Politicians, Pokémon, Paintings, Pop and a P**s-fast hero emerges from Bloem
Words: Max Dylan Lazarus
Prepare yourselves: the politicians are coming
Welcome to the age of Marmite politics. Hillary Clinton is learning the hard way that the last thing you want to be is agreeable. If you’re agreeable you don’t stand for shit. Be controversial, be dogmatic, be threatening, outrageous, bizarre, but do not EVER be agreeable. So that’s why we see these archetypes evolving. On the right, following Donald Trump’s burning trail of furiously racist neck-folds and spittle, we have politicians trying to outdo themselves pandering to the most divisive voter, promising ten plagues on migrants, on Calais, Mexico, minorities and liberals. He’s even getting people to feel his gross hair now. Sies. On the left, we’re getting the rebirth of the humourless socialist: your Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn types. Men so fed up with the status quo that they’ve long since been drained of any semblance of personality. No time for humour, no time for jokes, no time for smiling, they’re politicians dammit, and they aren’t going to tear down these broken institutions engaging in nonsense conversations you’re trying to drag them into. This has resulted in amazingly hysterical responses from the news media, with ‘journalists’ resorting to openly creating apocalyptic fictions to try scare voters away from them. Listen, we’re entering an interesting year with the American election on the horizon, and don’t be surprised to see politicians get even more divisive close to home. As if the privileged weren’t squirming anxiously at the site of Malema already. Welcome to new politics. We’ll be seeing these guys taking up column space on these pages every week, of that I have no doubt – because if they’re not doing that, they’re not playing right.
Train in vain
Politicians though, they’re the egos. The smart ones, the true Machiavellians, they’re the quiet sneaks operating in the shadows. Pulling strings, making deals, and if they’re really good – having absolutely no one take notice of them. Lucky Montana, it would seem, is not one of those good operators. It wasn’t long ago that absolutely no one had even heard of PRASA, the South African Passenger Rail Agency, or ever taken any interest in their operations. That was at least until the agency bought trains too tall for South African rails, and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her report on tender irregularities at the agency. So allegedly, more than R2 billion has been misappropriated. That’s a lot more than the amounts in the Nkandla controversy. We’re talking eight whole Nkandlas, and that’s without any firepools. My personal highlight from the report: the alleged appointment of Ndwandwe Consultancy at a cost of R10.8 million for "value creation and culture change process”. TEN MILLION! For a manifesto. Seriously guys, what am I doing with my life summarising news on Superbalist.com, I should be drafting up the top ten values of South African passenger trains! CASH DOLLAR. Lucky Montana in turn has vowed to go to court to protect his good name, suggesting that he’s a fall guy for other people’s crimes. This was a few days ago. However on Sunday City Press revealed photographs of Montana allegedly taking a large group of women on a lavish train trip on the Shosholoza Meyl’s Premier Class train at a cost of R170 000 to the taxpayer. Good luck with that court case, Lucky.
Psychopaths: I choose you!
Prepare for trouble… and make it double! I always figured that pretty much any attendee at a Pokémon convention in 2015 would more than likely be a high-risk murderer of innocent people, but it turns out that it’s actually only the minority of them. Who would’ve thought! Two Iowa men, inspired by Team Rocket no doubt, decided to make a weekend of it and committed to an itinerary overloaded with heavy drug-use, strippers, rifles and murder – a plan that would have made Hunter S. Thompson blush. Thankfully they were arrested before anyone could get hurt, having been found with enough weaponry in their vehicle to take down a small country. All compliments to Officer Jenny and her team for doing such stellar work cracking this case.
