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Creative

Why Satire Matters

Posted on 2 min read

What’s the Point of Satire and why should it matter?

Satire can be defined as the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

From Wikipedia, satire is defined as a genre of literature and performing arts, usually fiction and less frequently in non-fiction, in which vices, follies, abuses and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement.

Not Just a Laughing Matter

From the definition above, satire’s primary goal is not just to entertain. It should cause a society to reflect on its follies and even make a positive adjustment. It provides a way to speak about societal ills in a funny but serious way.

This is the reason why every word must be well thought out and every exaggeration must have an objective. In a world where common sense is not very common, satire can help people wake up from the slumber of folly and think.

The Downside of Satire

However, satire may not always produce the desired results. This could be the case when people believe that whatever is written is true. For this reason, satire needs to be utterly absurd or ridiculous (preposterous).

The other argument against satire is that it can numb people to the ills in the society. This is especially the case when when so much evil is happening until nothing is absurd anymore.

Whatever the case, satire is here for life.

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Letter from Middle Earth

Posted on 2 min read

Dear earthlings,

Where I live, we have neither electricity nor cars. We do not have access to the internet, and we actually do not need it. We usually do not have money, although we are not poor. We have more food than we need. We talk to each other every day, we till our farms, we write proverbs, we discuss the meaning of life and the origin of man every day. We are a society full of life.

But times have changed. Nowadays the chief has a mobile phone, although he has to travel two ridges away and climb a hill in order to use it. Once a month he goes to the city to have it charged and serviced. We understand that this is one of your technologies that you would want us to use, but why should we?

Our biggest invention here was when my third cousin invented a smoke to internet signal converter. This meant that we could easily send smoke signals to the internet, as your computers are designed to work like our smoke signals; using only two digits. And that is how you can read what I am writing today.

Why we are Reaching Out

Let me go straight to the point.

The world we live in is a world that is changing, and the change has a lot to do with you more than us. We have not changed much in the last 4000 years, while you have really been changing in the last 150 years. It is common-sense that the changing people must be responsible for the changing world, and that is why all fingers are pointed at you.

Our rivers are drying. Strange diseases have come up. The air does smell. The rains do not come on time. When they come, they are usually angry.

Sometimes the heat becomes unbearable and Middle Earth does not feel like home anymore. We feel like we need to act urgently, but we do not know what to do. Should we stop eating beef which we have been eating for the last 4000 years? Should we stop using firewood, yet we have no other means to cook. Besides, we only use dried up trees.

There seems like there is little that we can do. That is why we are hoping that you can find a solution to what is happening, or even be the solution.

Right now, our goal is to stay alive.

Hoping to hear from you.

Regards,

Middle Earthers.

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Lord of the Memes

Posted on 1 min read

The world has changed. I see it in the Instagram. I feel it in Facebook. I smell it on Twitter. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.  

It began with the sharing of pictures, and soon, memes became the fastest way to communicate without writing too much. Out of the memes came the memefied people who have always made our lives happy. We are in meme revolution.

My question; Who is the Memelord of Africa? I bet the answer would be President Uhuru Kenyatta, and this has been documented widely here.

The president who recently quit social media still continues to trend online as his memes dominate. He is not only the president of Kenya, but also president of the meme republic.

Perhaps, men were deceived, and now we have one meme to rule them all!

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Procrastination

Posted on 3 min read

I had planned to write this last year but two. I know it is never too late. There is always time to do it in the future.

When I was in school, we knew that the semester was always concluded in three nights; the night before CAT 1, the night before CAT 2, and the night before the main exam. One only needed to spend time lazing around the whole semester, then get into action the last day. The strategy always worked, sometimes.

And that is the life of a procrastinator. They say that there is a lot of time to enjoy wasting. There is always time for anything. Have you found any living person who ran out of time and the clock stopped ticking for them? If you are in Africa, there is a lot of time. When God created time, he made a lot of it!

The procrastinator makes new year resolutions and waits till December to start implementing them.

We are many

There is one of us who was told to come up with a register of all the procrastinators. He is yet to get started. But we are many, very many. We are the people who enjoy the benefits of procrastination.

Benefits

If you can do it in two hours just before the deadline, why do it in six hours one week before? There is nothing that saves tune than procrastination.

Even wisdom is usually a function of age. Better delay doing it until as late as possible, for then you will be older, hence wiser.

Procrastination is natural. Natural is good. Let’s save the planet.

It has saved me a lot if things. I have always procrastinated on taking driving classes for the last 71 years. Now they have come up with self-driving cars, saving me the hairs I would have lost taking those useless classes.

The Perfectionist

There is one class of procrastinators who go through hell on earth.

