Archive for June, 2009
Never date a woman you can hear ticking.
– Mark Patinkin
Men are often said to be weak creatures, a fact disputed by most in the usual pseudo-machismo complex that often exposes our very underbellies to the scheming women of our lives; men often want to get their way by acting smart while women will often achieve virtually the same result by acting dumb….. that, my friends, is the dissection of the male/female conundrum; at least in my opinion.
The question that eats at my heart (do men have those?) has to do with a recent conversation and a series of events that followed; whilst seated with a bunch of married women the topic shifted, predictably, to marriage… what came to the fore was that, according to these ‘happily’ married women, there is a belief that men are never ready to settle down and their hands must be forced; accordingly all weapons are to be deployed and it be considered fair. What I took away from the ensuing talk was that women see no issue in conniving to use deception, trickery, intoxication among other schemes to get themselves put in the family way as a means to tie down wayward bachelors, they will even get another donor and then dump the responsibility of a swollen belly on a hapless bachelor who has refused to settle down.
Now the bone of contention is this; should a man discover in time that he is being set up and act accordingly, for instance demanding the use of emergency contraception, and the woman stubbornly refuses to do so…. What happens? Does he have to sit on his hands and watch from a distance as a life decision is made for him? Does he have a right to make that b***h swallow the pills whether she likes it or not by literally shoving them down her throat or should he say, oh, well… my goose is fried, time to move in with her? Either way I think it’s very sad that our women have had to stoop this low, marriage being something most women want yet there being very few marriageable men is no excuse. It helps to remember that the only really happy folk are married women and single men.
My dating life has been a conundrum of false pretenses and conspiracies of silence; mostly this has had to do with my own determination to beat my own path in what are the uncharted waters of sex and emotions. The one notion that I have questioned over and over, often to my own detriment, is the so called accepted norm of ‘a man takes care of his wife’
My gripe with this has got nothing to do with any illusions about the role of a man in a relationship, it has to do with the selective application of the rules in these heady days of women liberation and the fight for gender equality as well as an argument that the raison d’être for some of the unspoken laws have been by-passed by time and we must start to raise questions and hack at the roots of these antiquated conventions until new rules are forged.
In the days of hunting and gathering, society had defined roles for boys and girls, men and women; the men were the hunters and the women would often be gatherers or tend to vegetable patches. This set-up meant that eating was often directly dependent on a man’s ability to trap and/or hunt game; this basically made the title provider to have meaning in the given context. Before the 70s, women generally were denied the opportunity to work formally and were wholly dependent on men, the term provider applied then as well. But now women are first rising up the job market and taking on, what were in the past, ‘macho’ male dominated fields, they are taking on men dollar for dollar and pound for pound.
My question is; is it fair that if a wife works, probably earning more than the man, is it the sole responsibility of the man to provide for her and her offspring while she feathers her nest for the day she gets tired of him and gives him the boot? I know of the 50/50 date rule in the developed world, and even here in Nairobi we have a few (very very few) women who do 50/50, the rest will, even when they are employed, dump the entire burden of life on the man they ‘love’, is it acceptable in this day and age that the woman’s money is hers, and the man’s is everyone’s. I certainly don’t agree; the moment both men and women had the ability to bring home the bacon is the day they should share the responsibility for dates, rents, children’s upkeep, fuel, at 50/50.
I also want to know why men have to pay for gratification, and am not even talking commercially; I’m talking about the fact that all men are basically given a shake down in the pursuit of carnal pleasures; it could take the shape of a million dates with hanger-on expenses inclusive, exclusive getaways, or even outright demands for upkeep money; why is this the case? Often the prevalent reasoning is that the man is ‘given’… given what? Doesn’t he give too and what if the man ‘gives’ better than he ‘gets’ shouldn’t he demand to be paid too?
The American’s have inscribed on their green backs “In God we trust”, Our own national anthem starts with the words “Oh God of all creation” and Schools such as our beloved Bush are rooted in Christian values….. that is on the surface. At an individual level , I am finding it increasingly difficult to blindly bow to religious beliefs, I pray every night as a habit and often when in the doldrums silently plead under my breath for divine intervention, beyond that; I find sermons either boring regurgitations of improbable myths or religious chicanery meant to extort the ‘sheep’ or pure scare-mongering of the hell and brimstone kind that serves no purpose but to drive fear into imperfect humans who cannot outwit the various temptations on offer in this times. I find that I am questioning religion critically each passing day, I ask myself what it means to say your religion is right when it was imposed on you by foreigners who themselves had been barbarians on whom the Roman empire forced a ‘pimped’ version of a Judeo-Christian religion. How can I wholly embrace a religion that has in the past been used as a justification to classify Africans as just hairless orangutans and a race cursed to slavery and open game for heartless pillage; a religion that has over the centuries been used as justification for bloody battles in the form of crusades and the burning of hapless peasants for being witches when their only crime was to be born deformed or disabled?