Music brings us all together
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that North Korea is an actual place and not just this satirical parody-land created to illustrate the hilarious horrors of dictatorships (OR MAYBE IT IS! ISN’T THAT WHAT THE GREAT SATAN AMERICA WOULD WANT US TO BELIEVE? *illuminati*) Either way, North Korea and South Korea – at war since 1950 – do a good job of showing us that conflict can be silly; it doesn’t all have to be barbaric-style ISIS Reaver nonsense. The Korean conflict is filled with bizarre negotiation stories, such as one party sawing the other party’s chairs down so that they would be sitting higher when viewed across the table, or subtle competitions to see who can have the bigger flag, resulting in each camp sitting beneath tapestries so massive, neutral parties had to intervene and stop the silliness. This week South Korea upped the ante in a pretty brilliant way in response to two of its soldiers getting crippled by North Korean mines: they blasted K-Pop propaganda across the demilitarised zone ad nauseum. The speakers have since been removed but only after getting the North Koreans to the negotiation tables, that’s how awful the music is. Turns out they really didn’t enjoy the songs, including UI's "Heart," Big Bang's "Bang, Bang, Bang," and Girls Generation's "Gee". Seriously, give them a listen. See if you’d tolerate hearing those songs on repeat. Give me ISIS any day, amiright?
Old McWhopper had a flop, E-I-E-I-O
In the corporate world there are so many brands fighting their own wars, each company trying their best to be the admirable South Korea in comparison to their competitor’s North. Some parallels are harder to determine: Coke vs. Pepsi, Nike vs. adidas, BMW vs. Mercedes-Benz, Ellerines vs. Morkels. And then there’s Burger King and McDonalds, the latter of whom proved last week to be the undoubted humourless North Koreans of the fast food world. So Burger King shared a video online campaigning to combine the Whopper and the Big Mac for one day only as a beautiful collaboration between the two fast food giants. This would be as a promotion for Peace Day on September 21st. It would be a nice gesture, and a kinda vapid shit one also, but whatever, it’s cute. McDonald’s CEO responded in the most snarky, patronising way possible, eliciting massive condemnation by the furious Facebook hordes, and simultaneously scoring a PR own goal in the battle vs. Burger King. All he needed to do to get his way was to blast K-Pop in their direction – what an amateur.
Obviously in response to the overwhelming sadness caused by two gigantic corporations battling it out over sharing a burger for peace, one 12-year-old kid in Taiwan has taken the anti-authoritarian mood to heart. This renegade, crazy-ass Tyler Durden, went to an exhibition at Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park and punched a hole through Paolo Porpora’s $1.5-million painting “Flowers”. Hell yeah, we’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world – the revolution is ON! Oh wait, no, it’s just a silly little kid tripping over his own feet. This story’s over as quickly as it started. File it next to the old lady that painted monkey Jesus.
Wayde van Niekerk – the blitz from Bloem!
South Africa has a new world champ! Did you hear everyone? Wayde van Niekerk, a 23-year-old from Bloemfontein, is officially the reigning fastest man in the world over 400 metres, having run it in 43.48 seconds! You mean… wait… you didn’t hear? Well that’s bizarre – come Rio 2016, Wayde will be South Africa’s hot favourite to pick up a medal, along with Chad le Clos. So why the lack of attention? You ask for my take (editor Muhlenberg rolls his eyes – I promised I wouldn’t bring doping into this) no one seems to want to over-celebrate athletic success anymore. In recent months there have been a slew of South Africans streaking into Olympic contention with incredibly fast times, along with the rest of the athletes around the world (Wayde’s race for example was the first time ever that the 400m was run with the fastest 3 doing it in under 44 seconds.) And with confirmed previous dopers like Gatlin proving the only competition to an unworldly Bolt, I think everyone’s going to just keep a little bit shtum until the athletes are on the podiums in Rio. That’s why the most viewed story from Beijing has been Bolt being mowed down by a Segway. It’s really sad that one can’t enjoy pure sports without scepticism anymore, but that’s just how it is I guess until the authorities figure out a way of cracking down on cheating – either way, Wayde genuinely seems like a properly good guy, and I can only hope that he brings more well-deserved pride and positive attention to our recently success-starved country.
DID YOU HEAR WHAT HAPPENED AT THE VMAs?!
Based on what I’ve heard muttered around the office: Miley has nipples. Taylor and Nicki aren’t feuding. Nicki and Miley are feuding. Kanye wants to be president of the world and now doesn’t use personal pronouns. Literally no one won any awards. No one can tell me if Beck was there. What a dog-show.