Playing to an audience…

I don’t claim to understand politics, posturing or the formalities and conventions required of a SONA, but it did cross my mind during the 20 minutes that I lasted last night, that there certainly is a lot of drama involved… And seeing as my drama threshold is and has always been quite low, I tuned out, painted a chair, and thought about many things.

I thought about twitter and tweeting, and how in fact the tweet icon of a little birdie is a very understated symbol of the power this social media tool yields. Sometimes it’s a helluva lot more like a stampeding ostrich than the birdcall ‘consisting of repeated light tremulous sounds’ my regular go-to google gave me.

I wondered what R500-billion actually looks like, and what one could do with that amount of money. I decided there are ample clever folk out there who can do the maths, count the bricks, measure the rainfall, or electrify the potential of that amount of moola. I also concluded that increasing interest rates, or SARS collecting tax with an increased fervour wouldn’t make up for that terrible waste, and this only made me feel a little more vulnerable. 

I thought about the fact that Nelson Mandela was released 26 years ago, and how sweet and exciting the anticipation of real freedom must have felt to him, and so many others.  Then I wondered where my growing nephews and niece would be when the 50-year anniversary of this great day is commemorated, and would they understand the significance… and would South Africa have grown too? 

I thought of how cruel people can be with their words and actions. How social media, for all its positives, has become a weapon of mass destruction using a platform where it’s okay (?) to insult  and personally attack people. To call them fat, ugly, butch, stupid, slutty, slow, badly dressed, an embarrassment… all under the guise of the freedom of speech? I remembered how disappointed I was when someone I respected jumped on the bandwagon of online naming and shaming… all in the name of entertainment and showbiz, and of course to appease an increasingly ravenous and captive audience.

I thought about whether Gareth Cliff really wanted to do another season of Idol, or was he just trying to make a point. And did he in fact get that point across?

I thought about living in a society so hungry for recognition, fame and a moment in the sun that it doesn’t always care about who it steps on en-route to collecting its accolades… I thought about the collateral damage along the way… and I remembered my decision to be more gracious this year.

Finally, as I tried to blink the log across to the other corner of my eye, I thought about the audience that I myself am playing to. And then I closed my eyes, I prayed and I went to bed.

All this, fuelled by just twenty minutes of the SONA. Imagine if I’d lasted the distance!


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