July 28, 2017

The Nigerian ‘SHOCK-o-METER’ – Pearl Osibu

The Nigerian ‘SHOCK-o-METER’ – Pearl Osibu

I warn you, I’m not going anywhere with this.

This past week, I stayed off social media quite a bit, partly by design, but also partly because I have plenty to do. Throw in laziness, add to that the fact that sometimes I have all y’all yakking up to here and I can’t take it anymore. Along with that, sometimes, I get tired of the sound of my own voice, whether I’m making sense or talking gibberish. Or I get tired of everyone, both the people making sense and the people making no sense at all, the utterly rude and despicable people and the impeccably polite people whose very politeness and decorousness drives me up a wall. So you see, it is not so much what anyone says or does but the fact that I get tired of human contact, period.

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So,  I crawl into my own head and hide out for a while. I might play peek-a-boo, or it might be a complete boycott.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to stay off social media (or all other media for that matter if you throw in communication media – Television, radio, print, blogs, online publications etc) because in a world like this and especially in a country like ours, things happen so fast – tragedy upon tragedy, comedy upon comedy and tragedy turned comedy – and if you cut yourself off for just a few hours, you could return to discover that-

-someone famous has died.

-several ‘insignificant’ people have died, whether through terrorism, mob action, plane crash, road accidents or as a result of their own sheer stupidity.

-some government official has made an ass of themselves.

-some celebrity has committed a faux pas.

-amounts of money which you can’t wrap your head around have disappeared into thin air.

-some clown is trending on twitter for no reason that is reasonable in a sane and logical society.

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-Two writers are fighting and a host of busybodies have found employment on the matter.

-someone has lost their husband to a Calabar girl.

The list goes on and on.

While this in itself would not be a tragedy, what works against us, Nigerians is our short attention span. If you fancy yourself a social commentator, you cannot afford a day of ‘radio silence’ because issues pop up and disappear at dizzying speed. Things happen that would take regular people weeks, months to recover from but in Nigeria, something astronomical happens and poof! it goes up in smoke in a matter of the length of time it takes for something to go past a lazy facebook or twitter feed and it is gone, done and dusted, usually without any resolution. There is no stick-to-it-ness. Nope. The next news(gossip)worthy thing is just around the corner. Our heads are constantly snapping back and forth like zigzag stitches.

Now if you are a creative, this is good because you are inundated. You don’t need to search for material, whether for poetry, prose, song, film, stage drama, radio and TV talk shows… ideas abound around every corner. The Nigerian creative is lucky.

However, however much material is thrown at you, a time comes when you must get away, isolate, settle on something and pick an idea to focus on. On this score, I don’t envy the Nigerian creative. So much data, (and metadata), so much information, but very little depth, very little cause and effect. A horde of reportage (if it can be called that) but not much by way of ‘why?’, so we have a lot of happenings. But we don’t have a lot of interrogation. How and why did this happen, what are the implications. How was it resolved (if it was) and how do we ensure it never happens again?

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So,  we are caught in a rut of drama and cursed with a lazy press who think it is okay to tie everything up by saying ‘we were unable to ascertain who the culprit was but onlookers say he drove a yellow Keke Napep’.

-A plane crashed and killed hundreds of people.

-The North is under siege.

-The economy is in tatters.

-Education is languishing.

-A boy is kidnapped and his insides harvested.

-A family of six burned to death.

-Three tanker fires and two boat mishaps.

-Countless rapes and abductions.

-A flood disaster that could have been averted.

-Doctors are on strike.

(Just by the way, why do we not have a station like Investigation Discovery or Crime? Surely, we are good at copycatting, I mean, we have our own Big Brother, Idol, Desperate Housewives etc.)

Anyway, we spend a huge chunk of our lives consuming tragedy upon tragedy until eventually we become immune. Things which would drive sane people crazy, we blink, issue a few platitudes like ‘kai, may the perpetrators of this dastardly act…, may her soul find peace…, God forbid…, It is not my portion…’

Tell me again why we have a problem with homosexuality and transsexuality. Tell me exactly why abortions in safe sterile conditions worry us so much. Tell me why we are upset at godlessness?

Because let’s face it, this country is by definition godless. By whatever currency your god comes.

Mull on that. I’m mulling.

Like I warned you, I was going nowhere with this.

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1 Comment

  1. Oluseyi

    Musing is good for the soul. It happens to the best of us. The Nigerian creative has way too much data and without plumbing the depths it won’t really amount to much.

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