Letters & Opinion

Of Dis and Dat – Part 9

Image of Nahdjla Bailey
By Nahdjla Bailey

I assure you, readers, that there will be nothing meant to amuse in this article, nothing tongue-in-cheek, nothing which I shall regret saying. In fact, I have been sounding the alarm bells on this one for years and, as predicted, things continue to get increasingly nasty because, bottom line, they are aided and abetted by those who have the power to take a stand, make a change, make an about turn and get to cleaning things up. Of course, I refer to the imminent annual gutter-to-gutter animalistic cultural event, such as it is. And if you weren’t either hypocritical, or devoid of any standard of decency, or perhaps simply a wimp and afraid to call it what it has become, you would be saying the same thing too.

Now, let me declare here, before I hurl some more invective at the canine-copulating gyrators and their ubiquitous memes, as well as all the backside-obsessed bacchants, that I have no beef with Carnival in and of itself, no beef at all with the decent jumpers, winers (who knows how one spells it anyway!), chippers and other decent participants. They can even be a joy to watch. BUT the ever increasing, ever welcomed, ever replicated, media-adored, crowd-encouraged, child-scandalising Nasties are just plain hideous, unpalatable and disgusting, in every sense of those words. It’s no longer a matter of opinion. Forget value judgements and all that situational politically correct you-know-what! If words have meaning, then it is an incontrovertible fact.

I ask myself: Do these people have jobs? And do they have bosses who keep them in their employ? Families who welcome them back home? Friends who are pleased to count them as such? Do they have mirrors at their homes? Are they totally starved for attention? Or devoid of any love in their lives? It’s obvious that they are out there begging to be seen, begging to be the centre of attraction. It would seem that they’re trying their darndest to beseech the public to “look at me, please look at me today at least, I beg of you. You see, nobody ever does all year.” And as they keep at it, each horror trying to outdo the other, again it would seem that they’re asking themselves, “Am I there yet? Am I having fun yet? Someone, tell me please!”

My biggest beef: Do they give any thought whatsoever to the effect that they are having on the psyches of the little ones viewing their public nastiness? Is that what they are out to teach those little innocents? Is that how they wish to affect their lives? But, to be sure, that degraded, degenerate level of public nastiness which so offends the sensibilities of decent Saint Lucians from all walks of life (albeit far too few, and surely not the movers and shakers of the Carnival scene) could not ever survive on its own steam. The blame has got to be shared.

I stopped watching both in person and on TV a good fifteen years ago. Then about ten years ago, I relented and took my visiting New Zealander friends to the parade and was thoroughly embarrassed on my own behalf and on theirs as I saw their sensibilities being violated, particularly on account of their two perplexed youngsters. It was sickening. Is that what we invite visitors to come see in Paradise? You can fool yourselves and keep pushing the mistaken notion that they enjoy it, but from my experience, their comments sure don’t attest to that.

But it is impossible to escape the ugliness even if you studiously stay away from the action. There are the news clips, the omnipresent commercials and promotions, and the random images which pop up all over the place when you least expect them. Once again, it is the children who are uppermost in my mind, particularly when I witness, with deep poignancy, a little one here or there trying their best to copy to a ‘T’ what they are seeing or have seen from the adults. However, what a distinct relief to still have the existence of the Junior Carnival with its attractive participants and dedicated organizers, as well as the presence of our French neighbours with the class and grace they bring – all too fleetingly – to the proceedings.

Space does not permit me to get into possible action which can be taken to alleviate this ever deteriorating exhibition of public filth and grotesquerie, so I guess I’ll have to leave that for the next time. Yes. I know. You’re probably thinking that that horse has already bolted the stable… Well, I’m still prepared to keep trying.

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