Noth­ing like a gripe ses­sion to feel bet­ter

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

QUITE a time since we had a solid gripe ses­sion. What good is a col­umn if not to gripe? Isn’t that why col­umns were in­vented?

They re­voke your Colum­nist Li­cence if you miss your Gripe Quota, like health clubs for an un­used gym card.

So let’s do gripes, start­ing with a truly top­i­cal one: How cruel is fate to give us a warm bright clear mid­win­ter Sun­day, which would be a pride in the sum­mer of many less-priv­i­leged na­tions, at the same time as it throws us a dose of win­ter colds that leaves us puffy-eyed and crosseyed, pasty-faced and brit­tle-boned, with an evil elf rub­bing an iron file in­side our throat?

We could do plenty of grip­ing about colds. Why are they called “colds” when they have us over­heat our­selves like mad?

How can they still ex­ist in an age that has man­aged med­i­cal mir­a­cles in re­spect of ev­ery­thing from brain to heart to prostate?

To have done all that with­out solv­ing colds seems out of or­der, as if sci­ence had given us lasers, in­ter­net, Vi­a­gra and all, but for­got to in­vent matches.

And now that colds have put gripes be­tween our teeth, as it were, let’s gripe about other things, like the elec­tronic me­dia.

Some of us have to be a lit­tle care­ful here. For in­stance, if I ever get righ­teous on the sub­ject of me­dia in­ter­view­ers, I re­mem­ber Pallo Jor­dan. Cool, calm Pallo, fount of broad knowl­edge and deep thought, riv­et­ing in his pas­sion for Xhosa his­tory and cul­ture; damn pity he had to fall on his sword for ex­ag­ger­at­ing his de­grees. He’Il live for­ever in my mind for the time he told me “to a ques­tion that com­pli­cated I trust I may give a se­ri­alised an­swer”.

So it’s with no el­e­ment of “I would do it bet­ter” that I ask this ques­tion: Is there some con­ven­tion now that the best in­ter­viewer is the one who asks the long­est ques­tion? There are times you can clearly make out the thought-bub­ble hov­er­ing over the guest’s head, say­ing “I get your ques­tion, I got it five sen­tences ago, I would have al­ready an­swered it if you were not con­tin­u­ing to re-re­peat your­self.”

It’s al­most as if a sub­tle in-joke is on the go. The me­dia guy who con­sumes the high­est share of air­time wins the bet. Bonus award if they then break into the in­ter­vie­wee’s first sen­tence to say “And that is where we leave it. Be with us to­mor­row. Re­mem­ber, only on Chan­nel XYZ.”

Which brings us to an­other gripe, this em­phatic only, which started out as a punt for the kind of pro­gramme that your com­peti­tor didn’t have, like a he­roes se­ries or a dorps se­ries, but is now ev­ery­where.

I could swear I’ve heard that the news is only on a cer­tain chan­nel. Wait a lit­tle, we’ll hear that of the weather, too.

While we’re about it, might we gripe a bit about time?

I won­der if it’s un­war­rantably nos­tal­gic to re­mem­ber the days that the 8 o’clock news started at 8 o’clock.

Now that might be the sig­nal to be­gin the first of five re­cy­clings of the logo and the batch of teaser pic­tures which, af­ter you’ve seen them five times, have be­come anti-teaser pic­tures; change-the-chan­nel pic­tures.

Tsk, I’m just warm­ing up into the field of gripes and we’re out of space al­ready. The next gripe sea­son had bet­ter roll around soon.

Mean­time, here’s as­sur­ing our lo­cal new chan­nels that we love them dearly. Es­pe­cially when they look for truth rather than the mas­ter’s voice.

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