A procrastinator who is a perfectionist will face death by a thousand cuts. Late to start, and even when they start, they will restart again to meet certain standards. As they suffer from a paralysis of analysis, even the non-perfectionist procrastinator will be a million steps ahead. Time is not good for perfectionists.

The Ugly of Procrastination

While procrastination has its cure in deadlines, where the procrastinator spends sleepless days and nights just before the deadline, there is one thing that all procrastinators live to regret. In absence of deadlines or external factors to motivate them, many of life tasks can be ignored forever.

This is why many tasks are never done. Many degrees are not studied. Businesses are not started. Important self-development goals are ignored. At the end of the decade, one will look back and cry at the missed opportunities, but it will be too late.

When we realize that time is short and the clock is always ticking, we will understand that procrastination is worse than an armed robber.

In the words of Denis Waitley, ‘Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.’

Disclaimer

The only thing a procrastinator will never procrastinate about is on procrastination.

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The Election

Posted on 2 min read

The election was just a year away. The government had done nothing in the previous four years, just like any other government out there, but they needed the votes. They needed to take care of the upcoming brand of woke politicians who were gaining popularity. It was time to act. The election was to be won by both hook and crook. More crook than hook.

The party had a strategy. It was the same old strategy that is used by parties since the birth of democracy. Manipulate the sheep. The voters were just but sheep who could be manipulated easily. The promising thing was unlike the early days of democracy, now there were ready weapons of mass manipulation.

The strategy was laid down.

The campaign machine was cranked up.

There was no mercy, no restrain, no boundaries, no sacred.

Strategy #1: Outrage

The people were already outraged by the actions and the inactions of the government. There was still a room for more outrage, and the party decided to act. The plan was to create more outrage until people were tired of outrage. It did not matter the source or the object of the outrage, as long as people were made very outraged.

The outrage initially drew people’s attention, but soon they got an outrage fatigue. They no longer got outraged by the things that mattered because their outrage had been depleted. This gave the government more room to steal and make outrageous decisions with no meaningful feedback from the citizens. The country had been immunized.

Strategy #2: Manipulation

This was an easy strategy, for digital disruption has brought forth many weapons of mass manipulation. All that they needed to do was to use them. They hired bloggers and propagandists who would work on specific topics each day to manipulate public opinion and influence news cycles.

They painted the opposition any color they wanted. They made it hard to believe anything because for every truth that was said, they had an alternative truth. Those who were gullible enough, the majority, believed. Those who did not believe got outraged, sending them to strategy #1.

They created fake news which was better than the true news. They had videos and audio recordings from deep fakes, making their opponents to be on the defensive side all the time.

Strategy #3: Controversy

What brings in more media coverage than controversy? And what makes people more popular than being controversial? With this in mind, the government’s foot soldiers went ahead to create controversy. There were controversies on everything. So much were the controversies that nobody got to know what the real issues were.

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The Invention of Insurance

Posted on 2 min read

Many moons ago, there never used to be health insurance. Not that people never fell sick; it’s just that they had other ways of dealing with health problems. They were never guaranteed of getting money for the medical bills, but they still lived happily then.

The System

The secret to their existence lay in a closely-knit society. When one fell sick, the community would come together and contribute money for the medical bill. Fundraising would be made and the bills would be paid by all means.

The more popular you were in the society, the more the people would show up with their pockets when you needed them. This approach forced everyone to be an active member of the community. Evil people lacked this social capital which they could exploit when in need. So did the thieves, witches, outcasts and all the people who were not in good books with their neighbours. Everybody strived to stick to the straight and narrow path because no one knew when disaster would strike.

In general, the society thrived fairly well. There were a few cases where the bills were too high, or the call came during a famine when people had very limited resources.  Those were some unfortunate moments, but they were just an exception, not the norm.

Cheese Moved

But then, things began to change. Urbanization quickly began to take root. People began to live in places where they did not know their neighbours. Social ties were broken and a new system that favoured individualism began to gain acceptance. The old system could not work.

Solution

That is when Mr Mwangi, elsewhere known as Mr Smith, began to analyse the challenges presented by the new development and came up with a solution. Instead of people coming together to contribute money when one person fell ill, he could collect a little amount of money from each person every month, then go ahead and pay any medical bill that showed up. Brilliant idea!

New Social Order

People loved this new approach. No longer would they need to pretend to be good to their neighbour. No longer would one need to attend useless social events to maintain good social credit. Most importantly, they would not have to fear the risk of falling sick during the dry season. That is how insurance was born. Most people of means were happy with the new system. The rest had no option but once the bigwigs jumped ship. The old system died.

Monetizing

But Mr Mwangi/Smith also needed to make money. He realized that he does not have to pay all the claims presented. He came up with terms and conditions to govern the health insurance industry.

Up to date, we are still trying to understand those terms and conditions.

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