Fri | Jan 22, 2021

Brian-Paul Welsh | To laugh or to cry

Published:Sunday | September 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMBrian-Paul Welsh

The banana republicans are currently embroiled in another cantankerous uproar, this time because the Pterosaur in chief dropped a rhetorical bombshell among the swarthy swine.

In some countries (heavens forbid, never this one), that type of insolence would have already resulted in a mysterious 'disappearance', 'shootout' or 'car crash', but lately, this dying breed of political animals relies on character assassination instead.

We've had our fair share of public misbehaviour on this animal farm over the years. Miss Piggy World was once called a 'feisty little sow' by Ms Spanish Grain, and who can forget when the grand old Pachyderm went on a fishing expedition inside the glass cabinet as his dementia worsened. The antics in the barnyard are sometimes as explosive as a big yard and as mysterious as a balm yard.

All very entertaining stuff if your sense of the humour has settled in sardonic territory where emotional devastation translates to humour. Or, as we say in Jamaica, when you can tek kin teet kibba heart bun.




Let's face it, Parliament is Jamaica's longest-running poppy-show, and it's been boring us with the same cheesy script for longer than the national pantomime.

That's really the personal difficulty I face on this weekly assignment. It requires a healthy dose of enthusiasm to tell the same stories in different ways and after only a little while of making light of our collective bumbling, the jokes begin to get stale.

This latest calamity in this news cycle gives us a glimpse into the septic innards of the political system bequeathed to us by the present generation and also gives us moment to pause and consider the viability of the political gene pool for the future.

Ostensibly, the current dispute revolves around the misplaced annoyance that unregulated campaign funds weren't made regular by a spin cycle in the election machine.

If it sounds like Mr Clean was throwing a hissy fit because he wasn't able to do his regular laundry, then perhaps your senses have finally become attuned to the melody of the pork barrel, the sweet stink of corruption, and the humdrum of a chacka-chacka regime. Welcome to Jamrock!

Yesterday's Gleaner was surely chock-full of calls for heads to roll, wails of faux embarrassment, and healthy doses of schadenfreude from those seeing hills of green. Watch for the stains on the fabric of this society as the hypocrites attempt to extricate themselves from this week's quagmire with their dirty hands.

By Wednesday, there'll be another scandal and I'll probably be obligated to compose something riotous to poke fun at some old trick.

I might relent and join my contemporaries in the Twitter-verse, chewing their cud and finding amusement at the expense of our national integrity, or perhaps, I'll find a better farce on cable.

It's not that we don't have enough to induce a true moral panic in this country. It's just that we've had too many and it's become cloying and so nothing really shocks us anymore.

We've had one former prime minister referred to as a known criminal affiliate, another now teetering on the edge of mental absentia, and nary a suitable replacement in sight!

Perhaps, that's why so many have simply plugged out and have instead chosen to amuse themselves with the sound bytes instead of engaging with the actual news.

Lately, I have made it my active mission to ignore the nightly comedy hour. Nothing can possess me to laugh with or at the situational comedy of errors that plays on Loop for belly laughter and tabloid fodder.

What is joke to you is death to me, and as the rate of violent crime escalates unabated, I often find myself in the throes of despair trying to make sense of another senseless act or omission that has the nation in stitches and me wincing from emotional pain or embarrassment.

This new age will not be kind to the relics of political nostalgia some still exalt as paragons of virtue. Those that have dug their heels into the mud, still seeking tenure in defiance of the signs of evolution will soon find themselves fossilised in place like pillars of salt.

Those remaining will, hopefully, be of elevated consciousness and not easily amused or prone to distraction like giddy children.

Maybe then we will have more sober discourse about matters of national import, or, at the very least, run more serious joke.

- Brian-Paul Welsh is a writer and public affairs commentator. He can be reached at and on social media @islandcynic