Saturday, 25 March 2006

In the coop as coup sounds like coon so soon

Words on the radio
It is with interest that I read that an American radio talk show host has been sacked for using a racial slur in pressing a point about Dr Condolezza Rice’s qualifications for the presidency of the National Football League.
Whilst, one is saddened by the event, it still goes to show that somehow a general public acquiescence of racial harmony is not necessarily underpinned by a deep honesty of expression.
It appears the talk show host was trying to say coup and ended up saying coon twice.
Speaking your deepest thoughts involuntarily
One can be forgiven the situation that allows for things to come out of the mouth without thoughtful processing that weighs the context, tone, intent and delivery.
However, it is unlikely that one would in a setting like a talk show use words that have not had some deep-seated meditation or analysis for a the very first time.
Most involuntary activity comes from the cerebellum part of the brain where things are learnt, recorded and replayed effortlessly; it allows for reaction to betray intention even if what is said is different.
Having read the excerpt of what was said, it is definitely an ambiguity in context that coon and coup could so easily be juxtaposed.
"She's got the patent resume of somebody that has serious skill. She loves football. She's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon. A big coon,"
Politics of failure
It reminds me of student union days in Yaba College of Technology where I got my fingers seriously burnt and my life turned upside-down with the rotten game of getting pitched against the authorities.
In 1984, I with another good friend, of the Estate Management 1 constituency and I of the Electrical Engineering 2 constituency were probably the best political partnership in the history of student union politics in Yaba Tech.
We basically, wrote the agenda of events with the vested or troublesome interests we brought to the house, each time we walked in the speaker of the house wondered what the drama would be.
That was the time when a very populist student was elected president of the student’s union which eventually lead to riots and the closure of the polytechnic for months.
The lecturers then read some article criticising the polytechnic in the Nigerian Guardian and took it upon themselves to play detective, sometimes, I wonder about the megalomania and childishness of Nigerian lecturers.
I was even once asked if I had written the article, even if I did write it, would I have said I did.
The authorities constitute themselves into demigods answerable to no one and beholden to moneybags.
A doctored constitution
Anyway, when the student’s representative council convened the populist president offered to make copies of the constitution for all members.
I happened to have a copy of the constitution, but when his version came out, there were 47 major errors playing on words.
In one instance, an elected officer had to present himself, but it read resent himself – the subtlety of that missing P negated the intention of the constitution.
That was the only motion I failed to bring to fruition in my tenure, the motion to impeach for tampering with the constitution.
Many of us activists had the polytechnic pass through us but we did not pass out, in the end, that populist president committed suicide a few years after.
What would have been, if that change of words had been allowed the scrutiny that would have prevented greater trouble?
As for the coup of the coon, the talk show host did not end up in the coop; rather he was out of work so soon.
As usual controversial talk show hosts get snapped up by other inconsequential radio stations looking for increased ratings and notoriety. This is a country where race both makes sense and nonsense.

No comments: