earth equal and free. Just ask any black in Alabama, Newark, Cleveland, Compton, London, Paris, Dusseldorf, China, Russia... Oh. Russia. They don't let blacks in. They still have apartheid. Also ethnic cleansing. And they're currently torturing a few punk rock chicks who dared to sing in a church. Oh well. Don't let anything stop this week's grief-fest. Reality is that any kind of racial quality or even sanity or tolerance is still a baby step for mankind...even with the efforts of the man named Mandela.
MY BLACK PRESIDENT Brenda Fassie. Her tribute to Nelson Mandela