Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More media stuff

There's a funny scene in an episode of Series 2 of BBC's con artist programme Hustle. Con man Danny has so many different mobile phones, each one used for a different persona. It obviously helps, if one is running several cons simultaneously, to use a different individual persona for each con. He has labels on the back of each phone, so when it rang, he would look at the label, answer and say, "How are you, love? I have a haemorrhoidectomy to perform" - he's definitely a surgeon. Or he might say, "Sorry I haven't returned your calls, positively busy around here, old chap. I've been shooting peasants. Forgive me, did I say peasants? I meant pheasants. Don't get me wrong, we do shoot peasants as well, but only in winter when they try to steal grain from the silo"- landed gentry, methinks.

Meanwhile, back on earth... Listen to this on PM, fast forward to 50 minutes into the programme. You can tell that 1) he had just woken up and was trying to figure out which of his numerous scams the call was about, and 2) he is so blatantly Nigerian.

In today's Guardian, philosopher Julian Baggini attempts to understand NFA secretary general Fanny Amun's (picture) endorsement of bribes. This reminds me of the first time I realised how much work had to be done to make Nigeria a "normal" country. The man sitting beside me in the plane was a software engineer, trained at a top Jesuit college in Bibleland, Texas, or was it Bibleopia, Virginia? I forget. He schooled me on the ethics of Nigerian day-to-day life. According to him, there was nothing wrong with accepting bribes. A bribe is - and these were his words - "an incentive" for one to do their job. Imagine that, an incentive to do something you're already paid to do. I know what you're thinking. Do they actually make people like this? Apparently so.


Monef said...

Funny you should mention that, I feel the same way about the New York bartender/waitress who is expecting a 20% tip no matter what level of service he/she provides. Apparently the onus is on the client to pay these for the existence of these individuals?!

Noella said...

Nkem, stop making fun of Christians, Mr Bibleopia......... you're christian bashing, just as much as you say they are.

Jeremy said...

I'm sorry Dilch, Christians (in Nigeria) are there to be made fun of and I never tire of it. On the whole, Nigerian (esp the evangelical sub-species) christians are the most unchristian people I have ever met - bigotted, supercilious, narrow minded, homophobic etc etc. They deserve to be bashed every day at least twice (I try to chip in on my blog, as you will have noticed).

The first time I hear an evangelical talking about ethics, or discussing how their pastor gave a sermon on ethics, I think I will faint. Its precisely in a deeply 'religious' and unethical environment that corruption festers.

Having said that, Baggini is the kind of British philosopher I love to hate. He has no real clue how to think, schooled as he is in the introverted up-its-own-arse analytic school (emphasis on the first four letters please). He is also slightly racist in the way he uses Wittgenstein's lion example - othering Nigeria and Nigerians.

In fact, it is perfectly easy to understand the logic of the NFA guy's argument. And Baggini insidiously is tacitly making Nigeria out to be the bastion of corruption and the West exempt. The West is in many ways and in quantitative terms way more corrupt than Nigeria could ever be (Enron et al), starting with the Elizabethans in England and lasting till the present day - especially in the way it has consistently helped to underdevelop Africa and overdevelop itself. My philosophical response to a smarmy cunt like Baggini is an unquenchable lust to punch him in the gob and draw blood from his nose. A philosopher, he aint.