Sympathy for some devils
There is devilish behaviour afoot everywhere we turn.
Just last week, I enjoyed Donald Trump's fantastic performance in the first Republican National Debate so much. I think it's because he came to the debate unscripted, unlike the insincere muppets on stage beside him. The next morning's New York Times had the headline 'Donald Trump Steals the Show, Mixing Politics and Pizzazz', and notes that: "Over and over, in moments that were as startling as they were comedic, he openly flouted the rules of political decorum."
Sometimes authenticity requires shelving the palatable words and behaviour, although, believe me, they have their place, too. And people in the media, who wield such tremendous power, and demand that the power wielded by others be monitored closely, often get mighty precious when subjects and candidates push back.
Turning to Jamaica, our loose cannon, Everald 'Warminister' Warmington, has been having his own run-ins with the press. As usual, he's rude, boisterous, and disrespectful.
I fully understand that there are genuinely insane partisans out there who will take a lead from the resident politician and target journalists. Plus, we have a distasteful political history that draws the media into its ambit with bitter results.
All of that is on top of the fact that rude behaviour from public officials cannot be tolerated. It cannot be endorsed. It cannot be countenanced.
And yet, after saying all that, and also acknowledging the dollop of perversity in what I'm about to say, I have to admit that I'm happier Warmington is in Parliament than not there at all. Look, don't blame me. There were issues in how I was brought up, and I naturally like misfits.
Plus, remember Trump? I can't turn completely hypocritical and not acknowledge that Warmy's craziness is hilarious.
I saw that brilliant Observer picture and a few things struck me. One was that Warmington has a genuinely loooong middle finger! It seemed to just sprout out of his paw and shoot up into the sky. There could be no mistaking that he was intending to tell the media to hop off, jump off, wheel off, and to heff hoff!
Horace Chang tried to rescue the situation by speculating that perhaps Warmy was showing the Labour Party 'V' for victory. Horace has got a bit of bashing for that, but it is entirely undeserved. For one thing, he was speculating, not saying that he knew that's what Warmy was doing. Second, let's face it, Horace was half-right! Warmy was only missing the index finger and it would have been a perfect 'V'. Geez. Give the man some credit for a good half-guess.
Warmy doesn't learn
Next, it struck me that Warmy doesn't learn that easy. He has been in this spot before. What am I saying? He was in the same spot a few days before! That was when he attacked the Gleaner intern with his writing pad.
But again, let's step back and give this incident a second look. Warmy knows that it's a tough economy. And Warmy is reading the news and seeing that big media entities are merging, and so on. He knows that this could very well mean fewer media jobs opening up for young graduates. So consider that perhaps he was taking the opportunity to ensure that this intern would be hired immediately after graduation. Because, face it, this is a young lady who has now created and been a part of national news. That was Warmy's gift to her.
Next on my tour, I must admit to having some sympathy for the devils exciting the wranglings besetting both political parties.
Holness seems to have been put on a probation period. The party has reportedly decided to give him a few weeks to pull up his socks, do something different, and emerge a new man. I've never heard of that before, but we're living in strange times.
Over in the PNP, there is squawking in many parishes, as no fewer than 12 constituencies are seeing candidates challenged. In fact, the PNP, by having so many 'local' problems needing resolution, is a cauldron of troubles at the moment.
Dayton's outburst takes the crown for jaw-dropping brashness, as two of the PNP's social media stars appear at odds. But these troubles are all over, and there doesn't appear to be any one single thread that connects all the challenges.
Here comes Lloyd B, himself under pressure, speculating that former Labourites are being targeted. This matter of the 'Laborades' and 'Comrites' has come to be a central focus of concern. I had mentioned it in my column, 'The Arc of Joan', which I mentioned only because I'm unnaturally proud of the title. Who knew the issue would settle in and decide to stay for dinner?
My own view is that, in the main, we need to be suitably liberal about these things, and sometimes scornful of those who want previous affiliation to be like a bloodstain.
For some people, party affiliations change over time, and we cannot become so entranced by these organisations that we forget that, after all, and first of all, we are Jamaicans. If we go too far down that road, what next will be banned? Cross-party play dates for the children? Or cross-party dating and marriages?
- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.