In an earlier comment about song-writing I made the point that while talent has to be there, the more critical quality is observation because that is almost always the ingredient that sets a song apart; the writer has turned a light on something in the society, or in an individual, that would have otherwise escaped the rest of us in the populace.  In fact, to look at the popular columnists or commentators in our local press – Freddie Kissoon, Ralph Ramkarran, Henry Jeffrey, Adam Harris, Christopher Ram, Ian McDonald, etc – is to see this taking place as each writer brings us to something, or an aspect of something, that is new or revealing or thought-provoking.

Furthermore, in the society at large, I have often said that we can be in advance of shifts in our society, wherever it may be, through this inclination to observation, leaving us aware of something before the most recent data or study or programme presents something to us as a condition we have reached.  An example of this came to me recently through my humble cell phone. I’m not into the various smart phone apps, and the constant checking for messages or updates, including even during a play at the Theatre Guild (I saw that one once), but I do notice the occasional faint beep on my cell phone when one of the GTT messages comes in, and I have noticed a definite increase, in recent weeks, in the number of these with discounts, packages, applications, and even promotion of events being sent to me. From that observation I have deduced that GTT is likely improving customer outreach but, more likely, in our economic downturn, looking to increase revenue from its captive customer base. More specifically, this is confirming for me that the much discussed economic downturn is real – GTT is quite properly cranking up in response.

Within the past week, as well, I received in the mail a very attractive four-colour brochure from my bank offering me an attractive rate on a personal loan.  Understand that this came completely unsolicited.  From my time at my mother’s apron strings at Hague and Vreed-en-Hoop I was made aware of the perils that can come from getting into debt, and it is something I am careful to avoid.  The letter from the bank, however, told me two things: one is that I have a pretty good credit rating, so that although I don’t need a loan, the bank is confidently offering me one, and, secondly, the bank, like GTT, has also identified a downturn of sorts. I don’t have to wait for the economic statistics; two entities in the marketplace are sending me a subliminal message saying revenues are down, brethren.

Another example involves the two dogs we own for whom we buy a fair amount of this or that dog food including chicken necks which we cook for them.  The sources I have for the chicken are Toucan in town, Rambarran’s in Campbellville, and Bounty Supermarket in Kitty, but I have noticed in the past month or two, a definite drop in the usually ample supply. I asked a friendly Bounty employee about the reason for this decline, and he said with a smile, “Mr Dave, it’s just my opinion, but with things kinda down these days, I believe some people, who didn’t bother with chicken necks before, are using it now for soup and things like that, so there’s more demand.” So to this young man, the situation in the economy is reflected in an item Bounty sells.

This week, as well, the media in the USA is in a huge uproar over the case of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein who is being accused by several actresses of being a sexual predator. In programme after programme, we hear persons expressing their “shock and utter disgust” at the man’s behaviour and their consternation at “how could this be going on”. One has to wonder if these folks have just landed from Mars. From the time history began, women have been subjected to these unwanted sexual explorations, and it is particularly prevalent in cases in the entertainment industry where women seeking a career interact with men who hold powerful positions in the industry.

In fact, the practice is prevalent; it is literally everywhere. Attractive women in very scanty costumes are regularly there to adorn the newest car model being introduced. Even on the stage of the weigh-in for an important MMA match, women in skimpy bikinis are part of the ceremony, not performing any function other than decoration; just standing there, simply displaying.  Voices are not raised against it, and it must be conceded that often the women themselves are willing.

One of the points levelled at Weinstein in the media is that his predatory behaviour was an “open secret” in Hollywood and among many prominent politicians in America. In the first place, “open secret” is an oxymoron; if something is widely known, it cannot be also secret. In addition, persons who knew of Harvey’s behaviour were clearly not letting that affect their friendship or relationship with him. It is simply ludicrous that some persons have even commented publicly in the USA that they had no idea of the kind of transgressions that Weinstein is now likely to end up in court for.  They clearly knew of the behaviours, the instances were out there, but they simply chose to ignore them.  Their lament, “We simply did not know”, just does not wash. “We did not know?”  Rather it is, “We did not want to know.”

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