Guess I will stick to peas and rice

Dear Editor,

The local media world can get more than monotonous and boring.  It can be psychically challenging.  There is the daily menu of oil hitmen, journalistic drive-bys, gossip mongers, media stalkers, and literary midgets.  It can get very stale quickly, even rancid.  While this might be sumptuous food for the natives, I am compelled to look elsewhere to break the dreariness. I scour the foreign dailies from time and time and come up with these nuggets that bring disbelief first, and then the relief of laughter.  Try them.

More than one news report shared that some U.S. Congressmen are sleeping in their offices because they cannot afford the rent in Washington, DC.  If earning $174,000 a year does not enable affordable housing, then I must begin to question what happens to those who live at the bottom of the pay scales.  They must be living in the streets, or in trees.  Incidentally, some of the Capitol Hill sleepers (not to be confused with Russian spies) might be among those who vote against minimum wages whenever such are occasionally tabled.  Peers are fuming at these sleeping arrangements calling them vulgar and insanitary, which are among the more polite descriptions.  I see this as another twist to that old slur (familiar to politicians worldwide, including Guyana) of sleeping on the job.  On the other hand, I laud this as capitalist creativity and an expression of that old rugged American individualism.

Speaking of individualism, there was a unique spokesperson who aired some laundry in the NY Post (no less) through speaking publicly of the lack of respect for sex workers.  My first reaction was: say what?  Followed by: what’s next?  The uncovering of objections was part of a cry against the stigmatizing of an honourable and time-honoured avenue of endeavour, a silkily rustling boulevard of charming enterprise.  Truer words have not ever been said.  Entrepreneurial spirit it is, and it is not a bed of roses.  Still, this has to yet another sign of the coming apocalypse.

Meanwhile, as part of my continuing distancing from, and suspension of belief with, local media realities, I learn in the NY Daily News that Mexico has its own patron saint for (believe it or not) drug traffickers.  His name stopped the chuckling and brought humbling; it is Jesus Malverde.  This is in a country where there were 25,000 murders in one year.  I thought that insanity was the exclusive right of Guyana.  Perhaps I should beat a hasty return to local news.

Then there was one about legislation pending in Albany, NY.  It is to change from the limiting, sexist, male-centric, “policeman” and “fireman” to something more neutral, gender friendly, and all inclusive.  I moved on quickly from this latest instance of girl power in action.  The foreigners are not the ones taking over; it is the women.  Women have progressed from running the house (and rings around the men) to running whole societies and more rings around clueless men.  Lawmakers are right to sleep in the office; they would not know what to do with themselves in the real world.  I would have thought that some quality time could be spent on more pressing issues, like fixing the subway system.

Next, there were two items, compliments of CNN.  The first was a real beauty.  Sadly, it involved the murder of the wife in an interracial couple in Arizona.  Ms. Jennifer Wilmott, attorney for the alleged murderer, Mr. Travis Ricci, had this to offer about her client, “He is a very sensitive person who cares about people in general.”  Donna Summer would call that working hard for the money.  Still, I think that calling an alleged murder (a white supremacist to boot) “sensitive” and one “who cares” is a little too rich even for a callous guy like me.  I definitely prefer the chest baring (breast beating) representations of the sex workers’ advocate.

Last, Guyanese should perk up at what comes next, since they shamelessly embrace every foreign celebration from St Patrick’s Day to Halloween to Thanksgiving.  According to CNN, Swedish meatballs are not really Scandinavian but Mediterranean.  They are really Turkish in origin.  With due respect to the Turks, and taste tests aside, somehow it doesn’t have the same ring, the same culinary and gastronomic ambience.  Guess I will stick to peas and rice.  This wicked thought came: in view of this gourmet development, it could be that pepperpot is not really Guyanese after all.  It might be Nepalese.

Now it is back to SN and KN.  Time to pay for sins old and new.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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