Taken for Idiots

Definitions: divide and rule

You use divide and rule to refer to a policy which is intended to keep someone in a position of power by causing disagreements between people who might otherwise unite against them.

I was watching a documentary on climate change and they were talking about how lobbyists work. The lobbyist who was interviewed said that all they do is create doubt in the system.

And I couldn’t help but think about how politicians in this country use tribalism to create doubt. To make it seem as though voting along tribal lines serves us, although everything around us proves otherwise. It is that doubt that they have been able to hone in on.

But let us talk about ways in which Kenyans are infantilised, taken to be idiots really:

I really don’t want to swallow my words in a couple of days but how it’s made to seem that violence is going to happen, that it is the thing Kenyans will resort to come election time is a form of infatilisation. I want to believe that Kenyans know better and are better people. That Kenyans know that these elections that only happen every five years is no reason to turn violent to their neighbours because of something a politician told them. That Kenyans now have learnt from history.

Do Kenyans know that the violence will always affect them, the “common mwananchi” and it won’t remotely affect the political class/rich? I want to believe yes.

We aren’t puppets to be used on a whim by politicians.

Our greatest issue in this country is poverty which will never be resolved by politicians because keeping people poor is how the ruling class maintains power. And that’s facts.

Irreverent Thoughts

It is harder in this individualistic world to be kind for the sake of. In most instances people are trying to see how the kind act/word will benefit them PERSONALLY.

It irks me when I see the comment “Love wins” on heterosexual couple posts. Like……..

Most people don’t know what they want. They know what is expected of them though and then convince themselves that that is what they want.

I would support police if they forced people to KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING. (jk)

This isn’t irreverent as such – social media is THE performance. Doesn’t matter what people try to convince themselves about what they are posting – it is a performance.

The Wedding Industrial Complex has really set foot and captured Kenyans, and it still pales to what the Nigerians and South Africans are doing. Also, Kenyan weddings are low key boring because of the unrefined mish mash of white wedding + religion + tribal culture things.

Why Do Foreign Musicians Talk About Kenya That Way?

Whenever I see foreign musicians talk about how they miss Kenya, can’t wait to come back and whatnot I am often curious.

I get it, we want these celebrities to love our country and whatnot.

But doesn’t it bother us that our own musicians don’t reap the benefits of being musicians in this country?

It should.

We have heard that musicians from other countries come here, they are paid well. PAID WELL. And sometimes, them wanting to come back is not so much about the country but rather, the economic benefits they reap from coming to perform here (otherwise they would come without there being a concert).

Concert promoters often say that having Kenyan performers doesn’t reap the profits the foreign musicians do but I think that is a cop out. And that is why what Nyashinski did with Shin City is important and urgent. Those like him, with the muscle and ability to mentor and uplift other musicians.

I won’t say much about our useless government but the fact of the matter is that it is by design that local musicians aren’t as supported as they should be.

Social Media, Influencers, Advertising and Content Creation

As usual, definitions

Content creation is the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media for an end-user/audience in specific contexts.

Wikipedia

That sounds so abstract, right? And I think that this is by design.

advertising, the techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions, or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way toward what is advertised.

Brittanica

Hmm.

Let me be clear I do not think making music, art, writing, painting, sculpting, actors, dancers, photography etc is content creation in how it is often used in this day and age.

Video essayists, podcasters, people who create on sites like Patreon, even vloggers – those create content.

Influencing on the other hand……….

I sometimes see SOME people say they are content creators, creatives and I’m like…. capitalism really sold us the idea that advertising/marketing goods and services is some form of art. Like it’s somehow different from the advertisements we see on TV or radio. But is it? When you post trying to sell those who view whatever product or service in exchange for pay, aren’t you just advertising? I don’t think we can argue with this point. It is an advert placed on social media on behalf of a company – “Paid Partnership”.