I have taken to distrusting both preachers and politicians with equal measure and ignoring what they say contemptuously and disdainfully (its arrant ignorance to listen to cock and bull tales of heavenly wealth awaiting you from a tele-evangelist preaching out of his Bentley or gulf stream, asking you to donate your 50 dollars just as it is most hypocritical and pitiful to see a politician tell you about the change they will make in your life because they are your ‘brother’ and they just need your vote)
Does this quote sound believable only to me?
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” — Denis Diderot
Debate on whether or not catholic men of the cloth and those who have been ‘called’ should be allowed to marry has become heated lately; there have been revelations of priests living in unholy and unsanctioned alliances outrightly in disregard to church laws and in defiance of the Pope, futher to this several priest have cost the church billions in payments to boys who bore the brunt of amorous male priests who molested and sexually abused them under cover of harmlessness projected by the dog collar , some of these victims have been waiting for compensation for as long as 50 decades! Then comes the revelation that the venerated Father Kizito, a famous/infamous columnist in a Kenyan local daily and who runs a children’s home in Nairobi is allegedly a paedophile as well!
To address the celibacy issue I believe we have to acknowledge that there are two differing circumstances to consider: We need to separate between Priests who want to marry after taking a vow of celibacy and those who want to become priests but are already married. For those who knowingly took a vow of celibacy and have suddenly rediscovered their carnal urges, these should resign or be sent packing because they made a decision to be supported by the church and in turn devote full attention to clerical matters and be ready to travel anywhere at short notice. For those who want to become priests but are already married, they should show proof of how they will support their family while devoting time to tending their flock. Rogue priests who are discovered to have been living in secret unions should be forced to resign and find work like other family men.
The other dimension to the celibacy debate that deserves attention concerns the need to carry out studies on the likelihood of a correlation between celibacy and paedophilia especially in the developed world, the reason I separate the two is because i posit that in Africa a horny priest is more likely to jump on a sexually starved wife, a member of the choir or even a sister (basically a woman) or even marry secretly before he resorts to groping little altar boys, whereas in California, Boston, Germany and recently Ireland little boys seem to have been debauched at the hands of lecherous priests. If there is a connection between celibacy and an attraction to kids I believe it behooves the Pope to make a relevant edict on the soundness of tenaciously holding onto the dogma of celibacy, just as it’s my feeling the question of a ban on condoms needs to be reconsidered in light of the trying times we live in.
What exactly constitutes cruelty to beasts? was it absolutely necessary for NGO types to go to court and threated to organize protestation over a bullfight that was to be staged at Kasarani a few months back?
Animal rights activists argue that pitting two animals against each other is barbaric and that the animal suffers extensively from such action. They also differentiate between killing for meat – considered to be a necessity, and killing for fun.
Proponents of bullfighting point out that the animal is eaten afterwards (not sure its always the case though, but the loosing animal should be eated anyway), so the animal’s death is not in vain. It is also claimed the animals do not suffer greatly during the event – they are usually inebriated on busaa and high on weed apparently.
In any case the idea that abattoirs/slaughter houses always kill in the most painless and efficient way is surely a myth, in Kenya they don’t use electric stunners or those pressurised cylinders that shoot a metal pellet at point blank into a bovines head, here slaughter is literal with an animal felled howling in terror and a blunt machete grated against its neck untill a major blood vessel is cut and then the sorry beast is bled to death, all this is a normal everyday activity at Dagoretti by the way. The total number of bulls that die each year in bullfighting is very tiny in comparison to the number that die in the meat trade, the campaign against bullfighting is more like a waste of resources when there are far more animals dying horrendously in unfit slaughterhouses than in any bullring. Of course, the barbarity of abattoirs does not excuse cruelty of a bullfight. But it does suggest that a disproportionate amount of time is being spent on protesting against bullfighting when there are bigger animal cruelty battles to fight.
I also find flaws in the logic of those who cling onto the idea that we eat meat out of necessity and bullfighting is for ‘fun’. The truth is that vegetarianism is a viable alternative to meat-eating and that all meat-eaters do it ‘for fun’. Whether your fun comes in the form of a 20-minute visual spectacle some regard derogatorily as a blood sport or it comes from sampling nyama choma at the local makuti pub, it seems to me we can argue the result is the same, I am sure the bulls would agree with me on this one.
Is chivalry relevant in an age where technology and a self-centred mentality has got everyone wrapped up in their own small cocoon in which polite actions towards people of different sex are often treated with suspicion of being accompanied by ill intent or as groundwork for looming underhanded advances.
Much can be said of the privilege of living in this interesting times, what with technology moving in leaps and bounds leading to advances that have eased life for a lot of today’s men freeing them to pursue their passions without the nagging bother of a life preoccupied with a struggle to live at subsistence level; an engagement that stared the pre-locomotive man in the face every single day. Welcome to the age of convenience, where everything is just an impersonal button away, where words like lady and gentleman have almost no import other than to distinguish between genders and where chivalry is fast becoming a concept as alien as the unwieldy garb of the Victorian era.