There was a TikTok where the person said something to the effect that “Google exists to provide avenues for corporations and advertising companies to sell us things” and how do you argue with that seeing what for example YouTube is now. These social media companies like to spread the messaging that what they are doing is helping to create connection and all that nonsense but in reality it is creating environments and collecting data about consumer usage and then turning back to corporations to tell them “Look, these people spend time on our app/site so advertise with us.”

And isn’t that what influencers do?

Influencers like the term content creators to detract from the fact that they are just selling stuff

Tiffany Ferg

Someone who has accumulated, cultivated a large following, with the ensuing assumption that they can influence their followers through the parasocial relationship and then turn around and basically sells – whatever it is- to those who consume their offerings on whatever platform (It is funny to me when we are told that influencers aren’t meant to make us buy things but to “inform” us about the product/service).

An advertisement by any other name is still an advertisement. Just because you attach a personal story to it does not make it less so.

Especially if every single post is #Spon, #Ad, #PaidPartnership?

We really need to separate this need we have that what we do for money (our jobs) being a thing we are passionate about – or even thinking it is that important because I don’t know – it really isn’t in the grand scheme of things. Make your money how you must (we all are out here) but don’t make it seem as if you are doing something noble, important or that there is a difference from other people’s jobs because you perform vulnerability by using your personal experiences to sell the rest of us something.

Final Thoughts

Hyper consumption will not save us.

To be honest the speed with which I skip an advert on YouTube is how I forward and scroll past adverts on Instagram done by influencers.

I think the worst thing that happened re: influencer culture is how we treat musicians, actors, writers etc.

Let us also keep in mind who our enemy is here: CAPITALISM

Death to celebrity culture and attendant issues revolving around it.

To close, I am not here for bad faith arguers and simplistic thinking on this matter.

My Body, Your Opinion(?)

I am fat. Like size 20/22 fat. And there is nothing I can wear to hide this fact.

So I’m always surprised when I see especially older women snicker about something I’ve worn. The internalised fatphobia of it all.

I was beach side and let me just say, a woman who happens to be fat, who wears what she wants seems to be a sight to behold. Especially if she is black. Cause I can tell you the white women don’t even get a glance. Meanwhile I’ll just be wearing a one piece swimming costume and there is an expectation that I should wear those ugly ones with a skirt or bikers. Yuck.

I really wish we’d all understand and deal with our fatphobia, internalised or otherwise so we can all live in peace without the side eyes and whispers. Heal beloved. Thanks.

I am the representation I needed when I was a kid. Hide for what? For who? Nonsense.

Random Things I Remember From The 90s

Previous post on memories here .

There was a place at Adam’s Arcade that used to sell chips called Cinderella. They used to put cabbage and carrot mixture (not coleslaw) in the chips and it was delicious.

There was an Indian restaurant called Minar (that was in Yaya and somewhere else I don’t remember) which had good food. It didn’t last but we enjoyed.

Utalii hotel had excellent lunch and dinner. Because it was the hotel for the hospitality college, it was students doing the cooking and serving as part of their course and honestly, it would be very packed on Sundays and the food (in my memory) was absolutely lovely.

There was chewing gum called racers which we bought to “collect” the different cars under the wrappers.

The Problem With #CoupleGoals

A couple who were doing coupley content on TikTok broke up and the ensuing comments have been truly something to behold and it gave me the final push to talk about this concept of Couple Goals.

Goals

noun

the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result

Like many things that have been commodified – other people’s relationships are something we are told to aspire to – despite the fact that we have no idea what the totality of the relationship is about. As I keep proclaiming, being coupled is seen as an achievement due to the hierarchy of relationships with romantic relationship being seen as the apex – the highest achievement. And not so much the quality of the relationship even but rather that you attained it.

And that’s why people love the idea of couple goals because it gives them this rose coloured glasses view of how relationships ought to be. From my observation, we often say people are couple goals because they are portraying an aesthetic we desire (or are told we should desire). Beauty and youth are especially heralded. If they follow social norms, live a conventional life – the better (date, engaged, marry and then children) – most variances to this are rejected. If their social media presence shows wealth, travel and a curated aesthetic – even better; manufactured vulnerability is interpreted as intimacy.