There is no doubt that, despite the ease with which today we can move about and reach out, modernism has taken a certain edge off the human touch and unspoken principles that have bound together and informed generations past. We talk but we don’t communicate, we hear but we don’t listen, we touch but we don’t feel, we fear but we don’t respect, we know but we don’t understand and worse, chauvinists, hidden under politically correct tags, have distorted the whole equality debate the consequences being men are at a loss as to whether to open doors and pull back chairs for women; why they should have equal opportunity at work yet in times of mortal danger be compelled to allow ladies to scamper to safety first; why say equality is a reality and still be expected to regularly make concessions based on sex. So what place then for chivalrous action in a world of gender activism?
Nowadays it is not uncommon to see otherwise respectful strapping males defiantly occupy the last chair in a waiting room in which ladies are standing, it is equally not surprising to have attempts at chivalry, such as courteously offering to open a jammed can, being treated with hostility and viewed as nothing more than condescending macho display. Chivalry as a concept came about in the Middle Ages to combat the attitudes of brutality, ignorance and prejudice that were prevailing at the time, it meant embodiment of the characteristics of knighthood such as being courteous to women and showing gallantry. A lot has since changed and just considering that the sentiments which modern career women relate to are the kind you find in lyrics such as Wahu’s Sitishiki or Destiny’s Child Independent Women, and with women going about life totally convinced and actively deciding they can live without men, it’s an understatement to say it has become increasingly hard for the regular guy to realize that ladies, at least most of them, do still want to be treated like princesses.
For sure the average man is not given to too much analysis on the emotional dynamics that govern his partner’s thinking, this is tricky uncharted territory that most men sail purely by guesswork and instinct, it is for this reason that you can’t really blame such a man for concluding that all women want is to be acknowledged and treated as strong, independent people, who do not need to be patronized by men. As men we come face to face with a troubling double standard knowing that women would like to be swept off their feet, that they need and expect the man to make the first move, but yet in the same breath, they harp on the fact that they are strong and couldn’t be bothered with being single for the rest of their natural lives. Women have to appreciate that it is hard for most men to understand that actually women would like to be treated well and to be placed up on a pedestal, yet this treatment does not and shouldn’t lessen their strength or independence, but in all honesty it’s the very same women who have the onus to show us that they want this treatment.
It is a largely unstated belief among a lot of men that chivalry still has a place in modern society; unfortunately many get frustrated when attempts at being courteous go unnoticed, unappreciated or even condemned by women. We have scenarios such as being with a woman who pauses so that the man can walk ahead of her and hold the door open for her, then you have the gentleman who of his own volition goes ahead to open the door for his date, only to have his date shout at him that she can open doors without his help.
Are we even sure women want men to be chivalrous to begin with? to be chivalrous on not; that’s the question that has men squarely on the horns of a dilemma.
As the Finance Minister, fresh from being put in the uncomfortable position of having to ward off queries on weighty 10 billion shilling errors, will be reading Kenya’s budget on Thursday 10th June, it is anyone’s guess how he intends to raise the funds to arrest rampant poverty, an expenditure creeping up while revenues dwindle and still cover an ever-increasing deficit now approaching a trillion. Uhuru’s options are essentially limited to three: having the government borrow more from the local money markets, take a begging bowl to donors or, as has become the norm, raise taxes. He might do one or all the three but I am sure of one niggly action that will be repeated; an increase on cost of beer, cigarettes and possibly fuel… the so called sin tax.
Sin taxes is a cliché term for usually heavy taxation on legal and widely used products that society frowns upon, the argument for the draconian tax regime on these products often flies in the face of logic for several reasons. Coming from the premise that taxes are a key source of revenue for governments, it follows sin taxes are aimed at raising revenue and at the same time be a deterrent to consumption of these particular products, but how then can sin taxes to be taken as a reliable source of state revenue but are supposed to reduce the consumption of the said products by the public? This is a paradox in which obviously should the sin tax succeed in its aims, the tax it generates will reduce considerably with the passage of time and ergo everyone loses! I could go into a diatribe on the senselessness of sin taxes but I believe in the interest of keeping it short I will list some points and you can agree with them or refute them.
- An increase in tax on a product immediately leads to a fall in the consumption, this fall continues for a number of years after this imposition and is thus not accounted for in tax projections, this basically rules out reliance on sin tax for a steady stream of revenue as often the increase in revenue from higher taxation is surpassed by loss from increasingly fewer consumers, a typical margins versus volumes paradigm.
- Sin tax is a class issue in the sense the poor are made to find these particular products unaffordable, they hence dabble in the partaking of illegal home-made concoctions which do nothing to add to the revenue of the government.
- While poor people do not necessarily drink more than the rich folks, they are made to spend more of their limited incomes on these supposedly anti-social products because of the ridiculously high tax, this then reduces the very amounts they have at their disposal which they could invest in meaningful ventures that would uplift an economy.
- Revenues from sin taxes are immoral if the government insists on using them to fund such things as schooling and health; why can’t they be used to rehabilitate those engaged in consumption of these products instead and hence solve the problem of decreasing revenue streams considering the number of those needing rehabilitation would reduce in tandem, furthermore this would test the claim that government spends more on the health of those who use these products as opposed to the tax accrued.