I find it all so unimaginative.

Alaine de Botton often says that we assume that love should come naturally to us and that it shouldn’t be work or something we should learn which, is a product of romanticism, of which I am not a fan. People also have that ridiculous expectation that those in their lives should somehow automatically know how to love them. But then it brings to question, do people even know how they want to be loved? Or are they looking at other coupled people and picking from what they doing and deciding that whatever it is someone is getting, it would work for them to? Is that why these people become #Goals? Do people seriously think that they can gauge relationships from snippets they see online?

When couples separate or have issues publicly, suddenly you see comments “love is dead”, “if they didn’t make it who will”, ” I don’t believe in love anymore” and such like statements. My first instinct is to think it all hyperbole but truly there are people whose values on romantic love are derived only from what they consume on social media. Making choices because they see other people make them.

And that’s tragic.

I Said What I Said

It’s fascinating how people confuse someone being good looking and being attracted to them.

For everyone who has ever wondered how R Kelly got away with everything he has done for so long, just look at what Kanye is doing. And the excuses people make because someone made a piece of music that they like is mind blowing.

I truly believe that most of the things people view as status symbols are trappings of capitalism and I am therefore rarely impressed by the performance put forth to show wealth.

I wonder how all the kids who were born so parents could make content will be when older. I hope they’ll be okay.

Congruently, I think we should celebrate parents who bring up kids well. All that hoopla spent on congratulating people on being pregnant should be saved for how they bring up kids.

Also, let’s take a moment and think about class and showers (baby and bridal). 🤔🤔🤔

Do you sometimes feel like classed people think they know more about love and don’t think non classed people do?

Would You Join A Cult?

I have been watching cult documentaries with fervour. I love them so much and every time I do I always wonder if I could be susceptible enough to join one. I do not think anyone is above joining one by the way.

Now, given that I am not religious, it limits the number of cults that I could join. However I recently I watched Seduced and The Vow about NXIVM which is a cult based on self help/personal growth and new age/empowerment/spiritual rhetoric. Cults are evolving y’all.

But let me not get ahead of myself. What is the definition of a cult? According to dictionary dot com the definition is a variety of things but the basic tenets are that there is an ideology that brings people together, object or person of devotion, existence of rites and ceremonies and then the things that separate it from organised religion – isolating people, requiring loyalty, worship of one specific person among other things (Read this).

I think NXIVM really hit me was because it is a self help organisation. They have the wording of self help and then once you are deep in, it goes off the rails. I mean, they preached productivity, calorie control, gyming and physical activity and also things like you didn’t need 8 hours of sleep. Watching these documentaries was truly something.

And this makes it different in that if you aren’t religious, it is easy to avoid the religious based cults. However we are almost always looking for ways to improve ourselves, to find purpose, to be better, to grow. And this can lead you into a cult.

Especially now as things are tough and statistics are showing we aren’t as religious, we are looking for other ways to escape and find ourselves and community. It could be easy to join a group of people on the path to better yourself and the next thing you know, you are being asked ORDERED to have sex with the leader. Whew.

And you know the thing about these leaders is that when people watch these documentaries you wonder how people would follow them. And I think in underestimating them is one way people fall into the trap. I mean look at Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Heaven’s Gate, Bikram, Gwen Shamblin – all of them. They are truly fascinating.

All this to reiterate that I think we are almost always susceptible to joining a cult. As one of the ladies said “We all want to believe”. And as the cult expert said, the mind is a fragile thing and we are all subject to influence.

Finally let’s remember that capitalism is a cult so we are all participating in one albeit for some of us begrudgingly.

(You know, it’s sad in a way because behind all this, we are looking for meaning and purpose because the truth is, the world as it is doesn’t make sense).